The event focused on a firm approach toward the Iranian government. Speakers came from around the world, including bi-partisan representatives from the US, prominent figures from the EU, as well as Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal and a large delegation from the Syrian democratic opposition.
The event, which highlighted prospects for democratic change in Iran, condemned repression of human rights in the country, and denounced Iran’s record for regional intervention. Solidarity with the Iranian opposition was expressed with the rallying cry of “Free Iran.” It brought immediate criticism from such Iranian media outlets as Royesh Melat.
The gathering displayed the political power of Iran’s opposition, and captured the growing momentum for a new approach in Middle East and Washington policies regarding the clerical establishment in Iran.
Several prominent Americans spoke at the rally, including former Democratic party’s nominee for Vice President and former US senator, Joe Lieberman; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; former attorney General Michael Mukasey; former Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge; former FBI director Louis Freeh; former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton; and Congressmen Ted Poe, Robert Pittenger and Tom Garretall. These speakers discussed the changes taking place in the international community, and the hope that it would culminate in a new approach towards Iran, as well as a strategic partnership with the Iranian opposition.
Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), was the keynote speaker, who struck a hopeful note for democratic change. “The ruling regime is in disarray and paralyzed as never before. Iranian society is simmering with discontent and the international community is finally getting closer to the reality that appeasing the ruling theocracy is misguided,” she said. She highlighted the dire situation of the people of Iran, and commended Iran’s political prisoners, who supported the gathering “from the depths of the regime’s torture chambers.” She added, “The sun of change is shining on Iran,” and as thousands cheered her on, declared, “We are ready.”
Speaking about the international community, Mrs. Rajavi said it must, “Recognize the resistance of the Iranian people to overthrow the mullahs’ religious dictatorship and designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization and evict it from the entire region.”
Gingrich praised the Iranian opposition and the leadership of Maryam Rajavi. “She is persistent in difficult times. She is a great leader. I thank each of you on her behalf to help her make her a truly historic figure.”
A vision of what the future of Iran could look like was presented by the opposition, and the broad support from around the world could make this vision a reality. The prospect for a free Iran may soon be possible. “Our people want a constitution based on freedom, democracy, and equality,” said NCRI President, Maryam Rajavi.