Monday, July 20 – was the third and final day of the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI) Free Iran Global Summit 2020, which had to be held online due to the coronavirus pandemic. It featured a conference on the terrorism of the Iranian regime abroad, The conference and its panellists urged foreign governments to shut down Iranian embassies and consulates in their countries, as well as expel the agents and operatives of the regime.
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The first speaker of the conference was former United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Governor Tom Ridge, who began by saying that no other group or government had undertaken what the Iranian Resistance has with such amazing results.
He said: “The challenge we have is that the tentacles of terrorism still reach out from Tehran. [President Hassan] Rouhani and the mullahs have turned their backs on the people of Iran. Instead of using their wealth to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Iran, they use it to export their terrorism and repression around the world.”
Ridge then described the regime as the “Central Bank of terrorism” and their embassies as “branch banks” that cause chaos before stating that the “peaceful path doesn’t work” when it comes to the regime and never will, so countries must get close Iranian embassies.
He said: “It’s time for the world to embrace regime change, to recognize the NCRI, this incredible organization led by a leader who has been able to generate global support for her vision for a peaceful and non-nuclear Iran, which promotes gender equality and separation of church and state. I am very proud to be part of this group of NCRI supporters that grows larger every day.”
He then paid tribute to the MEK, calling their sacrifice “an inspiration” and vowing to stand with them until a Free Iran is realised.
The keynote speaker of the event was Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of NCRI. Mrs. Rajavi began by explaining that terrorism “is the essence” of the regime and so the mullahs cannot be separated from it before going on to list just some of the regime’s terror activities over the past four decades.
She said: “[This] is how the regime has held onto power over more than 40 years through suppression and terrorism.”
Mrs. Rajavi warned about the regime’s anti-MEK propaganda, which has increased in the past few days as more media attention was given to the Free Iran summit. This demonization campaign has historically been used to pave the way for terrorist attacks against the Resistance.
She condemned the appeasement policy of Western governments saying that this has made the mullahs’ terrorism possible because the regime knows that the international community will ignore Iran’s crimes. She stressed that incentives, like sanctions relief, have also been ineffective.
Mrs. Rajavi said: “The right policy can be summed up in a single word: firmness. That means firmly dispensing with everything that enables the regime’s terrorist activity, and firmly responding to every single criminal act.”
She then recommended that the international community take these measures to end the regime’s terrorism in Europe:
- Close the regime’s embassies
- Close the regime’s espionage and terrorism centres, including companies, cultural centres, and religious buildings funded by the mullahs
- Blocking financial transactions by agents or companies of the Iranian Intelligence Agency (MOIS) or the IRGC Qods Force
- Expel the regime’s agents, no matter their disguise, and enshrine this in law
- Stop security and intelligence services communicating with the regime
- Fully expose the regime’s terrorist plots and the identities of their agents and front entities in Europe
She said: “I hope that all governments respond positively to these calls, because their own people’s interests and security depend on such acts of firmness. Any act of firmness against this regime and any steps taken against it, anywhere in the world, will aid the Iranian’s people’s struggle to overthrow the regime, and is in line with international peace and security.”
Watch our special event on Terrorism by Iran’s Regime | Shut Down Tehran’s Embassies Abroad | Expel its Agents, Operatives
Day 3 of #FreeIran2020 Global Summit #ExpelIranDiplomatTerrorists https://t.co/UnkrUykt2m
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 20, 2020
The next speaker was former US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood. Rood began by stating that the regime is the “world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism” as terrorism has been “at the heart of the regime” since the mullahs stole power in 1979.
He said: “The regime uses its forces and embassies to conduct terrorism across the world. The regime in Tehran provides financial support to terrorists across the world.”
Rood explained that the Iranian people do not support the regime’s terrorism and insisted that the world should continue the maximum pressure campaign to cut Iran off from the funds needed to buy bombs and pay terrorists.
He said: “We must take firm decisive action to deter the regime’s terrorist activities. We need to recognize that terrorism is part of the fabric of this regime. Countries must very closely monitor and surveil the activities of Iranian diplomats, and when necessary shut down the regime’s embassies.”
The next speaker was Pandeli Majko, the former Albanian Prime Minister, who said that “Iran is not acting like a state” because of its terrorism and interference.
He said: “We think that freedom will be the future of Iran. And we believe that the MEK creates trust and faith between Iran and the world. Iran has the vaccine for its future. It is the MEK and the people who fight for freedom. You are part of our family and we consider you part of us.”
Struan Stevenson was the next speaker. He explained how the past 40 years of the regime have been based on a policy of “hatred” for all countries and spreading their backwards revolution, which has turned the countries targeted by the regime in “a smoking ruin”.
Stevenson said that the regime stole from the Iranian people, destroying the country in the process, and targeted all those who spoke up, which has left the jails full of political prisoners; mostly MEK members and their families. The MEK has recently been targeted for mass arrests in Iran because the regime is “frightened” by its popularity, especially if that is reported on by the media.
He then moved on to Assadi, which is a prime example of what the regime will do out of fear of the MEK, and said that “all regime leaders must be held to account and indicted for acts of terror in international tribunals” with all regime embassies closed in addition.
Stevenson said: “The time has come to pull down the curtain on this murderous regime. The regime’s sell-by date has expired. The rulers have earned their place in the trashcan of history. It is time to say goodbye and good riddance.”
The next speaker was Fatmir Mediu, the leader of the Albanian Republican Party, who stressed that the MEK was supported by all political parties in Albania and argued that Albania must “end political relations with the Iranian regime” for the attempted terrorist attack on the MEK there in March 2018.
He said: “Iran is presenting a threat to our security. We should not ignore that fact. We must talk about it in NATO meetings. We should join [the MEK] not only in conferences but also in activities that will help us raise this issue to another level.”
He was followed by Secretary of the Albanian Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee Elona Gjebrea, who noted that because of the regime’s terrorist activities in Albania, three Iranian diplomats and an ambassador were expelled, but she stressed that more must be done; namely referring the dossier of the regime’s human rights abuses to the United Nations Security Council.
She said: “I support Madam Rajavi and her ten-point plan. She envisions a free future for Iran. I am proud to support the Iranian women who struggle for freedom and democracy. I stand firm with Madam Rajavi and the Iranian Resistance units inside Iran.”
Kamel Nourani Fard, the representative of the Organization of Iranian Kurdistan Struggle (Khebat), was the next to speak and he focused on the crimes that the regime has committed against Iranian Kurdish people, with any civil rights activity declared a “security issue” and “dozens of Kurds” executed.
He said: “This regime is based on terrorism and most terrorist activities around the world have their fingerprints. It is their method, approach and tool for pursuing their goals and extending their existence. Our organization and its leadership have been the target of many terrorist attacks by the regime. This regime will not go through any positive change through itself. It continues its life through violence and terrorism.”
Fard said that the regime is besieged by crises and that its inevitable downfall was in the interests of the entire world, so the world must stand together to oppose it.
He said: “The existence of the NCRI is very valuable. I am very happy to see that we have this alternative which paves the path for the correct political path. We reiterate our unity with the NCRI and the MEK. We continue this unity until the overthrow of this regime.”
Then, the conference turned to US Senator Ben Cardin, who spoke about an American resolution to support “the rights of all Iranians”, which called on the White House to ensure that free internet access is provided to Iranians to help bolster freedom of speech. He also said that the regime should be brought to justice for attempts to block free speech.
Cardin said: “Our resolution sends a powerful message to the Iranian regime. Our message is simple: We condemn suppression anywhere in the world. A brighter future is within reach in Iran.”
This was echoed by the next speakers, US Senator John Cornyn, who said that the US stands with the Iranian people “in their desire to be free”, and US Senator Mike Braun, who said that he condemns the regime for its human rights abuses, including denials of personal freedoms.
The next person to speak was former Albanian MP Valentina Leskaj, who called supporting the Iranian Resistance “a human obligation” because they are not just fighting for their country, but all countries.
She said: “The people who live in Ashraf work hard. They did not wait for others to build their houses for them. They show a model of building a true community and live in harmony with the Albanian people. This is a very good example that they give in Albania. These people have shown they respect human rights, women’s rights, they’ve shown this by electing a woman, Madam Rajavi, as their leader. This is a strong message not only for Iran but for the region and beyond.”
She went on to say that she supported Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan for a free Iran, with democracy and separation of religion and state.
Then came British MP Bob Blackman, who spoke about Assadi’s trial, stating that he is “encouraged” over the start of the trial.
He said: “This is a significant step to bring the regime to justice for its terrorism in an independent court and [the] beginning of this trial is a major setback for the regime, its extensive two-year conspiracies and efforts to save its arrested diplomat in Belgium. There is no doubt that the Iranian regime would want to escape justice, but I want to declare as one of the plaintiffs in this file that we will not allow this to happen.”
Blackman then spoke about the evidence we have about the regime’s terrorist activities in Europe, explaining that this will “ensure” that Assadi is held accountable for the attempted bombing that he carried out at the direction of Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
He said: “It should and will bring a turning point in the foreign policy adopted by European governments vis-à-vis Iran’s regime so far. I also hope my government, the UK government, would soon join our American allies in proscribing the IRGC in its entirety as a terrorist organization, which is the real description of this paramilitary organization that only answers to the Supreme Leader. In addition, I hope to see Iranian embassies shut down in all European capitals and before all in London.”
Following Blackman was US Senator Robert Torricelli, who began by reflecting on the journey so far and what might have happened if Assadi’s terror plot had succeeded.
He said: “We can all assume that the target of the attack in Paris was Maryam Rajavi. An attack on her was an attack on every western democracy. It would be an act of war. My government acted decisively, placing the [IRGC] Qods Force on the terror list and taking action against Qasem Soleimani.”
He called on other governments to recognise that the regime’s embassies are “covers for terrorist activity” and procuring nuclear material. He said that the embassies must be closed.
Torricelli then spoke about the regime’s disinformation campaign against the MEK, stressing that the long that is not tackled, the longer the regime will remain in power and the more people who will die.
He said: “Our ultimate obligation to all those who have died in these terrorist acts is that there will be accountability. In Tehran, they think they can hide behind the IRGC. The history of accountability of these regimes supports my argument, not their confidence. The long arm of justice reaches far and the memory is very long and we will not rest until it reaches you.”
The next speaker was former US Congressman Ted Poe, who address that the mullahs’ have been terrorising their people and the world for 40 years but that most of their actions have targeted the MEK.
He said: “There were murders in Camp Ashraf by regime operatives. There has been no accountability. The embassies are being used as a spying network, as forward operating bases for the IRGC. We must not allow that to occur anywhere in the world. They must be closed down. We are allowing a foreign terrorist enemy into our homes. Close them down now.”
Following Poe was the former US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph, who told us that “terror is a way of life” for the mullahs and has been since the start. Indeed, it is “embedded in the regime’s DNA” with “conducted hundreds of assassinations and terrorist acts” in over 40 countries.
Joseph said: “Iranian diplomats have repeatedly been implicated in terrorist plots abroad, including in the US and particularly in Europe. While we need to focus on the regime’s use of terror abroad, we must also acknowledge the mullahs’ use of terror to oppress the Iranian people. No one understands this better than the Iranian Resistance, who have suffered torture, execution and terror attacks by the regime.
He stated that this will continue for as long as the regime remains in place because “terrorism is an essential component of the regime”, which essentially spells the downfall of the regime.
Joseph stressed that individuals and institutions must be sanctioned, the law enforcement of democratic countries must work closely to counter regime terrorism, and that embassies must be closed.
He said: “Today’s event is a call to action. If we want to stop terrorist acts, the mullahs must know there are real consequences. This is the fundamental principle of deterrence. We need to see and treat the regime for what it is.”
Next to speak was Albanian MP Edmond Spaho, who said that “the time for change in Iran has come” and urged the international community to support the Iranian people and “close down Iran’s diplomatic missions” that are used for terrorist activities.
He said: “Albania stands firm against any kind of terrorism. We support the Iranian opposition. All representatives of Iranian intelligence agencies should not be allowed in our country. Madam Rajavi’s ten-point plan supports a free democratic and secular Iran.”
The next speaker was former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is a great friend of the Iranian Resistance. He said that “freedom in Iran is getting closer”, in no small part because the US refused to turn its back on protesters in the uprisings of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.
He said that the people are calling for the overthrow of the regime and holding up posters supporting Maryam Rajavi and the MEK, so European governments can help support “democracy and freedom” in Iran by putting pressure on the regime.
Giuliani said: “For Iran, we have a government that is ready and is ready for the transition and the elections. I see a very strong path. The regime of terror will end.”
After him, former US Ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli spoke about what the MEK has done for the Iranian people, saying that it is a testament to the effectiveness of the Resistance that the regime hates them so.
He said: “They consider you a threat, and whatever is bad for the Iranian regime is good for the rest of the world. Those who support you in the US and Europe also testify to your power. Inside Iran, we have seen in the past year-and-half that the people are fed up with the mullahs and are rising up. The people of Iran are not stopping, they are stronger than ever.”
Ereli noted that the MEK has been instrumental in exposing the regime’s conspiracy, which is why the mullahs seek to destroy and demonise them, even going so far as to get the MEK falsely on terror watch lists; something that was corrected in the late 2000s and early 2010s.
He said: “The fact that they are saying this is proof that the opposite is true. The power of Iran lies in its people, and the friends of Iran and MEK need to do everything they can to support the people and opposition movements like the MEK who are at the frontlines of trying to build a peaceful Iran along the lines of Madam Rajavi’s ten-point plan.”
Ereli advised that we work towards countering the regime’s anti-MEK propaganda with the truth so that the world understands that the MEK “stands for freedom”.
The next person to speak was former Yemeni Foreign Minister Riad Yassin Abdallah, who stressed that the regime and its proxies were falling apart, so the world must support the Iranian people that stand up to them and end the regime’s interference in other countries.
He said: “We must stand by the NCRI and the MEK, the Iranian people who love peace and humanity will be victorious and the interventions of the Iranian regime will stop.”
Then, the conference turned to Sheila Jackson Lee, a member of the US House of Representatives, who said that those who enjoy democracy should take care of those who need it and condemned Iran’s human rights violations.
She then showed her support for Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan for a free Iran and the Albanian officials who expelled the regime’s terrorists, before urging Albania to close Iran’s embassy.
Lee said: “We are looking for a time when the leadership of Iran will be one that is democratic, secular and supportive of freedom. We should never stand away from justice, equality and freedom for everyone. I support your efforts for democracy. Keep moving in that direction so that all Iranians can enjoy freedom and democracy.”
The next speaker was Albanian MP Endri Hasa who condemned the Iranian regime for “the killing of thousands of innocent Iranians” and stressed that the situation has gotten worse because of the coronavirus.
Hasa said: “The Iranian regime must be held responsible. We stand alongside the Iranian people. We stand firm against all forms of repression, terrorism and export of fundamentalism. We support an Iran that is non-nuclear, democratic and secular.”
Then, former Albanian Minister Grida Duma spoke about how Maryam Rajavi represents hope for freedom in Iran and for all Iranians. She stressed that the world needs to take action against Iran’s malign behaviour, which includes “billions of dollars to support the Assad regime” and other foreign proxies.
She said: “Iranians have rejected both theocracy and monarchists. I support Madam Rajavi’s ten-point plan. I have no doubt that soon the day will come that Madam Rajavi will be able to put her plan into effect. We thank you for giving us the chance to be on the right side of history.”
Next to speak was US Representative Tom McClintock, who said that the MEK’s actions will end the regime, which is abusing its people and threatening the world.
He said: “The US stands squarely with the freedom-loving people of Iran and must show leadership against the tyranny of the ayatollahs. The arms embargo against the regime must be extended and snapback sanctions reinstated.”
He called on Albania to close the embassy to ensure the safety of its citizens.
Next to speak was US Representative Ted Deutch, who said:
“Thousands of Iranians have suffered arrest and death for standing up against the regime of Iran. We support the people’s struggle against the Iranian regime.
“Our resolution condemns the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses and calls on all governments to support the Iranian people.”
His colleague Tom Emmer told the conference that he co-sponsored a resolution in Congress to condemn the regime for its “sponsorship of terrorism and human rights abuses”.
He said: “I look forward to the day where all Iranians enjoy freedom of expression and freedom.”
The next speaker was Syrian opposition official Naser al-Hariri, who advised that his people were “struggling against the same enemy” and so they must again state their opposition to the Iranian regime, which has consumed the people’s resources and left them in poverty.
He said: “This regime’s terrorist policies are to subjugate the people of Iran and continue to waste their resources on Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen. This is a wealthy nation but many of its people are under the line of poverty. This regime is the source of international terrorism and… has tarnished the image of the Iranian people across the world.”
He stressed that soon the people of Iran and Syria will see freedom and the regimes will be gone.
Then, US member of the House of Representatives David Trone said that the Iranian people deserve to choose their own government; one that put the interests of its people above the “corrupt interests” of the mullahs.
He said: “The protests in November 2019 were a legitimate expression of grievance against the government. My colleagues and I strongly condemned human rights abuses by the Iranian regime.”
Following on was Senator Todd Young, who stressed that the people of Iran should be supported, rather than the mullahs, and that is why he supports sanctions against the regime for their human rights abuses and terrorism.
He said: “I will continue to stand with you for a free Iran.”
The next speaker was Representative Ralph Norman, who called democracy “a treasure that must be fought for”. He said that the US supports freedom-loving Iranians, which is why they imposed sanctions on the regime.
He said: “I am troubled by the suppression of protesters who have stood up for their freedom in Iran. We have a pro-democracy movement in Congress that supports the rights of the people of Iran and condemns the regime for its human rights abuses. Its hostile actions are an affront to humanity. Iran will have its Independence Day.”
The next person to speak was Representative Donald Payne Jr, who said that the people of Iran, “tired of tyranny” and completely separate from the ideology of the mullahs, are “ready to return to democracy”.
He said: “Your movement shows our state and country that Iranians are ready for change. I’m proud to support your efforts.”
Following him was Representative Don Bacon, who said that the US supports the “freedom-loving people of Iran” who want their country back. He said they oppose the regime killing of 1,500 protesters and the undermining of other countries in the region.
He said: “Our goal is to have a freedom-loving Iran that is nuclear–free and respects its neighbours. I’m a friend of the people of Iran, not its government.”
Next up was Representative Tim Burchett, who said that the regime “can’t be trusted” because they “sponsor terrorism”, suppress Iranians, and escalate regional tensions.
The next speaker was former Albanian MP and representative of the Iranian-Albanian Association Namik Kolpliku who told the MEK that they have support across the world and that, because of Maryam Rajavi, a free Iran would soon come to pass.
Kolpliku said: “You are our brothers and sisters. We are with you. We know what it means to fight for freedom and democracy. We will always be on your side.”
The next speaker was renowned Albanian writer Diana Culi, who stressed that the world knows about the Iranian regime’s atrocities that have pushed the Iranian people to “the verge of an uprising” before praising that residents of Ashraf who are risking everything for their country’s freedom.
She said: “Mrs Rajavi has a vision for a modern Iranian society based on equality. I’m happy I had the chance to understand the history of the MEK and why they never rest to bring change in their country. We stand firm against the Iranian regime’s terrorism and fundamentalism in Albania and elsewhere. We stand with the MEK and NCRI, and Madam Rajavi.”
Following her was renowned Albanian composer Zhani Ciko, who declared solidarity with the Resistance and the Albanian government for their brave decision to host the Resistance.
Next up was Lord Carlile, QC, who stated that “Iran has become the leading state-sponsor of terrorism”, particularly cyber terrorism.
He said: “The NCRI has played an instrumental role in exposing the regime’s terrorist activities. I would welcome clearer action by the EU and the UK government against the Iranian regime. There seems to be a tendency towards compromise. There’s a real alternative outside of Iran that seeks to reshape the future of Iran.”
The next speaker was Emiriana Sako, the Mayor of Durrës, which is a town near Ashraf 3 in Albania.
Sako stressed support for the Iranian people and their fight for freedom, saying that it was Albanian tradition to host people who are in danger, as happened with many Jewish people from Germany in World War II.
Sako said: “During the past three years the MEK has established friendly relations with the local communities. I would like to say Ashraf 3 has played a positive role in the area and provided humanitarian aid to the locals. I wish you a fast return to your country when freedom and democracy are established.”
Next up was Albanian MP Orjola Pampuri who advocated support for Maryam Rajavi’s campaign for freedom and told the Iranian people that “Your victory is our victory”.
This was echoed by Ghalia al-Rahal, the mother of murdered Syrian photojournalist Khaled Issa, who said that she stood with “my sister Maryam Rajavi to achieve peace and equality in Iran”.
Following her was Syrian military and strategic analyst General. Ahmad Arrahal, who told the conference that the Iranian regime is “oppressive both inside and outside of Iran”, posing a dilemma for all countries in the region.
He said: “We need to bring down this regime. The mullahs’ regime wants to concentrate all power in the Supreme Leader. This does not promote liberty. We need to end this regime before we can restore relations between Iran and Arab countries.”
Arrahal then praised the NCRI and MEK as the “democratic replacement for the mullahs’ regime”.
The next speaker was US Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, who said: “The United States stands with the Iranian people for a free, democratic and non-nuclear Iran. They have the right to choose their leaders. They deserve absolute, total freedom.”
Following him was former Albanian Minister Drita Advyli, who said that if the regime tried to bomb MEK members thousands of kilometres away in Albania, “we can only imagine what they do with people in their country”. She then cited the case of the Iranian man recently executed for drinking alcohol, saying that this is a clear attempt to scare the people.
She said: “We in Albania have experience and can say that cruelty will not silence the people. Hostage-taking will not save the regime. Albania is the second home of Iranian opposition. We know that if we stand together, and with a leader like Madam Rajavi, we will achieve a free Iran.”
The next person to speak was women’s rights advocate Sevim Arbana, who addressed the issue of so-called ‘honour’ killings in Iran, stating that there is “no honour” in it. She said that it shows that the regime does not consider it a crime to kill a girl.
She said: “Unfortunately, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights did not condemn this crime. We must speak up against the regime’s barbarity. I call on everyone not to remain silent. I have supported the Iranian opposition for years. I’m optimistic that Madam Rajavi’s ten-point plan is a strong plan for freedom and democracy in Iran.”
Following her was Albanian MP Fatbardha Kadiu, who said that Iran had been taken “hostage” by the regime, which committed many crimes against the Iranian people from the murder of 1,500 protesters in November 2019 to the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, but has not been brought to justice.
She said: “The international community must not remain silent. We must stand with Iranian citizens to establish democracy in their country. When it comes to this kind of a situation, we stand with you and support you to achieve your victory in establishing a democratic government in Iran.”
The next speaker was Albanian lawyer Margarita Kola, who said that the regime’s demonization campaigns are trying to portray a false picture of the MEK, but stressed that the MEK “symbolizes the Iranian people’s history of struggle for freedom”.
She said that nothing justifies terrorism, which is why it was good that the Iranian operatives were expelled and that the Belgium judiciary has put Assadi on trial for trying to bomb the 2018 Free Iran gathering.
She said: “Albania’s fight against the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities is setting an example for other countries. We are proud to stand on the right side of history.”
Following her was General George Casey, the 36th Chief of Staff of the United States Army, who explained that he had seen how the regime “used terrorism to foment sectarian violence in Iraq” during his tenure as Coalition commander. He said that as long as the regime remains in power, they will remain “a profoundly destabilizing force in the region and the world”, using the Qods Force to destabilize other countries.
Casey said: “This regime will not change and will remain a destabilizing force as long as it remains in power. It can’t be a productive player. Change must come to Iran.”
The final speech of the night came from a group in the Manza Municipality, which is a town near Ashraf 3. They said: “We, like many Albanians, support Ashraf 3, and we understand the lies of the mullahs. We hope the region and the world will be liberated from the mullahs. We wish for Iran and Albania to have friendly relations.”