Friday, August 26, 2016


Exiled Dissidents Rally In Paris For Democratic Change In Iran

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad
Tens of thousands of Iranian exiles rallied in Paris on June 23 to demand democratic change in Iran and to call for aid to Iranian resistance members at refugee camps in Iraq.

The Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran organized the event at a convention center in a northern Paris suburb.

The council, which has been blacklisted by the United States as a terrorist organization, estimated turnout at nearly 100,000 people. More than 1,000 buses arrived at the rally -- drawing Iranians from across Europe.

Maryam Rajavi, an exiled Iranian dissident who heads the Paris-based group, was cheered and applauded as she entered the rally.

Earlier, Rajavi said major powers had to abandon what she described as a decades-old policy of "appeasement" toward Tehran.

Rajavi said that after the latest round of international talks over Iran's disputed nuclear program ended in deadlock, Western countries should instead start to support Iranian opposition groups.

"The greatest societies, far-reaching imaginations can provoke entire movements and take them further," Rajavi told the cheering crowd. "It breaks down the heavy walls of impossibilities. And it has the effect of taking it forward until the point of victory."

Rajavi also accused Washington of moving too slowly on a decision to remove her group from the U.S. list of terrorist organizations.

Despite that terrorist designation, the council has won support from several former U.S. officials, who attended the rally. Among those guests was former U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli, a New Jersey Democrat, who was part of a 2011 Executive Action Conference in Washington that called on U.S. President Barack Obama to stand with Iranians who are calling for democratic change in Iran.

Torricelli was joined by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani said progress can only be made by changing the regime of Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and the conservative Islamist clerics who rule the country.

"This regime is going to do everything they can to hide, to lie, to deceive and to try to move forward with the nuclear program while fooling all of us," Giuliani said. "That would be very dangerous for the region. It will be very dangerous for the rest of the world. The only real answer for world peace is a new regime in Iran -- with the mullahs gone and with people like this, not just them, but people like this being able to exercise their rights in Iran."

Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell also attended the rally, calling for aid to be sent to members of an Iranian opposition movement who are living in miserable conditions at refugee camps in Iraq.

Also among the guests was the Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, who spent six years as the hostage of Marxist guerrillas before being rescued from a secret rebel jungle camp in 2008.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
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Comment Sorting
by: irani1 from: Paris
June 24, 2012 08:08
Please do not present MEK as Iranian viable opposition. They are at best a x-terrorist cult who betrayed Iran to the cheapest dictator (even Reza Pahlavi acted in an honrable manner during Iraq war). Their acts today remains anti-Iran. We want the mullas gone but not to replace them with such backward gang. Iran real opposition has passed to maturity beyond the same composition of Islamo-Left with roots and ways connected to IRI Mulls. MEK has almost no support in Iran. There is a young and vibrant opposition in Iran (&outside) which sees MEK as irrelevant. This is what rferl should reflect this.
In Response

by: Arash from: UK
June 24, 2012 17:03
The terrorist mullahs have murdered thousands of Afghan, American, Argentinian, British, French, Iraqi and other nations' citizens by even collaborating in blowing up the twin towers. The clerical fascism has also tortured, raped hundreds of thousands of Iranians including children as well as having murdered tens of thousands of Iranian. The evil regime and its leaders, propagandists and supporters have proven to be the No. 1 enemy of humanity and the Iranian nation. Your comments echo those of the terrorist and anti-human pre-mediaeval tyranny; so you don't fool anyone by abusing the name of Irani as anyone who echoes the views of the terrorist regime is also an enemy of Iran and humanity.
In Response

by: irani1 from: Paris
June 25, 2012 08:13
This is the lack of maturity of backward MEK supporter I am talking about. You can seee 1- MEK can not stand critics and equates critics with enemy and wants them vanished. 2- Has little connection with facts of MEK's place in hostory 3- Ignors realities and other vast opposition ideas and groups 4- They are wrapped in reviving MEK at any cost and sole priority, complete with Chalabi style campaign and Suadi-Arabia style expensive PR (colors, buses, left-groups out-side conferences with noise).
The real opposition is in Iran and is very mature now. I even thnk there is room for MEK and Pahlavi as long as they do not want to take over like Khomeini did but under democtratic norms. No not cult-like acts, no black-and-white. I think Pahlavi is more mature than MEK. Just get the pulse of inside Iran oppoistion. They are way passed MEK and external groups. Claiming to be the sole opposition itself is a joke while as I said MEK is so irrelevant where it counts (in Iran). Even 100,000 people rally left-overs of an era of backward politics of MEK does not make them viable. I repeat again, from my read, people of Iran badly want the Mula dictartors gone but we want them gone to replace with true democracy that applies the leassons of last "revolution" and thankfuly there is a new generation of thinkers in Iran. So MEK just take a number at the bottom of list of opposition and don't try to present yourself on top in the old Islamo-Left style. This is a new era! So see how people like me are different than MEK way of thinking.
In Response

by: arash from: UK
June 25, 2012 21:30
The so-called "opposition" led by Khomeini's Prime Minister, Mousavi, is not an opposition but a gang within the fascist religious tyranny. It is he who said he wants to go back to the "golden era" of the mass murdering terrorist and war criminal Khomeini. Anyone who still supports Mousavi and wants to go back to savage terrorism is either completely ignorant or benefits from and is part of the terrorist regime.

by: Amin from: Texas
June 24, 2012 09:02
Talk about ignorant or stupid US politicians. MEK is a marxist cult. Ask them why it has never had a leadership change in the last 30 years?
In Response

by: Nima from: Los Angeles
June 24, 2012 10:59
it is so funny that the people posting comments are so quick to reply the same exact text over and over on every AP article, can you say IRANIAN REGIME!!! The MEK is not a cult, the only people that seem to classify them as a cult is the iranian regime, do yourself a favor and run while you can you IRI CRONIES, this brutal regime will collapse very soon and then you will have to pay ...
In Response

by: George from: US
June 24, 2012 15:14
Well, why don't you watch a series of three videos on these crazy bunch of zombies. Sorry if you are a member since being brainwashed you cannot accepts facts.

For those who still have a brain, go to YouTube and search for ""BBC MEK." The full titles are:

"BBC Newsnight: Mujahideen-e-Khalq Terrorist MeK MKO - Part 1/2/3"
In Response

by: Fred from: US
June 24, 2012 15:34
The first time MEK was referred to as a cult, is in a report by RAND corporation, under contract by US DoD. You can find that article online. The Iranians picked that up from RAND's report, even though they always considered MEK a terror organization, which they are. An organization that dictates personal behavior of its members, even having them all get divorce and not contacting their families, can't be described any other way.
In Response

by: Amin from: Texas
June 24, 2012 16:45
Sorry Nima, but I was there at the start!
Being against MEK doesn't mean you are pro regime in Iran. I would like the nuclear issue resolved so the regime will have to become more accountable to the people and for those stuck in Iraq to be able to migrate without having to pledge alligence to MEK.
Think about it, where does the money for MEK come from?
In Response

by: arash from: UK
June 24, 2012 17:20
The French Minister for combating cults has officially stated that the PMOI is not a cult.

by: Sey from: World
June 24, 2012 09:41
I don't like traitors. Either those who kiss the Mullah's hands, or those who kiss the Americans' hands.

Iran should be ruled neither by Islamic nor by pro-Western traitors.

by: Dariush from: UK
June 24, 2012 10:46
I don't believe Iranian people would accept MEK as their next government. They are a terrorist group who Helped Saddam during Iran/Iraq war.

by: Nad from: London
June 24, 2012 11:57
It was a big big rally, I counted more than 3500 Buses around the Hall, unbelievable, all to gather to change Iranian regime, very organised and well managed, well done Iranian resistance, This is the MEK power's, let other say what they say!!
In Response

by: Fred from: US
June 24, 2012 15:41
How can you have 3500 busses around a hall? You can fit around 50 busses in a football field. Lets assume you park them ever so tightly to be able to have 100 in a football field. You mean there were space equal to 35 football fields, and you went around and counted them?
In Response

by: arash from: UK
June 24, 2012 17:13
The writer meant outside the hall; this is a German paper talking about 100,000 participants.

100.000 Menschen beim weltweiter Konvent von Exiliranern in Paris
In Response

by: Whitesneekers from: Hongkong
June 25, 2012 00:09
.....touché, Fred.
MEK is definitely a treasonous cult. Historically, their leadership have aligned themselves with the worst enemies of Iran from the get go.
In Response

by: Kamyar from: Los Angeles
June 24, 2012 17:45
you COUNTED 3500 buses? You are a total liar. The article says and (it's being generous) 1000 people at the rally. Last time, these numbers were scrutinized in a similar "show" at New York, it was found that the majority were paid homeless or unrelated people who were promised a Visa and a meal. Look it up.
In Response

by: arash from: UK
June 26, 2012 10:56
Reuters TV talked about tens of thousands. Other sources have talked of 100,000 but it doesn't matter really! Even if ONE person has the right idea, he or she will eventually win as Galileo won the argument against all the reactionaries of his time!

The PMOI and others within the democratic coalition, NCRI, have the right idea about how to bring about democracy to Iran and protect the world from the terrorist mullahs regime and that is why they are supported by majorities in more than 30 parliaments of the civilized world including the most prominent human rights groups and personalities as well as top security, military, political and diplomatic officials of the five past and present US administrations.
In Response

by: Irani1 from: Paris
June 25, 2012 08:32
Please see my previous post. Does it matter how many MEK rally was outside Iran? Questions that need answer are why their leadership has not changed for 30 years? Why they betray Iran and forced members to do things? What connections now they have with forign powers and how much support they have in Iran? Where does the money come from? How come we do not even see them among Iranians of US and even EU in "day-light" (this is at least a fact for me)? MEK is irrelant and considered traitor in Iran no matter with whom I speak in Iran with. Majority of Iranian people want Mullas gone from what I can read but the poltical ideas in Iran is more mature than the backward left overs of Islamo-Left MEK. BTW, MEK post: support of certain French or foreign powers is nothing to be proud. Just look at Chalabi and Iraq. We need to apply lessons of the past. I think opposition of Iran needs unity but leadership of true democtratic forces from Iran not the left overs of the past. The true demctratic future of Iran will have room for all (MEK can renounce their past and if people of Iran pardoned them and depending on their level of support inside Iran perhaps can find a place at the end of queue of groups not as they self-claim sole eading opposition who does not accept others). I think Pahlavi has a more progressive stand than MEK and probably has more support than them in Iran. It is my opinion that a true democratic future will only exclude criminals of plotical segments and tries to be inclusive! but CAN NOT let take over and domination like Khomeini did last round.
In Response

by: arash from: UK
June 26, 2012 10:48
You cannot support a gang within the terrorist regime led by Mousavi and talk of freedom at the same time. Sorry!

by: James from: US
June 24, 2012 15:26
MEK is a foreign terror organization (FTO). Supporting them in any shape or form, even writing nice stories about them is against the law in the US. Stop promoting terrorists at rferl, because they are anti-Iran.
In Response

by: Soraya from: California
June 24, 2012 17:23
@james from US: Kudos!
In Response

by: Arash from: UK
June 26, 2012 10:45
The British, the Europeans and the US Federal Court disagree with you. Read up on the American law to understand a little bit more about what the law says who a FTO is!

by: george from: CA
June 24, 2012 22:15
PMOI/MEK is the only viable organized democratic iranian opposition force that exists. The fascist terrorist fundamentalist mullahs in Iran are sooo scared of them as they wanna destroy the defenseless residents of camp ashraf and the prison like camp liberty. The enemy and their hired pens always show up on such blogs to attack PMOI and pretend they are against the mullahs regime, but we iranians are smart enough to distinguish between the ones. The unification is the answer against the current regime in iran, and few hired pens always wanna distract us iranians from our enemy(Iranian dictatorship regime).

by: CvvdIran from: EU
June 25, 2012 17:58
Why THIS picture? Too bad!

by: Alidad from: Spain
June 25, 2012 18:42
Please stop calling these people "opponents" or "dissidents" or "exiles," like they were ordinary Iranians who live and work in London, Paris or Los Angeles. Your intention to be neutral or objective is inappropriate here. "Dissident" does not objectively describe what these people are. It is like describing Pol Pot's fanatical hordes or Assad's thugs or the FARC as "activists" or militants. Somewhere in your report you should mention that "many" Iranians deeply suspect this group's sinister ambitions and plans for Iran, or something of its history or ties to the regime of Saddam Hussein. "Tens of thousands" - who counted them? It beggars belief that tens of thousands of Iranians in Paris and its surroundings should back this communist gang - they may indeed have been bussed in, in a foretaste of the "rent-a-mob" rallies they would hold if they ever ruled Iran.
In Response

by: arash from: UK
June 25, 2012 21:34
Obviously you have no idea how a democracy operates let alone is brought about. Read up on how the US, European countries and other free nations won their freedom.

by: Jtownjohn from: Johnstown
June 28, 2012 20:09
There appears to be at least some Iranians that have the people of Iran and their country at the fore front. Yes unfortunately they are dissidents in Paris. The Iranians in Iran with the same hopes and Ideals seem to be forced into a more Humanistic platform . Until we as members of the Earth come together to help one another become free we will fail as mankind . I am proud of these Paris Iranians.

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