Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of
Resistance of Iran (NCRI), was the keynote speaker on Saturday, July 13 at the
annual "Free Iran" conference of the Iranian opposition in Albania.
With notable lawmakers, officials and dignitaries in attendance, Rajavi criticized the current Iranian regime’s long rule, which has lasted for more than four decades that have witnessed unprecedented “tragedies and massacres”, saying that the regime will not see any progress if it does not abandon “terrorism and interference in internal affairs.”
The Iranian resistance survived relocation from Iraq in 2016 after they moved to Ashraf 3 Albania, home of the main democratic Iranian Opposition People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), also known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).
Former PMOI/MEK Secretary-General Fahimeh Arvani delivered the opening remarks, focusing on the perseverance of its members and supporters throughout the years.
“Iranian opposition President Maryam Rajavi has led this movement and today we are witnessing the regime in Iran on the brink of overthrow. I would like to thank all the distinguished guests with us here today, and those who couldn’t join us, for all their support throughout these years,” Arvani said.
“We will take back Iran and rebuild a new Iran”, Rajavi had just tweeted moments before she took over the stage to give her speech, saying she is joining what she called “the PMOI freedom fighters” and “friends of the Iranian Resistance in the #FreeIran gathering at Ashraf 3”.
Rajavi highlighted the “enormous efforts and hard work” of the resistance group to settle into their headquarters in Ashraf 3. She expressed hopes to move to Tehran as the “final destination,” but not before being “freed from the occupation of the mullahs.”
Iranian violations and assassinations committed against dissent have been innumerable, locally and abroad. “The 40 years of the mullahs’ rule is synonymous with an all-out massacre. From several hundred executions every night in Evin Prison and the massacre of political prisoners”.
The Iranian regime is “at an impasse” and does not possess the capability to “negotiate, abandon terrorism or stop meddling in the region,” the opposition icon said, adding that “the mullahs have reached the end of the line.”
Rajavi expects that the US presidential election may be the start of a change on Iranian policy. “The mullahs’ regime is counting on inaction and tolerance on the part of the international community. Their calculation is that terrorist operations and warmongering in the region’s countries will not affect them much, at least until the next US election.”
Saturday’s speech was preceded by an event on July 12 which featured an exhibition called "120 Years of Struggle of the Iranian People for Freedom", which was just a glimpse of the history of the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom, according to the NCRI women’s committee.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani; Senator Ingrid Betancourt, former Colombian presidential candidate; Senator Joe Lieberman, former vice presidential candidate; MEP and former French Defense Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie; and British MP Matthew Offord were among those who came from across the globe to attend the annual gathering of the members of the Iranian resistance.