The Iranian regime’s approaching demise became more apparent on Friday, as hundreds of thousands of Iranians and their international friends joined together in a historic and unprecedented virtual summit calling for a free Iran.
The global summit was groundbreaking in technological and logistical terms. International dignitaries praised the main opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) for industriously overcoming the challenges of the coronavirus disease pandemic to host the event. “It is a real tribute to the organizational skills of the NCRI that we could pull together in the middle of a worldwide pandemic this kind of gathering… in support of freedom for the people of Iran,” said former White House Director of Public Liaison Linda Chavez.
This year’s Free Iran Global Summit featured people in 30,000 locations in 102 countries. In some Western capitals, including Washington, London and Paris, Iranians held physical gatherings at landmark sites.
More than 1,000 bipartisan parliamentarians, political figures, former and current government officials, experts and human rights advocates attended the event. Among the A-list of American former officials were ex-senator Joseph Lieberman, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Vice Chief of Staff of the US Army Gen. Jack Keane, Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, FBI Director Louis Freeh, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Conway, and congressman Patrick Kennedy. Some US lawmakers appeared either live to deliver remarks or sent messages of support.
Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI’s president-elect, said: “Today in Iran, one of the greatest battles and one of the greatest tests of our time rages on between freedom and religious fascism… This is a battle intertwined with the destiny of contemporary humanity and global peace and security.”
The weakened fundamentalist regime today confronts a younger generation eager for change. Rajavi added: “We pledged to overthrow the regime, take back Iran and restore all the violated and plundered rights of the people of Iran.”
Giuliani commended the NCRI for achieving “the largest virtual gathering in the world. The NCRI under Madam Rajavi offers the universal vision of freedom. The mere fact that a woman is leading such a group is revolutionary. If you listen to (Supreme Leader Ali) Khamenei and (President Hassan) Rouhani, they have said that the only threat to their regime, the only organization that has a chance to put together a government to replace them, is the NCRI and the MEK,” he said, referring to the Mujahedin-e Khalq, the main component of the NCRI coalition.
The Free Iran summit also appeared to be the most sanguine gathering of the past 16 years. Lieberman said: “I’m proud to join you to say that I stand with Maryam Rajavi.” Gingrich added: “The dictatorship is clearly getting weaker,” while former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said: “The regime is ready to fall and the regime is ready to be replaced.”
Another theme of the event was to answer the question: “What is the alternative?” Regime change and support for the opposition was seen as the response. For instance, Ridge offered his support for the vision of the organizers of the event: “We’ve come together to publicly, proudly and loudly profess our support for Madam Rajavi, the NCRI, the MEK and for the cause of freedom.”
Lieberman agreed, saying: “As America looks for ways to change this regime and to end this threat to our security from the regime in Iran. There is no better ally and there is no more natural alliance than with the NCRI.”
Some of the high-profile figures compared the Iranian rulers to the coronavirus. Former congressman Patrick Kennedy said: “The virus of religious fascism needs to be extinguished. We know the principles of Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI and MEK are those things that are going to provide that vaccination.”
It is worth noting that the 2018 Free Iran rally in Paris was the target of an Iranian bomb plot. Mukasey and Freeh, two of the US’ top law enforcement and legal experts, talked about the regime “diplomat-terrorist” who was arraigned last week for plotting to bomb the summit. “This is the first time that a diplomat in Europe has been charged with participating in a terrorist act,” said Mukasey. The motivation for the bomb plot, he added, “was fear. Fear of Mrs. Rajavi, fear of the NCRI and the threat that they represent to the regime.”
The international community must act to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its crimes. One approach, as Freeh explained, would be to establish a “world-class crimes against humanity documentation center” in order to ensure the regime’s leaders face justice for their terrorism and other crimes against humanity, which “rival Nazi Germany.” At the end, Rajavi noted that “in the final analysis, the mullahs have no solutions and their regime is doomed to fall in its entirety. We are determined to restore freedom and people’s sovereignty in Iran, and this will happen.”