The grand gathering of Iranians and supporters of the Iranian Resistance was held in Paris on Saturday, July 1, with hundreds of top international politicians and statesmen as well as legislative delegations and prominent figures participating from more than 50 countries and five continents.
In her remarks in this meeting, Maryam Rajavi emphasized that the only way to save the Iranian people from religious tyranny and the only way to establish peace and tranquility in the region is to overthrow the Velayat-e faqih regime. She underscored that the overthrow of this regime is imperative, feasible and within reach, and a democratic alternative and an organized resistance exists which is capable of toppling it.
Thousands of PMOI members residing in Albania joined the grand gathering of the Iranian Resistance via satellite.
Dozens of political dignitaries addressed the gathering, including:
Senator Alain Neri, President of the French Committee for a Democratic Iran; Michèle de Vaucouleurs, member of the French National Assembly from En Marche Republic movement; Martine Valleton, the Mayor of Villepinte; and Dominique Lefebvre, President of the Urban Complex of Cergy, Pontoise; representing the delegation of mayors and members of parliament from France;
Struan Stevenson, President of European Iraqi Freedom Association;
Ranjana Kumari, women’s rights activist from India;
Maria Elena Elverdin, President of International Federation of Women in Legal Careers;
Maria Candida Almeida, Deputy Attorney General of Portugal;
Els Van Hoof, Vice President of the Social Rights Committee of the Belgian Parliament, on behalf of the parliamentary delegation from Belgium;
Ambassador John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the United Nations;
Dr. Nejat al-Astal, MP, on behalf of the parliamentary delegation from Palestine;
Nasr Hariri, Chairman of the Syrian negotiating team representing the Syrian opposition delegation;
Marcin Swiecicki, former Minister of Economic Relations from Poland;
Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, President of the International Committee In Search of Justice (ISJ);
Salih al-Qalab, former Minister of Publicity from Jordan;
Senator Robert Torricelli;
Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City;
Delegation from the US House of Representatives including Judge Ted Poe, chairman of the House subcommittee on terrorism, non-proliferation and trade; Congressman Thomas Garrett, Congressman Robert Pittenger;
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives;
Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud from Saudi Arabia;
Senator Joseph Lieberman, former U.S. Senator and Vice-Presidential candidate;
Sir David Amess and the Rt. Hon. Theresa Villier, members of the House of Commons; Baroness Verma, member of the House of Lords; on behalf of the UK parliamentary and legal delegation;
Bernard Kouchner, former Foreign Minister of France;
Rita Sussmuth, former Speaker of the German Bundestag; Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, former German Minister of Justice; representing the delegation from Germany;
Ed Rendell, former Chairman of the Democratic National Party and Governor of Pennsylvania;
Tom Ridge, former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary and Governor of Pennsylvania;
General Jack Keane, former Vice Chief of Staff of the US Army;
Judge Michael Mukasey, former US Secretary of Justice;
Judge Louis Freeh, former Director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI);
Elona Gjebrea and Pandeli Majko, on behalf of the representative delegation of Albania;
Giulio Terzi, former Foreign Minister of Italy;
John Baird, former Foreign Minister of Canada;
Ingrid Betancourt, former presidential candidate from Colombia;
Rama Yade, former French Minister of Human Rights;
General George W. Casey, former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army;
General James Conway, 34th Commandant of the US Marine Corps;
Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former Prime Minister of Algeria.
In the start of the ceremony, Gilbert Mitterrand, President of the France Libertés Foundation, welcomed the participants, saying: "Your overwhelming presence here is like a referendum against the clerical regime and it shows the ability of this Resistance for democratic change in Iran. I must also convey to the organizers of this event, a message of gratitude from the French President Francois Hollande (2012-2017). He said that he will continue to pay attention to the human rights situation in Iran for the invitation you extended to him to participate in this gathering."
The audience warmly applauded the images and video footages broadcast of the widespread campaign of Iranian youths and supporters of the PMOI and the Iranian Resistance in different parts of Tehran and at least 50 other cities across the country in support of the grand gathering of the Iranian Resistance in Paris. The slogans they had used included, "Freedom and equality with Maryam Rajavi", "Death to Khamenei, Hail to Rajavi", "Death to the principle of Velayat-e Faqih, long live National Liberation Army", "No to the death penalty", "Hail to the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran", "Equality for all ethnic groups and followers of (minority) religions with Maryam Rajavi." The Iranian Resistance has received at least 500 video clips and hundreds of photographs of such activities which included the hanging of huge banners bearing Maryam Rajavi's portrait and distribution of flyers containing her 10-point plan for the future of Iran.
Political prisoners sent a number of messages from prisons across the country despite heavy risk to express their solidarity with the grand gathering of Iranians and supporters of the nationwide and organized Resistance for regime change in Iran and establishment of democracy and freedom.
Maryam Rajavi also laid a wreath at the memorial of 120,000 martyrs of freedom as mothers of a number of the Iranian Resistance’s martyrs looked on.
The event also featured interesting musical and theatrical performances.
A large number of US senators and representatives, including Robert Menendez, senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; leader of the House democrats, Nancy Pelosi; Lord Carlyle and Lord Clarke from UK; and Senator Gianluca Castaldi from Italy, a large number of members of the European Parliament, including the EP Vice-President Ryszard Czarnecki; as well as personalities from other countries expressed their solidarity by sending video messages to the annual gathering of the Iranian Resistance.
On the eve of the gathering, 29 prominent personalities in the US announced their solidarity with the goals of the gathering in a statement, indicating that, "Under the leadership of Maryam Rajavi, a Muslim woman standing for gender equality, which is an antidote to Islamic fundamentalism and extremism, it [MEK] is working every day to bring about a tolerant, non-nuclear Iranian republic based on separation of religion and state, that will uphold the rights of all. The National Council of Resistance of Iran, pursuing its long journey that began more than a half-century ago, has the vision, leadership and courage to lead the way to the creation of a new Iran. The obligation to stand up to this corrupt and illegitimate regime and say “no more” rests with the Iranian people alone, but the international community must meet its responsibility by condemning the mullahs’ oppression and embracing the Iranian people’s aspirations for a free and prosperous Iran accepted and respected around the world. Today, we join with the Iranian people and colleagues from many other countries in pledging our support to this great cause."
In addition, members of parliaments from different countries issued statements on the eve of the gathering. Among them were
- The statement by 265 members of the European Parliament condemning human rights abuses in Iran and calling for the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist entity;
- The statement by more than 300 lawmakers from the UK Houses of Commons and Lords and 100 British bishops against the massacre of political prisoners in 1988 and in favor of comprehensive sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC);
- The statement by 320 Italian MPs condemning human rights violations in Iran, massacre of political prisoners in 1988 and the need to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice;
- The statement by more than 100 Polish MPs against human rights violations and the wave of executions in Iran and the need to prosecute the masterminds and perpetrators;
- The statement of the Senate of Ireland against the massacre of political prisoners in Iran in 1988;
- The statement by the majority of the Parliament of Malta and a large number of representatives from the Romanian Parliament;
- The statement by a number of Nobel laureates in support of the goals of the Free Iran gathering.