On Saturday, July 9th, Iranian expatriates and supporters of opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) gathered from five continents to stage an unprecedented “Free Iran” rally in Paris, calling for regime change in Iran as a solution based on democratic principles and urgent action to provide necessary security for Iranian refugees in Iraq after a recent attack on Camp Liberty.
Event organizer NCRI is a conglomerate of Iranian dissident organizations, including the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MeK), each year successfully rallying huge Iranian Diaspora gatherings with an army of international figures expressing support for the cause of freedom and democracy in Iran without the mullahs.
The massive crowd of Iranians in Paris also rolled out the red carpet for a long slate of hundreds of distinguished figures, lawmakers of a rainbow of different political backgrounds, human rights advocates and prominent jurists from across the globe eager to show their solidarity and support for a democratic Iran rich in values cherished in the 21st century. The dignitaries included Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; Governor Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee; Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi intelligence chief, José Manuel Barroso, former president of the European Commission and former Canadian foreign minister John Baird.
The anxious speakers joined voice with the keynote figure of the event, being none other than Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi. She addressed the international community to bring an end to the failed appeasement policy, and adopt a much-delayed firm stance vis-à-vis Tehran by recognizing the NCRI as the sole legitimate voice of the Iranian people.
“International stakeholders assumed that the nuclear deal would bring tranquility to the region. But it rained down barrel bombs and 70,000 Revolutionary Guards on the people of Syria. It resulted in ethnic cleansing of Sunnis by the terrorist Quds Force in Iraq. And it led to the spread of extremism under the banner of Islam in the whole region,” Rajavi explained.
“On the other hand, the mullahs and Daesh are reading from the same script. Both espouse a similar reactionary ideology, which is diametrically opposed to the pristine teachings of Islam. They have a similar modus operandi when it comes to barbarity and savagery. They need to rely on one another to survive. For this reason, so long as the regime’s occupation of Syria, Iraq and Yemen continues, we cannot confront Daesh effectively,” she added.
Many speakers discussed the necessity for a change in policy and shifting away from decades of rapprochement with Iran. This is a proven failed policy that has to this day merely encouraged and emboldened Tehran to actually continue defying weak demands raised by the international community, they emphasized. Iran has used the opportunity to pursue its objectives across the Middle East, including in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and beyond through exporting extremist mentalities, supporting terrorism and boosting Islamic fundamentalism.
The prominent speakers, depicting a rare bipartisan American support, showed how the Iranian democratic opposition under Rajavi’s leadership has gained important support amongst influential figures in American politics.
“There is no reason for making a deal with the head of terrorism. It is nonsense to give them money for any reason and the atomic agreement only helps them have more money for exporting terrorism around the globe. With your efforts, however, and with an opposition movement that has supporters like you, freedom will be revealed. The existence of every single one of you here is a sign of hope and glory towards the redemption of your homeland,” said Newt Gingrich to the audience.
“Your fight and struggle against the Iranian regime will triumph soon and this is a matter of when, not if,” said Prince Turki al-Faisal addressing the crowd. “I want regime change, too. We in Islamic World will support you from the depth of our hearts.”
This massive rally in Paris proved once again that the international community has to finally recognize the Iranian people’s rightful demand of regime change through toppling the mullahs. Only such a mindset will pave the path for establishing a non-nuclear “Free Iran,” free of any oppression, emphasizing on separation of church and state to render a non-theocratic Iran for democracy to begin thriving.