The rally took place outside the United Nations building in midtown New York while Rouhani was addressing the leaders of other nations that had gathered there. Rouhani vowed that, if the United States rescinded the controversial 2015 nuclear deal that was led by the Obama administration, Iran would take resolute and decisive action.

Iran’s threat comes a day after Trump’s threat that he would rescind the deal. Trump had very harsh words for Iran, slamming it for its corruption, its dictatorship, its deception and its violence. He did not mince his words: “The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos.”

Members of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) gathered outside the United Nations building yesterday. The NCRI is a coalition of hundreds of Iranian opposition groups and individuals. A US representative of the group emphasised that the people of Iran want regime change. Sonia Samsami said in an interview with Fox News that there is no other way forward and the people want a “democratic, secular and non-nuclear republic of Iran.” She added: “Regime change at the hands of the people is the only solution to the Iran crisis.”

The NCRI is calling on the United States to support the viable and legitimate opposition to the theocracy in Iran. It already has bipartisan support from many officials and former officials in the United States, and it has a huge support among members of the European Parliament.

The opposition is currently calling on the United Nations to conduct an investigation into the 1988 massacre in Iran. During the summer of 1988, around 30,000 political prisoners were executed after a fatwa was issued by the Supreme Leader of the country.

So-called “death commissions” were set up all over the country to coordinate the executions. Last year, an audio recording was released providing more details about the crime. We can hear the voice of Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri – a high-ranking official at that time who was set to be the next Supreme Leader – telling other individuals that they would be taking part in the “greatest crime” ever committed by the country. He warned them that history would condemn them.

Because of this Montazeri lost his position of power, but the real crime has never been punished. Those who were involved in the 1988 massacre went on to occupy high-level positions in the leadership of the country. Human rights organisations and the people of Iran are calling for impunity to end.