Supporters of Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), attend a rally in Villepinte, near Paris, France, June 30, 2018..
(photo credit: REUTERS/REGIS DUVIGNAU)
PARIS - Tens of thousands of people from across Europe and the US gathered on Saturday at the Villepinte Congress Center, outside of Paris, for the annual meeting of the Iranian opposition “Free Iran” movement.
Waving Iranian flags, supporters chanted in Farsi “we are ready,” and “people are dying, we will take back Iran,” as they responded to calls to topple the Ayatollah regime.
Wearing a blue scarf and traditional attire, leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran Maryam Rajavi addressed the crowd, saying: “the overthrow of this regime inevitably requires the willingness to pay the price, requires honesty and sacrifice, requires an organization and a strong political alternative, and requires resistance units and a liberty army…
“We call for the establishment of a society based on freedom, democracy, and equality, which has clear demarcations with despotism and dependence as well as gender, ethnic and class discrimination. We have defended and will defend gender equality, the right to freely choose one’s attire, separation of religion and state, autonomy of nationalities, equal political and social rights for all citizens of Iran, abolition of the death penalty, freedom of expression, parties, the media, assembly, unions, associations and syndicates.’’
A large American delegation, headed by former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, a long-time supporter of the movement, took part in the event.
Also present were former speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, and former US Ambassador Bill Richardson. The delegation was mostly comprised of neo-Conservative Republicans, but also by a few Democrat figures objecting to the Iranian nuke agreement.
Former Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper headed the Canadian delegation to the event.
Welcomed by cries of “thank you,” Giuliani told the public that “when people take to the streets and protests day after day, like they do in Iran, when they do that, no many how many are killed and their number continue to grow and grow, then freedom is right around the corner.”
Giuliani continued by criticizing companies that continue to do business with Iran. “Those business es who continue to do business with this regime should be boycotted, and we should stop doing business with them,” Giuliani said. “Thank god that my president turned his back on the very dangerous nuclear agreement with Iran, whose regime is the biggest supporter of terrorism.”
Gingrich said that “the willingness of so many people to come from so many places is a major factor in the growing support for freedom in Iran…Two years ago we had an administration committed to weakening the sanctions; today you have an administration which understands the reality, increasing the sanctions, which will become every month tougher and tougher.”
Former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kushner, a longtime supporter of the movement, told the crowd that “not all Europeans agree with the political line of the current US administration, but the people of Europe all support the path of liberty. There is no difference between European people, US people and Canadian people in that; we are all with you; we are all on your side in your battle for freedom. We must get rid of the Mullah regime and build up a real democracy with the people.’’
The Mujahedin movement is one of the largest opposition groups outside Iran, with its headquarters based in France. It advocates resistance and the violent overthrow of the Ayatollah regime, claiming to be the true representative of the Iranian people and proclaiming itself as the country’s government in exile.
NCRI spokesman Shain Gobadi told The Jerusalem Post that Saturday’s rally was one of the biggest ever to take place in Europe. He said that buses brought people from across France, Belgium, the UK and the rest of the continent.
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