Ed Rendell, politician and former Governor of Pennsylvania, spoke at the “Free Iran” rally in Paris on 1st July. He opened his speech with mention of the many people who worked hard to free the people of Ashraf. He said that Bob Torricelli and Colonel Wes Martin deserve extra credit for the effort and time they put into the operation. He emphasized that they, like everyone involved in the operation, did not do what they did for credit or thanks but because they “became devout believers in the goodness and the talent that was in Ashraf, and we couldn’t let those good people die”.
He also said that the operation was very difficult because at the time the MEK was on the terror list and nobody wanted anything to do with the task. However, they persisted and eventually the situation was easier to control.
After much criticism about the Obama administration and its foreign policy errors, Rendell made the following point: “By the way, who did that desisting? Who was the Secretary of State who did that desisting? Let the record show it was Hillary Clinton. And who did Hillary Clinton work for? She worked for President Barack Obama. Now, when the State Department helped us get 3,000 Ashrafis to Albania, Bob Torricelli will tell you and anybody who was in on that will tell you that it was because of the work of the Secretary of State of the United States, John Kerry. And let me ask you a question, who did John Kerry work for? Barack Obama. So let’s be clear about this. Three thousand people are in Albania because of Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and a lot of Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike, who rolled up their sleeves and worked hard because we believed in those people. We believed in their goodness, we believed in their talent, we believed in their energy, we believe that they could be a cornerstone to building a free Iran.”
He then said that the next step is to free Iran, something that this is the job of the people. He emphasized that the US must stand firmly behind them.
As well as giving the people of Iran freedom and democracy, Rendell highlighted that freeing Iran is also in the interests of the US because it will spell the end of extremism and will mean peace and security.
Rendell ended his speech by saying that he has never experience more accomplishment in his whole public career than he did when the people of Ashraf were freed. He said: “I have never felt a better feeling than knowing that my work and my energy somehow contributed in some small part to getting the people of Ashraf out of Iraq to safety. I’ve never felt prouder, I’ve never felt prouder of anything I’ve done in my public career. And I want to—this was its own reward, to see those faces on the screen tonight, that’s its own reward. You don’t have to thank me. It’s wonderful, it’s a great feeling.”
Robert Torricelli, an American politician who served as the United States senator from New Jersey from 1997 to 2003 member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 1997 spoke at the “Free Iran” rally on Saturday 1st July.
The “Free Iran” rally is an annual event that is organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Last year there was a lot of emphasis on the struggle of getting the last remaining MEK members removed from Camp Ashraf. This year, there was a lot of emphases given to the fact that the efforts came to fruition last September when the last residents were finally located to Albania.
Many of the speakers said that they hoped the next “Free Iran” rally would be a celebration that could be held in Tehran.
Torricelli emphasized that the people of Iran are being denied the most basic of human rights that we in the West take for granted. He said: “Before me is the largest gathering of Iranians in the world who woke up this morning breathing free, speaking free, worshipping free, living free.”
He also emphasized that there are many people around the world that are sharing this struggle with the people of Iran and are standing shoulder to shoulder with those that are victims of the regime. He said that the fight for freedom is a desperate one – desperate because people are fighting for something they should not have to fight for and also because the people of Iran are being treated so badly by the Iranian regime.
Torricelli also pointed out the important role of those who have come from Camp Ashraf. He said: “But we must all be mindful that while this is the largest gathering of free Iranians in the world today, tomorrow morning that responsibility rests on a brave few in Tirana, Albania. To those who survived Ashraf, fought through Camp Liberty, you are now the point of the spear in Albania. Our hopes, our prayers rest with you to destroy the mullahs and create a free Iran.”
Like many of the speakers before and after him that day, Torricelli praised the leader of the Resistance – Maryam Rajavi. He said that she is representative of many a positive thing for the Resistance and the people of Iran. He said: “My friends, in Iran the name Rajavi is synonymous with freedom and a hope for a better future.”
A US politician hailed the work done by the Iranian Resistance to expose the bloody Regime in Tehran at the Free Iran Grand Gathering in Paris, last weekend.
Linda Chavez, Chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and former Director of the Office of Public Liaison, praised the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), an activist branch of the Resistance, and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which serves as a government-in-exile, for their commitment to the cause.
She said: “I want to salute you today for your courage and for your perseverance of the MEK and the NCRI. You are the ones who remain committed to freedom and to democracy for Iran and to eradicate the suppression, the terrorism, and the regime’s demonizing campaign that has been directed at you. Your perseverance gives up hope that we shall in the end defeat the phenomena of Islamic fundamentalism, whose heart beats in the clerical regime in Iran. I wish you a good meeting and I wish that your message will be carried throughout the world.”
The Free Iran Rally had the overarching theme that regime change in Iran was not only necessary but imminent. The previous methods of appeasing the Regime and negotiating with them have clearly failed to bring the mullah’s Regime in line with the rest of the world.
Chavez, along with all other speakers at the Grand Gathering, correctly assessed that the only way to achieve freedom for the Iranian people is with regime change.
She said: “There is a growing conviction throughout the world that the only way to counter the extremism and the fundamentalism in the theocratic regime in Iran is to replace that regime.”
Chavez also noted that the Iranian Resistance forces should be the ones to overthrow the Regime, so that regime change in Iran is truly a movement of, by, and for the people of Iran.
She said: “You the free people of Iran are the hope for the future of all of the Iranian people. You are the ones who can eradicate this scourge on humanity and who can stop the export of terrorism that [comes] from the regime in Tehran. Your movement, under the leadership and the direction of Madame Maryam Rajavi is the one true movement that can replace this regime.”
Chavez, who has long attended the Free Iran Gathering, praised the fellow attendees for continuing to fight for a Free Iran.
Theresa Villiers, a Member of Parliament from the United Kingdom's Conservative Party, has announced her support for "freedom for Iran."
Speaking at the Free Iran rally in Paris on July 1, Ms. Villiers pointed to the "shocking human rights record of the Iranian regime," which she described as a "tyranny."
"Nearly 700 people were put to death in a single six-month period in 2015. That’s equivalent to around three every single day of the year. And sadly, we all know that the Iranian regime leads the world in the execution of children. It’s believed that at least 73 juvenile offenders were executed over the ten years between 2005 and 2015," she said.
"This regime is a deeply repressive one which brutalizes much of its population. And its pursuit of dominance in the region is a continuing source of instability in the Middle East. It is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, providing financial and material support to a range of lethal, violent, extremist, terrorist groups. So the Iranian regime is responsible for many lives lost and families bereaved both within its own borders and beyond."
The Iranian regime, she said, is "truly a source of evil in the world."
"I sincerely hope that one day the people of Iran will be able to free themselves from its grip and together build a brighter future based on the principles of freedom of democracy. And I believe that Mrs. Rajavi and the National Council of Resistance of Iran will be at the forefront of that long road to freedom.
"I’m here with my colleagues from across different parties in Great Britain to pay tribute to Mrs. Rajavi and to pay tribute to her for the lead she sets promoting justice for the Iranian people and a peaceful and democratic future for Iran. Mrs. Rajavi, I believe your brave campaign for freedom and justice in Iran is a just cause and you have our support," she added.
Tens of thousands of supporters of the NCRI and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) took part in the Free Iran rally.
At the “Free Iran” rally on Saturday 1st July just outside Paris, many prominent political figures and dignitaries from around the world gathered to pay tribute to the Resistance and its leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. They pledged their continuing support to the people of Iran and its opposition and called for the overthrow of the Iranian regime. Many speakers also expressed their relief that the effort to free the Iranian people trapped in Camp Ashraf is now over and that they have all successfully been relocated. This also led to lots of praise for the people and government of Albania who have welcomed thousands of Iranian resistance members.
Congressman Robert Pittenger from North Carolina took to the stage and said that the people of America love the freedom-loving people of Iran. He confirmed that the United States Congress supports the people of Iran and is seeking to hold the Iranian regime to account for the many and ongoing crimes it is committing.
He asked the audience: “Well, I would like to ask you today, are you ready to hold the mullahs accountable? Are you ready to hold Khomeini accountable? Are you ready for regime change? Are you ready to get rid of the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world? Are you ready to restore freedom to Iran? Are you ready for honest elections? Are you ready for a democracy in Iran? Are you ready for equality in Iran? Are you ready for human rights in Iran? Are you ready for religious freedom in Iran? Each question was met with thunderous applause and cheers from the audience.
Pittenger said that now is the time for regime change. He said that when the Declaration of Independence for a new America was adopted 241 years ago, their forefathers “pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor” and as a result the American people gained the right of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. This, he claimed, is what the United States Congress wants for every single person of Iran.
He ended his speech with words of encouragement for the people of Iran and the Resistance that is working so hard to make Iran a free Iran. He said: “So I want you to know as your brother, your friend, I’m a Christian, I’m a follower of Jesus Christ, I respect you. And we stand with you, we work for you, we pray for you. God bless you. Free Iran.”
Alejo Vidal Quadras, a prominent European politician gave an inspiring speech at the Free Iran Gathering in Paris last weekend, in which he threw his support behind the Iranian Resistance and their president Maryam Rajavi.
He as a former vice president of the European Union, said that the gathering showed that the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an umbrella organisation of many Iranian Resistance groups, with Rajavi at its helm, was the only chance for democratic change in Iran.
He said: “We will support you till the final victory.”
He also spoke about his joy over the safe relocation of the MEK members (an activist arm of the Resistance) from Camp Liberty in Iraq to Albania in 2016.
He said: “This is the first time that we are together in this gathering with no concern about the safety of Ashrafis…[this] was a great achievement, and a strategic defeat for the mullahs’ regime who were planning to massacre all of them. These heroes stood up in heartless time against the Iranian regime and they were and are an example for the Iranian people for their commitment to freedom, to democracy and to equality between men and women.”
He called them “symbols” of the Resistance and said that fight for freedom had given “new meaning” to the lives of their supporters.
He said: “Every day, every day we win this more victories against the regime, new victories of the Iranian resistance.”
He also encouraged the international community to recognise the NCRI as the true voice of the Iranian people, as many individual politicians already do.
He said: “Western governments should recognise it in dialogue and cooperate with NCRI because the regime has no future and does not have support inside Iran. The only way the regime keeps in power is repression and terror. If the Iranian people could express their will without constraint the regime will not last for one minute.”
He cited the recent statement from 256 members of the European Parliament, which called for their governments to condition their relationships with the Regime based on improvements to its human rights record and for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to be blacklisted for terrorist activity, as proof that lawmakers care and wish for it to be the public policy of their governments.
He said: “If we really believed in our principles we must understand that if we give up these principles for short term economic benefit, we will lose both. If our values are universal, we must defend them not only in our home, in Europe, but all over the world.”
A French politician declared his support for the Iranian Resistance and its leader Maryam Rajavi, at the Free Iran rally in Paris, last weekend.
Bernard Kouchner, France’s former Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, said: “I want to congratulate Maryam Rajavi… She is not only a good example, but the beginning of a real perspective to change the regime for democracy. A [Muslim] lady to be president of Iran should be the beginning of a huge, immense change… Muslims who are calling for gender equality, separation of religion and state, religion and state—we have the example of what Maryam Rajavi said.”
Kouchner, a regular attendee at the annual gathering, referred to his fellow supporters of the Iranian Resistance as a “sort of family” and told the gathered Resistance forces: “We are all in agreement you deserve to be free, independent, and democratic.”
He said: “[The] people of Iran have been suppressed for 38 years. Thirty-eight years. Suppressed by your theocratic regime, Islamic extremism, and fundamentalism... The regime of the Ayatollah is the base of extremism. So people of Iran are very right and deserve to get at least a better regime. They deserve to have freedom and democracy. They deserve to have free elections through which they can elect their true representatives, and not those who have been elected by the supreme leader.”
Kouchner, who is also the co-founder of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), also paid his respects to those who helped to safely relocated members of the MEK from Camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq to Albania in 2016, particularly the Albanian people and their government.
The MEK is an activist branch of the Resistance which has restarted provided the West with evidence about the Regime’s crimes, including the secret nuclear program and the terrorist training camps.
He said: “I want to congratulate and I pay respect to this fantastic Albanian people and the representative of the Albanian government because they were the only ones to welcome the people from Ashraf and Liberty. So thank you for that Albanian people.”
He also addressed the fact that if the Iranian Regime was ousted, Islamist extremism would soon crumble too, because the Regime is the root cause of all terrorism in the name of Islam.
He said: “These people are using Islam as a tool for extremism and murdering... Changing Iran is certainly the beginning of a real change for democracy in the whole region.”
A former US lawmaker addressed the Free Iran gathering in Paris this weekend to speak up for freedom in Iran and talk about the international community’s shift away from the mullahs and towards the resistance.
Joseph Lieberman, former US Senator and Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, shared with the over 100,000 people gathered his dream for peace in the middle east and how the first step must be ousting the terrorist Regime from Iran.
He said: “I have a dream, paraphrasing Dr. King, that all of the people of [the Middle East], Muslims, Christians and Jews, Shias and Sunnis, Israelis and Palestinians, will sit down together at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood and peace and freedom…. And I will tell you, the most significant step forward in realizing that dream will be to change the regime in Iran and bring freedom to the people of Iran. It can’t happen with this regime.”
Lieberman praised the Trump administration for its approach towards Iran.
He said: “Going from the Obama administration to the Trump administration is going from an administration that was centered on somehow improving our relations with Iran at the high cost of ignoring the reality of the evil of this regime, to an administration where early on the new president, Trump, has said that the number one enemy the United States has in the Middle East is the regime that currently controls Iran. That’s a big difference.”
Lieberman also praised the US allies in the Middle East who have stood up to the Iranian Regime.
He said: “The Arab nations are energized under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Bin-Salman. They’re more active diplomatically and militarily as part of a resistance against the regime in Iran than we’ve ever seen before. And of course for a long time the state of Israel, because it’s very existence is threatened by the regime in Iran has wanted to help change that regime.”
He said that this growing coalition of the Iranian Resistance forces, including the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), gave him hope that the Regime could be quickly overthrown.
He said: “So you have come together now a mighty coalition of forces: America, the Arab world and Israel joining with the resistance. And that should give us hope that we can make this change.”
He noted that the one constant over this year of dramatic change has been the Iranian Regime and it’s horrific attitudes towards human rights and terrorism.
He said: “I know President Obama felt that if we negotiated the nuclear agreement with Iran that they would become more moderate. They haven’t. Their aggression continues throughout the region. Their support of terrorism which has killed so many, including many Americans, continues. Their repression of the human rights of the people of Iran continues. You know, a while back Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS declared a caliphate of Islamic extremism in the Middle East and said its capital was in Raqqa, Syria. As you know, ISIS is now being pushed out of that capital, thank God. But Raqqa was never the capital of Islamic extremism and terrorism. The capital, since 1979, of Islamic extremism and terrorism, has been in Tehran under this extremist regime, and that is why it’s got to go.”
Liberman then spoke of the MEK and their fight for the freedom of the Iranian people, comparing them to the revolutionary fighters who first brought freedom and democracy to the US and France. He promised that their freedom is coming and prayed that the rally could be held in France as early as next year.
He said: “Some things have changed inside Iran, and that’s at the level of the people. You can never suppress a people, you can never enslave a people forever. The people of Iran inside Iran have shown the courage to rise up... To just talk about that, to just talk about that, to hold Madame Rajavi’s picture up in public places, is a sign of the unrest of the people and the growing confidence of the people that change is near. The same is true of the remarkable public disagreements between the various leaders of the country…It is time for America and hopefully some of our allies in Europe to give whatever support we can to those who are fighting for freedom within Iran.” Lieberman also told the crowds on Saturday that he had never addressed a crowd this large, even when he was running for Vice President.
This weekend, a former US ambassador to the UN, addressed the Free Iran Gathering in Paris, which attracted over 100,000 people, and insisted that the time was up for the Regime in Iran, and threw his support behind the Resistance forces (including the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK).
John Bolton remarked that the only people that would truly be able to rule in place of the Regime would be the Iranian Resistance, which already serves as a government-in-exile with Maryam Rajavi as its president.
He said: “There is a viable opposition to the rule of the ayatollahs and that opposition is centered in this room today. I have said for over ten years since coming to these events that the declared policy of the United States of America should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran. The behavior and the objectives of the regime are not going to change, and therefore the only solution is to change the regime itself. And that’s why before 2019 we here will celebrate in Tehran.”
US foreign policy
Bolton praised Donald Trump’s attitude to the Iranian Regime, which has been evident ever since he was on the campaign trail, and welcomed the idea that US foreign policy is moving away from mediation with the world’s number one state sponsor of terror.
He said: “Now there is under way…a policy review to determine what US policy will be on a whole range of issues, including how to deal with the regime in Tehran. But even as the review goes on, Congress is moving with what for Congress is great speed to enact new economic sanctions legislation against the regime in Iran.”
Bolton stated that these sanctions do not infringe on the nuclear deal because they relate to the Regime’s human rights abuses and support for terrorism, so the Iranian Regime is still legally bound by the 2015 agreement not to continue with its development of nuclear weapons.
He said: “Tehran has said if these sanctions are enacted into law they will consider it a breach of the agreement. Well, that’s nothing new since the regime has been in breach of the agreement for two straight years.”
Bolton said that the best possible outcome for the policy review is to put a stop to the Iranian Regime.
He said: “The outcome of the president’s policy review should be to determine that the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 revolution will not last until its 40th birthday.”
Iran Regime – a danger to the Middle East
Bolton addressed the Iranian Regime as the central cause for the destabilization of the Middle East and expressed concern over allowing the Regime to take control of land recovered from ISIS.
He said: “As the campaign to destroy the ISIS caliphate nears its ultimately successful conclusion, we must avoid allowing the regime in Tehran to achieve its long-sought objective of an arc of control from Iran through the Baghdad government in Iraq, to the Assad regime in Syria, and the Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. An arc of control which if it’s allowed to form will simply be the foundation for the next grave conflict in the Middle East.”
Bolton noted that the Regime is now working with the North Koreans and sharing missile secrets, which should be worrying to anyone.
He said: “Even if somebody were to say to you that the [Iranian] regime is in full compliance with the nuclear deal, it doesn’t make any difference. North Korea is already perilously close the point where they can miniaturize a nuclear weapon, put it on an intercontinental ballistic missile, and hit targets in the United States. And the day after North Korea has the capability the regime in Tehran will have it as well, simply by signing a check. That’s what proliferation is, that’s what the threat’s about, and that’s why Donald Trump’s views on North Korea are so similar to his views on the regime in Tehran.”
Bolton remarked that there is no fundamental difference between Supreme Leader Ali Khomeini and President Hassan Rouhani. In essence, there is no moderate v hardliner difference in the Iranian Regime.
Of Rouhani, Bolton said: “I remember when Rouhani was the regime’s chief nuclear negotiator. You couldn’t trust him then. You can’t trust him today.”
He concluded: “The regime in Tehran is not merely a nuclear weapons threat, it’s not merely a terrorist threat, and it is a conventional threat to everybody in the region who simply seeks to live in peace and security. The regime has failed internationally, it has failed domestically in economics and politics, and indeed its time of weakening is only accelerating.”
Rudy Giuliani former mayor of New York City spoke at the “Free Iran” rally on Saturday 1st July in Villepinte, France. He said it was an honor to join the Resistance once again and gave some encouraging words of praise to all those involved in the movement including the 120,000 martyrs and the leader Madame Maryam Rajavi who has been there through the good, difficult and horrible times.
He spoke about the Camp Ashraf residents who are now safely located in Albania and thanked everyone who was involved in the transfer including Senator Torricelli, Judge Mukasey, Louis Freeh, and the many others. “And we want to thank the Albanian government, and we want to thank the Albanian people for their humanity, for their big heart, and for their decency. I wish my country had stepped up and done that, and I am in great awe and respect for what they did.”
Giuliani said that the new administration in Washington brings hope for the Resistance because President Trump has “a different set of principles and a different way of looking at the world”. He believes that Trump will be able to free the Iranian people from the oppression they have suffered under for many years. He highlighted that in Saudi Arabia Trump was “laser focused on the danger of Iran” to the region and the rest of the world. “Unlike prior administrations, he’s not in a state of denial. He understands how it would be extraordinarily dangerous for the world to have a nuclear Iran. He realizes how dangerous for the world it is to have an ayatollah who is a theocratic dictator and a mad man. And he also realizes as we do that the only way we’re going to have stability in the Middle East and stability in the world is exactly the theme of your conference, a free Iran, built on the principles that we all share.”
He said that already “we can kind of see an end” to the overthrow of the regime. He said that like the Soviet Union, although no one could say when it would fall, it will. He said he is certain it will happen in his lifetime.
Speaking about the claims of moderation in the current regime, he said that this is a false notion if only for the sole reason of the number of executions carried out never mind the many other malign acts it is involved in.
Giuliani also said that he wants the Revolutionary Guards to be classed as at terrorist organization. “They have on their hands the blood of so many of your people, but they have on their hands the blood of my people too who they helped to kill in Iraq and who they’ve helped to kill for years and who they’ve held hostage. If they’re not a terrorist organization there is no such thing as a terrorist organization. And we should declare them a terrorist organization so we can cut them off of support around the world.”
Mentioning the practical side of the overthrow of the regime, he said that with the overthrow of the Mubarak and Qhadafi governments no one knew what they would be replaced with. However, for Iran, an alternative already exists – a Democratic alternative with a vast network of supporters.
He ended his speech with some positivity: “But I’m happiest to be here because finally, finally I can say, and I can probably say this with a good deal of authority, that the government of the United States supports you, we’re behind you, we agree with your values. The government of the United States understands the danger of Iran. The government of the United States will not allow Iran to become an empire in the Middle East. And the United States of America will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power under any circumstances. This is the first time I could stand here, this is the first time I could stand here and feel proud of my government. Every other time I stood here I was embarrassed for the cowardice, for the denial, for the unwillingness to see Iran for what it was. And finally, I can stand here and say you, I, my government and your leadership, we see Iran in exactly the same way. The regime is evil and it must go. Free Iran.”