Íngrid Betancourt, former Colombian senator and presidential candidate, virtually attended an online conference, marking the first anniversary of the November 2019 uprising. The event hosted by the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) homaged the Iranian people’s sacrifices for a free and democratic Iran.
Hundreds of thousands of outrage protesters came into the streets, showing their complaint against the sudden rise of gasoline prices. However, the regime’s security forces responded to defenseless demonstrators with live ammunition, killing at least 1,500 protesters.
During a few days, the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other oppressive forces did whatever they could to stifle protests, according to the supreme leader Ali Khamenei‘s decree. They arbitrarily detained over 12,000 demonstrators, targeted protesters, and bystanders by heavy machineguns, snipers, and helicopters. However, they merely fueled the people’s wrath against the entire regime.
In her remarks at the NCRI virtual event, Betancourt expressed her solidarity with the Iranian people’s desire. She said:
Dear friends, it is with deep respect that we honor today those young women and men who paid with their lives. They called for freedom and justice during the November 2019, uprisings. Nothing is more painful than to witness the assassination in front of our eyes, without us being able to come to the rescue.
That is why we feel it is our duty to point our fingers at the criminals that murdered them, to raise our voices, claiming that Iranian lives matter, and that the leaders of our free world must take action now. This means understanding that what’s happening in Iran has consequences in our daily lives.
In particular, the religious terrorism that strikes our streets is financed by Iran, as it has been proven on and on, through numerous judicial trials, the latest being the one to be held in Antwerp at the end of this month.
Yes, we are reminded that the Iranian terrorists diplomats, the ones facing trial for the foiled Paris bomb plots, aimed to kill many of us on June 2018, have warned that if he is convicted there in Belgium, there will be retaliatory terrorist attacks on European interests in different parts of the world.
Any inaction of the European countries to this direct threat would be absolutely unacceptable. But let’s not forget also that the social classes who are taught in the west to be the legitimizing backdrop support of the Iranian regime were precisely the ones chanting in the streets against Khomeini and Rouhani as they were being killed by the regime’s suppressive forces.
Maryam Rajavi has shown us those faces. We are talking of 1,500 protesters shot in the streets, 4,000 wounded and tortured, 12,000 arrested. This barbaric and brute force was denounced by the UN Commissioner for Human Rights.
Mrs. Michelle Bachelet, the former Chilean President, a survivor of the Pinochet dictatorship, who knows precisely what she’s talking about. But denouncing is not enough anymore.
We need you, as the union, and each European leader to take an immediate and exemplifying stand, first, by avoiding selling weapons to the Iranian mullahs, weapons that will be used to kill innocent people in Iran. But second and foremost, by not conducting any nuclear deal with Iran that would believe economic sanctions and give oxygen and even perhaps the nuclear bomb to this insane, bloodthirsty killing machine.
For years, we have been confronting the criminal actions of the Iranian regime against its own people. Its worldwide terrorist plots and its international disinformation schemes. We know them and we have unveiled their wickedness.
Still, Iranians do not have access to what we do. The Iranian authoritarian regime controls filters and shuts down all internet access to information to all Iranians in order to keep them in the dark. In spite of the efforts of the mullahs’ regime, the light has filtered through every crack and young people are branding the banners of the MEK while burning Khomeini’s portraits.
Isn’t this striking that the new generation, these young women and men who have never known democracy and freedom, born under the systematic brainwashing, policy, history, reading manuals, political life, and repression are the ones supporting today, the Iranian resistance and its leader, Maryam Rajavi, precisely the woman considered public enemy number one by this misogynistic regime and against which this regime has launched its most massive disinformation campaigns, its diplomatic blood mailings, and terrorist schemes in order to defeat and eliminate her.
Yes, it is because in November 2019, they were defending her ideas, her 10-point democratic restoration plan, and the hope she embodies towards justice and freedom that these young people were killed in the streets by the regimes culprits, that they were arrested and executed by the Revolutionary Guards, that they were forcibly disappeared and buried in anonymous mass graves.
Today, we’re honoring the dead, but we are also honoring the living. This immense network of MEK activists across the country operating from the underground in the most incredible life-risking situations. The MEK has shown the resistance deep roots in Iran.
Young girls and young men are joining the resistance unit to fight for their rights. They should be entitled to defend their ideas by casting their votes, not by risking their lives. That is why Iranians are fighting for regime change, not for petty reforms. “Down with the oppressor. Be the sharp or the Supreme Leader.” they chant.
Yes, Iranians want a republic, not a monarchy, not a geography. They want free and fair elections. And when the whole world has been following, by the minute, the outcome of the American elections, we are all reminded of the sacred value of voting with might, strength, and commitment of democratic institutions that the democracy Iranians are entitled to.
That’s the democracy Maryam Rajavi is fighting for, knowing the differences can be resolved through the enlightened will of the people, not through the blind violence of guns. The MEK has shown it has the national leadership and the international support to make Iran’s transition to democracy.
There are no more excuses to any conciliatory policy on Iran. We all have to work together to make sure that our diplomats and leaders understand that each in the sake of our own interests to recognize the rights of the Iranian people to resist and seek democracy in this very polarized world.
This is not an ideological stance of European liberals or of conservatives, of American Democrats, or of Republicans, of the worldwide left, or of right-wing partisans. We are all bound together in this quest for justice and for freedom. No more appeasement deals with Iranian criminals. And we have the best closing argument, a transitional government with Mrs. Rajavi.
In remembrance of those who died in November 2019, we have no time to lose. To the Iranian resistance, we stand by you as you do your part in Iran, and we do ours outside Iran. Each minute is a life that can be saved. Thank you very much.