A visit by a high-profile delegation of American Senators to Albania, home to members of the Iranian opposition, is sending major signals and messages to Tehran about growing consensus in Washington over the necessity to adopt regime change policy in the face of the mullahs’ belligerence.
The Senate delegation consisted of Senators Roy Blunt, Vice President of the Republican Conference, and member of the Appropriation, Select Intelligence, Rules and Administration, and Commerce, Science, and Transportation committees; John Cornyn, the Majority Whip, and a member of the Judiciary, Select Intelligence, and Finance committees; and Thom Tillis, a member of the Armed Services, Judiciary, Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and Veterans’ Affairs committees.
The delegation met with Iranian opposition Maryam Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Tirana, discussing recent developments in the Middle East and Iran’s menacing role.
“Maryam Rajavi thanked the Senators for their decisive position vis-à-vis the Iranian regime, especially the adoption of a new resolution which imposed sanctions on the clerical regime and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) for human rights abuses, the ballistic missile program, and the export of terrorism. She expressed gratitude for the efforts of the U.S. Senate, particularly Senator Blunt, regarding the protection of thousands of MEK members in Camp Liberty, Iraq, and their safe relocation to Albania,” according to a NCRI statement.
Back in July 2014 several senior American figures, including Senator Blunt, staged a Senate briefing strongly condemning Iran’s destructive meddling in its western neighbor, Iraq. Characterizing the Iranian regime as part of the problem and not the solution, Senator Blunt emphasized on his demand for the PMOI/MEK members’ urgent and speedy transfer from Camp Liberty – a ransacked and deserted former US base near Baghdad International Airport west of the capital – to countries abroad in an effort to save their lives.
Senators John McCain and Jeanne Shaheen, joined by then Senator Carl Levin, former chairman of the Armed Forces Committee, issued a strong letter to former Secretary of State John Kerry seeking “protection of Camp Liberty and to expedite the resettlement of the Camp Residents to countries outside Iraq, including the United States.”
Senator McCain himself had back in April became the most senior US official to visit the PMOI/MEK in Albania. McCain is known to be a very vocal critic of the Iranian regime’s policies and actions, and a staunch supporter of the Iranian opposition in their struggle for regime change to establish freedom and democracy.
During his visit to Tirana McCain met with Iranian opposition leader NCRI President Maryam Rajavi, evaluating issues in relations to Iran’s belligerence across the Middle East and the struggle of the PMOI/MEK’s residency in Albania. His participation in a PMOI/MEK event sent alarm bells across Tehran, terrifying of the mullahs Washington coming in line with the Iranian opposition was receiving after their departure from Iraq.
Comprehending fully the potential threats posed by their opposition, the Iranian regime had long sought to annihilate the PMOI/MEK during their stay in Iraq. These Iranian opposition members were stationed in Ashraf, a city north of Baghdad, which they had built from scratch from 1986 onward. Ashraf residents were, however, forced to transfer to Camp Liberty following three ground attacks by Iraqi government forces and a logistical/medical siege from 2009 onward, all at the best of Tehran.
Tehran’s proxies continued their onslaught by launching five rocket and missile attacks targeting Camp Liberty, parallel to the Iraqi government continuing its blockade. More than 160 Ashraf and Liberty residents lost their lives and over 1,000 others injured. These attacks prompted the international community to support the PMOI/MEK in their transfer from Iraq to safe havens in numerous European countries. Most have currently settled in Albania.
Saturday’s significant meeting comes at a major turning point in US-Iran relations. Congress recently adopted new and comprehensive sanctions and President Donald Trump immediately signed the measures into law.
Tehran is extremely concerned over the NCRI and PMOI/MEK gaining growing recognition, especially considering the fact that the Trump administration is in the midst of weighing its comprehensive Iran policy. More than ever before regime change is becoming the most likely option for Washington’s Iran dogma.
Only a year ago the Iranian regime was placing its entire weight behind measures aimed at having its opposition – then seeking to pull out its last remaining members from Iraq – completely annihilated.
Many consider the progress made by the NCRI and PMOI/MEK as unprecedented and the necessary campaign to turn the tide against Tehran’s regime. After nearly 40 years of rendering havoc and destruction, it is high time the international community acknowledge the Iranian people and their organized opposition in their endeavor to bring about change in Iran with the objective of establishing freedom and democracy in Tehran.
Disclaimer - This author is writing under a pseudonym to protect his identity.