- Published: Tuesday, 04 July 2017
- Written by Pejman Amiri
A massive gathering of the Iranian diaspora was held in Villepinte Exhibition Centre, near Paris, on Saturday, July 1, 2017 to show their support for PMOI / MEK, the main opposition to the Iranian regime and advocating adoption of a firm approach toward the theocratic regime in Iran.
The gathering presented a large number of political dignitary speakers from all over the world, including from the U.S. Congress and personalities close to the current U.S. administration. They all were coherent in their support for MEK and calling for a regime change in Iran.
The keynote speaker was Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president elect of the Iranian Resistance coalition-NCRI, with MEK as its main member. She first hailed MEK by saying that: “Last year this time, the religious dictatorship ruling Iran was launching missiles at Camp Liberty to slaughter the members of the MEK. Now, with their victorious relocation from Camp Liberty Prison in Iraq to Albania, it is the Resistance that is advancing and on the offensive vis-à-vis the regime. We are all jubilant and proud to have MEK members and officials in Albania joining us in this gathering just now.” Referring to the failed policy of appeasement toward Tehran, She said,” Would giving concessions ever change the behaviour of this regime? The answer is NO. This is something that has been already tested repeatedly for the past three decades by the US and Europe. And is it possible to contain this regime? NO, the policy has been called containment, but in effect, it does nothing but obstructing the adoption of a firm policy against the regime. The conclusion is what the Iranian Resistance has emphasized since the outset and many in the world have reached today: The solution, and the only solution, is regime change…” the regime’s overthrow is possible and within reach. Because the regime is besieged by extensive social discontent. As one of the commanders of the State Security Force has acknowledged, nearly 11,000 protests and demonstrations took place in Iran last year.”
The MEK’s massively attended conventions held in free countries are shock to the Iranian regime because apart from voicing the Iranian grassroots inside Iran, they foil the Iranian propaganda that MEK has no root or support within Iran. MEK supporters argue when people are not free in Iran to express their political choice, these major meetings of the opposition outside Iran are indicative of the Iranian popular support for the MEK and the Iranian Resistance.
NCRI and MEK supporters say their organization is the most influential on the Iranian opposition landscape. Based on Washington Times report covering the event no one in the Iranian opposition “stands out the way the NCRI stands out” in terms of their “day to day engagement with the Iranian public,” says Ramesh Sepehrrad, a longtime Iranian-American women’s rights activist, who works with George Mason University’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Ms. Sepehrrad told a panel ahead of the rally in Paris that it’s difficult to measure the NCRI’s popularity inside Iran because the “regime has made the price very, very high for the Iranian people to express their support” for the movement. “Thousands of their supporters and their family members have been executed and imprisoned by the regime,” she said.
Aware of the consequences of the MEK event in Paris, the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited France just before the event and reportedly asked the French authorities to ban the activities of MEK (that are all legitimate and within the law). His attempt to extend the regime’s repression of the MEK from Iran to the heart of France failed.
Iranian news outlets reported, the presence and activities of the MEK in France are regarded as "a moot point" in relations between Tehran and Paris, Zarif told reporters in an interview published on Saturday, a day after he wrapped up his two-day visit to the French capital.
Ambassador John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the UN under Bush administration and a close aide to President Trump during his Presidential campaign told the crowd supporting MEK on Saturday, “I can say that we have a president of the United States who is completely and totally opposed to the regime in Tehran this is the true feeling of the president and he's made it very clear he made it clear during the election campaign last year he's made it clear numerous statements and even in tweets… “Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 revolution will not last until its 40th birthday the fact is that the Tehran regime is the central problem in the Middle East there's no fundamental difference between the Ayatollah Khomeini and president Rouhani they're two sides of the same coin. I remember when Rouhani was the regime's chief nuclear negotiator you couldn't trust him then, you can't trust him today and it's clear that the regime's behaviour is only getting worse.”
Some of the most notable advocates of the MEK and the NCRI include US Senator John McCain, Ambassador John Bolton, Gilbert Mitterrand, etc. They helped members of the MEK in their move to relative safety in Albania last year and have visited them and Maryam Rajavi since to show their solidarity with the Iranian people and their organized resistance.
Earlier this month, 265 Members of the European Parliament, including French MEPs, called on their respective governments to halt any future relations with Iran based on its human rights record. They also called for the blacklisting of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps on terrorism charges, and an investigation into the massacre of the MEK members and supporters in 1988.
Persecution of MEK
For nearly 40 years, the MEK has put themselves at great risks because of their ideals of democracy, freedom and equality.
The Iranian regime has killed 120,000 of dissidents, including 30,000 political prisoners, during the 1988 massacre, the vast majority of whom were MEK supporters.
The Iranian regime has consistently worked to paint the MEK as terrorists – with no evidence to support it – and discredit them in the eyes of the international community.
Indeed, regime lobbyists will be out in force this week but the MEK has the Iranian people and those who champion for human rights on their side.