The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) will hold its annual “Free Iran Global Summit” on Friday, 17 July 2020. This virtual event will connect over 30,000 online locations from four corners of the world. Around 1000 renowned politicians from both sides of the Atlantic will join this event.
Prominent figures such as Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City; Louis Freeh, former director of the FBI; Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security; former Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli; Senator Joseph Lieberman; Michèle Alliot-Marie, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense of France; John Baird, former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Rama Yade, former French Secretary of Human Rights, are among the speakers of this event. Past participants in similar NCRI events have consistently included both Republicans and Democrats from the U.S., while also drawing upon a number of different fields of expertise including national security policy, military service, human rights law, and so on. Furthermore, the roster of NCRI supporters is highly international, with hundreds of dignitaries typically traveling to the organization’s annual rally near its French headquarters.
The total level of participation this year will actually be greater than in recent years when the in-person gathering consisted of as many as 100,000 people. The Free Iran Global Summit will be held while seismic shifts have occurred in and around Iran just over the past year. November 2019 was marked by a nationwide uprising against the Iranian regime, which showed the Iranian people’s desire for regime change and showed the Iranian Resistance’s pivotal role in this struggle and the popular support it enjoys inside Iran. Then again, both the magnitude and the diversity of that support had already been conclusively demonstrated nearly two years earlier, with another nationwide uprising that began in the last days of 2017 and lasted through much of January 2018.
Both uprisings were defined by the same public messaging, which included chants of “death to the dictator” and unequivocal condemnation of both factions of the ruling theocracy. In another development, despite desperate and criminal efforts by the regime officials, such as denying COVID-19‘s existence to have a larger turnout during the sham parliamentary elections in February, and ridiculous remarks by the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei calling participation a “religious obligation,” the Iranian people boycotted this sham parliamentary election.
This general boycott was mainly done because the Iranian Resistance’s electoral boycott movement had already been growing in previous years. The “Resistance Units” of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) posted images of the opposition leader Maryam Rajavi and urged Iranian people to sit out the election in order to “vote for regime change.” The Iranian people’s general boycott of the regime’s sham parliamentary elections strongly implies growing popular endorsement of the democratic platform of the MEK and NCRI.
This is a message that the Iranian Resistance and its supporters will surely try to emphasize for a broad international audience on Friday.
The November uprising was facilitated in part by an economic collapse that has taken new proportions. In the wake of that uprising and another series of wide-ranging protests in January, due to the regime’s mismanagement and institutionalized corruption, the economic conditions have only grown worse, with the value of Iran’s national currency reaching historic lows. The freefall has surely been helped along by the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit Iran harder than any surrounding country, resulting in upwards of 70,000 deaths. This rising death toll is the direct result of the regime’s cover-up and inaction. Tehran has only officially acknowledged about a sixth of those, but the Iranian people know better, especially the doctors and nurses who have warned of an entirely overwhelmed hospital system.
The regime’s oppressive measures, mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic, its institutionalized corruption and support of global terrorism by wasting national resources are fueling even more of the kinds of grievances that drove the earlier uprisings. Now even some of the regime’s officials are warning of the potential for more of the same. Crucially, they are often doing so while name-checking the MEK, in contrast to a years-long propaganda strategy of denying that the Resistance posed any threat to the mullahs’ hold on power.
Meanwhile, the MEK’s Resistance Units are playing a leading role in guiding Iranian people toward freedom and democracy. The MEK’s Resistance Units spread the message of hope across Iran, and break the atmosphere of fear and oppression and keep the flame of Resistance ablaze by their daily activities. In a nutshell, the MEK’s Resistance Units’ role, as organized units across Iran, is to impact events on the ground and guide the Iranian people’s uprising toward freedom and the regime’s downfall.
Considering the current situation of the crisis-ridden regime in Iran and the Iranian society’s restiveness, even after the November crackdown, the overthrow of the regime seems increasingly inevitable. The window of time is narrowing for the international community to place itself on the right side of history by making it clear that they will stand with the Iranian people and their organized Resistance. The global community must recognize the right of rebellious youth, Resistance Units, and the Iranian people to resist against the religious tyranny.
Riddled with crisis, the Iranian regime tries to oppress the Iranian society using any possible tool, even the COVID-19 pandemic. All the while, the regime’s lobbyists and apologists desperately try to pursue this narrative that there is no viable alternative to the mullahs’ regime. Therefore, the message of the 2020 “Global Free Iran Summit” is not narrowed to sending a strong message of support and solidarity to the risen people of Iran; it indeed confirms that regime change in Iran is within reach, and there is a democratic alternative ready and capable of achieving it.