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The 120 Year Struggle of the Iranian People for Freedom

By INU Staff

INU - During the second day of international conferences in Ashraf 3 in Albania, a panel of distinguished speakers gathered to discuss the many years of struggle the Iranian people have faced.

The speakers included: Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York and personal attorney to US President Donald Trump; Ingrid Betancourt, former Colombian Senator and presidential candidate; Michèle Alliot-Marie, the Foreign, Defense, Justice and Interior Minister of France; Joe Lieberman, former United States Senator; Matthew Offord, Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom and General James Conway, ex Commandant of US Marines.

The President of the Iranian Resistance Mrs. Maryam Rajavi visited the memorial wall at Ashraf 3 that was built to commemorate the PMOI (MEK) martyrs. There was also an exhibition and presentation by MEK officials and representatives to pay tribute to the martyrs that paved the way for those still battling for freedom today. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said that the exhibition was extremely moving and still shocked her despite her four decades of involvement with the Resistance.

The setting of this series of conference is of great significance because Ashraf 3 is home to the democratic opposition in Albania.

During her speech, Mrs. Rajavi thanked all those that contributed to the safe relocation of the Ashrafis to Albania and she paid tribute to those than endured the most difficult of circumstances in Camp Ashraf, from medical blockades to psychological torture to countless attacks.

Ingrid Betancourt took to the stage to pay tribute to Mrs. Rajavi’s leadership and said that there is no one in the world that compares to her. Regarding the role of women within the opposition, Betancourt said that their achievements are remarkable. “I’m proud of what you've achieved in Ashraf 3. As a woman I feel very proud of standing with you since there's no other organisation like the MEK that gives women this power”.

The former presidential candidate also said that the Resistance is currently living in a moment of history. The fight for freedom is history in the making and it is being supported by all sectors of politics. Betancourt said that democrats and republicans alike are coming together in the fight for justice and the fight for democracy.

Rudy Giuliani expressed his emotion when seeing the exhibition depicting the 120-year long struggle for freedom, explaining that he could not help but be shocked. He explained that he has a great knowledge of the struggle in Iran, but that hearing names and numbers is one thing and seeing images and depictions is another thing completely.

Giuliani also highlighted that we often learn about atrocities in history – events that we cannot understand, but events that are nonetheless in the past. He declared that the events depicted in the exhibition are not yet part of history because the struggle is still continuing to this day. There are still murders and slaughter, just like there has been during the past 120 years.

Highlighting the stark reality of the situation, Giuliani said that regime change is inevitable, but he feels such discomfort saying it because it means that between now and then more lives will be lost as a result of the mullahs. The overthrow of the regime, he said, will “save lives”, and this time cannot come soon enough.

Giuliani also mentioned the regime’s plotting, especially in Europe, saying that he could have been a victim caught up in one of the regime’s attempts to bomb the opposition, even one right here in Albania last year. He also expressed his dismay at Iran being allowed to sit in the UN where it gets treated like other law-abiding and free countries.

Finally, he said that “Free Iran” is not just a slogan to him and he really wants to see the country liberated in his lifetime.

Joe Lieberman started his speech by talking about his wife Hadassah whose parents were both Holocaust survivors. He said that it is impossible to look at the past 120 years of Iran without comparing the unjustness of it to that of the Holocaust. In both, innocent people were killed in cold blood, with children facing the same fate as their parents and grandparents.

Lieberman also praised the MEK and Mrs. Rajavi on the role that it has played so far, and the role that it will continue to play, in the quest for a liberated and independent Iran that he believes will come soon. He ended his speech saying that very soon there will be a celebration in Iran for that freedom.

Michèle Alliot-Marie highlighted the viability and importance of Mrs. Rajavi’s 10-point plan for a future Iran that is based on equality for all, freedom, democracy and human rights, among other essential values. She also spoke about the absolute privilege she feels for being able to speak freely in her country and expressed her desire to see the people of Iran experience the same.

MP Matthew Offord said that he and many of his colleagues on a cross-party basis have said time and time again that it was a “great mistake” for the previous US [Obama] administration to decouple the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses and violations and its support for terrorism from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Offord, amid much applause, said that he and his colleagues would continue to reiterate this point. He said that he warned that there was no moderation within the regime.

Speaking about recent events over the past couple of days, Offord emphasised that the Iranian regime is responsible for acts that are contrary to international law.

In conference and debates to parliament, Offord promised that he will continue to hold the regime accountable for the 1988 massacre of political prisoners. He also promised that he will continue to call on all governments, including that of the United Kingdom, to proscribe the IRGC and all its forms as a terrorist organisation.

Gen. James Conway, ex Commandant of US Marines paid tribute to the bravery of the opposition and stated that there are some strong “warriors” in the MEK. He said that he was “blown away” by their sense of purpose and patriotism.

And finally, former Secretary General of the PMOI / MEK Mojgan Parsaie encouraged all governments to end appeasement as it is only detrimental. Ending the event on a note of positivity, she said that throughout history tyrants that may seem invincible have always fallen.

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