Uniting for Freedom, Democracy & Equality

Remarks by Íngrid Betancourt–Free Iran Global Summit, July 17, 2020

Íngrid Betancourt, former Presidential Candidate of Colombia joined the Online Free Iran Global Summit. In her remarks, Mrs. Betancourt said, “We won’t settle for less than obtaining freedom, democracy, and justice, with the ten-point plan of Maryam Rajavi.”

The Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) managed to hold this year’s annual gathering virtually on July 17. Given the novel coronavirus pandemic and its restriction, many dignitaries commended the NCRI’s ability and determination for connecting 30,000 locations to Ashraf-3, home to members of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

Here is the speech of Mrs. Betancourt:

Dear friends, let me begin by saluting the young people and the freedom fighters that are taking all the risks in Iran to end the tyranny of the mullahs. All these young men and women that we see fighting in the streets every day are making the tyranny crumble.

And they have been told from a very young age that the world is their enemy, that they must fight because Iranians have only enemies worldwide. But with this display of technology that we owe to the MEK and NCRI, we see the whole world united for you. United to support your struggle and to tell you that you’re not alone.

The voice and heart that is uniting us is Maryam Rajavi. She was talking about Mosaddegh in 1952 and the struggle to bring democracy to Iran. The reason why we are united around Maryam despite being from various ideological backgrounds, cultures, and religions, is because we believe that she’s the only one that can guarantee to the Iranian people that they will not be betrayed again.

Íngrid Betancourt

Tyranny is crumbling. We are experiencing the first indications of the fall of this regime. But it would be a disaster if there was no one to guide the Iranian people’s energy for freedom, peace, and justice, and if there was no leader with the principles and values of Maryam.

Two days ago, on July 15th, the trial of Assadollah Assadi began. The terrorist-diplomat who plotted to kill us all in the rally we had in Paris on June 30th, 2018. It is not only that we are united in abstract because we want to fight for the freedom of Iranians. No. It is because we are all interrelated in the same fight. We in this rally are also the potential victims of a mad tyranny that is capable of thinking of blowing us all up in order to cling to power.

Assadi was the main planner of the plot. And it was not only the plot against Villepinte. For decades, he was plotting the regime’s assassinations and killings abroad. He is a terrorist who was hiding as a third consul of the Iranian embassy in Austria.

But the governments of Europe already knew that he was a terrorist and were following him. He drove to Luxemburg and personally delivered a high-powered bomb to two people, Amir Saadouni and Nasimeh Naami, both Belgian citizens, on June 28th, 2018, but both were paid to plant the bomb that would have killed us all.

I was there on that day. This very sophisticated terrorist plot was neutralized in its last stage because Saadouni and Naami were arrested in Belgium while transporting the bomb to Villepinte. And Mehrdad Arefani was arrested while he was already in Villepinte and was sitting beside us. He was arrested in Villepinte. Assadollah Assadi, the diplomat, was captured in Germany.

Based on documents that were made public, it has been proven that Khamenei personally ordered these plots to be carried out. The French government in October 2018, publicly accused Iran of having sponsored the project. And then Iranian assets were frozen and an Iranian spy acting under diplomatic cover in Paris was expelled.

Over the past two years, the mullahs’ regime has spared no effort to prevent Assadi’s trial and to have him released. They have engaged in diplomatic pressure and economic promises. But worst of all, they have taken hostages, Europeans including French and British nationals, to bargain. This has resulted in incredible pain for the families of our fellow citizens. So that is why the struggle of Iranians has become our own struggle. We are potential victims like you in Iran of the madness of these mullahs.

I speak as a potential victim, and I am grateful for the independent and courageous investigation done by the Belgian courts and for the trial that has started. In addition to Assadi’s trial, I am demanding that the real sponsors are tried too by international courts. I am talking first of Khamenei, second of Rouhani, third of Zarif, and I am also including Alavi the minister of intelligence under whom the plot was ordered.

In the same way that we won’t settle for less than obtaining freedom, democracy, and justice, with the ten-point plan of Maryam Rajavi, my friend that I admire and salute today as an amazing woman leader in this world, as we are not accepting any less for Iranians in following you, we are also not accepting any less for ourselves in putting all these four persons on trial as the perpetrators of all these crimes.