On Saturday 23 June 2012, over 100,000 Iranian exiles and supporters of the Iranian resistance from five continents gathered in a historical rally at the convention centre in the northern suburb of Villepinte, Paris, to demand democratic change in Iran and immediate international measures to guarantee basic rights of Iranian Resistance members in Ashraf and Liberty.
The day itself marked the thirty-first anniversary of the start of the resistance against the religious tyranny in Iran. A reign of terror established on three main principles, heavy domestic repression, terrorism and export of religious fundamentalism abroad.
More than 100,000 people gathered in Villepinte welcomed hundreds of distinguished personalities, legislators of different political tendencies, human rights activists, and prominent jurists, from around the world (see below for the list of participants and delegations) who had come to show their support for a free and democratic Iran.
The many prominent speakers joined the keynote speaker at the event the President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, Mrs Maryam Rajavi, to address the gathering calling for a firm stance vis-à-vis the religious dictatorship in Iran and the recognition of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the Iranian Resistance by the world community.
Many of the speakers stressed the need for a policy change away from the decade long appeasement towards the Iranian regime. A failed policy that has only embolden the Iranian regime to continue to defy the demands of international community, most recently at the talks in Moscow, and to advance its position in neighbouring countries, Iraq, Afghanistan and in the region as in Syria and Lebanan, through export of religious fundamentalism and terrorism.
The speakers also urged the United Nations, the United States, and the European Union to act swiftly to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in camps Ashraf and Liberty, the latter is the new home of the Iranian dissidents who have agreed to relocate from Camp Ashraf under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Government of Iraq and UN.
The participants reiterated their strongest protest against turning Camp Liberty into a prison, a measure the Government of Iraq is preparing for at the behest of the mullahs’ regime in Iran.
The delegates and personalities urged the United Nations, the United States, and the European Union to guarantee the rights of residents of Ashraf and Liberty as “asylum-seekers” and “people of concern” under International Law and to pressure the Government of Iraq to stop immediately its cruel restrictions against the camp residents.
The speakers joined the call made by the Iranian Resistance to realize the camp residents’ six legitimate demands to resume the relocation process from Camp Ashraf to Liberty.
These demands, sent to the UN Secretary General and the U.S. Government, are very simple. Instead of turning Camp Liberty into a prison, recognize it as a refugee camp; provide water, electricity and human needs for it; do not allow the Iranian regime that seeks to annihilate this movement to intervene in its affairs; and search Camp Ashraf, which you [the U.S. Government] claim it has not been completely disarmed yet before they vacate it.
In her speech, the President-elect of the Iranian Resistance Mrs Maryam Rajavi criticized the unjust terrorist designation of the Iranian Resistance in the U.S. as a devastating policy that has been the main factor for Iranian regime’s survival for the past 15 years.
The Iranian regime and its puppet government in Iraq continue to use this distorted and discredited designation as a lever for repression of the residents of Ashraf and Liberty, not least to justify two bloody massacres in Camp Ashraf on July 2009 and April 2011.
The U.S. designation also provides the Iranian regime with an excuse to enhance domestic repression and to justify execution and torture of many members and sympathizers of the PMOI (People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran) and the Iranian Resistance inside Iran under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
In addition, the designation imposes brutal limitations and enchains the Iranian exiles living in the United States and abroad who dream of a free and democratic Iran. They risk harsh punishments and have to overcome a dirty defamation campaign as they support the Iranian Resistance, the NCRI and the PMOI in their effort to bring about a democratic change in their home country enslaved by a religious tyrants for more than 30 years.
The President-elect of the Iranian Resistance Mrs Maryam Rajavi challenged this unjust terror tag in her speech and said,
The most recent important development has been the judgment issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, against the unlawful label against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).This was a landmark and historic achievement in the struggle between the Iranian people’s resistance and the clerical regime. The court made it clear that this label is illegitimate and ruled that if the State Department does not make a decision, it would unilaterally revoke the PMOI’s designation… It is said that no court had in the past two hundred years issued a writ of mandamus on matters of national security and foreign policy. Nevertheless, a movement that has sacrificed everything for the cause of freedom and liberation of its nation lit the light of truth and justice in the depth of darkness… Now, we have not come to chastise this shameful designation and policy. We have come to say that this policy must be uprooted in its entirety.
The political personalities who talked at the rally joined with Mrs Rajaviin her call to the U.S. Secretary of State in their speech and urged Mrs Hillary Clinton to implement the recent court ruling and revoke the unjust terror tag. Some of the speakers described the revocation as a necessity under the rule of law and a boost in right direction for the international community to counter the threats posed by the religious dictatorship in Iran.
The historical gathering in Paris showed that the decisive moment with regard to Iran is here. The massage echoed from Paris on June 23, 2012 was loud and clear: “the international community have to recognize the Iranian people’s democratic aspirations and their right to bring about a democratic change in Iran.”
It is this change, and not hollow reforms, that presents the only solution to the many serious threats posed today by the Iranian regime.
This would be the safest path and the sole guarantor for a longstanding peace and desired stability in the Middle East and the region.
The international community must recognize the Iranian people’s demands for an Iran free of suppression, a non-nuclear and non-theocratic Iran.
This change is ultimately inevitable and achieved only through the Iranian people and their legitimate Resistance.
Please remember that the views expressed by Hossein Abedini and Iranian Resistance are not representative of the entire Green Movement or those fighting towards a free Iran.