Live Coverage: Major Free Iran Rally Today in London
Anglo-Iranian supporters of the main Iranian democratic opposition group People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), also known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), in the United Kingdom are holding a major rally in London on Saturday, July 27, 2019 to express their support for the ongoing anti-regime protests and strikes in Iran. The MEK supporters are calling on the UK Government to stop placating Iran’s regime and to adopt a firm policy that recognizes the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people. Members of Parliament and political personalities are scheduled to address the rally. We'll be updating this page live as the event unfolds.
All times are local
14.40: Renowned Iranian singer 'Marjan' is making a performance for the Anglo-Iranian demonstrators gathered in London's Trafalgar Square in support of a free and democratic Iran.
14.45: A representative of the Anglo-Iranian youth is welcoming demonstrators to the Free Iran rally and march in central London.
Dr. Matthew Offord
14.48: Dr. Matthew Offord, Member of Parliament from the UK, tells the Free Iran rally:
“It was an honor for me to lead a British delegation to Free Iran event in Ashraf 3, Albania. It was an opportunity to meet the people of Ashraf and hear their experiences and their hopes for the future,” said British MP Dr. Matthew Offord, referring to the MEK members at the Ashraf 3 compound in Albania..
“We were convinced during our visit that Madam Rajavi represents an opportunity for the future of Iran. She seeks peace in the region. Recent events in the Persian Gulf show Iran is engaged in state piracy,” he said in reference to Iranian opposition NCRI President Maryam Rajavi.”
.@Offord4Hendon: “@Maryam_Rajavi represents an opportunity for the future of Iran. She seeks peace in the region. Recent events in the Persian Gulf show Iran's regime is engaged in state piracy.” #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/rlwKS1tatg— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 27, 2019
“Today our response should be firm, held on the principle that the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the regime of Iran should be held to account for their atrocities. These organizations should be proscribed in their entirety under the UK Terrorism Act.”
.@Offord4Hendon tells the #FreeIran London rally: “The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) & the regime of Iran should be held to account for their atrocities. These organizations should be proscribed in their entirety under the UK Terrorism Act.” #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/PIpstGbQLM— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 27, 2019
We should say we want to see regime change in Iran, led by Madam Rajavi, to achieve a better Iran and a better world order.”
We should recognize that the greatest asset for us is the bond of friendship between the people of Iran, the NCRI and the world. The people of Iran are ready to stand up for change.”
14.55: Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, is now addressing the Free Iran rally via a video message:
Hail to you friends and supporters of the Iranian Resistance in London who cry out the desire of the people of #Iran to overthrow the regime and achieve freedom. #FreeIran https://t.co/QsH4xDv9yl pic.twitter.com/rFAYcEI5Zq— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 27, 2019
Distinguished lawmakers, human rights advocates and prominent political personalities in Britain who have found the genuine solution to the issue of #Iran in Resistance for freedom and democracy, I would like to salute you all. #FreeIran pic.twitter.com/6JgNZQaBtT— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 27, 2019
I also tribute to the eternal names and brilliant conscientious individuals from among the people of Britain and its contemporary history including Lord Corbett, Lord Slynn and Lord Russell –Johnston who lent their unsparing support to the #Iran ian Resistance #FreeIran pic.twitter.com/NpVENEjx1D— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 27, 2019
Our Resistance has proven that peace and freedom can only be earned through fighting the mullahs’ religious dictatorship. This is in diametric opposition to the proponents of appeasement who defend the regime under the guise of peace. #Iran #FreeIran https://t.co/QsH4xDv9yl pic.twitter.com/nwefe0bmh4— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 27, 2019
Genuine calls for peace can be realized only by peace and human rights. Its prerequisite is the overthrow of the ogre of war and oppression, i.e. the Velayat-e faqih dictatorship. #Iran #FreeIran https://t.co/QsH4xDv9yl— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 27, 2019
I specifically urge the new UK government to support human rights, namely the suppressed human rights of the people of #Iran. I urge them to send an int’l fact-finding mission to Iran to visit the regime’s prisons and the political prisoners particularly, the women. #FreeIran pic.twitter.com/A1aMmRCom9— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 27, 2019
The ruling regime is surrounded by an impatient populace confident that her liberation will not be realized unless the mullahs are overthrown. The era of religious fascism is coming to an end; #Iran will be free. #FreeIran https://t.co/QsH4xDv9yl pic.twitter.com/yo6Q7vFTub— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 27, 2019
15.10: Struan Stevenson, a former Member of the European Parliament who is now Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change (CiC), tells the Free Iran rally in London:
“In the past few weeks, tens of thousands of NCRI supporters have gathered in Brussels, Washington, Berlin, Tirana, Stockholm and here in London.”
“After suffering many attacks in Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty in Iraq, the MEK has risen from its ashes in Ashraf 3, Albania,” he continued.
“We have shown the world in the past few weeks the strength of our movement. The Guardian should be ashamed of the rubbish they publish [slandering the Iranian democratic opposition]. It’s a disgrace that newspapers like the Guardian still follow the appeasement policy with the mullahs. Why don’t they support the Iranian people who want human rights, women’s rights, justice, peace?” asked Mr. Stevenson.
Former MEP @STRUANSTEVENSON: “My message to Boris Johnson & the UK government: Please respect the MEK & its struggle for regime change in Iran. We don’t need intervention. We must just support the Iranian people & the Resistance.” #FreeIran #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/eTlyhNoun8— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 27, 2019
“These newspapers claim the choice is between war and appeasement. We do not see war, we see courage, resilience. We must show our support for the people of Iran and the Iranian Resistance,” the former MEP emphasized.
“My message to Boris Johnson and his government: Please respect the PMOI and its charismatic leader Mrs. Rajavi. Please respect their struggle for regime change. We don’t need intervention. We must just support the people and the Resistance,” Mr. Stevenson highlighted in a message to the new UK government.
“This criminal regime has added international piracy to its long list of transgressions. It has become a universal pariah. It is supporting terrorism while its 80 million citizen struggle in poverty. It executes dissidents and hangs people in public. It has executed more than 3,800 people under the so-called ‘moderate’ Hassan Rouhani,” he added.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian Resistance and with the MEK.”
Senator Catherine Noone
15.20: Senator Catherine Noone, Deputy Leader of the Irish Senate, tells the Free Iran rally:
“Iran still holds the highest number of executions per capita. The regime deprives women of their basic rights and punishes them for mal-veiling and wearing colorful clothes,” said Irish Senator Catherine Noone.
“Mrs. Rajavi has made many sacrifices for a better future for all Iranians, particularly the women of Iran… The people of Iran have had enough of this dictatorship. They’re chanting down with dictator. Women play a prominent role in protests, inspired for the NCRI,” she added.
“Iran needs regime change, and it needs to happen soon,” Senator Noone concluded.
15.30: Jim Higgins, a former Member of the European Parliament from Ireland, tells the Free Iran rally:
“A country that hangs its own citizens is barbaric. A company that suppresses its own people is a tyranny that must be removed.”
“We rejoice in the fact that Ashraf 3 (the MEK’s base) in Albania is such a success. The mullahs know the clock is ticking and their days are numbered,” he added.
Former MEP from Ireland Jim Higgins: "We rejoice in the fact that Ashraf 3 (the Iranian opposition MEK’s base) in Albania is such a success. Iran's mullahs know the clock is ticking and their days are numbered." #FreeIran #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/qox15mo3tT— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 27, 2019
“40 years ago, the Shah left Iran. A vacuum was created. It should have been the dawn of freedom and democracy. But we’re here today because that 1979 dream turned into a nightmare. We’re here to make sure that dream is realized,” Mr. Higgins continued.
“We pledge our support to do anything possible to make that dream come true. We’re here to send a strong message to the regime: your days are numbered. Hand over to a real democracy. Hand over to a real president, to Mrs. Rajavi,” the former MEP concluded.
15.35: Irish Senator Gerry Horkan tells the Free Iran rally:
“The strong attendance of thousands of Iranians and politicians in these events debunk the claims by some media that Mrs. Rajavi and NCRI have no support.”
“The 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners is evidence of the regime’s fear toward the MEK and the Resistance movement. The regime has been waging assault on the rights of the Iranian people for over 40 years, and has destroyed their economy through its corruption,” he added.
“We urge the EU and the UK government to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization as the main tool for the regime to export terrorism. We must alter the policies of our governments to recognize the rights of the Iranian people,” the Irish Senator highlighted.
.@gerryhorkan: “We urge the EU & UK to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. It is the regime's main tool for exporting terrorism. We must alter the policies of our governments to recognize the rights of the Iran's ppl.” #FreeIran #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/pG1bVwqWxC— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 27, 2019
15.40: Dowlat Nowrouzi, NCRI Representative in the UK, tells the Free Iran rally:
“We are here to convey the four decades of suffering of the Iranian people. We are here to convey the main aspiration of the Iranian people, demanding justice, demanding freedom, demanding regime change and demanding support for Mrs. Rajavi.”
“Decisiveness is the only solution to dealing with this regime. Our resistance movement has paid the highest price for the rights of the Iranian people,” she added.
“Enough is enough! The mullahs must go. They do not represent the Iranian people. We want regime change now,” Ms. Nowrouzi continued.
“The main message of protesters across Iran is ‘hardliners, reformists, the game is over.’ Massoud Rajavi called for solidarity for the millions of people in Iran and the hundreds of thousands who poured onto the streets for their rights. The people of Iran deserve the violators of human rights who are occupying the top to bottom of this regime to face justice,” the NCRI Representative in the UK emphasized.
.@DowlatNowrouzi “Decisiveness is the only solution to dealing with Iran's regime. Its recent terror attempts are all indications that the world community must be united with the NCRI for a policy of regime change in Iran.” #FreeIran #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/E4uFHKZ2K6— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 27, 2019
“It is time for the UK government to realize that they must lead in Europe for a firm policy toward Iran. As Ashraf 3 proved to the world community, the PMOI (MEK) is committed in its entirety. It is dedicated to freedom in Iran. They proved they can build the future of Iran,” she continued.
“The recent terror attempts by the regime are all indications that the world community must be united with the NCRI for a policy of regime change in Iran,” Ms. Nowrouzi concluded.
15.45: Roger Godsiff, a Member of Parliament from the UK, tells the Free Iran rally:
“The UK must recognize the rights of the Iranian people for regime change and support the NCRI and Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-point plan for the future of Iran.”
“The main barrier to democratic change in Iran is the IRGC. I welcome the decision of the U.S. government to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization and to place sanctions on the Office of the Supreme Leader. I hope our government in the UK takes similar steps,” he continued.
.@RogerGodsiff: “The UK must recognize the rights of the Iranian people for regime change and support the NCRI and Mrs. @Maryam_Rajavi’s ten-point plan for the future of Iran.” #FreeIran #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/Nu4Q0yRyAF— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 27, 2019
“This brutal regime only understands the language of firmness. The international community must make clear to the regime and its officials that we in the free world stand with the people of Iran and their Resistance movement to bring about democracy and human rights in Iran,” Mr. Godsiff added.
“We fully support the NCRI, and we look forward to the day where we can celebrate a free and democratic Iran,” the British MP concluded.
15.55: Paulo Casaca, a former Member of the European Parliament from Portugal, tells the Free Iran rally:
“Tomorrow, we will remember the 10th anniversary of the first massacre in Camp Ashraf. It was followed by another massacre in 2011 and again in September 2013, as well as massacres in Camp Liberty. I pay homage to all these heroes of the MEK who fell in these massacres and those who have been maimed for life.”
.@paulocasaca1: "Tomorrow we remember the 10th anniversary of the 1st massacre in Camp Ashraf. It was followed by the 2011 + 2013 massacres, & massacres in Camp Liberty. I pay homage to all these heroes of the MEK who fell in these massacres" #FreeIran #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/H64IgAlqXI— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 27, 2019
“We will think about them. But we must also think about the present and about ways to confront this regime which is a monster to its people and to its neighbors. We must think about ways to confront the sea of lies being thrown at the Iranian opposition. We have seen ludicrous lies and fabricated accounts in newspapers here in the UK,” he added.
“The mullahs want to steal the past of the Iranian people to prevent them from obtaining the future. The past of the Iranian people, Cyrus the Great, Sattar Khan, Mossadegh, and of course Massoud Rajavi, they are your heritage, and you are going to make an Iran that is absolutely in line with its past glories, after putting the mullahs away and putting behind this dark era of your history… The future is yours,” Mr. Casaca concluded.
16.00: Renowned Iranian singer 'Marjan' is now making a live performance.
16.15: Brian Binley, a former Conservative MP, tells the Free Iran rally:
“The regime has moved to arrest hundreds of PMOI (MEK) supporters and their families in Iran because the popular protests are undermining the regime’s power. The regime is showing with its own actions that we should support the NCRI and Madam Rajavi if we want to counter the regime’s malign activities. They represent a true and viable alternative to the current regime,” said former British MP Brian Binley.
“The attacks we’ve witnessed in the past months prove the regime sees the NCRI as its main threat. The regime is warning about the growing support for the Iranian Resistance,” he added.
“Boris Johnson needs to change the policy that was pursued by previous governments that were frightened to oppose the regime, a regime that is not supported by the people. We need change in the British government,” Mr. Binley concluded.
Former British MP Brian Binley: “Boris Johnson needs to change the policy that was pursued by previous UK governments that were frightened to oppose Iran’s regime, a regime that is not supported by the people.” #FreeIran #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/CSEsMBnXB5— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 27, 2019
16.20: Denise Lester, Council Member of The Law Society of England and Wales, tells the Free Iran rally:
“The Law Society has called for the release of Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh after defending women who took part in protests. Lawyers must be able to perform their judicial functions without hindrance and harassment.”
“We support you in the cause for human rights, women’s rights and democracy in Iran,” she concluded.
Denise Lester of @TheLawSociety tells today's #FreeIran rally in London: “We support you in the cause for human rights, women’s rights and democracy in Iran.” #FreeIran #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/6m3O8CETVn— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 27, 2019
16.25: Roger Lyons, former President of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in the United Kingdom, tells the Free Iran rally:
“In (the MEK’s base in Albania called) Ashraf 3, we saw impressive constructions. But it is only temporary, until it goes back in Tehran.”
“We’re here because the mullahs are falling apart. They tried a terror plot against the Free Iran conference in Paris last year. Then they tried to blow us up in Albania, and their ambassador was expelled.”
“I also wish to state a remark to Jeremy Corbyn. We aren’t happy with the support he has given to the mullahs. We aren’t happy that he has been paid by (the Iranian regime’s state television channel) PressTV to spread propaganda for the Iranian regime. You should support the Iranian Resistance, not the mullahs.”
“Resistance in Iran is growing under the leadership of NCRI and Mrs. Rajavi. The mullahs are falling out.”
16.30: Dr. Mohammad al-Sheikhli, Director of the Center for National Justice Studies in London, tells the Free Iran rally:
“The PMOI represents the dreams of the Iranian people. We must remember the victims of the mullahs’ regime and the blood that was shed for freedom,” said Iraqi jurist Dr. Mohamed al-Sheikhli.
“Let us remember the role of the champions, the MEK members in Camp Ashraf who were attacked by the government of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and agents of the Iranian regime. Iran’s mullahs are violating international law. They’re a serious threat to global security. The actions of the mullahs in and around the Strait of Hormuz proves this regime does not respect and adhere to international laws. It supports death squads in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The mullahs' regime evades sanctions by controlling the Iraqi people’s money and stealing the country’s oil resources,” he added.
Iraqi jurist Dr Mohammad al-Sheikhli: "Iran's regime plants terrorists and death squads in the EU through its embassies. The EU and UK must take urgent action and shut down these embassies to preserve the security of their citizens" #FreeIran #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/WTr6O7LSna— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 27, 2019
“This is part of the regime’s expansion plans in the Middle East region. The regime is also planting terrorists and death squads in the EU through its embassies. The EU and UK must take urgent action and shut down these embassies to preserve the security of their citizens,” Dr. al-Sheikhli continued.
“The crimes of the bloody regime should not be forgotten. The international community must form an international tribunal against the regime for its crimes against the Iranian people, the Iraqi, Lebanese and Syrian people,” the prominent Iraqi jurist emphasized.
“Iran’s regime seeks to obtain nuclear weapons. The international community must take responsibility to confront this criminal regime. They need to tighten sanctions in all forms against this regime. The international community is fully aware that the true alternative to this regime is the leadership of Maryam Rajavi and the PMOI (MEK). They are the true hope for the Iranian people and the people of the Middle East,” Dr. al-Sheikhli concluded.
16.40: Anglo-Iranian MEK supporters tell the Free Iran rally:
“We are a generation who have never seen our homes, whose parents were tortured and executed by the mullahs, whose aunts and uncles were massacred in Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, whose brothers and sisters are being beaten on Tehran’s streets and attacked by the mullahs’ thugs. The Iranian regime has failed in suppressing us.”
“With the MEK heroes in Ashraf 3, how can we not have courage? How can we not be hopeful? How can we not be strong with the leadership of Maryam Rajavi? We will continue to carry the flag of 120,000 martyrs. A Free Iran is the true desire of the Iranian people. We call on Boris Johnson to stand on the right side of history and support the Iranian people; recognize the NCRI and Maryam Rajavi as the true alternative that can bring freedom and democracy to Iran.”
“The people are rising across Iran. They have one clear message: The mullahs’ regime must go. This regime has only brought pain and hardship for the Iranian people and their neighbors. We show our support for the youth in Iran. You are strong and steadfast and you are an inspiration to us all.”
“We stand here to say in one united voice that we want regime change. The Iranian people have the right to decide their own future. Boris Johnson has a duty to stand with the Iranian people. Appeasement has only resulted in hostage-taking and terrorism by the regime. We demand the IRGC and the entirety of the mullahs’ regime to be put on the list of terrorist organizations.”
“Victory is ours. The future is ours.”
Anglo-Iranian youth in London: “We are a generation who have never seen our homes, whose parents were tortured/executed by the mullahs, whose brothers/sisters are beaten on Iran's streets. The regime has failed in suppressing us.” #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK #FreeIran pic.twitter.com/SSDjswJ35o— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 27, 2019
17.00: The Anglo-Iranian communities carrying banners supporting freedom in Iran are now marching from London's Trafalgar Square to Parliament.
The Anglo-Iranian communities & supporters of the MEK carrying banners supporting freedom & democracy in Iran are now marching from London's Trafalgar Square to Parliament. #FreeIran #IStandWithMaryamRajavi #WeSupportMEK pic.twitter.com/wGwrBVtxj6— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 27, 2019