Iran Focus: Taverny, France, Jun. 27 – Tens of thousands rallied north of Paris on Saturday calling for regime change in Iran and establishment of a democratic republic based on respect for human rights and separation of religion and state.
Taverny, France, Jun. 27 – Tens of thousands rallied north of Paris on Saturday calling for regime change in Iran and establishment of a democratic republic based on respect for human rights and separation of religion and state.
Prominent Western political figures joined Iranian exiles and others in pleas for freedom from oppression by the Islamic regime and tighter economic sanctions against Tehran. They also urged the Iraqi government to lift restrictions it has imposed on the main Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin (PMOI) at their base in Camp Ashraf in Iraq, as well as for the United States to remove the PMOI from its list of terrorist organisations.
Former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar, former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, European Parliament Vice President Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca and former Algerian Prime Minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali addressed the rally, which organisers said was attended by up to 100,000 people, including more than 200 lawmakers and dignitaries from around the world.
Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the coalition which includes the PMOI, told the rally: “The Iranian people will continue to resist until the dictatorship is overthrown”.
She called on the international community to stand with anti-government protestors in Iran.
“From our point of view, the new Security Council resolution and complementary sanctions by the U.S. and Europe are necessary, but insufficient … We demand that you stop the purchase of oil and gas from this regime right now”, she said. “The Iranian people, of course, demand far more than this. They demand that this regime must go”.
Mrs. Rajavi urged “the creation of a new society, based on freedom, equality, democracy, respect for human rights and separation of religion and state”.
Mr. Aznar said: “I support your fight for liberty and democracy. The Iranian people have suffered enough. They demand and deserve a better government, which respects the dignity of people and assures fundamental liberties”.
Mr. Bolton said: “The Iranian regime has become a military dictatorship, fascist and repressive. But the repression that followed the fraudulent elections of 2009 has shown to what point the regime is criminal and the opposition powerful”.
He urged the US to remove the PMOI from its list of foreign terrorist organisations. The group was added to the list in 1997 as the Clinton administration sought to engage with the Tehran regime. Britain and the European Union lifted the ban in 2008 and 2009 respectively after the courts there found there was no evidence to justify the designation.
Mr. Vidal-Quadras announced that majorities in 23 parliaments in Europe, North America and the Middle East had signed declarations in support of the PMOI in Camp Ashraf.
The group was attacked last summer by Iraqi forces, believed to be acting at Tehran’s behest. At least 11 Ashraf residents were killed and scores of others injured in the attack on the unarmed camp residents. They have since been under a virtual siege as Iraqi forces prevent anyone from entering the camp. There are restrictions on the entry of food, fuel and medicine to the camp.
The Parliamentary declarations urge the United Nations to take over protection for the camp and the United States to guarantee that protection.