Live Updates: Annual Free Iran Conference at the MEK's Headquarters in Albania
The annual ‘Free Iran’ conference of the Iranian opposition is underway today, July 13, 2019. The event is being held for the first time at ‘Ashraf 3’, the headquarters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq, MEK or PMOI) in Albania. Hundreds of lawmakers, officials and dignitaries from around the world have flocked to Albania to join the 2019 Free Iran conference. Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi is the event’s keynote speaker. We’ll be updating this page with the latest reports from the event.
13.30: International dignitaries are arriving at the gates of Ashraf 3, home of Iran’s democratic opposition, the MEK, in Albania. They are being greeted by cheers and applause from flag-waving MEK members. Ashraf 3 is located near the Albania capital Tirana, where MEK members were relocated to from Iraq back in 2016.
13.45: At the beginning of this conference, former PMOI (MEK) Secretary-General Fahimeh Arvani delivers the opening remarks focusing on Ashraf 3 and how the Iranian Resistance has managed to continue its struggle thanks to the perseverance of its members and supporters throughout the years.
“Iranian opposition President Maryam Rajavi has led this movement and today we are witnessing the regime in Iran on the brink of overthrow. I would like to thank all the distinguished guests with us here today and those who couldn’t join us, for all their support in all these years,” Ms. Arvani said.
Former PMOI (MEK) Sec-Gen Fahimeh Arvani welcomes international lawmakers & officials to the Iranian opposition's annual #FreeIran conference at Ashraf 3 in Albania, says: "Today we are witnessing the regime in Iran on the brink of overthrow"#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/0LNH0nF3iU— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 13, 2019
“The [MEK's] Resistance Units have spread across Iran and have accomplished their role in the best of forms. They are directing protests and demonstrations. We are now in an extraordinary period, especially today, in Ashraf 3. This gathering with your presence has a very strong message for the Iranian people. On behalf of PMOI/MEK members I am honored to thank every single one of you, and I send my salutations to the Resistance Units,” the former MEK Secretary General concluded.
14.00: Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), is entering the convention hall.
I will be joining the PMOI freedom fighters, int’l dignitaries & friends of the Iranian Resistance in the #FreeIran gathering at Ashraf 3. I am going to declare: We will take back Iran and rebuild a new Iran. pic.twitter.com/dxwIBmm76E— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 13, 2019
14.15: Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi has just tweeted: I will be joining the PMOI freedom fighters, int’l dignitaries & friends of the Iranian Resistance in the #FreeIran gathering at Ashraf 3. I am going to declare: We will take back Iran and rebuild a new Iran.
Twenty months ago, this was a piece of land with nothing on it. At the hands of the Mojahedin, however, through their enormous efforts and hard work, Ashraf 3 was built and now stands tall. But our final destination is Tehran, freed from the occupation of the mullahs. #Iran pic.twitter.com/8gf7lORRn0— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 13, 2019
The 40 years of the mullahs’ rule is synonymous with an all-out massacre. From several hundred executions every night in Evin Prison and the massacre of political prisoners, to the massacre of the economy &production, environment, culture &art, and the #Iran ian civilization. pic.twitter.com/W1jmUtCAIO— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 13, 2019
Now, the mullahs have reached the end of the line, struggling to avoid their overthrow.The regime is at an impasse. It neither has the capability to negotiate, abandon terrorism or stop meddling in the region,nor is it able to maneuver as it did during the appeasement era. #Iran— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 13, 2019
The mullahs are moving towards further contraction in their ranks, suppression of the people, & demonization and terrorism against the #Iran ian Resistance which is its main enemy,calling for regime change to replace the absolute clerical rule with people’s sovereignty & suffrage pic.twitter.com/okrzY8AIOw— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 13, 2019
The mullahs are counting on inaction and tolerance on the part of the international community. Their calculation is that terrorist operations and warmongering in the region’s countries will not cost them very much, at least until the next U.S. presidential election. #Iran— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 13, 2019
The regime is fuelling tensions to push back against the int’l community and hide their fear of being overthrown. They want firmness to be replaced with the policy of appeasement, they want to allay fears of their forces, & to preserve their internal equilibrium. #FreeIran #Iran pic.twitter.com/dTs6pA6kTt— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 13, 2019
15.12: Former US Senator Robert Torricelli tells the Free Iran rally at the MEK’s headquarters in Ashraf 3, Albania: "I’m a volunteer, a simple soldier in the international fight to end the dictatorship in Iran."
“For thousands of years, when people met at street corners the said: ‘I’m a citizen of Rome.’ But today, wherever men stand tall, they will say that I was a resident of Ashraf. I never gave up, I never gave in, I’m a proud Iranian,” Sen. Torricelli said.
Former US Senator Robert Torricelli
“What began with a single woman is a chorus around the world... To those of you that are risking your lives in Iran I say, It is your time. To the students, if you haven’t joined the brigades of resistance, join today, join tomorrow. Take your lives in your hands,” he added.
“To the workers who hear my voice, break down your chains and rise up to your freedom and the right to feed your families,” Sen. Torricelli emphasized, touching on the restive atmosphere in Iran.
“To the Iranian community in foreign countries, the past is forgiven, the future is now, we have a common cause to restore the dignity of the Iranian people. There is only one organization that promises to overthrow the dictatorship in Iran and restore the nation and that organization is the PMOI and their leader is Maryam Rajavi,” he added.
"There is only 1 organization that promises to overthrow the dictatorship in Iran & restore the nation and that organization is the PMOI & their leader is Maryam Rajavi" - @bobtorricelli at the #FreeIran rally at the MEK’s compound in Ashraf3#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/tK951F4QlR— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 13, 2019
“Gathered here today is what the regime could not buy. The respect of other nations. Democrats and Republicans, are committed to one common cause: the destruction of this regime now… In every organization, in every group of men and women but one is always the strongest, many can join later but one has joined first and the former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani is that voice among my fellow Americans,” Sen. Torricelli said.
15.18: Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani tells the Free Iran rally:
“Thank you and particularly those who live here and have lived in Ashraf. When the history of this tragic part of Iran is written, you are the heroes. You will be the freedom fighters and you will be honored in Iran’s history. God bless you and thank you,” Mayor Giuliani said praising the Iranian Resistance movement as a whole.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani
“This organization has grown and grown, and I feel an optimism in this room that I haven’t felt in previous meetings. If you wanted to build this city in New York city it would take 15 years,” he added.
“Massoud Rajavi began the resistance movement in a very brave act by not swearing allegiance to [the regime founder Ruhollah] Khomeini. Aren’t we now at a point in history where we all can stand up and say no more oppression and murder. You have to go,” Mayor Giuliani continued.
“I accuse [Khamenei] and [Iranian regime President Hassan] Rouhani and all their followers, I accuse them of murder. Not just murder but mass murder. How can we tolerate this. Four decades of mass murder and crimes against humannity. And our nation is supposed to stand for freedom and democracy?” he emphasized.
“Back in 1988, in a few months they killed 30,000 individuals. How don’t we get angry enough to act?” Mayor Giuliani said, referring to the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, the vast majority PMOI/MEK members and supporters.
Rudy Giuliani added: “There are three things we have to do:
1- Getting the governments of Europe to stand up and reclaim their dignity and honor.
“These are countries that gave us Greece and Rome. They gave us democracy. Democracy for my nation came out of Europe. There is no statute of limitation on murder. You cannot say the murder was 30 years ago. The people who murdered 30,000 people in 1988 must be persecuted, imprisoned for life or executed.
“So, stand up leaders of Europe. Stand up in Germany, the UK, France, Italy. If you gave us freedom and democracy, don’t turn your back now on democracy and freedom.
“I’m proud of my government to tear up that nuclear deal. We don’t put nuclear weapons in the hands of murderers. When you put money in the hands of murderers, you are supporting murderers. When a German company makes business with Iran, they are helping to kill people in Syria, or kill us here in Albania. You are funding murderers. That makes you complicit in murder. We don’t allow people to fund murder. Wake up. When you buy oil from Iran you are funding murder. Face it and stop it,” Mayor Giuliani continued.
“2- There is an alternative to this horrible regime of terror.
“This isn’t one of those situations when we have to dispose of a regime and we know that a more horrible regime will come. That was the case in Libya. But here we don’t have that problem. We have the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world and then we have the NCRI, led by the President-elect Maryam Rajavi.
“We know there is a group of people who are dedicated to freedom and the cause of it, and that is what they call a cult these days because they are so cynical that they can’t understand decency and honor. Maybe something is wrong with you,” he emphasized, debunking the claims raised by the Iranian regime and its chorus of apologists/lobbyists in the West against the MEK.
Former NY Mayor @RudyGiuliani responds to lobbyists for Iran's regime: The MEK is committed to freedom and democracy in Iran. We should support them to bring regime change in their country.#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/LbTv9X2Z7K— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 13, 2019
“We have a government in exile that has written down its principles. Free elections in six months. Gender equality. System of law. Fair trial. And they oppose capital punishment. This is a good organization. And if you have built this place in three months, you can do that in six months,” he added.
“This is a group we can support and a group that makes us comfortable to have regime change.”
“3- You can be a witness in the biblical sense.
“You know about the continuous murders in Iran. You know about Maryam Rajavi and the PMOI, not the lies. Why are the [mullahs] killing them for decades? How stupid can someone be not to udnerstande that.
“You can be a part of it. You can write, you can speak out. We don’t walk away when we see someone is oppressed.
“You can turn your back like the leadership in Europe, but you can go everywhere and spread the world. Stand up. My colleagues and I are attacked all the time in the U.S. but we can’t turn our back.
15.40: Thanking the American delegation that gathering on the stage, NCRI President Maryam Rajavi said, “You are the pioneers of the right policy towards Iran”.
15.45: Senator Joe Lieberman, former U.S. Vice Presidential candidate, tells the Free Iran gathering at the MEK's compound in Albania:
“It is not only an honor but exciting to be here in Ashraf 3. We gathered in many meetings at this time of the year in Paris and the crowd was enormous, but there is nowhere I would rather be today than in Ashraf 3,” Sen. Lieberman said.
Senator Joe Lieberman, former U.S. Vice Presidential candidate
“Let me explain why: For years, the Iranian American community fought for the cause of the residents of Ashraf and it was embraced by more and more representative in the U.S.,” he added.
“We were hurt and heartbroken and angry when you were terrorized and murdered in Camp Liberty by the Iranian regime’s mercenaries. Iran is ready for a new dawn and day, you are ready, we are ready."
Senator Lieberman then went ahead and chanted: "I am ready" in Persian, "Hazer", which has become a motto of the members of the Iranian Resistance.
.@JoeLieberman at the #FreeIran event at the MEK's compound: It's not only an honor but exciting to be here in Ashraf 3. We gathered in many meetings. In Paris & the crowd was enormous, but there's nowhere I'd rather be today than in Ashraf 3#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/1o9ITXKhD4— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 13, 2019
Now that you are here [in safety in Albania], the NCRI and MEK can focus its efforts on the fight inside iran.
What I’m about to say, I say as a Democrat: I haven’t voted for President Trump in the last elections, but President Trump has been heroic in his action of withdrawing from the nuclear deal and designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization.
History is on your side. Freedom and justice will always prevail. And that is what the MEK and NCRI represent. Yes, my friends, Hazer, Hazer!
“I thank you for being an example to the whole world that those who are willing to sacrifice for the cause of freedom will always prevail… Let me quote the late Senator John McCain: ‘The battle to liberate Iran is not a battle that has great significance for the people to Iran but for the great cause of freedom around the world.’
“Maryam Rajavi is a principled, visionary, self-less leader and cares for everyone of you… Ashraf 3 is the best proof that this movement is a viable alternative to the ruling mullahs in Iran,” he added
“To those who advocate appeasement, it’s time to stand for the people's freedom. It’s time to bring a government to Iran that is accountable to the Iranans. A government of the people, by the people, for the people.
“Hazer, Hazer, Hazer,” Senator Lieberman said in conclusion, meaning I am ready in Persian.
16.08: Michèle Alliot-Marie, former Foreign, Defense, Interior and Justice Minister of France, tells the Free Iran rally at the MEK's headquarters in Albania:
“I thank you for representing a vision, a direction that unites all Iranians and many people in the world… Iran is behind all the crises in the Middle East. Iran destabilizes the whole region. Iran finances terrorists and supports them with weapons,” said Michèle Alliot-Marie MEP.
Michèle Alliot-Marie, former Foreign, Defense, Interior and Justice Minister of France
“When we talk about Iran we don’t talk about the Iranian people. I refer to the regime that destabilizes the region. The Iranian people aren’t like that,” she emphasized. “We should not be illusional, we have cultural and political differences, but we have values that are common, and we should fight for them.”
"Iran's regime is behind all the crises in the Middle East. Iran destabilizes the whole region. Iran finances terrorists and supports them with weapons" - @MAlliotMarie tells the #FreeIran rally at the MEK's headquarters in Ashraf 3, Albania#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/UpnbO6Fd2G— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 13, 2019
“We are lucky enough to enjoy these values, but we almost lost them at a certain point. There were friends who helped us to keep them. For these reasons we have to stand with the Iranians who want to protect their fundamental human rights,” the French MEP concluded.
16.18: Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper now addressing the Free Iran conference in Ashraf 3 in, Albania:
“I’m delighted to be here because there are few causes in this world today more important than what you are doing to bring change in Iran to empower the people to determine their government in Iran at the ballot box,” former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.
Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
“The need for change in Iran is greater than ever before and the need of the work of this organization for change in Iran is also greater than ever before,” he emphasized.
“The only realistic policy towards Iran is firmness, and post-sanctions do what my government did in Canada: Close down the regime’s embassies around the world,” Prime Minister Harper stressed.
“What is the argument against firmness? They say the world has no choice. Appeasement or war. This is not true. Appeasement is accepting the war that the regime is already waging against its neighbour through proxies,” he added.
“The need for change in Iran is greater than ever before and the need of the work of this organization for change in Iran is also greater than ever before” - @stephenharper tells the MEK at the annual #FreeIran event#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/9abs5HUNGA— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 13, 2019
“The right response is not to surrender, but to stand with the Iranian people and against this regime,” Prime Minister Harper said.
“The religious fascism of the Ayatollahs in Iran is at confrontation with its own people and the world. That’s why we have to stand behind the 10-point plan of Maryam Rajavi and the Iranian resistance:
And a non-nuclear Iran,” Harper said, voicing his support the the platform of the Iranian Resistance.
“Your ten point plan is the future, the future Iran and the world needs. Do not give up hope and do not relent in your efforts in any way,” Harper said.
“Today I’m joined by Canadians here who have supported my government and opposed my government but we share a common goal of you vision for a future Iran. Keep up the fight, Hazer, Hazer, Hazer,” Harper concluded.
The Iranian regime terrorizes its own citizens and poses a serious threat to global peace and security. Today in Albania I was proud to again join the #NCRI in standing up for a peaceful, non-nuclear future for Iran & freedom & democracy for its long suffering people. #FreeIran pic.twitter.com/0skdssuGVB— Stephen Harper (@stephenharper) July 13, 2019
16.25: Dr. Bernard Kouchner, former Foreign Minister of France
“This is a marvelous work of art here in Ashraf. You really deserve to build up a real country in Iran. It is very well done. Coming to Ashraf 3 was a real reward for the people supporting you. Now, we are facing this new step, benchmark and era. The era of freedom in Iran,” said former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.
“We should not mix the people of Iran with the regime in Iran… Europe that is facing this tension should listen to the program of the NCRI: Elections based on the principle of universal suffrage. A pluralistic political system with free assembly. The abolition of the death penalty,” going on to list the ten-point plan presented by NCRI President Maryam Rajavi for the future of Iran.
Dr. Bernard Kouchner, former Foreign Minister of France
“I don’t think anyone is against this policy. I agree with Mr. Giuliani. We believe the people of Iran are not supporting the [mullahs’ regime]. Mr. Giuliani was right. The mullahs are murderers. They are the origin of all terrorist attacks,” he added.
“We are ready to relieve this people from this awful religious system. We are not against religion. But we are against using religion to kill people… Religion is also the liberation of the people. Madam Maryam Rajavi, You are persistent and a fantastic model for the women of the world… We are completely with you to support such a fantastic program.”
16.35: A delegation of Albanian politicians are on the stage at the Free Iran rally in Ashraf 3. Former Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko is addressing the members of the Iranian democratic opposition MEK at the event:
“In World War II, German Nazi required Albania to transfer its gold to the bank in Berlin and give up a list of its Jewish citizens. The Albanian answer was short: Gold yes, Jews no!” said former Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko.
Former Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko
“Lately in Albania, politicians have been in tough arguments with each other, but there is no debate about your stay here in Albania. You are in our hearts,” he said in an emotional speech.
“If the Iranian regime wants to touch you, they must know that we said to the Nazi invaders, 'gold yes, Jews no.' The ambassador of Iran has been kicked out of Tirana. So, don’t push us… 'Gold yes, Mojahedin no,'" Mr. Majko emphasized. “I hope to come soon to see you in Tehran.
16.40: Fatmir Mediu, Chairman of the Albanian Republican Party, now addressing the MEK at the Free Iran event in Ashraf 3:
“Welcome to Ashraf 3, the beginning of a free Iran,” said Fatmir Mediu, Chairman of the Albanian Republican Party, during his speech at the Free Iran rally. “We have to think about the next steps, but all of us agree that the time for change in Iran is long overdue. The American government has stood up for change Iran, and we wish that Europe also stands up for liberty and freedom for the people of Iran as God-given rights.”
Fatmir Mediu, Chairman of the Albanian Republican Party
“Last year the Albanian government expelled the Iranian ambassador because they planned to attack us when we gathered with Mayor Rudy Giuliani to discuss about iran,” Mediu said.
Mediu emphasized the bi-partisan support for the Iranian Resistance in Albania. “Madam Rajavi, your ten-point plan is for sure the future of Iran. Here in Albania we have our political differences, but we are united in your cause to support you for a free Iran,” Mediu said. “We’d rather be remembered by history as people who fought with you for the freedom of the Iranian people than people who stood by and watched.”
16.48: The American Congressional delegation is now on the stage to address the Free Iran convention. Judge Ted Poe, a former Member of the U.S. Congress, says:
“A few years ago we went to Iraq to see you in Camp Ashraf and then Iraqi MP Nouri Maliki went so mad that he expelled us from Iraq. However, now we can visit and see you,” Judge Ted Poe said.
“They said you won’t last in Camp Ashraf, but you made it a paradise. They said you can’t last in Camp Liberty, but you made it a paradise. And then they said you can’t leave Iraq, but with the help of our Albanian friends, you came here to Albania and created this paradise in Ashraf 3. And we will have an Ashraf 4 in Iran where all of us will be gathered together,” the former Congressman emphasized.
Judge Ted Poe, a former Member of the U.S. Congress
“It was a mistake for the U.S. to put the MEK on the terrorist list in the first place. But at the end, a federal judge ordered the State Department to delist the MEK… How ironic is this that the MEK is not on the terrorist list now but the IRGC and the Iranian government is on the U.S. terrorist list.”
“There is nothing more powerful than a woman who has made up her mind. And that woman is Madame Rajavi and she has made up her mind for freedom for all of you,” Judge Poe stressed with pride.
He added: “Yesterday, Governor Tom Ridge said that we are all given certain rights by God. There is a right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. Governments are instituted among people to secure their God given rights. And if governments don’t do that, the people have the right to abolish that government, like the mullahs in Iran.”
“When the mullahs are arrested, I want Rudy Giuliani to be the prosecutor to have them on trial in my court. The mullahs killed 120,000 people, Ashrafis in Ashraf and Ashraf 2. And their plots against you here. Wherever there is terrorism, you see Iran’s IRGC. In many continents and even in the high seas. They have forfeited the right to rule the people of Iran. They are guilty of murder,” Judge Poe continued.
“Don’t fear the mullahs. Don’t let them deprive you of sleep at night. It is important that the mullahs fear you and you keep them awake at night. You speak for the voices that have been silenced by the murders that have taken place against them. They cry out for justice. Justice demands that the people of Iran rule their own country. The illegitimate regime of the mullahs are through,” he highlighted.
.@JudgeTedPoe: “The regime in Iran is cancer. When you have a snake, you must cut off the head of the snake… I’m here to tell you that the Lion & the Sword (the emblem of Iran's flag) will cut off the head of the serpent in Tehran”#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/c7VPa32004— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 13, 2019
“Not long ago I was diagnosed with leukemia. Thanks to the prayers of many of you, I am able to continue the fight for Iran. Leukemia is cancer. The regime in Iran is cancer. We must all fight it as it will not go away on its own,” Judge Poe added.
“When you have a snake, you must cut off the head of the snake… I’m here to tell you that the lion with the sword (the emblem of the Iranian flag) will cut off the head of the serpent in Tehran,” he continued, raising many cheers from the crowd.
“Somethings are worth living and dying for and I don’t see anything more worth to live and if necessary die for, than the cause of freedom in Iran,” Judge Poe said with pride.
“Azadi, Azadi, Azadi,” the Judge said, meaning “freedom” in Farsi.
16.55: Former U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher tells the MEK members in Ashraf 3:
“We have worked together, Republicans and Democrats, not because we like you but because we share your values,” said former U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in his speech at the Free Iran rally.
Former U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher
“Madame Rajavi, thank you, God bless you. This movement will make a better world. We as Americans, are attracted to people like ourselves. We are dedicated to freedom. Thank you because if you succeed, the world will be a safer and better place for my children,” Rohrabacher said. “I say with confidence that freedom will prevail.”
Rohrabacher commended the Albanian government for giving refuge to the members of the MEK. “The willingness of the Albanian people to take criticism and be the target of terrorism, is heroic,” he said.
.@DanaRohrabacher tells the MEK: “You're the planet's most powerful force. You believe in & are ready to sacrifice your lives for freedom. I say to the dictators in Iran: Your days are numbered & the people here will bring about a #FreeIran”.#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/JwN3rWK3ss— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 13, 2019
“The most powerful force in the world are those people who believe in freedom and are ready to sacrifice their lives for freedom. I’m saying this to the dictators in Tehran: Your days are numbered and the people here will carry the cause of freedom to Tehran,” Rohrabacher said.
Mr. Rohrabacher told the MEK members: “You are the most powerful force on the planet. You will prevail. As long as we have courageous people like you we don’t need to send American boots to the region.”
“I know you will win and I will be with you when we go to Tehran and declare free elections.”
16.55: Congressman Lance Goodan tells the MEK members in Ashraf 3:
"The first thing I learnt about Iran is that the most respected individual among the Iranian community is Madame Maryam Rajavi."
Congressman Lance Goodan
"We have to have regime change in Iran."
"I look forward to visiting a free Iran in Tehran very soon."
"I encourage the young people across Iran to get together to fight and spread the message. Young people are the future of Iran."
.@RepLanceGooden: "The first thing I learnt about Iran is that the most respected individual among the Iranian community is @Maryam_Rajavi. We support regime change in Iran."#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/oBTtRN7SrZ— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 13, 2019
First term Congressman Lance Gooden stands up for regime change in Iran. #RegimeOfTerror after 40 years of crimes against humanity must be removed. A brave 36 year old gives us hope for the future. pic.twitter.com/6neYoKu8xX— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) July 13, 2019
Thanks, @RudyGiuliani. Iran is the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror, human rights abuser, and regional bully. The culture of appeasement must end and its Mullahs put on notice that a new sheriff is in town: @realDonaldTrump! https://t.co/ayJsvhGN2i— Lance Gooden (@RepLanceGooden) July 13, 2019
17.08: A delegation of United Kingdom parliamentarians are now on the stage. British MP Matthew Offord is now addressing members of Iran's democratic opposition movement:
“Salam Ashraf, Salam Iran, Salam Madame Rajavi!"
“I am proud to be part of a successful cross party effort to secure your resettlement here in Albania… Your movement with Madame Maryam Rajavi is at the forefront of the cause of freedom of Iran and you are a beacon of hope,” British MP Matthew Offord said.
British MP Matthew Offord
“Yesterday, we saw the evidence of the Iranian regime’s persecution of you but we need the world to hear that."
"My colleagues and I urge our government to increase the number of people on its sanctions list for human rights violations in Iran. We urge our government to proscribe the IRGC as a terrorist group, and we support the US sanctions on the regime's Supreme Leader and urge the government to expand this to other regime officials” he added.
“I support Madame Rajavi’s ten-point plan that provides a clear alternative to the current Iranian regime… I call upon the UK government to recognize Madame Rajavi’s ten-point plan,” Mr. Offord concluded.
17.12: Baroness Verma of the UK House of Lords is now addressing the Free Iran conference:
“There is no one stronger than a woman fighting for her children and land. Brave women in Iran are challenging the regime in every possible way. Many have been imprisoned and tortured in Iran. The prominence of women in the resistance is reflective of the role of women in Iran. It is time for the world to stand up and support the work of the NCRI,” said Baroness Sandip Verma.
Baroness Verma of the UK House of Lords
“The regime in Iran considers women activists as enemies of the state… My sister, Maryam Rajavi, a Muslim woman makes the resistance a unique example in the Middle East,” she added. “We hope to celebrate Madame Rajavi’s success, your success, our success in Iran soon.”
17.15: British MP Bob Blackman is now speaking to the croud in Ashraf 3:
“I welcome the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization and the US decision to sanction the Iranian regime's Supreme Leader,” said British MP Bob Blackman.
British MP Bob Blackman
“I hope that the UK will join our American allies in this effort soon… The mullahs only understand the language of firmness. The international community must make it clear that we in the free world stand with the Iranian people and their resistance, NCRI, to bring democracy and freedom in Iran,” he added.
“I don’t believe that theocracy has a future in Iran. Iran has a better future because it has a democratice alternative, a leader such as Madame Maryam Rajavi and a viable platform… Last year we met in Paris, this year we met in Ashraf 3. Let us resolve that we meet next year in Tehran.”
.@BobBlackman: “Theocracy has no future in Iran. Iran has a better future because it has a democratic alternative, a leader such as @Maryam_Rajavi and a viable platform. Let us resolve we meet next year in a #FreeIran”#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/AveIXhjcGG— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 13, 2019
17.34: Former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary and Governor Tom Ridge tells the Free Iran event:
“Less than two years ago I suffered a serious cardiac attack and I may have died a couple of times on the way to the hospital. I received many cards of good will, but there hasn’t been any group or people in the world who sent me more than you. I thank you for that,” said Tom Ridge, former Governor of Pennsylvania and the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.
Former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary and Governor Tom Ridge
“You can imprison a man or a woman but you can’t kill an idea. You can exile a man or a woman but you can't kill an idea,” he said.
“I say to each one of you, we pay tribute to your relentless pursuit for justice and freedom in your homeland which has a rich history of culture and has contributed much to the rest of the world."
"You fight for all who cherish freedom and democracy around the world."
"There are probably millions in the world whose prayers are with you in your cause. Sometimes in your lifes you have to pursue causes bigger than yourself. A 120,000 men and women of the MEK have died embracing a cause bigger than themselves. You are embracing a cause bigger than yourself, and you will prevail."
"Your courage and sacrifice will be responsbile for the freedom and democracy of generations; the same privileges that we take for granted in our countries.
Ex-US Homeland Security Secretary & Governor Tom Ridge: "120,000 men and women of the MEK have died embracing a cause bigger than themselves. You are embracing a cause bigger than yourself, and you will #FreeIran."#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/c4KTvJXHKO— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 13, 2019
17.41: A delegation of Arab and Muslim personalities and lawmakers go on the stage. Former Algerian Prime Minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali addresses the Free Iran rally:
“I would like to thank the residents of Ashraf… I would like to express my gratitude to the Albanian people and its leader for their humanity and solidarity. Albanians have shown that they are not big for their size but for the size of the ideas that they defend. When you defend democracy and freedom you become great people,” former Algerian Prime Minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali said.
Former Algerian Prime Minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali: “The MEK have shown the Iranian Resistance will survive under pressure… Iran's regime is a cruel and bloody religious dictatorship which wants to dominate the Arab-Islamic world.”#FreeIran #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/ihnlhn5pYr— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 13, 2019
A delegation of Arab and Muslim personalities and lawmakers
“The Ashrafis have shown that the Iranian Resistance will survive under pressure… The Islamic Republic of Iran is a cruel and bloody religious dictatorship which wants to dominate the Arab-Islamic world,” he added.
17.45: Mahmoud Kahri, a Member of Tunisian Parliament, tells the Free Iran event:
"The price of freedom is high, and I pray to god that you achieve victory and freedom as other countries did."
17.47: Syrian opposition figure Nazir Hakim is now addressing the Free Iran rally:
“My dear sister Maryam Rajavi, I am sure that you will be victorious. The freedom that you are seeking will be achieved. You have proven that you are able to bring freedom to Iran,” said Syrian opposition figure Nazir Hakim.
Syrian opposition figure Nazir Hakim
“With the help of the honorable lady, Madame Rajavi, I hope that we will overthrow the mullahs and will seek and set justice. Our revolution is peaceful. However, the Iranian regime doesn’t know what peace is,” he added. “I believe that you have the potential to build a new system and a much better one.”
“I would like to ask the U.S. and the European Union not to give the Iranian and the Syrian regimes the opportunity to progress, and if you can’t help, don’t impede the opposition to these regimes. We need your media to show that these regimes are cancers,” he continued. “I hope that we will have a new government in Iran and you will find the justice you seek.”
18.10: Former FBI Director Louis Freeh is now addressing the Free Iran rally:
“Madame Rajavi we salute you, we respect you and your ability to lead this peace movement."
"I want to thank the people and the government, past and present of Albania for rescuing all of you in this room. An absolute gesture of humanity,” said Judge Louis Freeh, former director of the FBI.
“Years ago we were worried about the safety of the MEK members who were then in Iraq. Those of us in the U.S. who supported you became subjects of criminal investigations by our own government. And we welcomed that."
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh
"They didn’t ask us any questions. Nobody asked any questions about the MEK before unjustifiably placing them on the terrorism list. There was, I believe, a very bad intent and collusion with the Iranian regime to designate a freedom organization to appease the terrorist regime. How ironic that we saw the IRGC go on to kill 19 American servicemen in the Khobar Towers,” he said. (The U.S. Court of Appeals ordered the State Department to lift the MEK's designation, and this happened in 2012.)
“Look at the Iranian economy and what the corrupt leadership has done to the Iranian economy."
"We will see amazing change and we will see it quickly. We have to get ready for is the prosecution and conviction of the thousands of criminals who have murdered, assassinated and killed, not by accident, but by a designed plan to mass murder a group of people."
“I see your museum here in Ashraf 3 as an evidence room that has photographs and digital records of the Iranian regime's crimes. All the evidence that exists and that can’t be erased. Most importantly, what we heard yesterday, unbelievable heartbreaking testimony,” Judge Freeh continued.
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh: “Change is coming to Iran. We have to get ready to prosecute the criminals in Iran's regime who have murdered & assassinated, not by accident, but by a designed plan to mass murder a group of people"#FreeIran #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/zfRvpU7Z8J— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 13, 2019
“Apply your skills and start preparing for criminal prosecutions by an international criminal court. What will terrify terrorists more than anything is the prospect that they will be arrested and prosecuted under the rule of law,” Director Freeh said.
“I think of Ashraf 3 as temporary quarters. It’s Ashraf 4 that we would want to visit - that's in Iran,” he concluded.
18.18: French MP Michèle de Vaucouleurs told the Free Iran event:
“Dear MEK members and the Iranian people, on behalf of a French committee for a democratic Iran. We are proud to be here with you,” said French MP Michèle de Vaucouleurs. “While tensions between Iran and the U.S. are on the rise, we are here to protect the interests of the Iranian people and protect democracy.”
French MP Michèle de Vaucouleurs
De Vaucouleurs pointed to the need to bring attention to ongoing human rights violations in Iran. “The Parliamentary Committee for a Democratic Iran considers the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran should be discussed before any relations are resumed with Iran’s regime, she said. “President Emmanuel Macron said he was determined to observe human rights violations in Iran during his talks with Iranian officials. However, these principles are violated by the regime to this day.”
The member of France's National Assembly also praised the MEK for its persistence despite many trials and tribulations. “The regime has destroyed all that you have owned in Iraq. You have revived and you keep fighting for a democratic Iran against the mullahs. Your battle is not in vain and I know one day you will be hosting me in a free Iran.”
“The French people considers you brothers and sisters. Article 2 of the human rights declaration says that the aim of any political group is human rights and that includes the right to resist oppression,” she concluded.
18.22: Jean-François Legaret, the Mayor of Paris's 1st District, is on the stage addressing the event:
“We are all citizens of Ashraf. When we see this extraordinary energy and the miracles you’ve achieved, you’ve done all of this in 16 months. This is magnificent,” said Jean-François Legaret, the mayor of the 1st arrondissement of Paris.
Jean-François Legaret, the Mayor of Paris's 1st Distric
“It is important that you eradicate the mullahs’ regime. Iran keeps on lying and deceiving. It is important that democracy in Tehran is achieved and freedom is achieved,” Mayor Legaret said about the Iranian Resistance’s ongoing struggle.
Mayor Legaret announced that Paris's 1st District has officially declared Ashraf 3 (home of Iran's democratic opposition the MEK in Albania) as its sister city: “We have decided to declare Ashraf 3 a city of international dialogue and a sister city of the 1st Arrondissement of Paris. We want to sign a declaration with the mayor of Ashraf 3,” Legaret said as he presented the declaration. “We promise to keep a dialogue between our municipalities and Ashraf 3. I’m happy with all my colleagues to give you this declaration.”
France's @JF_Legaret just announced that Paris's 1st District @Mairiedu1 has officially declared Ashraf 3 (home of Iran's democratic opposition MEK in Albania) as its sister city. He handed over proclamation to the MEK's officials.#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/96TNDqEF37— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 13, 2019
A delegation of Italian lawmakers
Italian MP Anotonio Tasso
18.30: A delegation of Italian lawmakers is now on the stage. Italian MP Anotonio Tasso says:
“Iranian brothers and sisters, it is our honor to participate in this meeting to celebrate the freedom of speech and thought,” said Italian MP Antonio Tasso.
Italian Senator Roberto Rampi
18.32: Italian Senator Roberto Rampi says:
“Your dream is guided by President Maryam Rajavi. I had the honor to meet President Rajavi at the meeting last year and I admire her charisma and 10 point plan for a free Iran… Thank you. Hazer, Hazer, Hazer.”
Italain MP Giuseppina Occhionero
18.34: Italain MP Giuseppina Occhionero says:
“Your martyrs sacrificed their lives in order to achieve freedom for Iran,” said Italian MP Giuseppina Occhionero. “We cannot have appeasement with such a bloodthirsty regime. We must investigate the Iranian regime’s human rights violations… We support you in your goals and stand with you.”
Italian MP @Giusepp97262183: “The MEK's martyrs sacrificed their lives in order to achieve a #FreeIran. We cannot appease such a bloodthirsty regime. We must investigate the Iran rgm’s human rights abuses… #WeSupportMEK in its goals and stand with you.”— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 13, 2019
18.44: Marc Ginsberg, former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, says:
“Madame Rajavi, we had dreams. There is a field of aspirations, there are achievements and setbacks, but the one thing that drives us Americans is that what we try to achieve for ourselves can be achieved by every human being that believes in freedom,” said Marc Ginsberg, former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco.
Marc Ginsberg, former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco
“I have one expression that I say in Persian: “Shoma Behtarini!” You are the Best!” he added with enthusiasm.
“I worked for Senator Edward Kennedy who taught me that the challenge of helping the people who fight for freedom is a lifetime goal… We believe that we can help you to achieve what you wish to achieve,” he added.
“I’m just an ambassador and I hope that I will be able to see the day where a new U.S. embassy is opened in Iran and we can say: Azadi, Azadi, Azadi, meaning freedom,” Mr. Ginsberg added.
Dr. Salman Al-Ansari
18.49: Dr. Salman Al-Ansari, founder and president of the Washington DC-based Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee, says:
“Salam bar Mardome Iran. Dorud bar Shoma Ghahramenan Iran. (Greetings to the people of Iran. Salute to you heros).”
“Madame Maryam Rajavi, I’m proud to be here with you and fight against the regime of Khomeini, even though the days of this regime are over… We will see soon that Maryam Rajavi goes to Tehran and calls for the peace that she struggled for so much,” he added.
“My message for the rotten Khamenei: We know that you are trying to destroy the will of your people and you hide behind the injustice you do by killing and torturing people. But at the end of the day, the ruling mullahs in Iran will be overthrown,” he concluded.
18.55: Eduard Lintner, former German Deputy Interior Minister, says:
“I feel very honored to be here and I would like to express my respect for you who are working for democracy and freedom in Iran. Your movement under the leadership of Madame Rajavi is a democratic alternative to the mullah regime.”
“Last year, an Iranian diplomat was arrested in Germany because he wanted to bomb a great event by the Iranian Resistance in Paris in which I personally participated… We should not allow the mullahs to keep us hostage and impede and hinder us in your steps forward,” he added.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you are the ones who continuously fight for a free Iran and Europe must support you. Only in this way can we achieve peace in the world… We need a peacful and tolerant Islam like the one you represent,” he continued.
“We should thank the Albanaian people and government for the support they are giving you. I hope this same support will apply in the future,” Mr. Lintner said. “We support you and thank you very much.”
German MP Martin Patzelt
19.00: German MP Martin Patzelt says:
“I have three messages,” said German MP Martin Patzelt.
"1- I thank you and admire what you’ve done here in Ashraf 3, but also all the people around the world who’ve helped your cause of freedom and democracy.
2- To my government: We are not allowed to step back and pretend we are blind for the sake of economic interests. We need to support these people who are showing us what is going on.
3- To the Iranian regime: Don’t think that you will win. I was raised in Eastern Germany, and I have seen when the people want something, they will prevail. This is the experience of my life and I hope we will achieve this together.
Senator Ingrid Betancourt, former Colombian presidential candidate
19.05: Senator Ingrid Betancourt, former Colombian presidential candidate, says:
“I know how difficult it is to talk about our own suffering, and we tend to be very abstract. Yet with the exhibit that you showed us at the museum of the Iranian Resistance in Ashraf 3, Madame Rajavi, the tortures that we saw there can only come from a psychopath,” said Sen. Ingrid Betancourt.
“Shame on those who demonize the MEK for the money of the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS)."
“Two weeks ago there was an op-ed in The New York Times that said the IRGC is a transformed institute that is loved by the people and that’s why the Trump policy will fail. But that’s bogus and it's exactly why the U.S. policy will succeed because they are cutting the regime’s financial assets,” she added.
“Madame Rajavi, you are the force of change, the beacon of change, you are the phoenix rising from the ashes of devastation of the mullahs. Maryam and Massoud Rajavi, you are the guarantee of peace and democracy in Iran and the world,” Sen. Betancourt continued.
“To the mullahs: We are ready to take you down. We are united with the people of Iran that are taking the risk in Iran. We are coming to get you, the mullahs. We will get you, we will hold you accountable for the crimes you’ve carried out for decades,” she concluded.
19.09: Hadassah Lieberman, wife of Senator Joe Liberman, says:
“When I think about darkness I think about where I was born in Czechoslovakia, to parents who fled from concentration camps. I read all my life about terror and torture,” said Hadassah Lieberman.
“Yesterday, when I saw the darkness and the numbers of destruction in the Ashraf 3 museum, and heard the voices of those who shared their stories, I saw the light in their eyes. I’m not trying to be biased but the light in the eyes of the women came shining out and struck me. I said to them that you are very, very special and a part of what we need in this world today is more light,” she said.
“You are going be the light that lights up the world… Be brave and keep lighting up,” Hadassah Lieberman concluded.
Former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird
19.25: Former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, tells the Free Iran rally in Ashraf 3:
“It is a great honor for me to visit Ashraf 3 and see all of you personally and listen to your stories first hand,” said former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.
“We know the Iranian regime too well. We know that you have to combat the regime’s lies and propaganda. In Canada we know that the appeasement of the mullahs is an absolute disgrace. We know that there isn’t such a thing as a moderate fascist,” he said.
“It is time to put an end to religious fascism, it is time for freedom, it is time for victory, it is time for the mullahs to go,” Mr. Baird concluded.
Yakin Ertürk, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women (2003-2006)
19.30: Yakin Ertürk, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women (2003-2006), says:
“Salam Ashraf. The testimonies we received from the Ashraf residents put our humanity to test. I felt rage and hope, seeing the survivors continue their struggle with determination. Human dignity will defeat evil,” said Yakin Ertürk, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women (2003-2006).
“In 2005, I was in Evin Prison as a UN human rights rapporteur. The conditions in the prison were very pleasant as the authorities knew we were coming… We lived in a troubled region. We the people of the region have aspirations for rights and freedom… A misogyny is now observed strictly in Iran. Many rapporteurs have repeatedly written about violence against women in Iran. Yet we must also note the women’s resilience on the street, in social media and even in the privacy of their homes,” she added.
“The new generation of Iranian women who are the product of the revolution era are as bold as their predecessors… Those of who support freedom and justice in Iran must join forces to empower the Iranian people’s struggle. We also need to navigate the region’s political forces. Iranian people, men and women alike, are the force of change,” Ms. Ertürk added.
Former French Minister of Human Rights, Rama Yade
19.35: Former French Minister of Human Rights, Rama Yade, says:
There is a new city, Ashraf 3, built here in Albania by thousands of Iranians who survived the attacks of the Iranian and Iraqi governments. Thank you to the Albanians who made it possible for the Ashrafis to have somewhere to stay, after their great sacrifices. What you have achieved here, you can achieve in Iran in one day. I am emotional when I see the Iranian Resistance’s museum at Ashraf 3 and the MEK’s 120,000 martyrs. Iran is a nuclear threat and a religious threat, starting from the same nature of the Iranian Regime… the MEK members have paid the price of resistance with their lives. They are supportive of Islam but are against fundamentalism and they put women at the centre of their movement. 2018 was a dark year for human rights in Iran, and we should be concerned about that.
Judge Susana Medina
19.40: Judge Susana Medina, former head of the International Association of Women Judges, says:
“I come from Argentina, a victim of the Iranian regime’s terrorism… Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan is a plan of human rights. I hope to go with Maryam Rajavi to Iran where you will establish justice, gender equality, and freedom… Only on these terms can we have a free Iran,” said Judge Susana Medina from Argentina.
19.43: Bandanda Rana, Vice Chair - UN CEDAW Committee, says: “Such a joy, pride and honor to stand before the Iranian Resistance. I come from Nepal that is known for the Himalaya and the Budha. For the last three decades, I have worked for gender equality. I’ve started from my community in Nepal but my journey took me to the corridors of the United Nations,” said Bandana Randa, Vice Chair - UN CEDAW Committee.
“I recall 20 years ago, the moderator would ask one question and we had to answer within 10 seconds with one sentence. I said that I want every family rejoice the birth of a girl.
I think that the power and resilience of the women of the Iranain Resistance is an example for other women in the world,” she said.
“When I looked at Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan I saw so much similarity with what we are advocating for… There cannot be peace without women. When your movement is led by a woman, peace is guaranteed sooner than later,” Ms. Rana concluded.
Maria Candida Almeida
19.46: Maria Candida Almeida, Deputy Attorney General Of Portugal, says:
“I believe in your ideas and share your dreams of freedom and equality and liberation of your country,” said Maria Candida Almeida, Deputy Attorney General Of Portugal.
“I admire Madame Rajavi who has fought for these values in Iran. Martin Luther King had a dream and it came true. Ghandi had a dream to free his people and it came true. Nelson Mandela had a dream and it came true. Mrs. Rajavi your dream is noble and your dream will come true like the others. Thank you so much for your example,” she added.
Dr. Ranjana Kumar
19.50: Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director of Center for Social Research in India, says:
“Your resilience, your strength, and your hard work is evident to the whole word. Every stone speaks about your resolve,” said Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director of Center for Social Research.
“I bring greetings from the global women network for change. Mahatma Ghandi said: Tyrants can suppress people for some time but when people rise tyrants don’t know where to go,” she said.
“What more than the global leaders want to see than the ten-point plan of Maryam Rajavi… I know that today we are one step closer to Iran, Maryam, Freedom… May you all see the victory under the sky very soon and I’m sure with all the global leaders here it won’t be long. Hazer, Hazer, Hazer,” Dr. Kumari said.
Amb. Robert Joseph
19.55: Amb. Robert Joseph, former U.S. Special Envoy for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, says
“It is a great pleasure to be here today and be a small part for what I believe to be the cause of freedom in Iran and the whole world,” said Amb. Robert Joseph.
“The MEK's Resistance Units in Iran represent the front line of a historic battle between the good and evil. I know that think tankers reject that description as overly simplistic and emotional. With regard to being emotional, I have to say that you have to be emotional when you see the atrocities of the Iranain regime. With regard to being simplistic, I have to say that it is absolutely necessary to know that evil exists in the world and if we don’t do so we are going to tolerate it,” he added.
“Your cause will prevail over evil. More important than the magnificent buildings and the material accomplishments of you here in Ashraf is the idea. The Iranain regime may kill you and torture you and imprison your mothers and fathers but the regime will not triumph over your spirit,” Amb. Joseph emphasized.
“That spirit is not grounded in hate but in love… After the lies of the regime is exposed the facts will remain. The second president of the U.S. John Adams once said that facts are stubborn,” he continued.
“Fact is that there is a path to a secular non nuclear and democratic Iran. Fact is that there is an alternative to the current regime in Iran. This is not in Syria or Libya. We have a government in exile that will establish democracy in Iran,” Amb. Joseph reiterated.
“It is a fact that the regime will fall, because of its terrorism, its corruption and most importantly the Iranain people’s desire for freedom… I’m truly proud to be in your company,” he concluded.
A U.S. military delegation
20.00: A U.S. military delegation is now on the stage. General George Casey, former commander of the Multi-National Forces-Iraq, is now addressing the Free Iran rally:
“It’s a pleasure and privilege to be with you here tonight and witness what you've accomplished here… U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said one year ago that Iran has to behave like a normal country… Over the past year Iran has increased its malign activities. Iran’s behavior is not normal. It’s terrorist behavior,” said Gen. George Casey (retired).
General George Casey
“It’s time! Change must come to Iran… I’m surprised when Iran continuously denies its efforts to sow instability. Many of us have first-hand experience how Iran uses terror and subversion to accomplish their political goals,” he added.
“I witnessed Iran train and equip Iraqi militias. I held Iran responsible for the death of hundreds of coalition forces,” Gen. Casey continued.
“The Iranain regime is a challenge not only for the Iranian people but also for the international community,” he explained.
“Ashrafis, what you have built here is a tribute to your courage, determination, and the 160 comerades who died during your journey here. You have cemented Ashraf 3 as the global center of the democratic alternative to the iranain regime,” Gen. Casey explained.
“Change will come to Iran due to what you have done,” he concluded.
Gen. James Conway
20.10: Gen. James Conway, former Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, says:
“In the U.S. military when we start a major undertaking, we try to set the conditions for success,” said Gen. James Conway, former Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.
“I ask all of you representatives of your countries to do more when you go back to your countries. I ask you to use your names and influence so that your governments respond swiftly to the Iranian regime’s atrocities,” he added.
The Jordanian delegation is now on the stage. Saleh al‐Qalab
20.24: The Jordanian delegation is now on the stage. Saleh al‐Qalab, former Minister of Culture and Publicity of Jordan, says:
“The mullahs will soon be overthrown under the leadership of Maryam Rajavi. Those who lead Iran today are not the leaders of the Iranian people. They are taking Iran a thousand years back in time,” said Saleh al‐Qalab, former Minister of Culture and Publicity of Jordan
“We stand by your side from around the world. You are in the heart of the Arab people, because the greatest risk in that area is the risk coming from the mullahs,” he concluded.
20.50: Sali Berisha, former Albanian Prime Minister and President, says:
“It is a great pleasure and honor to me to salute you. People fighting for many years, for human rights and democracy. People facing difficulty for many years but standing up. You inspire every human being with your fighting,” Sali Berisha, former Albanian Prime Minister and President.
“Two years ago I was in Paris in your meeting. At that time the great powers were negotiating with the Iranian regime and I thought how hard it would be for your fight against the Iranian regime. But a few years later you’ve been proven right. You are the hope of your nation,” he added.
“Albania must expel and will expel any official representative of the mullahs. You represent Iran,” Berisha continued.
“Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plain is a plan inspired by your 100,000 martyrs. It’s a plan by universal values. I fully support that you will prevail. The mullahs have shown that they have no faith,” he said.
“Sooner or later the mullahs will face what they deserve. The caliphate of the mullahs will never prevail in the region,” the former Albanian prime minister concluded.
20.55: Ad Melkert, former UN special representative to Iraq, says:
“All of you are now here in safety in Albania. What a change compared to 10 years ago. In 2009, the oasis of Camp Ashraf was suddenly attacked. It also happened in 2011 and 2013. I’m proud that we started to open the eyes of the international community to what was happening in Ashraf,” said Ad Melkert, former UN special representative to Iraq.
“I remember meeting with diplomats in Baghdad and no one wanted to take responsibility until our Albanian friends came. I am sure the flags that are flying here today to welcome all of us from around the world will soon fly in Iran,” Mr. Melkert added.
Amb. Lincoln Bloomfield
21.00: Amb. Lincoln Bloomfield, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, says:
“The allegation of terrorism against the MEK has been completely debunked. We now know that no one from three generations of the resistance has ever been prosecuted for terrorism. Not one person,” said Amb. Lincoln Bloomfield.
“There is an obscuring curtain known as the allegation of the MEK being a cult. I have been here for three days. My friends and I have been able to talk with any MEK member we wanted to. These people are stronger than me and they are dedicated to keeping their choice of continuing to resistance,” he added.
“The allegation of cult is gone forever and is finished. This is what has been accomplished here,” Amb. Bloomfield concluded.
A delegation of representatives from Nordic countries
21.07: A delegation of representatives from Nordic countries is on the stage. Former Norwegian MP Lars Rise says:
“Ashraf 3 is a city that will write history. When I look at former prime minister Sali Berisha, his courage to start it when all the Western European countries said no because all of our countries were thinking about the nuclear deal. And all of this happened for the extraordinary leadership of Maryam Rajavi. She is already leading like the leader of a free Iran,” said former Norwegian MP Lars Rise.
“We have made great progress and now the situation has reversed where the MEK is off the terror list and the Iranian regime is blacklisted. The biggest money launderer in the world, the Iranian regime, is facing problems everywhere,” he added.
“All over the world, the Iranian regime is trying to impact journalists and politicians but this opposition will prevail. The truth will prevail,” Mr. Rise continued.
"We are ready, Maryam Rajavi is ready, and we are encouraged to hear this word today so many times: We are ready,” he concluded.
21.10: Finnish lawmaker Kimmo Sasi says:
“We know that the foundations of a welfare state are human rights, democracy, and economic freedom.”
“It’s very important when we want to have change that there is an alternative, and Madam Rajavi’s ten-point plan is the alternative,” he added.
“40 million Iranians live in poverty today. Corruption, money laundering and the financing of terrorism are the reasons. We need sanctions so that money is stopped and returned to Iran when the country is free,” Mr. Sasi continued. “We see demonstration in Iran that show frustration. Ashraf 3 shows that you have strong commitment for change.”
“We nordics support your cause for a free Iran,” he concluded.
21.16: Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former Vice President of the European Parliament, says:
“I have been attending these magnificent events for 15 years and this is the first time we celebrate our gathering in Ashraf. I say Ashraf because Ashraf one, two and three are the same uninterrupted beacon of resistance and freedom.”
“I wish Massoud Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian Resistance, well and salute him… I visited Ashraf 1 (Camp Ashraf in Iraq) as the head of a European parliamentary delegation years ago and I witnessed how the PMOI transformed a desert into a prosperous community. For men and women of that quality that transformed that desert, nothing is impossible, and you have achieved that quality here in Ashraf 3,” he continued.
“Dear Ashrafis, you are unbeatable. That's why I’m convinced the Iranian regime will change sooner than later. We must all pay tribute to the people and officials of Albania for such humanitarian example,” Dr. Vidal Quadras added.
“There is a continuity line made of courage and resilience that connects Ashraf I, II, and III, but there won’t be an Ashraf 4 because it was already named thousands of years ago. Ashraf 4 has already a name and this name is Iran,” he said.
“Iran itself will be the final Ashraf. The whole country, our beloved and ever lasting Ashraf, when freedom, and respect for human rights and equality between men and women will be established in that country,” the former European Parliament Vice President continued.
“The alternative to the mullah’s nightmare is ready and it is Maryam Rajavi. She has created a team of which I’m proud to be a member. Nothing and nobody can stop the next Ashraf whose name is Iran,” he concluded.
21.25: Romanian MP Ben-Oni Ardelean says:
“My friends and I in Romania know what it is like to live under a brutal regime. 30 years ago, the people stood for their belief in freedom and democracy. In those days the brutal regime was gone,” said Romanian MP Ben-Oni Ardelean.
“This is our hope that very soon the brutal and criminal regime will fall. Faith, love and hope are everlasting. Your love for the people in Iran is motivating you and us to do what we do and fight against this terrorism and this criminal regime. Your hope brings you here year after year. We hope that one day very soon this regime will fall. We hope to do our best for our nation and every single human being that deserves freedom,” he added.
“I want to especially thank those representing different nations today. We should do what we can do to ensure this freedom comes for the Iranian people. I hope more nations come to this conclusion that we all have to do our best to provide full freedom for the Iranian people.”
“We congratulate and support Madam Rajavi. Freedom for the Iranian people,” Mr. Ben-Oni Ardelean concluded.
21.35: Irish Senator Gerry Horkan says:
“We are hungry for change. It’s an enormous honor for me to be here. It’s an enormous honor to be here with renowned politicians such as Rudy Giuliani, Joe Lieberman and Madam Maryam Rajavi,” said Irish Senator Gerry Horkan.
“Many of my colleagues from Ireland wanted to be here today. We are with you for freedom in Iran. We support the NCRI in everything you are trying to do… We know the regime is a threat to peace and stability. Tehran is causing havoc across the region. We must never forget that,” he added.
“Last week I was with the NCRI at the Berlin gathering. Nobody thought the Berlin Wall would fall when it did. I think the day is coming sooner than we think for the regime in Iran to fall and free and fair elections will be held in Iran,” Senator Horkan continued.
“I want to congratulate all of you for what you have done in Ashraf 3. Your museum, and exhibition, here shows the atrocities are still happening in Iran. We must get rid of that regime and do everything we can to bring an end to the vicious mullahs’ regime. We are here from so many parts of the world to support you and Madam Rajavi,” the Irish Senator concluded.