On Friday, Senator John McCain met with Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Tirana, Albania. The two officials discussed the latest developments in Iran, their activities in the region, and the future prospects. Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission and a number of U.S. Embassy staff in Tirana, Albania, as well as several of Senator McCain’s advisors accompanied him on the visit.
Rajavi praised McCain for his efforts in support of MEK member in Ashraf and their relocation out of Iraq’s Camp Liberty. McCain also congratulated member of the group for successfully relocating to Albania out of Iraq. During their time in Iraq, the group had been subject to attacks from Iranian-backed militias.
“There is no doubt that the people in this room have suffered,” McCain told the gathering. “They have suffered not only themselves but in the loss of their loved ones because of the Iranian tyranny, and I express my condolences to everyone in this room who has lost a loved one as a result of the Iranian tyranny and terrorism.”
“The dissident group, also known as the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) has revealed information on Iran’s nuclear and terror activities over the years. The MEK indicated that 140 members were killed in seven attacks on Camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq by the Iranian regime, the Iraqi army, and the pro-regime Iraqi terrorist militias.In the past, the U.S. had listed the MEK as a terrorist organization for past alleged attacks on Americans, for which the MEK has denied any role. It was seen by the U.S. at the time as a goodwill gesture for the former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. The group was removed from the list in 2012,” the Washington Examiner wrote.
McCain also noted that the Iranian regime, Assad, and Daesh (ISIS) were all interrelated, but that he believed they could be dealt with separately. This included removing Assad from power and confronting Iran about its destructive role in Syria and Iraq.
“Today, there is a consensus in the Middle East about the clerical regime’s destructive role and that the religious fascism ruling Iran is the primary source of war, terrorism, and crisis in the region,” said Rajavi. “Regime change is not only indispensable to ending the egregious violations of human rights in Iran, but also to establishing peace and tranquility in the region. As long as the clerical regime is in power, it will not abandon the export of terrorism and fundamentalism.”
Rajavi also underscored how the resistance against the current Iranian regime will continue, as members continue to demonstrate that Iran is not likely to change its policies or radically alter its choice to export terrorism into the region and internationally. She pointed out that the Iranian people have never given up the desire for change and are determined to establish democracy and freedom within the country.
“From all indications, the clerical regime is at an impasse socially, politically, and economically and as such is quite vulnerable. The Iranian people and Resistance are more determined and prepared than ever to overthrow the ruling theocracy and establish democracy and popular sovereignty in Iran,” said Rajavi.
As part of his comments to the group, McCain noted the example of their resistance in the face of tyranny.
“You have stood up and fought and sacrificed for freedom, for the right to live free, for the right to determine your own future, for the rights that are God given. I thank you for being an example, an example to the whole world, that those people who are willing to fight and sacrifice for freedom will achieve it, and you are an example to everyone in the world that is struggling for (freedom),” said McCain. He also praised Rajavi’s leadership, stating, “Someday, Iran will be free. Someday, we will all gather in that square.”
Rajavi also presented McCain with a book containing the List of 20,000 MEK martyrs, who have fallen for freedom in Iran. It is a partial list of names of 120,000 martyrs. McCain also met and talked with members of the group who were former political prisoners and others who had lost relatives under the regime.