General Updates - FreeIran 2018 Grand Gathering - June 30, 2018-Paris
Today, the international gathering of Iranians and supporters of Iranian Resistance will be held near Paris. Hundreds of senior former officials, lawmakers, and prominent personalities from more than 50 countries in five continents are in attendance.
Hundreds of international dignitaries, senior former officials, lawmakers, are expected to attend the Free Iran Rally – 2018 as the Iranian people continue their uprising against the Iranian regime.
The Iranian Resistance’s annual Free Iran Rally in Paris will begin shortly. This page will be continuously updated throughout the day. Tens of thousands are expected to call for a Free Iran (#FreeIran2018) and reject the regime’s extremist policies.
The participants at the #FreeIran2018 rally in Paris are expressing support for the nationwide uprising of the Iranian people, including the Bazaar merchants who have risen up recently against the regime’s corrupt policies.
More than 200 members of the British parliament expressed support for the #FreeIran2018 rally and the Iranian people’s uprising against the clerical regime. They called on the British government and the international community to recognize the NCRI as the democratic alternative. They also supported Madame Rajavi’s 10-point plan for the future of Iran, which calls for the establishment of a free, democratic, non-nuclear secular republic in Iran.
More than 50 bishops of the Church of England signed a statement this month condemning the human rights abuses perpetrated by the regime in Tehran and its treatment of Iran’s religious minorities.
The majority of San Marino’s parliament recently declared their solidarity with the people of Iran in their uprising.
Today's Free Iran Rally in Paris calling for democratic change in Iran has been supported by current and former Iranian political prisoners in various Iranian jails.
Reporting live from the scene of the huge gathering of the Iranian opposition. #FreeIran2018. Every year Iranian and international supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its President-elect Maryam Rajavi, gather in Paris to protest against the regime and call for a free, democratic, secular, peaceful and non-nuclear Iran.
To prepare the hall for the event, many Iranian opposition, MEK and NCRI supporters have been working hard at the scene from early morning hours.
Huge crowds are gathering at the entrance of Villepinte exhibition center; Long queues forming, with thousands waiting to attend the #FreeIran2018 rally.
Hundreds wave Iranian flags and hold banners outside the Villepinte exhibition center in support of opposition leader Maryam Rajavi and her 10-point plan for a future #FreeIran2018. Cheerful opposition supporters join voices with Iran protests against the regime.
Huge turnout as Iranians, young and old, and their international supporters are pouring into Villepinte exhibition centre from around the world. Hundreds of international political personalities and lawmakers are attending.
The #FreeIran2018 rally, with hundreds of international dignitaries, has just commenced in Paris. Thousands of Iranians will call for a free Iran and in support of the uprising and Bazaar merchants and demonstrators.
International personalities at the #FreeIran2018 rally include Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Bill Richardson, Michael Mukasey, and Louis Freeh. The gathering of thousands of Iranians will call for a free, democratic, secular and non-nuclear #Iran. The keynote speaker is Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
FreeIran Gathering 2018 in Paris.
All times in local time.
20.16 Ramesh, Burgdorf, and Taylor closed the conference and brought the Iranian youth delegations from around the world to the stage.
Delegation of 320 representatives of Iranian #Youth Associations in Europe &US: We support the brave youth fighting against inequalities & remind us that we must be humane without any prejudices of any kind such as race, color, religion or language. #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #Iran pic.twitter.com/Q1bVu0cnlu— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) June 30, 2018
20.15: Taylor announced breaking news about the protests in Khoramshar and shared footage of protesters chanting anti-regime slogans. The conference broke out in cheers.
20.09: Burgdorf introduced a rap performance.
19.57: Burgdorf introduced the delegation from Romania.
Ben-Oni Ardelean, Vice-chairman of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania:
“We are here to say that we understand your plight and what is going on in Iran, since we also lived under dictatorship, and we support the NCRI and the Iranian Resistance. I want to encourage you to keep fighting.”
19.52: Taylor introduced a Persian song performance by Iranian Resistance artist Amir Aram.
19.47: Taylor welcomed Kak Baba Sheikh Hossein, Secretary General of Khebat organization, Iranian Kurdish opposition movement, to the stage.
Kak Baba Sheikh Hossein: “I salute Maryam Rajavi and the heroic people of Kurdistan in Iran, who throughout history have foughts against the dictators in Iran. Our organisation, together with the NCRI, the democratic organised alternative to the mullahs, will not support the return of the heirs of the Shah. We will only welcome those who will free the Iranian Kurdistan; no other organisation will be able to stand as such, as the NCRI can.”
“We insist that the NCRI is the only alternative to the mullahs and soon this regime will be overthrown and the Iranian people will be free.”
19.41: Taylor introduced a Persian song performance
19.35: Burgdorf welcomed Ad Melkert, former leader of Dutch Labor Party and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General:
Ad Melkert, former Special Representative of the UNSG : This is the day that we celebrate & reaffirm our common resolve. The end of the horror that captured many of your sisters and brothers. But the int'l community didn't leave them alone.#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran2018 pic.twitter.com/3k8yZokUsm— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) June 30, 2018
Ad Melkert: “I’m proud that through many UN efforts, which I was a part of, particularly the effort to relocate MEK members to Albania. I support the MEK for their movement to freedom. I join you in reaffirming our hope the oppression implodes by its own contradictions and that all Iranian citizens will enjoy freedom and that change in Iran is within reach.”
“Your movement resonates far beyond your land, as respect for human rights is an internal call.”
“History tells us that it can take a long time to bring justice, but the MEK’s aspiration for change is dedicated to that. Iran will once again be an arena for freedom. That day will make the world a better place.”
19.30: Taylor introduces a Persian song performance
19.24: Taylor introduced General George Casey, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army (2007 to 2011):
Gen. George Casey : We are asking #Iran to do what the normal nations in the international community should do. Yet today Iran through its terrorist arms continues to destabilizing not only its neighbors but also the entire region. #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran2018 pic.twitter.com/mEeEXv4QJH— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) June 30, 2018
“I’d like to speak about Iranian regime’s role in destabilizing the Middle East. Last week, Pompeo said that they wanted to push Iran’s regime to act like a normal country and I support that. Change must come to Iran. From our time in Iran, any of us in the military have seen how the regime uses terrorism to destabilize the Middle East.”
General Casey: Iranian regime bought political and economic support in Iran, while also supporting Sectarian violence. This sustained sectarian violence and thus the regime is directly responsible for killing hundreds of coalition forces. My troops captured six members of the Quds force and we found evidence that Iran was promoting sectarian violence. That was 12 years ago and Iranian regime is still doing this. Change must come to Iran before Iran can act like a normal country.
19.19: Burgdorf introduces the Women's song performance
19.12: Taylor introduce Salman Al-Ansari Founder & President of The Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee from Saudi Arabia:”I come from a country of moderation and peace. Please allow me to congratulate you for sending a strong message of peace. You are showing the true face of Iran. Throughout your 53 years of heroic history, iran has been oppressed. We never thought it would reach this point in the regime, where the people are murdered. Those who remain silent should be ashamed. Today is a victory for the Iran of civilization and peace.”
19.11: Taylor announced the breaking news that there is currently a massive uprising in Khormashar, with people holding up slogans against the Regime. The crowd broke out in cheers and chants to support the protesters.
19.07: Kumari invites Maryam Rajavi to join the women’s delegation on the stage, to present her with a certificate.
Rajavi: “as you know, women have been leading the Iranian resistance against the dictatorship and this is an important day to lead to victory the Iranian protesters. Thank you for supporting the Iranian Resistance and the uprising. Freedom is not only necessary for the Iranian people, but for the people of the Middle East and the peace and security of the world.”
19.02: Burgdorf introduced another Women's delegation
Ranjana Kumari, Equality movement activist from India:”The women of Iran are not seeking reform from the Regime, only Regime change. The regime had been put on notice and their days are numbered. Iranians have clearly and openly made up their mind about wanting a democratic government in Iran.”
Maria Candida Almeida: “All iranian prisoners of conscience should be released immediately
Deputy Attorney General and former Attorney General of Portugal: the iranian people deserve the support of all freedom loving people.”
18.55: Burgdorf introduced the women’s delegation
Rama Yade, former French Minister of Human Rights: “To the women of the Resistance, we are feeling a wind of protest in Iran and the Iranian women have launched a new dimension. I am very proud that the french government did not comply when it was asked to attack the MEK, but I know that change will not come from outside. It will come from the Iranian people, because Iran belongs to them.”
Ingrid Betancourt, former Colombian Senator and presidential candidate:”Since December, we have seen how Maryam Rajavi has been delivering what she promised. Last year, she announced a thousand Ashraf to topple the dictatorship in Iran and that is happening right now, but it is the courage and the sacrifice of those who are fighting in the streets that will bring this uprising to victory.”
”To the thousands of women leading the protests in Iran, to the young people, to the millions of people held hostage, we are with you in every step on the path to democracy, until you are finally free.”
18.52: Burgdorf introduced Frances Townsend, former assistant to the US President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism: “History tells us the women have run this movement and the NCRI. We can see this today in the streets of Tehran, where women are standing up despite being hurt. To the young women in the audience, your mothers have fought this but you are the roses of the future.”
18.47: Taylor introduced an Albanian song performance by a a band of young people.
18.41: Taylor introduced the delegation from Albania.
Pandeli Majko, Minister: “having boxes to vote, does not mean that you’re free to vote. We had a choice, helping Assad, who killed his own people, or helping Iranians. We chose to help you and now 3,000 Iranians are safe in Albania. But we cannot wait to see you back in Tehran.”
Fatmir Mediu, Leader of Albanian Republican Party: “many people ask why Albanians offered to help our friends from Iran. The answer is simple. We want freedom and prosperity for Iran and we know the suffering that the Iranian people have suffered. Nowadays the Iranian people are standing up for their freedom and we will stand with you. The Iranian people need us to stand up and support them. The regime will not last forever. Never give up.”
18.40: A video played showing dozens of protest scenes in Iran from June 25, with brave people chanting “Down with Khamenei” and “mullahs must get lost”.
18.30: Taylor welcomed the General Syrian delegation to the stage.
Nazir Hakim: “People want the fall of the regime. I salute the free rebellions of our people who stand in the face of dictatorships and fight. We salute the heroes resistance of the iranian people who are facing the dictatorship in iran. There is a true resistance. We are battling the same regime in syria.”
“We know we will win against these tyrants and we salute all those who fight against dictatorships. The unfairness in the region is all caused by the Iranian Regime. The voice of iran, the voice of syria represents the free people and those who are resisting, this is the real measure of change. We are as a resistance also call for peace and security and freedom. Long live the revolution, next year i hope we can meet in Tehran.”
18.25: Burgdorf welcomed Zinat Mir-Hashemi, Member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, to the stage: “Now in every city, town, and village of Iran, we can see that your efforts have paid off and most of the Iranian people have said no to the Regime. At the front lines are the workers, employeess, the women and the young. The protests show that the people will not accept the corruption of the regime anymore. It was a new momentum. The people took back their destiny and will overthrow the regime. It's not from another country, but from the Iraniran people.”
“The regime is trying to scare people by saying that regime change in iran will end up like Syria but they are wrong. The regime is responsible for so much wrong in Iran and the Middle East. The Iranian people see this and they are ready to overthrow the regime in Tehran, especially now on the anniversary of June 20, 1981.”
“We can see a future where we can avenge the deaths of the martyrs and that day will go down in history. We hope that next year, we'll be able to celebrate in a Free Iran.”
“Down with Rouhani, Down with Khamenei.”
18.17: Burgdorf introduced a Persian song performance by Lady Marjan, who paid tribute to Maryam Rajavi before she began singing.
18.15: Burgdorf introduced a video clip from Iran showing respect to martyrs of freedom
18.05: Maryam Rajavi thanked the activists and handed back to Taylor. Taylor introduced a delegation of Iranian lawyers & experts.
Speech- Kazem Kazerounian representing the delegation of Iranian specialists & professionals: “I would like to pay tribute to the resistance of Iran and Maryam Rajavi. The MEK is the only hope for freedom in Iran. These past few days we have seen uprisings against the mullahs and it has spread so much that we can see that the end of the Regime is near.”
“The digital revolution has helped to trigger this change. Democratic countries must acknowledge that they can help iran through this revolution.”
Kazem Kazerounian representing the delegation of Iranian specialists & professionals: We renew our vows w/ the #Iranian Resistance & its leader, #MaryamRajavi, to continue to support it in the last stride to #Iran’s freedom#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran2018 #IranRegimeChange pic.twitter.com/rcruS34438— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) June 30, 2018
17.55: Maryam Rajavi then introduced the PMOI (MEK) members who were living in Albania, who expressed their support for a FreeIran.
Mrs. Nasrin Masih from the Mojahedin living in Ashraf - Albania: “We want to pay tribute to the martyrs of the Resistance, The MEK is proud that they sacrificed their lives for the freedom on Iran and have continued to fight, with the support of the Iranian people. The spring of freedom is near and we will double our efforts to bring regime change.”
Another Mojahedin member at Ashraf - Albania: “We have come a long way and we are fast approaching our goal of freedom. Iran Regime has tried to seperate Iran people and their resistance, but they have not succeeded. This huge gathering shows the strength of the resistance and the large number of iranian youth in the resistance shows the end of the Iran Regime. The people of Iran support the resistance. I am far from the demonstrations, but my heart is with you.”
17.47: Burgdorf introduced a Persian song performance from an exiled political singer.
The singer Gissoo Shakeri, expressed her support for the Iranian uprising and led the crowd in a chant about the downfall of the Regime.
17.45 Taylor introduces a performance about the uprising in Iran, which shows how the protests are spreading like fire across Iran and ended with the message “onwards to a Free Iran”.
17.30: Burgdorf then welcomed the delegation from other European countries.
. Eduard Lintner, former German deputy Interior Minister: “I admire your resoluteness and hope that your fights is successful. The regime tries everything to crush the opposition, but the world can see that the people are fighting back against the Regime. The Regime plunder from their people and we must see that moderateness is not an option. The iranian regime must be brought to justice for destabilizing the region. We support the fight for freedom.”
Eduard Lintner, former German deputy Interior Minister: I admire the resoluteness and courage with which you carry out this battle.— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) June 30, 2018
The economic situation is becoming ever more disastrous.#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran2018 #IranRegimeChange #Iran pic.twitter.com/nFxeVOdwYx
. Martin Patzelt, Member of Germany Bundestag: “the time is up for the dictatorship in iran and there is a democratic resistance in the NCRI. It has proved that is it capable of absorbing dissatisfied people and bringing them together. The NCRI’s 10-point plan is one that is welcomed by the West, we stand with this movement.”
. Marcin Swiecicki, Member of Parliament from Poland: “I believe that iran will free itself from the mullahs. Maryam Rajavi is a great leader; the NCRI is prepared for this change in Iran. After recent months, we see that the iran regime is not ready to have a dialogue with its own people, therefore we should end the appeasement and support Iran resistance instead.”
. Lars Rise, Chairman of Norwegian Committee of Friends of a Free Iran: “we admire each one of you, the brave people who took part in the uprising. We welcome the extraordinary leadership of Maryam Rajavi. What we call the resistance is the strongest democratic movement in any country in the world. This has the power to bring human rights and democracy to Iran, as well as security to the region. This is our movement and the Regime’s actions against us show how scared they are.”
Lars Rise: The uprising was organized by the resistance and has shaken the regime to its core. We have seen the impressive organization and capabilities of the resistance & most of all the extraordinary leadership of Mrs. #MaryamRajavi.#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran2018 #Iran pic.twitter.com/9ppDyMo9uQ— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) June 30, 2018
17.20 Taylor welcomed the delegation from Italy and San Marino.
Giulio Terzi, former Foreign Minister of Italy: “we are very close to a Free Iran. We bring our support to Maryam Rajavi and all freedom fighters in Iran. Our unconditional support is even more determined now that that theocracy is trying to crush the opposition.”
.@GiulioTerzi : We are bringing our serving support to #MaryamRajavi & to all freedom fighters in Iran in the fight for regime change in #Iran. We're here to tell you our profound admiration for the values you are defending.#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran2018 #IranRegimeChange pic.twitter.com/jlDdPCRqrq— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) June 30, 2018
“We refuse to fall in the Regime’s trap. A large part of Italian history recognises that standing with the Iranian people is standing on the right side of history. 38 Italian Senators have signed a message supporting the people of Iran.”
Senator Roberto Rampi: “your fight is our fight for a free iran. This is the objective of so many martyrs who gave their life for this fight. We remember them. A free iran will bring stability to the whole region and the whole world. Iran is dangerous and is destabilising the whole world. We are here today, standing with you and thanking you for your fight. Long live the free iran.”
17.05: Taylor welcomed the delegation from the United Kingdom represented by members of parliament:
. David Amess: “In our country, we enjoy many freedoms and we want the iranian people to enjoy the same freedoms. We’re joining with you to support a free Iran. We stand united with each and every one of you and we’re sure this message will travel all the way to Tehran and scare the mullahs. We have been supporting the NCRI and promoting human rights and democracy in Iran for years. We are here to say we stand with the iranian people as they strive for a better future and will do so until iran is free.”
.@amessd_southend : We stand united with every & each one of you in your battle and I’m sure that our message of a free & democratic #Iran will echo all the way to #Tehran, to cities & towns across Iran, shaking theocracy to its core#IStandWithMaryamRajavi pic.twitter.com/udntwmt5kA— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) June 30, 2018
. Theresa Villiers: “I want to highlight the iranian women who are risking so much to be part of the protest movement. These are women who bravely stand in the face of security forces and chant down with the mullahs. I share your appeal for freedom in Iran. let us all hope that one day, Mrs Rajavi is able to put in place her ten-point plan for a Free Iran.”
They are brave enough to stand up against the compulsory veil and the laws that put restrictions on them. I feel it is fitting for me to share your appeal for freedom for women in #Iran. #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran2018 #IranRegimeChange pic.twitter.com/vW8ty1yozP— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) June 30, 2018
. Matthew Offord: “earlier this year, we saw in Iran, what I thought was a glimmer of hope. We have to be the voice of the iranian people. Those people like ourselves who want an alternative to the mullahs. But that won’t come by accident, and I praise Mrs Rajavi for showing the world that a free, democratic, and secular Iran is possible. We will be back in Tehran.”
.@Offord4Hendon: I commend Madam Rajavi for her 10-point plan for showing the world that not only is a plan available but it can be achieved by her. The plan offers the people #Iran a free democratic & secular Iran.#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran2018 #IranRegimeChan pic.twitter.com/KHxJjIr3TQ— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) June 30, 2018
. Roger Godsiff: “we stand in solidarity with the brave people of Iran who have stood up against the ayatollahs. A change in policy is well overdue and we should stand with the US is recognizing the desire for freedom and democracy in Iran. We must recognize the Regime as a terrorist entity and it can never be a part of peace in the Middle East. We must recognize the NCRI and MRS Rajavi’s 10-point plan for a free Iran. Long live a free and democratic Iran.”
.@RogerGodsiff : The UK and our colleagues in the European Union must join and support the people of #Iran in their desire for freedom and equality.#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran2018 #IranRegimeChange pic.twitter.com/IpR3bGZ3g9— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) June 30, 2018
17:00 Philippe Douste-Blazy a United Nations official and former French centre-right politician: “The iranian people want freedom and democracy. The UN Secretary General said that he is disturbed by the executions in Iran. Amnesty International reported that many protesters have been killed. Lets support freedom in Iran that is led by Maryam Rajavi.”
Philippe Douste-Blazy: The situation in Iran is changing. Yes, the #Iran situation is no longer in favor of extremists. Yes, the wind is rising in favor of people. Yes, people want democracy, peace without corruption.#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran2018 #IranRegimeChange pic.twitter.com/gqf34oKLee— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) June 30, 2018
Burgdorf then introduced a video clip from Iran, which showed many people holding up Free Iran signs and pictures of Maryam Rajavi.
16:35: Burgdorf then introduced the "Lion & Sun" performance, which celebrated the symbol of Iran, that was removed from the flag by the mullahs. It featured many children dancing, in the colours of the Iranian flag, whilst holding the symbol aloft.
Burgdorf then introduced Dr Reyad Yassin, the Yemeni Ambassador to France: “The hero of the iranian people is Mrs Rajavi, we wish a major victory to the Iranian people and we wish to see an end to Iran’s interference, especially the Houthis in Yemen. The mullahs will never change their stripes. Let’s continue our fight together for Tehran and the region.”
Sepehrrad then introduced the Delegation of Iranian youth who recently fled Iran, who carried slogans with resistance hashtags.
Paria Kohandel: ”Hail to the supporters of the resistance and the torchbearers of the resistance. Each one of us have come out of Iran recently. After 39 years of lies against us, the Regime has failed to separate the MEK from the Iranian people. The Regime is desperately trying to pick up their burnt cards to stay in power, but we are committed to the fight for freedom.”
“Each one of us has sufferened and witnessed the Regime’s crimes, but we will fight until we achieve the end of the regime. The mullahs fate is in the hands of each and every one of us. We will continue our fight for a free iran. We are proud to have Maryam at the head, she was a nightmare for the mullahs. We are the cells of resistance in Iran and the light of freedom will soon shine in iran.”
Taylor then welcomed Judge Michael Mukasey, former US Attorney General, and Judge Louis Freeh, former Director of FBI, to the stage.
Speech by Judge Michael Mukasey, former US Attorney General:
“Finally the stars seem to be aligned to achieve the downfall of the mullahs’ regime. We see that the economic and political rot in the Regime finally match the moral rot that has always been present. We hope that the mullahs will topple but we need to keep up these efforts.”
Speech by Judge Louis Freeh, former Director of FBI: “Do you feel the winds of change blowing over iran? You are the people who are blowing that wind. We know that the winds and the force of change is irrevocable and is growing to a logical conclusion.”
“The regime has exported terrorism all around the world - that has not changed. What has changed however is the people in Iran and their protests.”
“To the freedom fighters in Iran, we support you, we are there for you, we are amazed at your bravery, we can move satellites to help you communicate, we can shut down companies through secondary sanctions. We cannot carry the fight as you have, but we will help,.
To the mullsh, you will be brought to justice.”
16:15 Burgdorf then took to the stage to make a social media announcement, noting that messages about the event that were coming out of Iran. She then welcomed the Canadian delation.
Delegation from Canada led by John Baird, former Foreign Minister of Canada:“We come together to support regime change in iran. We must not ignore the people of Iran and we must not ignore their desire for regime change. It is time to stand with the people of Iran and support them in their quest for freedom and democracy. It's time for the mullahs to go.”
Speech by Stephen Harper, former Prime Minister of Canada: “I'm very happy to be here today to express my support in favour of the end of the regime. I am here today to tell the people of Iran, not who their government should be, but that it should be their choice. I hope to see freedom and democracy in Iran.”
“Iran is ruled by cruel and tyrannical mullahs, a regime that stands for everything that is wrong in Iran. The Canadian government, under me, was tough on the Regime, including designating it as a state sponsor of terrorism, closing the embassy in Tehran, and sponsoring UN moves against it.”
“The Regime does not seek freedom or peace and we must acknowledge the people's rising protests in Tehran. Of course the regime continues to expand throughout the Middle East, build missiles and terrorise its people.”
“We know that the cash funneled into the Regime has enriched the mullahs not the people and that the mullahs do not wish to live in peace. Some in the West deny this, but we face it.
Do not give up hope in a free Iran. You have many friends that support a Free Iran, an Iran that will come to pass someday soon. Keep up the fights.”
Taylor then introduced Bernard Kouchner, former Foreign Minister of France: “There are political divisions, as we saw with the US and Canadian delegations. Europeans do not always agree with our American friends, but we agree that we will support the Iranian people in their fight for freedom we are all on your side for the new battle.”
“Despite the fact that some European leaders are not in complete agreement to destroy the Iran nuclear deal, they are all in agreement to back the Iranian people to get rid of the mullahs and the theocracy and set up a really democratic government. Be brave and you will be supported by Europe.”
16:00 Speech by Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representative:
“I want to thank all of you for being here today, the willingness of so many people to come from so many places shows the support for Freedom in Iran.”
“Let me also remind you how much things have changed in the past two years, from an administration that deluded itself about the Regime to one that gets tough on Iran. The US will increase sanctions until the Regime goes.”
“We need to shame the European governments who are working with the Regime and insist that they join the sanctions once again. We need to encourage the US government to tighten the sanctions. Our goal is not to start negotiations, it is for a free and democratic Iran.”
“Once these regimes start to break, the corruption weakens the entire system. The work each of you is doing is incredible.”
“We need to show the Iranian people that we’re on their side and on the right side of history. Human beings everywhere want to govern themselves. I believe that freedom will come, it has been paid for by the blood of patriots.”
“I want you to know that all the Americans on stage are committed to communicating that the NCRI is the movement to bring freedom and democracy to Iran.”
“I look forward to the day that this meeting can be in Tehran in a free country.”
Robert Torricelli, Member of the U.S. Senate from 1997 to 2003; served 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives:
“Let us make this fundamentally clear, we stand here as democrats and republicans, we may have our differences but all of us stand behind Donald Trump to see the destruction of the mullahs to the end. To the mullahs, let's make this clear: you are in the fighting ring of history. We stand the people in the streets of Iran fighting for freedom; you stand to defend the restriction of freedom. One will lose, one will win, but I’m counting on us. To those on the streets on Tehran, being Iranian still means you can be prosperous, free, happy,and have a future. Soon, you’ll all be free.”
Speech by Governor Bill Richardson, former Governor of New Mexico:
“Are you ready for change in iran? Are you ready for regime change in iran? Are you ready for Maryam Rajavi as President of Iran? Are you ready for the dictatorship to end? You know all you read about is water shortages, lack of free elections, executions, enormous political corruption. Do you know why? Because the Regime is near to an end.”
“Americans stand behind you. This event is about the Iranian people and their resistance as the force for change in Iran.”
“People ask if there’s an alternative to the Regime and there is. It's the resistance; they’re the ones who have fought against the mullahs and the Shah. you represent a platform of freedom and democracy. The power is with you. The end is near. Are you for a Free Iran? Will you vote for Mrs Rajavi?”
The crowd then began chanting, “Yes.”
15.40: Alex Taylor then welcomed Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City and current lawyer to US President Donald Trump, to the stage.
“It is wonderful to return here at a time of great significance and more hope than ever before, I believe that it is realistic that we see an end to the regime. We have seen this before with the people taking to the street, against all opposition, with numbers that threaten to topple the regime. When that happens, freedom is right around the corner.”
“It could have happened 8 or 9 years ago, but my government turned its back on the Iranian people. This time, back in December, the US President tweeted support for the protesters and said the mullahs will fall.”
“To those countries that continue to support iran, you are paying for a regime that deprives women and children of their rights and kills opposition. How much better are you than the terrorists?”
“We all know that the Iranian economy is in freefall, this is terrible for the people of iran, but its a price they are willing to pay because it will topple the regime. We must not lose our determination. We must keep up the pressure. Thank god Trump turned his back on the Iran deal, Europe should be ashamed of themselves for continuing to do business with Iran. I guarantee that the sanctions will only get worse. Trump does not intend to turn his back on freedom fighters.”
“Here, we have an alternative to the Regime that is built on democracy, human rights, and separation of church and state. That’s what the NCRI stands for, that’s what Maryam Rajavi stands for. That’s what your martyrs died for.”
“The reason Iran is in economic freefall, despite the massive amounts given to them, is because the mullahs have stolen from the Iranian people.”
“My colleagues and I have fought to remove the terrorist designation from the MEK and we have won.”
“These protests are winning because they are being coordinated by the people in Albania and in this room. Suppose the face of Iran was not the mullahs, but of a woman, Maryam Rajavi. Will it happen? Yes. When will it happen? Now. I want to have this conference next year in Iran.”
US dignitaries then joined Mayor Giuliani on stage to express their solidarity with the MEK.
Giuliani announced that all 32 dignitaries had signed a statement to support Maryam Rajavi and the MEK.
Mayor Rudy Giuliani presents the letter by 33 American dignitaries and former U.S. officials in the Free #Iran – The Alternative, Gathering - Villepinte, June 30, 2018#FreeIran2018#IranRegimeChange pic.twitter.com/NGNZMzSvz7— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) June 30, 2018
He said: “They all agree on one thing, the ayatollahs must go and be replaced by a democratic government, which Maryam Rajavi represents.”
Maryam Rajavi then came back on stage to thank the US dignitaries for their support and their support for the uprising.
She said: “Regime change is possible and within reach of Iranian people and Iranian opposition.”
15.25: Maryam Rajavi leads the crowd in waving an Iranian flag, while the national anthem plays.
Maryam Rajavi then paid tribute the Martyrs, whose photos were displayed on screen and in a giant yearbook. She places a ribbon across a wreath and then wrote a message in the yearbook.
While she was doing this, the crowd could be seen holding flowers aloft, to pay tribute to the martyrs, echoing Maryam Rajavi’s earlier promise about roses coming after the winter of the mullahs.
Ravjavi then moved to a secondary memorial, where she places flowers on the photographs of those who had fallen in the fight against the mullahs.
Freedom-loving Iranians sing along a famous traditional song, honoring the memories of martyrs who gave their lives for #Iran’s freedom – Free Iran – The Alternative, Gathering - Villepinte, June 30, 2018#FreeIran2018 pic.twitter.com/VNtg0AagBE— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) June 30, 2018
Maryam Rajavi then left the stage to take her place in the middle of the dignitaries at the FreeIran Gathering.
14.40: Maryam Rajavi then took to the stage,but the cheers did not die down for a few minutes.
And we salute the Mojahedin in Ashraf 3, their home. Congratulations to you and the people of Iran for constructing it with your own hands.#FreeIran2018#Iran#IranRegimeChange pic.twitter.com/kU5y0UWGbd— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) June 30, 2018
Maryam Rajavi: Uprising and protests have engulfed Iran, both factions have reached the end of the line; victory is inevitable and Iran will be free
Mrs. Rajavi pointed out, “A passionate generation thirsty for freedom has risen to take over the entire country and take back Iran from the occupiers, the mullahs. The workers at Haft-Tapeh, the steel workers, the farmers of Varzaneh, the youth in Kazerun, the truck drivers and owners all across the country, the Bazaaris, the youth in Lalehzar, Ferdowsi, Shoush, Mellat and Ekbatan in Tehran, exhibited enormous courage in confronting the ruthless security forces. This is the Iranian nation’s fight. The regime’s overthrow is inevitable. Victory is certain and Iran will be free. The prospects of an Iran devoid of the mullahs and the Shah are looming. The so-called solution within the religious fascism has become null and void. The rebellious population and youth have ended the era of posturing for both factions of the regime.”
Maryam Rajavi added, “For the past six months, the Iranian people, with all their nationalities and ethnicities, have waged an uprising despite maximum suppression. The society is in an explosive state. Khamenei’s standing has plummeted dramatically and totally lacks legitimacy. The Revolutionary Guards and Bassij have been hit with defections. The mullahs have lost the most important backer of the policy of appeasement, namely the United States. The avalanche of successive sanctions is hitting them hard. And the most important signal of the phase of the mullahs’ overthrow is the linkage between the fury of the people and the organized Resistance movement, something that the regime’s leaders feared.”
On the future free Iran, Maryam Rajavi said, “We call for the establishment of a society, based on freedom, democracy, and equality. We have defended and will defend gender equality, the right to freely choose one’s attire, separation of religion and state, autonomy of nationalities, equal political and social rights for all citizens of Iran, abolition of death penalty, freedom of expression, parties, the media, and assembly, freedom of unions, associations, councils and syndicates. We espouse a non-nuclear Iran that will promote peaceful coexistence with its neighbors, and welcomes regional and international cooperation.”
She went on to add, “In this path, the first step is to transfer sovereignty to the people of Iran. By relying on the Iranian people and a popular base, one can avert chaos and insecurity and safeguard the integrity of Iran and Iranians, rendering it a proud nation. According to the NCRI’s program, following the regime’s overthrow, a provisional six-month government will be formed, whose primary task is to form a constituent assembly through free elections with the general, direct, equal and secret ballot. This constituent assembly must draft the constitution of the new republic within two years and put it to vote. It must also set up the principal institutions of the new republic based on the people’s vote.”
The NCRI President-elect emphasized, “16 years ago, the Iranian Resistance adopted the plan on the National Solidarity Front for the Overthrow of the Ruling Religious Dictatorship and declared that it was prepared to cooperate will all forces who want a republican form of government, who are committed to the complete rejection of the velayat-e faqih regime and who struggle for a democratic, independent Iran, based on the separation of religion and state.”
14.30: Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, walked across the stage, at which the crowd erupted in chants, and cheers, and oversove all celebrations, to greet the dignitaries in the front row of the crowd. She then greeted some members of the Iranian diaphora, who were waving Iranian flags and chanting her name, as she walked through the crowd.
Joining up with Iranians, personalities and elected representatives from various countries in the Free #Iran – The Alternative, Grand Gathering – Villepinte, June 30, 2018#FreeIran2018#IranRegimeChange pic.twitter.com/ubahhjsrdU— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) June 30, 2018
14:25: Then a video clip from inside Iran by MEK network is played, which showed the popularity of Maryam Rajavi and the MEK in Iran.
A short video clip on the activities of young Iranians from different cities inside Iran sending their messages of support for #MaryamRajavi and the #FreeIran2018 grand gathering in #Paris#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #IranRegimeChange #Iran pic.twitter.com/PXXe6zKaTC— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) June 30, 2018
14.13: Taylor: Khamenei has cracked down on social media in Iran, so let’s give him a day to remember and get out your phones to post with the hashtags #FreeIran2018 and #IStandWithMaryamRajavi
Then a delegation from Arab countries took the stage.
Nejat al-Astal, Palestine:My dear sister Maryam Rajavi and the Iran opposition, may God save you. I salute you. I appreciate your struggle to fight for human rights and women's rights in Iran. we are with you. We support the UN on human rights and women’s rights. We stand with you. We know also that the government of Iran is intervening in Iran in a very negative way and that is one of the reasons that we cannot get peace in the region, with Iran creating secratism instead of democracy.
Saleh al-Qalab, Jordan: Our sister, Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian people, because the Iranian people are all about resistance and the rest are radicalism that kill their people. We are very close to triumph. Next year we will be celebrating in Tehran. For 40 years this Regime has intervened in our other countries and now they will go down. Some people are trying to discredit this revolution, but they will not succeed. We know that you will win. The Arabs who want to confront this regime in Iran should support the Iranian opposition and the MEK as we will win with the MEK. Next year, i hope we will be under the leadership of Rajavi in Tehran.
Najimeh Taitai, Morocco: I’m glad to be here among you and I will always support you. The next conference will be, hopefully, in Iran. Everything has reached the limit. This dictatorship has reached the limit. All the people of Iran are out in the streets, their only weapon is their bodies. Their only hope is regime change. This regime has lost its credibility. The Moroccan kingdom is supporting you.
13.50: Presentation by French personalities
Michele de Vaucouleurs, French parliamentarian: We know that there have been changes in Iran, with the popular uprising that has been seen across the country, and in the bazaars. We hope for a real democracy in Iran, which respects the the separation of church and state, and embrace gender equality. That’s why we’ve supported Rajavi to the French Senate. I salute the Iranian women’s movement. Democracy does not come from power in the hands of a few, but in the hands of all.
Philippe Gosselin, French parliamentarian: We have been supporting the call for democracy and freedom in Iran. We know that the Iranian people should be in power in Iran and we want to pay tribute to the sacrifice of your people and express our wish for a Free Iran. You have our support and we will fight along with you for a Free Iran. Make Iran great Again
Gilbert Mitterrand, President of Daniel Mitterrand Foundation:We are historical friends of the Iranian Resistance. We can testify to the changes that this gathering has made. You are fighting for democracy and this fight is the fight against the regime of the mullahs. This fight, i believe, is coming to an end and coming to a victory. The young Iranian people will probably remember the summer of 1981, when thousands of young people were killed in Iran and France welcomed the former leader of the Iran Resistance, Massoud Rajavi. Rajavi had been imprisoned by the Shah and sentenced to death twice, because he called for a democratic Iran. Khomeini regarded him as a threat to the Iranian Regime’s power.
Then, a video clip about the Leader of the Iranian Resistance, Mr. Massoud Rajavi, played. The crowd chanted and waved Iranian flags after the video played.
Burgdorf introduced a delegation of European Parliament and Belgian parliamentarians
Jérard Deprez, MEP, representing European Parliament delegation: it is important to know that it is our common fight, not just for freedom of iran but for the dignity of all countries. It's our job to support the Ashrafies in Iran. We are the Friends of the Free Iran group in the EU parliament. Over 200 MEPs signed a letter supporting democratic change in Iran and the protesters, but this is not the cases everywhere. EU High Rep Federica Mogherini recently said that there is no alternative in Iran, but we have to ignore the lie that butchers can reform. To the iranian people, your future is our future, to live in freedom and solidarities.
Anna Elzbieta Fotyga, MP, representing delegation from Belgian Parliament: invincible people of a free iran i really support you and your great leader Maryam Rajavi. We in the the European Parliament admire her effort to bring justice , prosperity and most of all,freedom to her own people. We remember your heroes and believe me, we stand by you in supporting truth and bringing those who are responsible for massacres in Iran to justice. We support ordinary people of iran, those who live in the country in difficult circumstance. We admire their resolve to make their country free. We stand by you in the european Parliament.
Anna Elzbieta Fotyga, MP from #Belgian: I salute Ur great leader #MaryamRajavi. We in most of the EU member states really admire her effort to bring justice and prosperity & most of all to bring freedom to her own ppl.#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran2018 #IranRegimeChange #Iran pic.twitter.com/qtYpNhOmhl— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) June 30, 2018
13:45: The delegation of French mayors took the stage, represented by Jean-Francois Legaret, Mayor of 1st district of Paris, to show solidarity with the Free Iran Gathering.
Legaret: “To all the distinguished guests from all over the world, we want to welcome you to France: the land of human rights. WE have decided to support the Iranian Resistance and its relentless effort to install democracy in Iran. There are over 40,000 of us who have supported you in the past years and we will continue to support you until you are victorious and Maryam Rajavi becomes President. Here 10-point plan, based on democracy and gender equality, is something that we all support.”
“The uprisings in Iranian cities that we have seen since the beginning of the year show that there is going to be a change in Iran, as recognised by the Iranian people and the world.”
“Soon may come the day when Maryam Rajavi will see a FreeIran.”
13.20: Alex Taylor, Welcome to the FreeIran Gathering 2018. This is one of the largest events organised by the Iranian diaspora. My name is Alex Taylor and I am happy to welcome you to this unique event.
Anette Burgdorf, journalist. I am very pleased to be in front of you and see the energy of the FrreIran movement. Let’s keep this up for the whole event. We have many dignitaries with us today, whose speeches will be translated into many different languages. Welcome to Delegation of Iranian Experts.
Ramesh Sepehrrad, advisory board member of the Iranian American Community, began by addressing the Iranian people in Farsi and welcoming them to the event. On the 30 anniversary of the 1988 Massacre, we gather.
Delegations of Iranian experts, headed by Dr Jahansouz of the NCRI:
Dear fellow citizens, this event is to celebrate a Free Iran. The recent event have cause the Regime to tremble and the past few days have shown that the Resistance is strong. Its proved wrong the theocracy that tried to deny the protest movement in Iran. These protest movement have been unprecedented. The economy has dropped, there is corruption and the wealth of the people has been stolen by the Regime.
The people of Iran have only one wish: to overthrow the regime. They are saying that they are done with Khamenei and they are rejecting the Regime. They are clear they want a change the Regime. The real change to the regime is the one that has been fighting for democracy in Iran for 40 years, against the shah and Khamenei. The Iran Resistance will provide change to Iran and bring happiness to the Iranian people.
Then, a video clip about the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, mainly members of the MEK was played, was aired, highlighting the Regime’s crimes against humanity. It is powerful and moving.
Alex Taylor then asked the crowd to stand and applaud the martyred MEK members and ensure that their memories are not forgotten.
13.20: Alex Taylor, Anette Burgdorf, Ramesh Sepehrrad, Massoud Kalanion on stage to start the #FreeIran2018 rally for freedom and democracy in Iran.
13:00: Welcoming ceremonies and acts