Exiled Iranian dissident group cancels summit after terror threat
A large rally of Iranian dissidents in Albania opposing the theocratic regime in Tehran this weekend was abruptly called off due to a terrorist threat, organizers said.
US lawmakers and former government officials were expected to be among those addressing the two-day “Global Summit on Free Iran” starting Saturday.
The event, orchestrated by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its associated group, the People’s Mojahedin in Exile of Iran (MEK), aimed to draw attention to the plight of opposition protesters in inside Iran and to shed light on what he calls the Iranian regime’s hostile domestic and foreign policies.
The theme of the rally was to be: “Iran on the brink of change – Resistance, key to victory”.
The Iranian regime has long denounced the MEK, which has called for the overthrow of the government and provided embarrassing scoops on Tehran’s secret nuclear and military activities over the years. A senior Iranian diplomat was found guilty of taking part in a foiled plot in 2018 at an earlier gathering by the group in Paris.
The organization, whose headquarters are now located near the Albanian capital Tirana, said the summit had been “postponed until further notice on the recommendations of the Albanian government, for security reasons and due to terrorist threats and conspiracies,” the Associated Press reported on Saturday.
The U.S. Embassy in Albania also issued a statement recommending U.S. citizens avoid the event due to a “potential threat.”
The Biden administration, which is pursuing a revival of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, largely avoided the splinter group, but the NCRI had ties to senior members of the Trump administration, including the former adviser to national security John R. Bolton and former Secretary of State Mike Pence.
Organizers said nearly three dozen U.S. lawmakers from both parties are expected to address this year’s summit in Albania, including Democratic Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Texas Sen. Cornyn, the second Republican in office.