Tens of thousands rally in Paris to demand regime change in Iran

by WorldTribune Staff, July 11, 2016

The leader of an Iranian opposition group called for regime change in the Islamic Republic and for the next U.S. president to abandon the nuclear deal with Iran.

Maryam Rajavi, leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, told tens of thousands of supporters at a rally in Le Bourget, France over the weekend that rally participants “represent the voice of millions of Iranians who are being oppressed in their country and who seek regime change and the establishment of a democratic, pluralist and non-nuclear government based on the separation of religion and state.”

National Council of Resistance of Iran leader Maryam Rajavi.
National Council of Resistance of Iran leader Maryam Rajavi.

“Their expectation of the next U.S. president, as with other Western leaders, is to abandon the policy of appeasement, which emboldens the Teheran regime to intensify the suppression of the Iranian people while continuing the policy of exporting terrorism to the region.”

Rajavi has led the movement since its founder — her husband, Massoud Rajavi — went into hiding in 2003.

Americans speaking at the rally included former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

One of the more notable speeches at the event was delivered by Prince Turki bin Faisal Al-Saud, the former longtime Saudi intelligence chief, who said he hoped to see the government in Teheran overthrown and that the dissidents’ “fight against the regime will reach its goal sooner or later.”

Gingrich said “dictatorship” in Iran “cannot be trusted,” adding that “the (nuclear) agreement made with it is insane.”

Former UN ambassador John Bolton said “there is only one answer here: to support legitimate opposition groups that favor overthrowing the military theocratic dictatorship in Teheran. Let me be very clear, it should be the declared policy of the United States of America and all its friends to do just that at the earliest opportunity.”

Dean, who is also the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and has attended the National Council rally for several years running, said he believes the group has been given a bad rap by Washington.

“I think this is an organization that is not understood well by the American government, and part of that is the deal that was made to put them on the terror list,” he said.

Struan Stevenson, a conservative Scottish politician and former European Parliament member, argued that any other group that could pull off a rally of the size that occurred (July 9) would be making “headline news across the whole of the Western Hemisphere.”

“Why is it not?” he asked.

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