In exactly one month from today, there will be one of the largest gatherings of people dedicated to changing Iran from a religious, despotic regime to a multicultural, democratic, secular nation.
The annual meeting, sponsored by the organizations supporting the National Council of Resistance of Iran, one of the largest resistance groups worldwide to the Iran regime, is held outside of Paris, France and offers a platform for elected leaders, women’s activists, religious leaders, death penalty opponents, anti-nuclear groups and Iranian dissidents to join in an united voice against the mullahs in Tehran and their brutality.
Led by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, a moderate woman leader of a global Muslim group, the NCRI offers a compelling and unmistakable contrast to what Iran and its lobbying supporters attempt to portray the resistance as a group of out-of-touch Iranian exiles who do not represent the true hopes of the Iranian people.
The Iran lobby has worked relentlessly to attack any appearance of an organized resistance to the regime. Groups such as the National Iranian American Council, blogs such as Lobelog and columnists such as Eli Clifton have sought to misinform and distort the truth in the hopes of throwing enough mud at a wall so that something, anything will stick. The same goes for the distortions being played out over social media.
Why does the Iran lobby seem so offended by any dissent? Largely because its truth is as fragile as a house of cards, ready to be blown over with the slightest breeze. The daily conduct and revelations about the Iran regime undercuts anything the lobby does.
As it tries to portray Hassan Rouhani as a moderate interested in a nuclear compromise, his master, top mullah Ali Khamenei, denounces any nuclear deal that does not reward the regime with an unconditional lifting of economic sanctions.
As foreign minister Javad Zarif smiles for the cameras with Western leaders, Iran is busy leading proxy wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. And many are being executed at home for various excuses, in order to raise fear amongst people and particularly the women and the youth.
As a sympathetic news media try to portray a nuclear compromise as advantageous for regional security and stability, Iran’s neighbors such as Saudi Arabia openly question the possibility of jumping into a nuclear program of their own to match Iran.
Most galling of all is the central truth facing the Iran lobby; the Iranian resistance is not just a collection of academics or elites living in exile. It is comprised of millions of people of all religions, ethnicities and nationalities, all working towards a common dream of freedom.
It has deep connections to millions of Iranians living within the regime who provide information on human rights abuses, demonstrations, police and paramilitary activities and economic performance; all of which puts to a lie the claims made by Iran’s leaders.
The resistance movement has helped uncover secret Iranian nuclear facilities. It has helped bring to light the arrest, imprisonment and abuse of countless thousands of prisoners of conscience. It has shifted the perception of global leaders who no longer believe the flowery speeches and moderate claims made by the mullahs.
Most of all, the resistance movement is a living, breathing embodiment of the hope for real change in Iran. It cannot be explained away by the Iran lobby and is a constant thorn in their side.
Over the next month, as we build up towards the gathering on June 13th in Paris, we will also be on a parallel track with new nuclear talks aimed at delivering a final agreement by the June 30th deadline. You can bet the lobby will ramp up the rhetoric and vitriol in order to try and salvage an agreement in the wake of near unanimous action by the U.S. Senate to review and decide on any deal.
If there is one thing we know, the pressure of a countdown to June 30th will place the Iran regime and its lobby under ever-increasing scrutiny.
By Laura Carnahan