On July 1, the Iranian opposition will be holding its annual rally to give voice to the Iranian people and their popular resistance movement and to reiterate the call for regime change in Iran. This is, of course, a message reflecting the true desire of the Iranian people and is widely endorsed by policymakers around the world, as evidenced by the hundreds of dignitaries who will attend the event.
The “Free Iran” rally has significant implications for the policies being advanced around the world by persons with a clear understanding of the danger the Iranian regime poses to global security and the stability of the Middle East. This is especially important in the current historical moment, when assertive policies regarding the clerical regime in Iran are returning to the mainstream the world over.
The gathering, with the National Council of Resistance of Iran at its center, takes place at the Villepinte Exhibition Center outside of Paris, and brings together critics of the totalitarian theocracy, including those whom the regime has brutally suppressed in the past 38 years.
The NCRI represents the Iranian people who have been killed by the regime during that time, including 120,000 who were executed or assassinated simply for affiliation with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK), which is now the largest constituent group in the NCRI coalition.
It also represents those people who have fled their home country in fear of suffering the same fate, and those who continue to live in Iran under religious dictatorship and support the PMOI (MEK) at great risk to themselves.
This year the gathering showcases messages from the network of MEK activists in Iran, using whatever means are at their disposal to advance the cause of regime change and the pro-democratic 10-point plan of NCRI President Maryam Rajavi.
The central message of this year’s grand gathering is that regime change is a real possibility in Iran, and there are many features of the rally itself that highlight that messageShahin Gobadi
An international audience
They have shown a remarkable uptick in their activities in their nationwide campaign. The event also gives an opportunity for former political prisoners who have recently fled the country to reach an international audience with stories of the tortures and abuses being perpetrated on a daily basis by the clerical regime.
The current trend of events has made the mood among the resistance activists more upbeat. Two years after the nuclear agreement, all the expectations for improvement on political and economic sphere have proven to be total delusion.
There are growing number of protests on economic despair of the population and Tehran’s total strategic impasse has begun to manifest itself in exacerbation of internecine internal feuding. Tehran is facing an unprecedented international and regional isolation that was abundantly clear in the Riyadh summit.
The central message of this year’s grand gathering is that regime change is a real possibility in Iran, and there are many features of the rally itself that highlight that message. First and foremost is its size, as many tens of thousands are expected to travel to Villepinte for the rally, in line with the numbers from the previous few years.
The event will be broadcast around the world, including in Iran, and has so much resonance in Iran that even political prisoners in Iran are daring to send out messages of solidarity.
The vast majority of the Iranian population is eager to receive that message, and when it does so it will see policymakers from the United States, Britain, France, and the Middle East delivering speeches in support of the Iranian Resistance and the cause of regime change by the Iranian people and their organized resistance.
The principled solution
For years the NCRI has argued that the solution for Iran is neither appeasement of the regime, nor foreign military intervention. Rather, the principled solution is to support the Iranian people and their organized opposition movement to bring about regime change.
For decades, western governments have failed to heed this call, instead choosing economic relations with the regime, while attempting to sideline the Resistance. That era has now come to an end.
The Iranian Resistance is now prepared and ready to direct all its energy on regime change in Iran. While some of Tehran’s apologists have tried to depict the new regional and international setting as Arabs versus Persians or Sunnis versus Shiites, the Iranian Resistance, as an indigenous movement with grassroot support inside and outside of Iran, renders those assertions hollow.
The US and other western powers should recognize the Resistance movement, which has the capacity to achieve change. The mullahs and lobby tried for years to conceal and dupe the world about this reality.
The definitive goal of the world should be the removal of the world’s only modern theocracy and the most active state sponsor of terrorism and stand with the Iranian people as they stand for liberty.
Shahin Gobadi is a member of Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the Parliament in exile of the Iranian Resistance. He tweets @gobadi.