The Iranian Resistance is holding today its annual “Free Iran” gathering in Paris. Since the morning thousands of Iranians have been pouring in to France’s famous Bourget hall. Coaches are lining up the venue’s main entrance bringing in crowds from across the continent. At this early hour, many of the international dignitaries have already begun to arrive.
Huge crowds await at the gates of Le Bourget to enter the annual “Free Iran” rally.
Many of the Iranians who have flocked to Paris to attend the Iranian Resistance’s gathering for regime change are holding banners denouncing the executions and other human rights abuses carried out by the mullahs’ regime. Others are waving Iran’s tri-color flag and holding signs in support of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance.
Large numbers of Syrian exiles who oppose the regime of Bashar al-Assad are queueing up to enter the Iranian Resistance’s rally. Our reporters who spoke to a number of them say these Syrian opposition supporters denounce the support of Iran’s fundamentalist regime to Assad in the massacre of their countrymen and are there to show their solidarity with the Iranian Resistance. They reiterated that we have a common enemy – the regimes of the mullahs and Bashar Assad.
Hundreds of buses have already lined up the parking outside Le Bourget where tens of thousands of Iranians and their international supporters have already started to make their way into the hall.
We’re finally inside Le Bourget. The convention center is truly massive. It’s a good five minute walk from one end of the hall to the other. Iran’s tri-color flags have been placed next to seats.
Music is being played as crowds are entering the hall and taking their seats.
The gathering was opened by Sylvie Fassier, Mayor of Le Pin, France, and Linda Chavez, Chairwoman of the US Center for Equal Opportunity. Fassier reassured the audience that “France is with you”.
Senator Vincent Capo-Canellas, Mayor of Le Bourget, the host city of the event, welcomed everyone to the event and said the aim is to discuss and defend tolerance, democracy and equal rights in Iran. “Your courage is what brings us together,” he assured.
Dominique Lefebvre, Member of National Assembly: Terrible reality of the Iranian regime is that they are feeding Islamic extremism in the area.
“We should be thankful for the values that we have in the West and we should help the Iranian people get the same.”
Iran needs an economic relationship with the Western world, but we can only do it when it is not only the regime that benefits.
Gilbert Mitterrand, President of France Libertés: The fight for human rights and a democratic and free Iran is why everyone is gathered there today.
Vincent Capo-Canellas, the Senator and Mayor of the town of Bourget, in suburban Paris, where the event is being held is now on the stage to officially welcome the huge crowd to the grand “Free Iran” gathering on behalf of his city. He is joined by a large number of French mayors and elected officials who are on the stage to show their collective solidarity with the Iranian people and their organized Resistance.
The French song Rondo Capriccioso by Saint Saens is being performed beautifully by Albania’s world class choir as a symbol of the Albania people’s solidarity with the Iranian Resistance and its grand gathering for a #FreeIran.
The crowds are silent as a shocking video clip is played from last Monday’s rocket attack on Camp Liberty in Iraq which houses members of the main Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK). Many in the crowd have been moved to tears by the images of injuries and destruction to the camp. The Iranian regime’s affiliated terrorist forces in Iraq carried out the terrorist rocket attack on July 4, 2016. At least 50 rockets struck in and around Camp Liberty which led to injuries to more than 50 unarmed and defenseless camp residents.
A video clip is being broadcast which has been produced by the PMOI in Camp Liberty showing the various scenes of resistance against the mullahs’ fundamentalist regime.
Musicians are playing the piano, violin and drums to impressed participants.
A delegation of French lawmakers from the National Assembly and Senate as well as renowned French personalities who have over many years supported the Iranian Resistance are now on the stage. They include Bishop Jacques Gaillot, former Minister Alain Vivien, former governor and head of France’s internal security agency DST Yves Bonnet, former mayor and MP Jean-Pierre Brard, former French MP and judge Francois Colcombet, honorary president of the French human rights group New Human Rights (NDH) Pierre Bercis, Michelle Joli and MPs Dominique Lefebvre and Michel Terrot and Senators Alain Neri and Hélène Conway-Mouret, who is a former French deputy minister of foreign affairs.
Dominique Lefebvre – Opening economic relations with Iran right now will only benefit the regime, therefore we must not go ahead.
Rajavi is the only option for a Free Iran.
Laurence Fehlmann Rielle, Member of Swiss Parliament, honoured to speak at the event. Said she attended to show her full support for the Iranian Resistance. She is also there to salute Mrs Maryam Rajavi who has worked so tirelessly for the Iranian people.
Alejo Vidal‐Quadras, former Vice‐president of the European Parliament,
“outrageous scandal” that the people of Camp Liberty are still waiting for help. Why are the US and the UN not helping after their assurances they would?
He highlighted that even political prisoners who endure torture have managed to smuggle messages of support for the Iranian Resistance out of prison. “Our heart is with them.”
Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, President of the International Committee In Search of Justice (ISJ) and former Vice President of the European Parliament, is fervently cheered by participants as he gives his speech.
Adrianus Melkert, former leader of Dutch Labour Party, said that he will do what it takes to help the plight of the Iranian people. He praised Albania – the perfect example of a welcoming attitude. He congratulates the Albanian people and government for showing the way.
Now speaking is Giulio Terzi, former Foreign Minister of Italy.
Giulio Maria Terzi, former Italian Foreign Minister: The savage attack at Camp Liberty shows the fear the mullahs have of the freedom fighters. The mullahs want them to give up their struggle, but they won’t – they are determined and won’t give up, no matter what the cost is. They are symbols of heroism and courage. They are the true shining light for people who are struggling to have freedom. We need to guarantee their safety. “The situation has to be resolved immediately.”
The flags of a large number of Arab and Muslim countries are being waved as senior delegations from across the Arab world go on the stage, being led by Sid Ahmed Ghozali, the former Prime Minister of Algeria.
Presentation by a delegation from Arab nations led by Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former Prime Minister of Algeria: “My brothers and sisters of Iran, peace upon you.” He condemned the rocket attack at Camp Liberty. He gave a message of support to the Iranian Resistance.
Another member of the delegation, Mohammed Allahham, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said that the Iranian people are fighters and the Arab world supports them.
The delegations include lawmakers from Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Yemen, Tunisia, UAE, and Saudi Arabia.
Ms. Candice Bergen, Member of Parliament from Canada is speaking at the head of a Canadian delegation which is being represented at the major event.
Now on the stage is Ingrid Betancourt, a former Presidential candidate from Colombia who is a former hostage. She reminds us that it is not just the political prisoners that suffer – it is the families too who suffer immensely.
Remembering Iranian political prisoners presented by Ingrid Betancourt joined by their relatives in exile.
Footage of Iranian families – we see the suffering of many Iranians turned into hope.
Ms. Betancourt now asks Paria and her sister Zahra and her uncle Farzad to come onto the stage. Paria and Zahra are young members of the Iranian Resistance. Their father Saleh Kohandel is currently a renowned political prisoner languishing in the dungeons of the mullahs’ regime. Farzad Madadzadeh is a 31-year-old former political prisoner who escaped Iran last year after spending five years in the regime’s notorious prisons, including during the first year of Hassan Rouhani’s Presidency.
The daughter of a political prisoner of Gohardasht prison spoke. She mentioned how she was only allowed to see her father in for short periods of time, but she made the most of the time. When she was sad, he consoled her, but she could not repay the favour – nothing could ease his pain. She wants to see people have free speech in Iran so that people do not have to censor themselves or be censored. She wants an Iran without prison and without execution. But “the regime tries to make us become our own enemies while trying to convince us we are alone in this fight”, but “we are not alone,” she said. We have support that is helping us in our fight for freedom, she added. And that support is Maryam Rajavi who is leading the fight for us. Her name is banned in Iran because the regime are so fearful of her.
A short film about the torments and abuses that go on unabated in the mullahs’ prisons is now being played. Many in the audience are visibly brought to tears. Hundreds of thousands have been jailed and tortured as political prisoner in Iran under the mullahs’ regime for the past 37 years. Still the PMOI has never let up in its determination to bring freedom and democracy to Iran.
A video clip is now being played which has been produced by Rouzbeh, a popular singer of the Iranian Resistance.
The crowds fervently cheer as they wave Iran’s tri-color flag to the sound of music being played across the whole convention center as Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, makes her way up the platform to make her address. The scenes of jubilation are truly spectacular.
Mrs. Rajavi is giving her speech to laud applause.
Linda Chavez invites the audience to listen to a new song that has been produced by the Iranian Resistance called “Thank You” which is a tribute on behalf of the Iranian people and Resistance for their international supporters in the campaign to achieve democracy, freedom and human rights in Iran.
Struan Stevenson, Member of European Parliament until 2014:
“we need to understand our enemies”
There is no religious justification for the regime’s actions. The regime is an exporter of terrorism.
“We need to cut off the head of the snake.”
“Long live Rajavi. Long live the PMOI”
José Manuel Barroso, who was President of the European Commission and former Prime Minister of Portugal, is now on the stage of the “Free Iran” rally to address the major gathering of the Iranian Resistance.
José Manuel Barroso: “Proud to be part of a peaceful and democratic gathering. “We should have this all over the world.”
He was a teenager when a dictatorship was overthrown by a democratic group in his country. He wants to see this happen in Iran too.
The people of Iran do not have the political system they deserve.
But he also believes that with their history and their strength is what will give them democracy.
“The fundamental thing is the dignity of every human being.” Men, women and children – not some abstract group of people, he emphasised.
Parliamentary delegation from the United Kingdom:
David Amess, MP – has been with the Resistance from the outset. Has the signatures from the House of Commons and the House of Lords – over 400 members who are supporting the 10-point plan of Maryam Rajavi.
Reverend John Pritchard said he was overwhelmed to be part of such an extraordinary event. “Thank God for Albania” for welcoming some of the residents of Camp Liberty.
The maltreatment of religious minorities is what the regime is known for. In clear opposition to the Iranian regime we have Maryam Rajavi who symbolises interfaith harmony between Christians and Muslims – therefore he wishes her every success. “I am absolutely with you,” he ended.
Steve McCabe MP: if we want peace and stability in the region we need to listen to Madam Rajavi. We need to make clear that sanctions will be imposed on the regime.
We need to put an end to the export of arms from Iran.
We need to stop cropping up companies who do business with the regime.
We need to cease all activities with all Iranian banking groups.
“Stand up for a Free Iran”
Paul Monaghan MP – “Iranian people deserve more than to be associated with terrorism.”
A song called “Say with the nation” is now being beautifully performed by renowned Albanian opera singer Armando. The song is one of the masterpieces of Maestro Mohammad Shams, a world-class conductor and composer and member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Joining Armaldo are a join Albanian and Iranian choir.
Saudi Arabia’s former Director of General Intelligence, Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, has now joined the massive gathering of the Iranian Resistance. Prince Turki bin Faisal is a former Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States.
Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia
“The Iranian people are the first victims of the regime”
Presentation by a delegation of US officials:
To loud applause Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives and a Presidential candidate in the 2012 election, is now making his address to the Iranian Resistance’s “Free Iran” rally in Paris.
Newt Gingrich: Being here is a powerful signal. Everyone who is opposed to the dictatorship is coming together to fight it and to fight for freedom.
Governor Bill Richardson – “Free Iran” – the most important part of his message, he says.
The American delegations main message was for the people to support legitimate opposition groups. They call on the American people and people across the world to do just that.
Addressing the grand gathering is John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations.
John Baird, former foreign affairs minister of Canada:
The people of Iran suffer every day under this regime. Despite the election of Rouhani, there has been no moderation. Journalists are targeted so the real story can’t be told, so the truth can’t leave the borders of the country.
Nothing will stop us talking out against the regime and their appalling human rights record.
The people of Iran yearn for freedom, democracy and human rights. The people of Iran abhor everything that the regime stands for.
Chavez said that the US has historically misunderstood the Iranian opposition, but this is changing.
Americans now feel an obligation to focus on the future. The country has fallen short in the past and not realised how much help Iran needs, but thanks to the NCRI we are much better informed.
“As Americans we value our country’s honour and reputation.” The government needs to uphold its promises.
Judge Michael Mukasey voiced his support for the people who attended the rally as well as the people of Iran. He passed on a message from Rudy Giuliani who wanted it known that he is still in the fight despite not being able to attend the event.
Ambassador Mitchell Reiss – We can’t be surprised that the situation in Iran has not improved because Maryam Rajavi has been warning about the Iranian regime’s dishonestly for years. Speaking about the opposition and Rajavi, he said: “No one can doubt the wisdom of their words.” They are right that peace will come to the region once the regime has been toppled.
Louis Freeh former director of FBI – over the past 20 years, what has been the most consistent is the supporters of the opposition.
He called Rajavi a “constant anchor” and “beacon of hope” for “all of us”.
Frances Townsend – also applauded the Albanians for their extraordinary diplomacy but also applauded Senator Torricelli for his instrumental role. She says he has been tenacious and unstoppable.
She is so proud to stand with the women at the gathering, the repressed women of Iran and the women of Camp Liberty. She is proud to be their voice and said that they are the “future voice of Iran”.
United States Ambassador, Robert Joseph, said that the intensity in the room – this room full of freedom fighters is overwhelming. He reminds us that the regime can have a nuclear weapon at a time of its choosing. It is using billions of dollars to support the proxy wars in Yemen and elsewhere. It is also brutalising the people of Iran. The regime cannot reform – it must be overthrown. We must pressure from all directions, he said.
Said Abedini, Iranian‐American Christian recently released from Iranian prison said that his presence here proves that each act of resistance will be a victory of freedom. He is sure that one day we will all be celebrating a very bright future for Iran. He thanks Maryam Rajavi for her constant support.
Brig. Gen. David Phillips said the heroes at Camp Liberty are the ones who will be remembered when we have a free Iran.
Albania delegation: Representatives from Albania said that whether we are on the left or right, we all have one heart. Albania has invited all members of Camp Liberty to come to their country. They will be welcomed warmly.
Pandeli Majko, former Prime Minister of Albania, welcomed Fatmir Mediu, Leader of Republican Party and former Defense Minister who also confirmed that our brothers and sisters will be welcomed with open arms to Albania.
Mrs. Rajavi joins the Albanian delegation on the stage to huge applause. She presents them with bouquets of flowers on behalf of the Iranian people and Resistance for their solidarity with the Iranian nation’s struggle to achieve freedom and democracy. Albania has already resettled a large number of PMOI (MEK) members who were in Camp Liberty in Iraq.
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