Pamphlets are being distributed, and a great many posters, as well as graffiti, decorate dozens of towns and cities. Prominently featured, are images of NCRI leaders Maryam and Massoud Rajavi, along with slogans which translate as saying, “My vote regime change, down with Khamenei, our choice Maryam Rajavi.”
Hundreds of videos and photos have been taken of these incidents, and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)/People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran (MEK) have compiled many of them into a video.
In Iran, demonstrations like these pose a great risk to the people who participate in them. The NCRI/MEK has been outlawed as a “terrorist” group and the Iranian regime executes hundreds of people each year political and security “crimes”.
On Wednesday, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman referred to the NCRI as a “hypocrite cult”.
The acts of defiance in Iran “emphasize the fact that this regime and all its factions have no legitimacy whatsoever and that the July 1 gathering represents the will of the people of Iran,” the NCRI’s secretariat stated.
Preparations continue for Saturday’s “Free Iran” rally in northeast Paris, where more than 100,000 attendees are expected, including a group of prominent bi-partisan American supporters, politicians from European and Middle East countries, and tens of thousands of Iranian expats from around the world. Last year, a senior member of the Saudi royal family spoke at the rally, calling for the overthrow of the clerical regime in Tehran.
A promotional video for this year’s event, says it will be “a gathering for a free Iran, against terrorism and extremism in the name of Islam; a call for a stand against the Iranian regime’s destructive regional interference role; and a call for a new approach to the theocracy ruling Iran.” The theme for 2017 is, “Onward with the Iranian Resistance, Regime Change within Reach.”
A delegation of the Syrian opposition is expected to be among the guests, as Iran is one of the main players assisting the Assad regime.
A signed statement of support from many high-profile Americans who are scheduled to attend, was released this week. It accuses the regime of responsibility for “the instability and crisis in the region today.” The statement pledges support for change in Iran, saying, “We believe that change is within reach, not only because the regime is becoming engulfed in crisis, but also because there is a large and growing movement organizing for positive change,” and in reference to the NCRI, it continues, “A viable organization capable of ending the nightmare of religious dictatorship by establishing freedom and democracy, tolerance, and gender equality has steadily gained visibility, popular support and international recognition.”
The signatories also said that, “[t]he obligation to stand up to this corrupt and illegitimate regime and say ‘no more’ rests with the Iranian people alone.” However, they added, “the international community must meet its responsibility by condemning the mullahs’ oppression and embracing the Iranian people’s aspirations for a free and prosperous Iran accepted and respected around the world.”
Included in the signatories are former ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Democratic senator and United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI) chairman Joe Lieberman, former Pennsylvania governor and Democratic National Committee chairman Ed Rendell, former Marine Corps commander Gen. (Ret.) James Conway, and former Multi-National Force Iraq commander and U.S. Army chief of staff Gen. George Casey. These men are also scheduled to speak on Saturday.
Although the NCRI/MEK was a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, the acting Secretary of State in 2012, Hillary Clinton, delisted it, citing its renunciation of violence and “the absence of confirmed acts of terrorism by the MEK for more than a decade.”
Two weeks ago, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and said it was administration’s policy to “work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government.” He added, “Those elements are there certainly, as we know.”
Tehran and wrote a letter to the U.N., accusing Tillerson of violating international law and the United Nations Charter, in what it called “a brazen interventionist plan” to change the government.
John Bolton tweeted, “The only long-term solution to the threat Iran poses in the Middle East is, indeed, regime change,” in reaction to a news story on Iran’s complaint to the U.N. “There are ways of supporting the efforts of the Iranian opposition that do not involve the use of American force,” he added in a later post on Twitter.