Backing Urged for Iranian Resistance, HRW Report Denounced
“A crowd of about 500 people gathered in Huntington Beach, Los Angeles, on Sunday, May 22, to demand that the United States support the Iranian opposition and remove its most powerful armed group, the People’s Mojahedin, from the government’s list of terrorist organizations,” reported Los Angeles Times, May 23. Participants also condemned strongly the bias report by the Human Rights Watch against the PMOI describing it as a collection of lies and baseless claims by agents of the Iranian regime to aid the clerics in their deepening crisis.
"We have gathered here in support of the third option," Hamid Azimi, one of the event’s organizers, told the crowd of Iranian-Americans, who were chanting slogans and waving flags. He was referring to Mrs. Rajavi’s proposal for democratic change in Iran through support for Iranian people and their resistance.
Organizers said U.S. support for the People’s Mojahedin would foster change within Iran. It would also be preferable, they said, to Washington’s two other options in deterring Tehran from what it believes is a nuclear arms program.
Azimi and others said the options were military action or appeasing Iran’s ruling clerics — something they contend the U.S. has already done by branding the People’s Mojahedin a terrorist group. He was worried that "ayatollahs with nuclear weapons in their hands are going to be a whole lot more difficult to deal with."
"The U.S. should remove the obstacles that the Iranian resistance has to finishing the job in Iran and replacing the theocracy with a republic that is democratic and secular," said Azimi, a member of the Iranian American Community of Northern California, which sponsored the event along with the Southern California Society for Democracy. "The main obstacle right now is that [terrorist] listing."
The gathering at the Hilton Hotel in Huntington Beach came just weeks after a similar one in Washington and amid Iranian threats to break off negotiations with European governments in Geneva on its nuclear program.
The highlight of the gathering was an address via satellite from Maryam Rajavi. "The clerical regime is facing an acute crisis as the sham presidential election and prospects of an all-out boycott have turned into a funeral for the game of ‘moderation’ and the policy of appeasement… A so-called human rights group, with known contacts with the pro-regime lobby, issued a hasty report on the Mojahedin and falsely accused it of violating human rights. This report is a reaction by appeasers of the mullahs’ dictatorship, who seek to prevent the removal of the terror label against the Mojahedin. Considering the clerical regime’s crisis-riddled state on the eve of the presidential elections and the commendable advances made by the Resistance in different arenas, such angry reaction by the clerical regime and its proponents were predictable. It is sad to see human rights, the noble achievement of human history, be put at the service of a bloodthirsty dictatorship. Those who seek to appease the regime and accuse the Resistance of the Iranian people of terrorism and those who try to maintain this hollow charge against the Resistance, have taken a nation’s desire for freedom and democracy hostage."
In separate messages Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D – Cal), member of Armed Services Committee and Homeland Security as well as Congressional Human Rights Caucus and Women’s Congressional Caucus; and Congressman Henry Cuellar (D – Tex), member of Agriculture and Financial Services committees stressed that it is now time for the world community to express its solidarity with Iranian people in their efforts to establish democracy in their homeland.
Several delegations of Iranian communities addressed the gathering giving their support to the Iranian Resistance. A number of Iranian artists also addressed the crowd and performed for the audience.