The magnificent annual grand gathering of Iranians and supporters of the Iranian Resistance took place in Paris on 30th June 2018. A wide range of elected representatives, officials, politicians, human rights activists, dignitaries, lawmakers and political figures from more than 50 countries in five continents were in attendance and spoke to the tens of thousands of Iranians that joined them there.
Every year Iranian and international supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its President-elect Maryam Rajavi, gather in Paris to protest against the regime and call for a free, democratic, secular, peaceful and non-nuclear Iran.
The participants at the Free Iran rally in Paris were expressing support for the nationwide uprising of the Iranian people, including the Bazaar merchants who have risen up recently against the regime’s corrupt policies.
The prominent personalities who addressed the grand rally included Rudy Giuliani, U.S. presidential hopeful and the former Mayor of New York; Newt Gingrich, U.S. presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House of Representatives; Governor Bill Richardson; Michael Mukasey, former Attorney General; Louis Freeh, former Director of the FBI; and Gen. George Casey, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff, from the United States; Stephen Harper and John Baird, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Canada; Bernard Kouchner and Philippe Douste-Blazy, former Foreign Ministers and Rama Yade former Minister of Human Rights of France; Ambassador Giulio Terzi, former Foreign Minister of Italy; Sid Ahmad Ghozali, former Prime Minister of Algeria; Eduard Lintner, former German Deputy Interior Minister; Rt Hon. Theresa Villiers, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; Michele de Vaucouleurs and Philippe Gosselin, French parliamentarians; Senator Roberto Rampi, representing the Italian delegation; Anna Fotyga, former Foreign Minister of Poland and Member of the European Parliament; Pandeli Majko, Minister of State and former Prime Minister of Albania; Ben-Oni Ardelean, Vice-chairman of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania; Saleh al-Qalab, former Publicity Minister of Jordan; and Nazir Hakim, General Director of the Syrian opposition coalition.
Delegation from United Kingdom Presented a plaque to Mrs. Rajavi bearing, expressing their support for the Iranian Resistance under her leadership and her ten-point plan for a free Iran.
Dozens of declarations of support by prominent personalities and politicians, European parliamentary delegations, and senior religious leaders from various countries were presented to Mrs. Rajavi, in support of the Iran uprising and the organized resistance, and the democratic alternative, the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
In addition to the American dignitaries attending the gathering, a bipartisan statement was signed by 33 prominent American personalities, including Senator Joseph Lieberman, former candidate for Vice President; General James Jones, National Security Advisor to President Obama and former Commander of NATO; Edward Rendell, former DNC chairman and Governor of Pennsylvania; and Tom Ridge, former Secretary of Homeland Security and former Governor of Pennsylvania. The statement reads in part, “We believe that democratic change in Iran would do more than any other single event to enable stability and calm the fires of extremism in the region… The resistance movement has demonstrated its widespread roots within Iranian society, its resilience in the face of unimaginably difficult circumstances, its impressive organizational prowess, and its ability to expose secrets that Tehran is determined to keep from the Iranian people and the world at large.”
Over 50 bishops in England, Scotland and Wales, including two-thirds of the religious leaders in the British House of Lords that oversees thousands of churches across the U.K., and 78 Church leaders in the U.S., joined the Right Reverend and Right Honorable Dr. Rowan Williams, the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, in his declaration condemning the flagrant abuses of human rights in Iran, especially the rights of religious minorities and their painful situation. The signatories urged the international community to base any improvement of relations with Iran on a cessation of oppression of minorities and on a halt to executions in Iran.
More than 200 members of the British parliament expressed support for the Free Iran rally and the Iranian people’s uprising against the clerical regime. They called on the British government and the international community to recognize the NCRI as the democratic alternative. They also supported Madame Rajavi’s 10-point plan for the future of Iran, which calls for the establishment of a free, democratic, non-nuclear secular republic in Iran.
The majority of San Marino’s parliament recently declared their solidarity with the people of Iran in their uprising.
Jean-Francois Legaret, Mayor of the 1st district of Paris, represented the French delegation. He welcomed everyone to the land of human rights and of freedom, equality and fraternity. Legaret emphasized that France has chosen to support the Iranian Resistance and its relentless efforts and highlighted that the Resistance is working towards values that are very important to France. He said that France will fight alongside the NCRI until democracy has been achieved.
Philippe Gosselin, a member of the National Assembly of France paid tribute to the sacrifices made by the people of Iran that have suffered for so long. “You will soon be freed from religious dictatorship,” he said.
Representatives from the European Parliament took to the stage and confirmed that the Resistance is very well respected. They mentioned long-time supporter “Friends of a Free Iran” and said that more than 200 members of the European Parliament had pledged their support for change in Iran and in solidarity with those that are demonstrating in the streets of Iran.
Anna Elzbieta Fotyga, MP, representing the delegation from Belgian Parliament paid a heartfelt tribute to the people of Iran and its brave leader, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. She said that in European Parliament, Mrs. Rajavi’s efforts to bring justice, prosperity and most of all freedom to her own people is very much admired. She also said that the heroes of the Resistance are remembered and that the NCRI is supported by the European Parliament in its quest to promote truth and to bring those who are responsible for the massacres in Iran to justice. She said: “We support the ordinary people of Iran in your beautiful country in the most difficult of circumstances.”
Nejat al-Astal, Member of Parliament from Palestine, said that she respects the Iranian Resistance’s respect of women and women’s rights and pointed out that human dignity is the basis of the common struggle between the people of Palestine and the people of Iran.
Saleh al-Qalab from Jordan was another member of the Arab delegation that praised the Iranian Resistance and said that triumph is very close. Victory and the downfall of the regime is starting and the regime goes down now, after almost 40 years of dictatorship, massacring the people and meddling with neighbours.
Keynote speaker, Mrs. Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and leader of the Resistance movement, took to the stage and was greeted with thunderous applause and deafening cheers from the tens of thousands of people present. She explained that “1000 Ashraf” is representative of the Resistance and affirmed that “we will build 1000 resistance cells in Iran”. The Resistance leader said: “Onwards toward 1000 Ashraf in our occupied homeland.”
Speaking about the widespread protests in Iran, Mrs. Rajavi said that the rebellious population and youth have “decided to go on maximum offense”. For the past 6 months, the people have waged an uprising, despite maximum oppression, daily arrests and intimidation of the public. Social tension, economic tension and social inequality have reached an explosive point. The mullahs cannot resolve these issues and will not offer a solution. The regime has run out of cash. The regime is drowning in internal infighting. All of this, Mrs. Rajavi said, shows that the reign of the mullahs is nearing its end.
Furthermore, Mrs. Rajavi highlighted that the mullahs have lost the policy of appeasement that was protecting them, namely the US policy of the former administration. She said the shield that was guarding the regime has fallen.
Speaking about the resolve of the Resistance, she said: “Noone can rival the MEK when it comes to sacrifice and paying the price.” Mrs. Rajavi hailed the people in Iran who are terrifying the regime. She hailed all the martyrs and prisoners of the regime and called on all Iranians, no matter where they are, to help and give it their all so that the uprising can continue.
After her speech, Mrs. Rajavi paid tribute to all the Iranian martyrs and offered roses, a symbol of Iran, for the “fallen for freedom”.
Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, was welcomed as a great friend of the Iranian people and the Resistance. He said it is a great time of hope, more so than previous years, because it is now possible to see an end to the regime. Giuliani pointed out that other oppressed countries have been in this situation before and once the people take to the streets, like they are doing in Iran, freedom will come. “Freedom is right around the corner.”
The former mayor also said that the overthrow could have happened back in 2009, but his government had turned it back on the uprising. “Shame on that administration,” he said. Giuliani pointed out that the current US President has already voiced his support for the protesters in Iran and referred back to when Reagan supported the protesters in Poland, resulting in the fall of communism.
In a message to the countries that still do business with Iran, he said: “You are paying a regime that deprives women and children of their rights.”
Giuliani also spoke about the Resistance’s alternative that is based on 12 solid principles. “It is a full-fledged democracy that the NCRI is offering. This is what the martyrs died for.” He said that the era of appeasement is over and those do practice it will be shamed in history.
The bipartisan American delegation was thanked for their hard work by Mrs. Rajavi who joined them on stage. Mrs. Rajavi was presented with a statement from the delegation that highlights the Republican and Democratic unity in their call for the mullahs and ayatollahs to be overthrown and their desire for it to be replaced by a democratic government.
Speaker Newt Gingrich thanked those that came to the gathering and highlighted their significant role in the progress and advancement of the Resistance. He believes this meeting, what is currently happening in Iran and the tough US administration together gives the Resistance the opportunity to move more dramatically in the right direction. He is looking forward to the day the meeting is in Tehran.
The Canadian delegation, led by John Baird, former Foreign Minister of Canada, pointed out that many Western governments have opted for a failed conciliatory approach. Baird said that the approach was nothing short of appeasement and it is “time for the mullahs to go”. Baird introduced the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, who said: “The government of Iran must be the choice of a free people of Iran.” Harper also spoke about the steps that Canada has taken against the Iranian regime, namely by closing the Iranian embassy and designating the regime as a state sponsor of terrorism. He said that it is a crime that the prisons in Iran are overflowing with people, not for crimes that have been committed, but because of their political views. “We choose the right way in Canada, not the easy way.”
Former Foreign Minister of France Bernard Kouchner who is known for this humanitarian work reassured the people of Iran that the Europeans are on their side.
A performance was held on stage with the Iranian flag and the Lion and Sun symbol that was removed by the Iranian regime after the 1979 revolution.
A group of young people that recently fled Iran took to the stage. One young woman explained that she left Iran three years ago and said that the Resistance, after being the object of lies and propaganda by the regime, is as strong and present as ever. She said that the people are proud to have Mrs. Rajavi as their leader and that they are “ready and enthusiastic and willing” to continue contributing to the Resistance movement.
Judge Michael Mukasey, former US Attorney General, said that “the stars are aligned to accomplish what we want – the downfall of the regime”. He said that the American efforts will not stop “until we have a free and peaceful Iran”.
Judge Louis Freeh, former Director of FBI, addressed the freedom fighters in Iran. He said: “We are there for you and we support you and we are amazed at your courage and bravery. We can move satellites to help you communicate and we can punish those that do business with the regime.” He also addressed the oppressors and criminal leaders in Iran saying that the world we live in now is not like it was 100 years ago. He said to them that we now have the ability to bring the criminals to justice. Freeh emphasized that it is not just democratic chance that he is waiting for. He wants to see justice served too.
During the speeches made by the cross-party UK delegation, Sir. David Amess, a Member of Parliament since 1983, said that he and his fellow citizens are able to enjoy freedom in all aspects of life and said that this is what he wishes for the people of Iran. He said that the UK delegation represents members of the House of Commons, members of the House of Lords, members of Parliament, the Law Society of England and Wales, academia and religious leaders.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy Giulio Terzi said that a large part of Italian society realizes that being on the side of the Resistance is being on the right side of history. His colleague, Roberto Rampi, an Italian senator, said: “Your fight is our fight.”
A delegation from all over Europe including Eduard Lintner, former German deputy Interior Minister, Martin Patzelt, a Member of Germany Bundestag, Marcin Swiecicki, a Member of Parliament from Poland and Lars Rise, Chairman of Norwegian Committee of Friends of a Free Iran, all spoke about their commitment to freeing Iran. Lars Rise said that the movement can bring human rights and democracy but also peace and tranquillity to the region. He reminds us that we are all created equal said to Mrs. Rajavi that “we join you in the fight for common values”.
The delegation from Albania included Pandeli Majko, former Prime Minister, and Fatmir Mediu, Leader of the Albanian Republican Party. Majko said: “We may not speak your language, but we speak the language of the heart.” He reminded the regime that “having a horse does not mean you are a knight”. Three thousand Iranian are currently being sheltered in Albania.
Several prominent women took to the stage to focus on the role of women in Iran. Frances Townsend, former assistant to the US President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, spoke about the essential role of women in society in Iran and praised them for taking steps to defy the mullahs. She gave the example of them taking off their veils. Townsend said that women will continue to rule the Resistance and this is a major threat to the regime. The young women of Iran are taking the relay from their mothers and grandmothers and Townsend encouraged them to continue what was started by generations before them.
Rama Yade, former French Minister of Human Rights, said that she was very proud of France for welcoming the Resistance. Change from Iran will not come from outside of Iran, she said. “It will come from inside because Iran belongs to the people.”
With regards to the protests that have been ongoing since 28th December, Ingrid Betancourt, former Colombian Senator and presidential candidate, said that we have been witnessing Mrs. Rajavi deliver on her promise.
Four more prominent women from around the world, Ranjana Kumari, Maria Elmeida, Elena Elverdin and Munizae Jahangir took to the stage in support of the Resistance and especially of the women. They called on Mrs. Rajavi to join them on the stage. Mrs. Rajavi praised all of the women that have been instrumental in leading the Resistance.
The Romanian delegation highlighted that it has been present at the Free Iran gathering for seven years in a row. They said that they can understand the plight of the Iranian people because the Romanian people have been in the same position. They are there in solidarity. “We all have to enjoy freedom.”
The event ended with several performances and the positive breaking news that more protests are erupting in Iran. Videos were shown of people taking to the streets calling for regime change and the fall of the clerical regime. One women was even seen bravely confronting suppressive security forces.