120 Years of Struggle of the Iranian People for Freedom: An Iranian opposition conference in Albania
Renowned dignitaries from across the globe gathered in Ashraf 3, home to members of the Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), to attend a conference on over a century of the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom.
An exhibition symbolizing more than a hundred years of the Iranian people’s struggle for democracy was inaugurated on Friday July 12, 2019 in Albania, on the second day of a five day series of events organized by the Iranian Resistance settled since less than two years ago in the country.
Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) began the second day ceremony with paying homage to martyrs of the Resistance at a “Wall of Honor” showing names of those fallen for freedom in recent years’ struggle with the mullahs’ regime.
Rudy Giuliani – Former Mayor of New York, Ingrid Betancourt – Former Colombian Senator and Presidential candidate, Michèle Alliot-Marie – French Foreign, Defense, Justice and Interior Minister , Joe Lieberman – Former United States Senator, Matthew Offord – Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom, Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former Algerian Prime Minister were among those present at the ceremony.
At the entrance of the great hall where the main ceremony and the exhibition is held, a formal music band played official welcome music, where guests of honor descended their cars to be accompanied by their hosts to the hall.
On one side of the hall immense portraits of historical leaders of the Iranian people’s struggle for democracy in a little more than a century hung from the wall. Tricolored balloons rose in hundreds in the air to mark the ceremony.
The exhibition was inaugurated by Mrs. Rajavi, accompanied by the distinguished guests.
Topic such as Iran Protests and the uprisings, the role of MEK in the Iranian uprisings, Iranian regime’s terrorism and Cyber terrorism, Human Rights Situation under the mullahs, the fallen heroes and heroines of the Iranian resistance, the years of perseverance in Camps Ashraf and Camp Liberty under the continuous attacks and massacre by the Iranian regime and its proxies in Iraq were addressed in photos in the exhibition.
Iranian opposition conference in Albania
NCRI President Maryam Rajavi was the first speaker of the Iranian opposition conference in Albania in her speech, Mrs. Rajavi thanked efforts in support of Ashrafis and the Iranian Resistance. “Efforts which finally led to the collective and safe relocation of the MEK” which she considered “a great accomplishment in which you all played a part.”
Mrs. Rajavi emphasized the role of the organized resistance in the struggle against the regime: “One of the missing links in previous movements of the Iranian people was a coherent organization and an organized struggle, coupled with a determined and battle-hardened force prepared to make any sacrifice necessary. As a result, the people’s previous struggles did not succeed despite all their sacrifices.”
“And, today, Ashraf 3 embodies the organized resistance of the people of Iran for freedom,”she affirmed in Iranian opposition conference in Albania.
Depicting ups and downs of the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom during the past century, Mrs. Rajavi explained the ascent to power of Khomeini, whom she called “the Shah’s true crown prince”.
“The Shah executed or imprisoned the leaders of the Mojahedin and all the progressive forces, empowering Khomeini, a religious authority in exile, to exploit the Iranian people’s uprisings and revolution.
In fact, he hijacked the Iranian people’s revolution and from the outset established his religious dictatorship, which he referred to as the absolute rule of the jurisprudent. Despite all the crimes and massacres he committed, Khomeini failed to extinguish the flames of freedom,” she explained. “Over the past 40 years, 120,000 persons have given their lives for the cause of freedom. That includes the 30,000 people who were massacred in 1988 for insisting on their political identity as a member of the Mojahedin. Another half-a-million people were arrested and viciously tortured.”
She hailed the perseverance of the MEK members in camps Ashraf and Liberty.
“The mullahs continued their crimes against Ashraf and Liberty by setting 22 deadlines in 10 years, through a medical blockade, through psychological torture using over 300 loudspeakers blaring into Ashraf for two years, and through 29 ground and aerial attacks, using armored vehicles and missile launchers, including the commission of seven bloodbaths and massacres,” she affirmed at Iranian opposition conference in Albania .
“But today, we have reached a historic turning point. An Ashraf which has once again risen up, proud and powerful, shining bright at the zenith of this Resistance. This Ashraf has been replicated 1000 times in the form of resistance units all over Iran. And a volatile society which is no longer willing to put up with the mullahs, yearning to overthrow them.”
Senator Ingrid Betancourt, former Columbian presidential candidate gave speech at Iranian opposition conference in Albania
In her speech to the meeting, former Colombian Senator Ingrid Betancourt praised the Ashraf3 achievements: “Its just amazing what the MEK has done to transform this place since the last time I visitied. I am proud to be your friend. Your descision to confront the tyranny and pay the highest price. This sacrifice today is bearing it’s fruit. I see that here in Ashraf 3. Its a miracle. I have been with you for a couple of years and I am amazed by your support and your political saviness. As a woman, I feel very proud and that in the world there is no organisation like the MEK that gives women this power.”
Mayor Rudy Giuliani,s speech at Iranian opposition conference in Albania
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said in his speech that he was “very honored to be in Ashraf3 and very moved by the exhibition. “When you look at it you see all the people who were killed for wanting freedom, some of them babies. But it’s not history. Some of those people were killed less than a year ago. I believe the regime has to come to an end. An authoritarian government has to come to an end. We have to redouble our efforts,” he said.
Pointing to last year’s foiled effort by the mullahs to bomb the MEK rally in France, Mr. Giuliani said: “They tried to bomb us in the US. They tried to bombs us here a year and a half ago. They tried to bomb us in Paris a year ago. They’re the biggest state sponsor of terrorism and we let them sit in the UN and talk to them like they’re descent people.”
“We have not get out this message as effective as we could, and this is our obligation.
“I thank Madame Rajavi to let me to be part of this and this is something that I am proud of and probably my children will be proud of… I wish to have this meeting in Tehran before I die.
“You keep trying and you fail, you keep trying and you fail, and then the Berlin wall comes down. It will happen eventually, but let’s make it happen now before another 100 thousand deats.
Senator Joe Lieberman, former U.S. vice presidential candidate at Iranian opposition conference in Albania
“Thank you very much, Mrs. Rajavi, residents of Ashraf and distinguished guests. My wife Hadatha is a child of survivors of the Nazi Holocaust in Germany and when she saw that museum she said that is an echo of the Holocaust,” Sen. Lieberman said.
“The MEK is about not letting that happen again what happened to the Jews in the Nazi Germany… You in the NCRI have given us the opportunity to be true to our national principles. When I’m here I feel that I’m representing the spirit of my great friend, the late Sen. John McCain, who was warned by the establishment to stay away from this organization but he spent time learning about it. He came to Ashraf 3, believing in this organization and its cause.
“Ashraf 3 has become something magnificent. Coming here and seeing this magnificent community that you’ve built is miraculous.
It teaches us lessons.
- The citizens of Ashraf never gave up despite the atrocities they faced imposed by the Iranian regime
- The MEK never left you alone. This is the story of the MEK. Soldiers fighting side by side are a team. A unit fighting for a cause. That is what the MEK is about.
“This exhibition, despite the mourning, is inspiring. And the whole story of the Ashrafis is inspiring.
“With the kind of leadership that the MEK, Maryam Rajavi are giving and will give in Iran. With the support of people from around the world who are represented here and with the resistance of the Iranain people inside of Iran, we will have a meeting some day in Iran and come together and have a great party,” Sen. Lieberman concluded.
Michèle Alliot-Marie, MEP and former French minister of defense, interior and foreign affairs
“I have to say that I’m very moved. What a contrast between the dramatic, horrifying images that we saw a few minutes ago. To be in contact with men and women who have given their lives for such a cause. To see what you have been able to achieve. You wish to give so much to the Iranian people,” MEP Alliot-Marie said at Iranian opposition conference in Albania.
“You have people who have been tortured yet you still pave the path for freedom. This visit to Ashrat 3 is very moving for us.
“I have the privilege of being able to speak and think freely. Yet I also know that today this liberty is not available everywhere across the globe… We are also obliged to all people who are being subjugated to dictators around the world, and in Iran. We are here today, Mrs. Rajavi, to tell you that you are not alone,” she added at Iranian opposition conference in Albania .
“We have to give the Iranian people courage and the help they need so they can get their future back,” MEP Alliot-Marie concluded.
Matthew Offord, British MP from the Conservatice Party
It’s a great pleasure to stand in before you today and contribute to the discussion on Iran. This is the second time I have the pleasure to visit you and this time I hope to learn more about you,” Mr. Offord said at Iranian opposition conference in Albania- Ashraf 3 – Tirana- July 12, 2019.
“You are the proof of a proud brave nation that will never succumb to the atrocities of the regime… We have always argued that decoupling the regime’s human rights violation from the nuclear deal was a mistake,” he added.
“We have been proven right that there is no moderate faction inside the Iranian regime… There are two issues that we continue to raise in our debates:
1- We need to hold the Iranain regime accountable for its atrocities in the massacre of 1988
2- The U.K. government needs to blacklist the IRGC and all its subsidiary
“This measures will signal to the Iranain people that they are not forgotten and we stand with them… I call upon my government the EU countries to stop the appeasement policy,” Mr. Offord continued.
“We want to recognize the right by the Iranian people and the resistance led by Madame Rajavi to establish a democratic and free republic in Iran… We see a popular movement led by Madame Rajavi with support inside Iran. That message has not been put to the public in the west good enough,” he emphasized at Iranian opposition conference in Albania- Ashraf 3 – Tirana- July 12, 2019.
“Iran’s current regime is not a threat to the Iranain people but to the peace around the world.
That’s why we support you in your struggle until Iran is free,” Mr. Offord concluded.
General James Conway, former Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps
“I participated in a policy panel in Ashraf 3 and we were invited to dinner with the ladies of Ashraf 3. And some of them shared with me their stories of sacrifice and suffering. What I saw last night in terms of the ability to endure loss and yet move on was the sense of unit cohesion and dedication to each other was the same as you see in the military. The sense of mission and dedication to accomplish it,” General Conway said.
“I’m aboslutely confident that with ladies, you will make your country free someday,” he added at Iranian opposition conference in Albania .
Ms. Mojgan Parsaie, former PMOI/MEK Secretary General
“Welcome dear friends and distinguished guests. This exhibition that you see here is a small part of a larger picture of the sacrifice made throughout decades of struggle for freedom and democracy,” Ms. Parsaie said at Iranian opposition conference in Albania .
“The story of the supporters of Ashraf who helped rescue the PMOI/MEK members is the story of honorable people… Time has shown that you stand on the right side of history. The future will show more appreciation,” she added at Iranian opposition conference in Albania .
“Mayor Giuliani was correct that the solution to Iran is not appeasement but regime change. Throughout history there are always tyrants and for a period they seem invincible. However, they all fall at the end. Always,” Ms. Parsaie concluded at Iranian opposition conference in Albania .