For many of those people, the presence of a committed American delegation is a good sign. These figures join delegates from Canada, the UK, Europe, and from throughout the Middle East, including representatives of the moderate, secular resistance groups fighting against Iran-supported regimes in Syria and Iraq. Speeches from a number of these delegates will be translated on site into eight languages.
Asked which of the speakers he is most looking forward to hearing, one member of the NCRI struggled to narrow the list down to just a few names, but was sure to say, “The Americans are always good.”
The young Iranian expatriate went on to explain that the support of certain American politicians has been unwavering, has come from both sides of the political aisle, and has actually been followed through on with action in support of the cause. Such follow-through, especially from a bipartisan group, is “unheard of in this day and age,” he said.
Today’s rally comes at a time when American policy towards Iran is noticeably divided. President Obama has taken a fairly soft stance towards negotiating with the regime over its nuclear program. Many in Congress have criticized this approach, worrying that sanctions relief has helped to enrich a rogue state and that the US has spoiled an opportunity to make Iran’s deplorable human rights record part of the discussion.
Human rights issues are certainly a primary topic of discussion for the delegates and attendees at the Iran Liberation rally, as is Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East region and throughout the world. An event participant commented on this when asked about the American presence at the rally. He suggested that American vigilance in confronting Iran is more necessary now than ever, as the regime expands its reach across the Middle East, into Africa, and “even to South American now.”
On Thursday, Iranian state media reported that the regime’s Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi had met in Tehran with Marcelino Medina Gonzalez, Cuba’s First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, in order to discuss the expansion of political and economic relations between the two countries. This announcement seems to support NCRI concerns about the expansion of Iranian influence, and may prompt even greater pressure from the US Congress and the American delegates to the Iran Liberation rally, who may now see an Iran with nuclear ambitions and fundamentalist ideology as pushing itself to the very doorstep of the United States.