It is with great pride and pleasure that I share with you once again our organization’s current year report and vision for the coming year.
2018 started with a new round of protests in Iran and our efforts to demonstrate solidarity with our protesting compatriots. We made considerable progress in connecting with activists and youth inside the country. I had numerous interviews with various Persian media outlets in which I tried to amplify the collective voice of Iranian protestors. We sent letters to the President of the United States, the U.S. Secretary of State and both chambers of the U.S. Congress to request that they elevate HIH Reza Pahlavi's security profile in order to promote his personal safety. We also met with the offices of several U.S. lawmakers to brief them on the current situation in Iran.
Later on in 2018, as tensions rose between the United States and Iran, the United States announced its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, - more commonly known as the "Iran Nuclear Deal" - previously agreed among the P5+1 and Iran. By November 5, 2018, all U.S. sanctions suspended pursuant to the JCPOA were re-instituted. Despite these developments, the European Union continues to work toward preservation and promotion of its mercantile interests in Iran. As I have stated in the past, the European Union and its member’s states would do well to realize that eventually there will be a change of regime in Iran and that the Iranian people will remember that the European Union prioritized business with the Islamic Republic over the human rights and dignity of Iranians.
Iran’s economy is in shambles and continues to decline, the government reports that 50% of population living under poverty line, and ordinary Iranians are growing increasingly poor and frustrated. But the Iranian people are resilient and eager to find hope in the prospect of regime change, which more and more of our compatriots are now acknowledging as the only path toward beginning to address our country's myriad problems and challenges.
We remain focused on our mission: the promotion of human rights, secular democracy and the rule of law. In 2018, we worked to raise awareness among the international community regarding the true nature of the Islamic Republic and the aspirations of the Iranian people. We also worked to develop and implement new ideas for engaging and supporting the people of Iran. Highlights from the past year are set forth below:
* Our honorary chair, HIH Reza Pahlavi, continues to be a supremely active and impactful advocate for the Iranian people, drawing global attention to their plight and their desire for a brighter future. From December 30, 2017, the beginning of last year's uprising in Iran, until February 27, 2018, HIH granted over 30 interviews to various Persian, American and international media outlets.
* Early in the year we coordinated with our network of Iranian academics and scientists to host the Future Strategic Conference in Virginia, at which HIH made an appearance.
* HIH personally met with U.S. Senators McCain, Hatch, Scott, Flake and Cruz and U.S. Congressmen King, Roskam, Kinzinger, Rayn, Gohmert and Sherman to raise awareness regarding the Iranian people's struggle.
* HIH graciously met with young Iranian activists. In particular, we sponsored and hosted a conference between HIH and his team, on one hand, and members of the Iranian secular democratic opposition network Farashgard, on the other. Farashgard was established in the fall of 2018; its mission is consistent with ours. We continue to develop our relationship with the group and hope to identify more opportunities for collaboration.
* We worked with members of HIH's team to formulate and execute the first-ever televised "town hall" program in Iranian political history. This historic event was held at the Newseum in Washington D.C. before a live audience of approximately 150 Iranians and was broadcast to Iran via satellite in early November 2018. We are pleased to report that the program drew significant attention and was very well-received both inside and outside Iran.
* On October 27, we hosted a networking reception in Washington D.C. for various members of the secular democratic Iranian opposition, including prominent activists, writers and scientists.
* We established a branch of NUFDI in Fresno CA, which is led by Dr. Ahmad Emami.
* We established a branch of NUFDI in Houston TX, which is led by Mr. Shapar Razmzan. This branch had a gathering not long ago in solidarity with our compatriots inside Iran.
What has inspired, and continues to fuel our activities, is our firm belief in the strategy of nonviolent protest in pursuit of a democratic transition from a theocratic and medieval state to a modern and democratic state, which represents, and is equally committed to all Iranians, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion or political views, as decreed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and as stated in our mission statement.
One of our goals for the coming year is to expand our presence to include additional cities/regions in the United States where there is a high concentration of Iranians. We have added more people to our Board of Directors and also established a Board of Advisors. We plan to increase our activity on Capitol Hill in order to build greater awareness of the growing momentum inside Iran toward regime change. We will continue to hold monthly conferences to discuss matters that are important to all of us as Iranians. We will also organize a few fundraising events in major cities to help support these efforts. And, as in the past, we will assist HIH Reza Pahlavi however we can.
We have always valued your kind moral and financial support, without which we could not achieve our goals. Your generous donations enable us to continue and expand our activities and to hire and retain exceptional professionals. Each contribution, no matter the amount, is greatly appreciated. You can donate online or send your contributions directly to the following address:
P.O. Box 60317
Potomac, MD 20859-0317
We believe trust and transparency are the most critical elements to any organization's ability to succeed. We have sought to build trust and demonstrate transparency from the inception of our activities until the present day.
Thank you again and best wishes to you and your family.
Dr. Saeed Ganji
President & Chairman
National Union For Democracy in Iran