LIVE REPORT: Thousands of MEK supporters in Sweden urge EU to cut ties with Iran’s regime
Thousands of supporters of Iran’s main opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), otherwise known as the Mujahedin e Khalq (MEK), are gathering today in Stockholm to urge Sweden and the European Union to cut all diplomatic and trade relations with the mullahs’ regime and recognize the right of Iranian people to overthrow their dictators. The NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee will be covering the event live on Saturday, July 20, 2019. This page will be updated throughout the day:
13.45: Thousands of Iranian MEK supporters are starting to gather in central Stockholm in preparation for the march.
Thousands of Iranians are gathering today in Stockholm to urge Sweden & the EU to cut all diplomatic & trade ties with the mullahs’ regime and recognize the right of Iran's ppl to overthrow their dictators. We'll be live-tweeting. #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/JCx8e6wA05— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 20, 2019
Prominent Iranian singer Gisoo Shakeri
14.50: Prominent Iranian singer Gisoo Shakeri, on stage at the MEK’s Free Iran rally, tears a photograph of the Iranian regime's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei while chanting that the Iranian people are determined to achieve regime change.
At the #FreeIran march in Stockholm, prominent Iranian singer Gisoo Shakeri tears a photograph of the Iranian regime's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei while chanting that the Iranian people are determined to achieve regime change. #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/HpaCFZKDeB— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 20, 2019
Former French Human Rights Minister Rama Yade
15.05: Former French Human Rights Minister Rama Yade tells the Free Iran march that she has just returned from a visit to the MEK’s new home in Albania known as Ashraf 3:
“I’m coming from Ashraf 3. In Ashraf 3 I saw the impossible. A moved woman stands in front of you. This city was built in less than two years, in the middle of nowhere. You have proved through that amazing master work in Ashraf that the same could one day be done in Iran. It took your suffering and your hope and your discipline, but it was also because of your thousands of martyrs that Ashraf exists today.”
“We saw pictures of hundreds of young people who were killed by the regime, the people who were killed in the massacre in Ashraf in Iraq, the victims of the 1988 massacre. Ashraf 3 is a land of hope. Ashraf 3 is a reminder of the desire of the Iranian people for change. The demonstrations in Iran show what the Iranian people want: democracy, not dictatorship; freedom, not terror. We have to listen to those screams.”
.@ramayade: "Iran's regime has triggered a nuclear arms race & poses a threat of fundamentalism. You can’t negotiate with it. At a time when the world seeks a solution to Iran, we must think of an alternative. I think it's the MEK"— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 20, 2019
#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK #FreeIran pic.twitter.com/zEo7k360T5
“The international community was skeptical of the protests, they did not recognize the revolution. They did not listen to the voices of the Iranian people? Why? Because of a nuclear agreement that is dead and buried. They didn’t recognize that you can’t negotiate with this regime.”
“This regime has triggered a nuclear arms race and is posing a threat of fundamentalism. You can’t negotiate with this regime. At a time where the world seeks a solution to Iran, we must think of an alternative. I think it is the PMOI (MEK). The Iranian Resistance has identified this threat long ago. Its members have paid the price. You have proven that Islam matches its principles. You are supporting gender equality, freedom of religion. PMOI knows what women have brought to Iran. Iran would not have been a great civilization without women. Women have been standing in the streets and squares, women and sisters and mothers. They go to jail, they accept harm to themselves.”
“Your commitment is an extraordinary, a powerful daily act of faith and determination. Thanks to you, change is coming. This incredible change has the strong voice and the beautiful face of a role model, president Maryam Rajavi.”
15.25: Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi addresses the Stockholm Free Iran rally via a video message.
I am truly grateful and sincerely appreciate the lawmakers, and the human rights and women’s rights advocates who have joined you for freedom and democracy in #Iran and for a #FreeIran. pic.twitter.com/OHjXHNe0RE— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 20, 2019
The time has come for putting an end to the appeasement of the religious fascism in #Iran. There are no more excuses for overlooking the enemy of the people of Iran. #FreeIranhttps://t.co/T6w10PFyN5 pic.twitter.com/J7cNlL9pSQ— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 20, 2019
Conscientious human beings from across Europe and Scandinavia have always recalled the bitter experience of appeasing fascism, namely the Nazi invaders, in confronting the religious fascism in #Iran. #FreeIranhttps://t.co/T6w10PFyN5 pic.twitter.com/pBBD0uqNS8— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 20, 2019
The people of #Iran expect Europe which has suffered tremendously in the past century from Hitler’s fascism, to understand and feel the suffering of Iranian people today. Europe should side with the desires of Iran’s nation. #FreeIranhttps://t.co/T6w10PFyN5— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 20, 2019
Nordic countries, all the Europe, and the world must recognize the right of the people of #Iran for resistance to overthrow the clerical regime and establish democracy and popular sovereignty. #FreeIranhttps://t.co/T6w10PFyN5 pic.twitter.com/NPGkVK5kyT— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 20, 2019
15.30: Kimmo Sasi, former Minister of Foreign Trade of Finland, tells the Free Iran protest:
“The regime of the mullahs in Tehran is one of the most brutal governments in the world. There’s no possibility for opposition inside Iran. Hundreds of people are executed every year,” said Kimmo Sasi, former Finnish Minister of Trade and lawmaker.
“The regime tries to attack opposition gatherings. Today’s Iran is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. There are no rules for the IRGC. Yesterday, they hijacked a Swedish vessel in international waters,” he continued.
Ex-Finnish Trade Minister @KimmoSasi: The people of Iran are suffering. That’s why there are huge demonstrations in the country. The ppl want to change the government. We support @Maryam_Rajavi's 10-point plan for democracy & a #FreeIran"— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 20, 2019
#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/SGnXGsCHJs
“The people of Iran are suffering. That’s why there are huge demonstrations in the country. The people want to change the government. It’s very important that there’s a ten-point plan for democracy and freedom in Iran, by Madam Maryam Rajavi. The Swedish Foreign Minister should show solidarity with Mrs. Rajavi,” Mr. Sasi added.
“We were in Ashraf 3 and we saw the strength of the Iranian opposition. The work the MEK is doing in Ashraf 3 is very important. There’s no freedom of press in Iran, and the people in that camp are giving true information to the people of Iran,” he emphasized.
“The European Union must impose sanctions against the office of Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the IRGC and MOIS. Those sanctions will be very important at this stage. Mrs. Rajavi also urged government to pressure the Iranian regime to open its prisons. Nordic governments should be very active in this respect,” Mr. Sasi further highlighted.
“There’s only one solution for Iran. It is regime change. We are gathered here today to say that the people of Iran are the force of change,” he concluded.
15.35: Italian Senator Lucio Malan tells the Free Iran rally in Sweden:
“We must support Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. I call on European authorities: Stop appeasing the mullahs’ regime in Iran, a regime that kills the people of Iran, destabilizes the Middle East with its terrorism and also threatens the world,” said Italian Senator Lucio Malan.
Italian Senator @LucioMalan: "I call on European authorities: Stop appeasing the mullahs’ regime in Iran, a regime that kills the people of Iran, destabilizes the Middle East with its terrorism and also threatens the world."#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/b0ng5fYPzH— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 20, 2019
“I call upon the European Commission chief to listen to Mrs. Rajavi, to 40 million Iranian women who are tired of this regime that hates the women of this country. There must be a new EU policy. Expel the agents of this regime from Europe and support those who want to change this regime,” he added.
“This is a call to all those who have responsibility in Europe to support a free Iran,” the Italian Senator concluded.
Senator @LucioMalan: "I urge @vonderleyen to listen to @Maryam_Rajavi, to 40 million Iranian women who despise the regime. There must be a new EU policy. Expel Iran regime's agents from Europe & support those who want regime change" #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/FWlfcX4Msc— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 20, 2019
15.40: Magnus Oscarsson, a Member of Swedish Parliament, tells the Free Iran rally in Stockholm:
“We want to tell the people inside Iran that they’re not alone in their fight against repression. The Swedish government must do more to support them.”
Edvard Julius Solnes
15.45: Edvard Julius Solnes, Former Minister of Environment of Iceland
“It’s impossible to imagine how you could have built Ashraf 3, this beautiful place, in 20 months.”
“The appeasement policy has failed. Western governments are happy to have signed the nuclear agreement with the mullahs, and they are willing to push other issues such as human rights violations under the carpet if it makes money for them. It’s horrible,” he added.
“It is time for European countries to change their policy toward Iran… There have been many resolutions that have condemned the human rights violations in Iran. I say to my Foreign Minister: go ahead and formulate a new resolution to condemn the mullahs,” Mr. Solnes concluded.
15.50: Irish Senator Gerry Horkan tells the Free Iran rally in Stockholm:
“I had the privilege to meet many members of the Iranian Resistance – the MEK – in Ashraf 3. The events in Ashraf 3 were learning experiences,” said Irish Senator Gerry Horkan.
“The regime’s repression is failing. Resistance Units continue to mobilize anti-regime protests and chant ‘Death to Dictator.’ I’m here to call on the Swedish government and the broader EU to stand with the Iranian Resistance and its leader Madam Maryam Rajavi,” he added.
“The EU must abandon its appeasement policy and adopt a firm policy toward Iran… I support the 10-point platform of Madam Rajavi and NCRI. The NCRI and Madam Rajavi are trailblazers for a better and prosperous Iran,” Senator Horkan continued.
“The religious dictatorship in Iran is a great threat not only to Iran but also to the Middle East region… The EU must end the impunity the regime has enjoyed in the past decades. It can do this by recognizing the 1988 massacre as a crime against humanity and bring its perpetrators to justice. Next, it must designate the IRGC and MOIS as terrorist entities. It is necessary to push back against the regime both at home and across the world,” he further stressed.
“The people of Iran will shape the future of Iran. You are here to give voice to their legitimate demands,” Senator Horkan told the protesters in Stockholm.
15.55: Former Irish Minister of State for Small Business John Perry tells the Free Iran rally in Stockholm:
“Yesterday, we saw that the Iranian regime is a threat to the world. The regime thinks it can extract more concessions by taking our ships hostage.”
“In the past four decades, this regime has been terrorizing its own citizens with impunity. Many of you are victims of that regime,” he added.
“I had the honor to visit Ashraf 3. We met the residents. We spoke to PMOI (MEK) members. We listened to your inspiring leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. With the dedication of the residents of Ashraf 3 and the leadership of Madam Rajavi, I have no doubt that you will achieve freedom and democracy for your people,” Sen. Perry added.
“Many international dignitaries have called on the EU to abandon the appeasement policy toward the regime and hold its leaders to account for their atrocities. I call for a European policy that supports the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom,” he stressed.
“I call on the Swedish government to support the democratic alternative to this regime,” Sen. Perry concluded.
16.00: NCRI Secretariat Mahnaz Salimian tells the Free Iran rally:
“We are here to send a strong message to all those who are still dreaming of appeasing the Iranian regime and are thinking of constructive dialog with this regime. The first and last word of the MEK’s Resistance Units and the youth of Iran is the downfall of this regime.”
“This regime is trapped in a dead end and has no way out. The people of Iran and the Iranian Resistance are ready to answer to this situation. We tell European countries and the Swedish government that we don’t want anything but ending the appeasement policy and standing on the side of the Iranian people,” she added.
“For the Iranian people, any relation by the EU with the regime’s Intelligence Ministry (MOIS) and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) or with the regime in its entirety is a red line that must not be crossed. The MOIS and IRGC must be designated as terrorist organizations. All of the regime’s embassies must be closed and its diplomats expelled. The perpetrators of the 1988 massacre must be held to account,” Ms. Salimian concluded. “The regime must be expelled from the international community.”
16.05: Parviz Khazaii, NCRI representative in Nordic countries, tells the Free Iran gathering:
“We the people of Iran have the right to resist, to have a resistance base such as Ashraf 3, and to have a leadership like Iranian Resistance leader Massoud Rajavi and NCRI President Maryam Rajavi, just as Europeans had great resistance leaders.”
“These mullahs are not only the enemy of Iran, but also the enemy of other countries across the world. They are using the name of Islam, but they have nothing to do with this religion,” he added.
"This regime is the number one enemy of humanity. Today, the Iranian people are at the forefront of the fight for humanity, because fundamentalism is going to expand culturally and militarily in the Middle East. It is threatening the stability and security of the world; it is threatening our democracies. This regime wants to destroy democracy just as Hitler and Mussolini sought to,” Mr. Khazaii stressed.
“To European governments, we say, stop appeasing these mullahs like former UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain did,” he concluded.
Mohammad Ali Tohidi
16.20: Mohammad Ali Tohidi, chair of the NCRI Defense and Strategic Research Committee, tells the Free Iran rally:
“This demonstration is part of an international campaign to realize the toppling of the mullahs’ regime in Iran. The mullahs’ regime resorts to any measures to survive. Our campaign is the only method to overcome the threat of fundamentalism,” said Mohammad Ali Tohidi, chair of the NCRI Defense and Strategic Research Committee.
“The blood of our martyrs and the suffering of our prisoners will ensure our victory. We call on European government to stand with the Iranian people and to stop their appeasement policy and to expel the agents of the Iranian regime from their countries,” Mr. Tohidi concluded.