Iran Focus: Washington, D.C., Apr. 14 – Iranians from across the United States gathered in the Constitution Hall here today
to take part in what they called Iranian-American National Convention for Democratic Change in Iran. Iran Focus
Washington, D.C., Apr. 14 – Iranians from across the United States gathered in the Constitution Hall here today to take part in what they called Iranian-American National Convention for Democratic Change in Iran.
Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA), joint-chair of the Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus of the U.S. House of Representative; Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Congress and Co-chair of the Caucus; Congressman Dennis Moore (D-KS); and Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) were among the speakers who offered their support to the Iranian peoples efforts to topple the clerical regime and replace it with a secular, democratic government.
The crowd gave rapturous applause to words of support from Republican Senators Kay Hutchinson from Texas and James Talent from Missouri.
A number of former government officials, human rights activists, and parliamentarians from other countries also spoke at this convention. They included Dr. Neil Livingstone, a Washington-based terrorism expert and author; Prof. Donna Hughes, Chair of Women’s Studies at the University of Rhode Island, and Paul Enzinna, a lawyer from former Secretary of State James Bakers law firm, Baker Botts.
Two former officers of the U.S. Army, Col. Kenneth Cantwell and Army lawyer Captain Vivian Gembara, both of whom served year-long tours of duty in Iraq, addressed the convention, as did Rep. Paul Forseth from the Canadian Parliament.
Speaker after speaker called on the U.S. government to remove the Peoples Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), the main Iranian opposition group, from the State Departments list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations. Several speakers said the terror tag was a key impediment to change in Iran at a time when the country is ripe for such change.
Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi addressed the convention via live video link from her home north of Paris. She urged all Iranians from different religions and political tendencies to come together in greater unity for the sake of bringing about democratic change in Iran.
Delegates representing Iranian communities in 40 states across the U.S., including California, Colorado, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Kansas, Missouri, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio, declared their support for Rajavis rejection of appeasement or war as policy options for dealing with Iran, saying that the only way to bring about democratic change in Iran is to support the efforts of the Iranian people and their resistance.
The State Department designated the PMOI as a terrorist organisation in 1997 in what Clinton administration officials said was part of efforts to thaw relations with Tehran.