Rouhani Cancels Austria Visit After Anti-Regime Rally

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The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) notes that Iran state media is reporting Iran president Rouhani has cancelled his visit to Austria after a PMOI rally.

Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Iranian regime’s Parliament, known as the Majlis, admitted the arranged visit of the mullahs’ President Hassan Rouhani to Austria, scheduled for March 30, was cancelled. It was cancelled after a rally by the main Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK), in Vienna.

Larijani made a weak excuse for the cancellation. He said Rouhani cancelled his trip because Austria paid no attention to Tehran’s request to revoke permission for the PMOI rally. This was reported by the state-run news agencies ISNA and Tasnim on Saturday, April 2.

Note: Tasnim is the news agency run by the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force.

Rouhani Cancels Austria Visit

PMOI Supporters scheduled their Vienna rally to coincide with Rouhani’s visit.

The Local and other Austrian newspapers reported the Iranian regime asked the Austrian government to cancel all the protests. Vienna denied that request, leading to Rouhani’s last-minute cancellation.

The Iranian protesters urged European governments and the European Union to condition their relationship with the Iranian regime on a halt to human rights abuses in Iran, including executions. More than 2,300 people have been executed since the so-called moderate Rouhani took office in 2013.

Protestors chanted “Rouhani is a terrorist,” “Khamenei is a terrorist,” “Democracy, freedom with Maryam Rajavi,” “All Iranians demand freedom,” “Down with the principle of clerical rule in Iran,” “Mullahs’ regime is fascist,” “Mullahs’ regime is terrorist,” and “Rouhani is a criminal; he is the enemy of Iranians.”

The demonstrators also condemned Tehran’s support for al-Assad, the massacre of Syrians, Iran’s continued proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and their ballistic missiles tests. They pointed out that Rouhani administration has continued the policy of exporting the “Islamic revolution” and proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Heinz Fischer was welcomed to Iran by a smiling Rouhani in September 2015, but Rouhani did not reciprocate in April 2016.

rouhani and austrian president in iran.
Rouhani welcomes Austrian President, Heinz Fischer to Iran, September 2015. Photo: IRNA

Support For Camp Liberty

Demonstrators also expressed their support for the members of the PMOI in Camp Liberty, Iraq. Camp Liberty, and Camp Ashraf before it, was attacked by the Iranian regime many times. The most recent attack was on October 29, 2015, when a barrage of rockets killed 24 residents and destroyed a large portion of the camp. Demonstrators urged the UN and the US to provide protection to Camp Liberty residents, which they are supposed to do, but have failed to do.

Human Rights Center for Victims of Fundamentalism

The organizer of the rally was the Human Rights Center for Victims of Fundamentalism. This organization supports the principal Iranian opposition group (PMOI) and the pivotal force of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

The aim of the Human Rights Center for Victims of Fundamentalism was to bring international attention to the wave of executions in Iran and the clerical regime’s export of Islamic extremism and terrorism throughout the region.

“This is a very telling case. It vividly indicates the mullahs’ concern and anxiety over the Iranian Resistance’s growing impact at home and abroad. It has reached a point that the regime can no longer even hide its concern about a demonstration by the Resistance several thousand kilometers away from Iran and calls off its most important and most prominent diplomatic acts,” said Shahin Gobadi of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

More Executions In 2015

There have been other recent protests against the Iranian regime. On January 28, Rouhani visited Paris, only to be met with a major protest by Iranians, French political figures, human rights organizations, human rights activists, and French citizens. Thousands of protestors called on France’s government to chastise Rouhani for the dire situation of human rights in Iran, the regime’s export of terrorism and fundamentalism, and its support for the criminal Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

With the so-called moderate Rouhani in charge, Iran executed more people in 2015 than in any other year in the past 25 years. This fact was announced by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights, in March this year.

Rouhani endorsed the executions as examples of “God’s commandments” and “laws of the parliament that belong to the people.”

iran hangs political prisoners.
Execution of political prisoners in Iran, by hanging.

Europe-Iran Banking Relationships

European governments and the EU may be more interested in banking relationships with Iran than human rights. European banks visited Tehran for the second Iran-Europe Business and Banking Forum. PressTV noted that European banks were “eager” to rekindle their relationships after sanctions were lifted.

No mention of exporting terrorism or executions in this forum, other than Iran’s Mohammad Khaza’ee, the Deputy Minister of Finance for International Trade. He said Iran is a pioneer in “fighting terrorism and money laundering.”

Shahriar Kia is a member of the Iranian opposition (PMOI /MEK). He is a human rights activist and political analyst on Iran and the Middle East.