Thousands of Iranian Government Opponents Hold Rally Outside Paris

Contributed by: Soona Samsami- of Women’s Freedom Forum

Women’s Freedom Forum, Inc.

  • is a tax exempt educational, independent organization advocating women’s equality, legal and human rights, political participation and empowerment. It promotes women’s health, children’s right, and equal job opportunities.
  • aims to expose gender apartheid, fundamentalism, violence against women, misogyny, human trafficking, and child abuse and job discrimination.
  • is not affiliated with any government agency, political groups or parties.

June 26, 2010
TAVERNY, France — At least 30,000 opponents to the Iranian government gathered on Saturday in a stadium in this quiet town outside Paris to support the National Council of Resistance to Iran in a large rally coming a year after disputed elections in Iran.

Amid high security, and with the presence of some well-known conservative political figures like the former Spanish prime minister, Maria Aznar, and the former American ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, the crowd heard speeches condemning the Iranian regime of the ayatollahs and of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The National Council of Iran, founded in France in 1981, remains on the list of terrorist organizations kept by the United States State Department, which considers it a political front for the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran. But it has been removed entirely from a similar list kept by the European Union and is considered a legitimate dissident organization.

At the rally, Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca, a vice president of the European Parliament, delivered a declaration of support to the council signed, he said, by a majority of European legislators.

The council has also provided intelligence on the Iranian nuclear program from sympathizers inside the country, some of which has proved to be both accurate and important. Mr. Bolton appealed to Washington to remove the council from its terrorism list, which some suggest was done as a gesture to Iran’s former president, Mohammad Khatami, seen by Washington as a reformer.

The rally, with supporters dressed in lavender and yellow, was in support of the council leader, Maryam Rajavi, who calls herself the president-elect of the Iranian resistance and lives in exile in France. Her husband, Massoud Rajavi, has not been made any public appearances since 2003.

She called for mobilization of resistance inside and outside of Iran, saying: “No to turbaned fascism, no to stoning, to executions and amputations, no to the obligatory veil, to obligatory religion, to imposed government.” Supporter shouted, “Azadi,” or liberty. She called on governments to stop buying oil and gas from Iran, welcomed sanctions resolutions passed by the United States Congress and said that Iranian leaders should be tried for crimes against the Iranian people.

Mr. Aznar said: “I support your fight for liberty and democracy. The Iranian people have suffered enough. They demand and deserve a better government, which respects the dignity of people and assures fundamental liberties.”

Mr. Bolton said that “the Iranian regime has become a military dictatorship, fascist and repressive. But the repression that followed the fraudulent elections of 2009 has shown to what point the regime is criminal and the opposition powerful.”

Sima Razavi, a computer manager from California, said the rally was different this year because of the opposition demonstrations in Iran following the elections. “It’s been a year of large-scale uprising in Iran,” she said. “Workers, students, women, ethnic groups and religious groups have been very brutally suppressed. This is the year after elections, this means people who wanted to vote a little bit of reform into the system were again disappointed.”

Farzam Rezapour, 19, an engineering student in Luxembourg, grew up in Iran. His parents were imprisoned there, and “when young, my parents isolated me from politics, knowing everything was dangerous,” he said. But he discovered politics through the council, he said, and was inspired by the resistance inside Iran itself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: