During the twenty-sixth annual Simay-e Azadi (Iran National Television) telethon, compatriots from across Iran, and in 42 other countries around the globe, stood together in support of the Iranian Resistance and the fight to liberate Iran from the religious fascism under the rule of the Iranian regime.
The telethon began on Friday, January 14, and continued throughout the weekend until the morning of Tuesday, January 18, with viewers calling in to pledge money and broadcast their support.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said, “Twenty hosts worked with 28 guests with 105 telephone, internet, and video lines via Zoom and Skype during this time. At the same time, there was an uninterrupted flow of information, contributions, and raising awareness through a campaign with the hashtags #همیاری and #FreeIranTelethon on the Internet and social networks Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram.”
The final report following the event listed that the total amount made from contributions and financial obligations during the four-day long telethon reached $6,665,454. Despite the difficult economic and financial crises faced by Iranians domestically, and with the entire world still dealing with the restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic for the past two years, supporters of the Iranian Resistance have come together, and given what they can in the hope that they can look forward to a better future.
The scale of the event had a few hiccups, despite an increase in communication equipment, with many compatriots and staff working the event facing long delays going on the air due to the sheer volume of calls coming in. The overwhelming response meant that unfortunately, a number of calls were unable to get through, and some messages of support were unable to be broadcasted.
The NCRI said, “In this telethon, the youth and Resistance Units from Tehran and different cities in Iran took significant risks, often waiting for hours to contact the Simay-e Azadi. The presence of women both inside and outside the country during the telethon was very significant. This indicated the leading role played by women in the struggle against the clerical regime to liberate our homeland.”
Many supporters who called in during the telethon praised the Simay-e Azadi television channel, claiming them to be “the voice of the uprising and the Resistance Units…” and “a light that brings hope and inspiration to hearts and homes.”
They also praised the channel for its “accurate and uncensored coverage of the facts”, from the tragedies of the COVID-19 situation in Iran, to the exposure of the regime’s corruption, terrorism and nuclear projects. Major gratitude was also extended for the broadcasting of the protest movements across Iran.
The NCRI said, “In its report, Simay-e Azadi described the ‘storm of emotions, affections, and ties with resistance and perseverance to achieve freedom’ as ‘stark contrast to the crisis, division, and defections that have beset the religious dictatorship’.”
Here are a few excerpts from the comments of compatriots and supporters to Simay-e Azadi during the telethon, both from inside Iran and further afield.
Kourosh from Khuzestan blamed the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, along with the ‘criminal’ regime officials for inflicting poverty and severe unemployment on Iran, and despite not having much to offer, contributed 5,000,000 rials to the cause.
Peyman from Mashhad addressed the NCRI’s President-elect Maryam Rajavi, saying, “I am very sorry that I do not have money, but on behalf of the Resistance Units and the army of the unemployed, I present a flower to my brothers and sisters who have sacrificed their whole life for their nation’s happiness.”
Iranian expat, Roya Abdi from Sweden thanked Simay-e Azadi for connecting them to their people inside Iran, while fellow expat, Yeganeh from Norway praised the Resistance Units for bringing happiness to the nation by torching the statue of regime terrorist Qassem Soleimani.
Khashayar from Khorramabad said, “I wanted to tell the executioner Khamenei that we, the youth… have stood up to the end against your discrimination, injustice, and treasons. You should know that you have reached the end of the disgraceful life of your government, and the people and the Resistance Units have encircled you. I will spare no effort to establish democracy and freedom in Iran.”
One of the largest donations came from Behzad from Canada, who donated a whopping 1.5 million dollars during the telethon. He was asked how he was able to make sure a large contribution to the cause, and his response was that he rose from nothing, “working 16-17 hours a day, six days a week, for 32 years.”
He stated that he made a commitment to himself to support the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) no matter what, and would only take days off work to attend rallies and the Iranian Resistance’s annual gatherings.