Major Iranian dissident rally featuring U.S. officials abruptly postponed over terrorist threat

Several members of Congress, former senior officials were scheduled to participate in event

Updated: July 22, 2022 - 11:13pm

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An annual rally organized by the world's biggest Iranian resistance movement set to take place this weekend was canceled Friday “due to terrorist threats and conspiracies," according to the event's organizers.

The large, two-day gathering, titled "Free Iran World Summit 2022: Iran on the Brink of Change, Resistance Key to Victory," was being organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its associate group, the exiled People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK).

Both organizations advocate regime change in Iran, where an Islamist theocracy has ruled the country since 1979.

This weekend's event was set to be held in Ashraf 3, in Albania, home of the MEK, which the Iranian regime calls a "terrorist" organization.

"The Free Iran World Summit scheduled to be held on July 23 and 24 in Ashraf 3, Albania, is postponed until further notice upon recommendations by the Albanian government, for security reasons, and due to terrorist threats and conspiracies," the NCRI said in a statement.

At least 35 members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, were scheduled to participate in the event along with parliamentary delegations from around the world, according to organizers.

Several former senior officials, including heads of state, from the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere were also toparticipate.

Friday's postponement comes after Assadolah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Belgium last year for plotting to bomb a NCRI rally in a suburb of Paris in 2018. He was accused of following orders from Iranian intelligence.

A senior NCRI official told Just the News that the latest development is part of a pattern of the Iranian regime targeting its political opponents abroad, pointing to the 2018 incident.

"Recall that in June 2018, several European law enforcement agencies thwarted a plot to bomb the Free Iran World Summit in Paris, arresting Assadolah Assadi, a sitting senior Vienna-based Iranian regime diplomat, and three accomplices, who were later sentenced by a Belgian court t0 17-20 years in prison," said Ali Safavi, a member of NCRI's Foreign Affairs Committee.

Safavi noted Friday's terrorist threat came on the same day that the Brussels Court of Appeals in Belgium temporarily banned the Belgian state from extraditing Assadi to Iran. The Belgian Parliament this week approved a much-criticized prisoner swap treaty with Iran that could result in Assadi's release.

The U.S. government has consistently identified Iran as the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism.

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