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Remarks by Theresa Villiers–Free Iran Global Summit, July 17, 2020

Former Secretary of State for Environment and Northern Ireland and Conservative Member of UK Parliament Theresa Villiers joined the Online Free Iran Global Summit. In her remarks, Ms. Villiers said, “I want to send my very best wishes to NCRI and to President-elect Maryam Rajavi for her inspirational work on the international scene on behalf of the people of Iran at this very, very difficult time.”

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 Ms. Villiers:

Thank you so much for the opportunity to join you today at this very important online conference in support of human rights, democracy, and freedom in Iran. It’s incredible that this event is coming from 30,000 locations, 100 countries, and includes a thousand parliamentarians and other dignitaries.

I want to send my very best wishes to NCRI and to President-elect Maryam Rajavi for her inspirational work on the international scene on behalf of the people of Iran at this very, very difficult time.

We all know that the human rights situation in Iran continues to be appalling, and on top of this, we now have seen the disastrous handling of the COVID emergency by the Iranian government. It appears only too clear that the mullahs have placed their own political priorities ahead of efforts to keep people safe from COVID.

The outbreak has just been used as an excuse to intensify domestic repression. In the COVID crisis, consistent with their approach over decades, the mullahs seem entirely lacking in care or compassion for the people of Iran. And they seem disastrously lacking incompetence as well. The survival of the regime appears much more important to them than saving lives in the health outbreak.

Amid all of this, the commander-in-chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard responsible for so many atrocities, the commander-in-chief of that organization is reported by the media as saying that the regime will use all means to manage and control the consequences of any potential uprising or opposition.

Now, we all know that that can only mean more killings and more mass arrests of activists campaigning for democracy and human rights, including of course PMOI supporters.

So that’s why our conference today is so important. It’s a crucial opportunity for us in Western democracies to urge the international community, including the UK government, to keep up the pressure on this brutal and oppressive regime. And it is also an opportunity to send a message of support and solidarity to the people of Iran so that they know that we here stand with them at this terrible time, and so that they know that we share their goal for free and democratic secular Iran, where the rule of law is observed, and human rights are respected.

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