OIAC 2020, virtual conference -- U.S. May 21, 2020
Written by
Shahriar Kia
OIAC 2020, virtual conference -- U.S. May 21, 2020
The Organization of Iranian-American Communities (OIAC) in the United States held a virtual conference, titled “Iran: Global Threat, Domestic Repression, Prospects for Change,” on Thursday.

Members of the Iranian American Communities and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK) joined this conference from 1,000 locations from 40 states. This event was also attended by American renowned politicians, including former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, former U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli, and former U.S. envoy to the UN Human Rights Commission Ambassador Ken Blackwell.

 

The participants of this conference condemned the regime’s inaction and cover-up of the coronavirus outbreak which has, according to the MEK, led to over 44,300 people losing their lives. They also elaborated on the issue of the Iranian society’s restiveness, the regime’s domestic and international crises, and the Iranian Resistance’s role in leading the people’s uprising toward freedom and the mullahs’ downfall.


Former U.S. envoy to the UN Human Rights Commission Ambassador Ken Blackwell

Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Governor Tom Ridge

Senator Robert Torricelli
Participants of this conference while supporting the U.S. maximum pressure campaign called for further pressure on the Iranian regime and a joint international effort to recognize the Iranian people’s right to resistance and overthrow the religious dictatorship and the need to end the appeasement policy toward the mullahs’ regime.

This event was moderated by Dr. Ramesh Sepeherrad, an OIAC Advisory Board member. She described OIAC as “as eager as ever and proud” to continue its efforts for a free Iran, and “in the current circumstances would do so in person or virtually.”


Dr. Ramesh Sepehrrad
“The more the world learns of the commitment, the passion, and the courage of the freedom fighters of Iran, the more and more the world embraces their cause as its own. And that is very, very important,” said Secretary Ridge.

Expressing his support for the MEK and the Iranian Resistance, particularly opposition leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, Sen. Torricelli said: “At the moment, only Mrs. Rajavi and the MEK is in communication with … the Western world. Only the MEK has the people inside Iran in the resistance groups who can combine and support, and resources in the West, and the people on the ground in Iran.”

Kenneth Blackwell, the former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Commission on Human Rights said: “The Trump administration has committed to an all-out government approach to pushing back against a regime that is at the epicenter of international terrorism and disregard for human rights.”

Ms. Soona Samsami, the U.S. Representative of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, joined the conference from Washington, DC. She told the conference: “There is a single solution for the coronavirus, for poverty, for oppression, for terrorism, and for Tehran’s global threat. That solution is overthrowing the mullahs’ religious dictatorship in its entirety by the people of Iran. The international community should stand on the side of the Iranian people and their resistance. The world will be a safer place with a free Iran.”


Mr. Aref Alvandi, the community rep from Maryland, emphasized: “Our message is that we stand with millions of Iranians protesting the regime of the mullahs as they shout, ‘down with Khamenei, down with Rouhani.’” He paid tribute to the more than 1,500 people massacred in two major uprisings in the last several months, adding: “The days of this regime are numbered. No one better than the mullahs gets this message loud and clear. … We call on our policymakers to continue to stand with the people of Iran and keep the maximum pressure on this regime.”

Dr. Afsaneh Maghsoudi, the representative of the Iranian American Cultural Society of Michigan, warned: “The mullahs’ domestic repression, terrorism, and nuclear expansion has a new tool, and that is COVID-19. [Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad] Zarif is using it to lobby and get sympathy for his dying regime. Rouhani is using it to distract the public from his utter failure. Khamenei is using it as a strategy to give his regime a lifeline. The Revolutionary Guards are using it for repression.” She stressed that “any sanctions relief for the regime under the cover of helping the victims of the pandemic is a lie… Medical assistance should go directly to the people.”