BIN website, July 7, 2017 – The annual Iranian resistance gathering took place on July 1, 2017. Over 100,000 members of the Iranian Diaspora from all over the world participated in the event. In addition to Maryam Rajavi , President-elect of Iranian resistance as the keynote speaker, many prominent personalities form all over the world also delivered speeches. The main message of the meeting and its speakers was that the time has come for regime change in Iran.
In previous years, Iran, by putting a media blackout over the event, would ignore the resistances’ gathering. There is a well-known policy in Iran that publishing the name, picture or any news of Rajavi and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the main opposition of Iran, is a red line and prohibited. But this year, in an unprecedented manner this red line was ignored and in only three days over 500 news reports about the gathering were published in state run media, reflected the Iranian regime’s unprecedented fear.
The visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to France topped Tehran’s reaction to the event. Just a day prior Zarif went to Paris for the signing of a $5 billion dollar contract with the French oil giant Total.
The main purpose of Zarif’s trip was to ask the French government to cancel the resistance’s annual gathering, according to Iranian state media. One outlet even claimed the entire convention had been cancelled.
“In our talks with the French officials we raised the issue of the MEK and their presence as a vague point in our relationship,” Zarif said while departing France.
Now the question is why Iran is so terrified of the annual Iranian resistance gathering, and what can be concluded about their hysterical reaction about this event.
The theme “regime change”, echoed in all the speeches, was and remains a core reason of the mullahs’ fear.
“There is a viable opposition to the rule of the ayatollahs and that opposition is centered in this room today. I have said for over ten years since coming to these events that the declared policy of the United States of America should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran. The behavior and the objectives of the regime are not going to change, and therefore the only solution is to change the regime itself. And that’s why before 2019 we here will celebrate in Tehran,” said former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton in his speech.
Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton
Following eight years of the Obama administration’s disastrous policy of engagement with Iran, there are signs of promising changes in US policy.
“But I’m happiest to be here because finally, finally I can say, and I can probably say this with a good deal of authority, that the government of the United States supports you, we’re behind you, we agree with your values… And finally, I can stand here and say you, I, my government and your leadership, we see Iran in exactly the same way. The regime is evil and it must go. Free Iran,” said Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, while addressing the event.
Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City
Another prominent American known for his close relations with the Trump administration delivered very strong remarks.
“Iran must be free. The dictatorship must be destroyed. Containment is appeasement, and appeasement is surrender,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in his speech. “The right to happiness, to be free, is an American concern. Freedom is not safe anywhere as long as dictatorships are in a position to threaten freedom… In America, we want to win this fight because everywhere is in danger until the dictatorship ends.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
Another reason for Iran’s fear is the existence of an organized alternative to its regime, namely the MEK and the National Council of Resistance of Iran ( NCRI ), and their ability to mobilize such an event against the regime. This event, contrary to previous years, was widely broadcasted inside Iran by the MEK domestic network, and millions of Iranians broke the regime’s wall of censorship to watch the rally through social media livestreams.
Another aspect of Iran’s fear is that their anti-MEK demonizing propaganda initiative is failing. For years the Iranian regime has been spending millions of dollars and hiring many lobbies in the West to portray the MEK as an isolated group without popular support. The presence of over 100,000 Iranians from all over the world, and the millions watching from inside Iran, indicates that not only this organization is grass-rooted and enjoys vast popular support, it also enjoys the capability to mobilize and organize these supporters.
The final message of the meeting was articulated in Maryam Rajavi’s speech:
“The winds of change have started blowing in our homeland. The ruling regime is in disarray and paralyzed as never before. Iranian society is simmering with discontent and the international community is finally getting closer to the reality that appeasing the ruling theocracy is misguided.
The same volatile situation speaks to three fundamental truths for obtaining freedom in Iran, and peace and tranquility in the region. First, the imperative of overthrowing the ruling religious dictatorship. Second, the regime’s overthrow is within reach. And third, a democratic alternative and an organized resistance exists, which is capable of toppling the theocracy in Iran”.