As the US contemplates solutions to contain the Iranian regime’s growing threats, it must act now to bring accountability to the world’s foremost state-sponsor of terrorism. On July 17, the largest virtual international gathering of Iranians promises to offer concrete solutions and ways to do just that.
Significantly, in advance of the Free Iran Global Summit on Friday, 31 American luminaries and senior policy figures from across the aisle signed a letter declaring that “the days of religious fundamentalists controlling Iran are numbered.”
Some of the signatories, who will also speak during the Summit, include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, and former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.
The stellar cast of high-ranking foreign policy, diplomatic, intelligence, congressional and military leaders and experts add in their letter: “The senior officials [of the Iranian regime] at whose direction police murder citizens on the streets and wrongfully arrest innocent people, prison officials torture and execute citizens whose only crime has been expressing the desire for political and religious freedom, and judges enable government tyranny and twist the rule of law, must now be held accountable.”
These American leaders voice support for the main Iranian opposition and democratic alternative, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which will host the Free Iran Global Summit on Friday.
The sheer scale of the virtual gathering will be historic. It is a testament to the NCRI’s organizational superiority. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians are expected to join the event from at least 30,000 locations (each with multiple viewers) in 102 countries, in multiple time zones. This does not include individual attendees or viewers who will sign up on that day.
Over 1,000 parliamentarians, experts, scholars, politicians and former officials from five continents will also participate in the event to support the Iranian people’s uprisings for democracy.
The summit also takes place at a major historic juncture. Iran is on the verge of fundamental change. With major uprisings, coronavirus wreaking havoc, and the economy in a free fall, the theocracy’s days are, indeed, numbered. Nationwide uprisings have threatened the regime since 2017. Last November, close to 200 cities in all 31 provinces rose up, chanting “death to dictator” and unequivocally calling for regime change.
The theocracy is terrified of the resistance’s international summits. In 2018, it tried to bomb the NCRI’s gathering in Paris, but the plot was thwarted at the last minute. The perpetrators, including a senior regime diplomat, are expected to face trial in Belgium this fall. If the plot had succeeded, it would have been the deadliest terrorist attack on European soil in recent memory.
As the American luminaries highlight in their letter, the regime’s Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia in 1996 killed 19 and injured 500 American service-members. And it was directly involved in at least 608 American service-members’ deaths in Iraq since 2003.
But “there is a beacon of hope in this dark landscape,” it adds. “The one organization that has done more than any other entity, including governments, to free Iranian citizens from tyranny and the world from fundamentalist-inspired terrorism is the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).”
The NCRI and its main member organization, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), have made enormous sacrifices for freedom and for the removal of the world’s leading terrorist state. They have ample evidence of the atrocities committed by the regime. There is a giant exhibition at the MEK’s headquarters in Ashraf 3, Albania, detailing the horrific human rights abuses and terrorist acts perpetrated by Tehran’s mullahs.
That is why, the American luminaries recommend that “countries that have been victimized by Iranian-government sponsored terrorism, including the US and its European allies, send teams of experts to study the evidence at Ashraf 3 while organizing their own evidence for eventual use in international tribunal proceedings.”
That is sage advice for world governments. Failure to hold Tehran’s tyrants to account for their inexcusable behaviors is not only anathema to democratic ethics, it will also further embolden the regime to commit more terrorism, murder, and nuclear proliferation.
It is high time to hold the Iranian regime to account. The Free Iran Global Summit on Friday will be the single largest virtual event to date, and it will call for a free, democratic, secular and non-nuclear republic in Iran. It deserves attention, not only for its colossal technological feat but also for offering an invaluable and historic political solution for Iran, the region, and beyond.
Mr. Safavi (@amsafavi) is an official with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)