‘Iran is a threat to everyone’ say regime opposition groups in London protest

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Iranian opposition groups call for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to support protesters in Iran during a demonstration outside Downing Street in London. (AN Photo)
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Iranian opposition groups call for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to support protesters in Iran during a demonstration outside Downing Street in London. (AN Photo)
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Iranian opposition groups call for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to support protesters in Iran during a demonstration outside Downing Street in London. (AN Photo)
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Iranian opposition groups call for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to support protesters in Iran during a demonstration outside Downing Street in London. (AN Photo)
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Iranian opposition groups call for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to support protesters in Iran during a demonstration outside Downing Street in London. (AN Photo)
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Iranian opposition groups call for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to support protesters in Iran during a demonstration outside Downing Street in London. (AN Photo)
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Iranian opposition groups call for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to support protesters in Iran during a demonstration outside Downing Street in London. (AN Photo)
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Iranian opposition groups call for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to support protesters in Iran during a demonstration outside Downing Street in London. (AN Photo)
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Iranian opposition groups call for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to support protesters in Iran during a demonstration outside Downing Street in London. (AN Photo)
Updated 05 January 2018
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‘Iran is a threat to everyone’ say regime opposition groups in London protest

LONDON: Chanting “down with Khamenei, down with dictators,” Iranian opposition groups gathered outside the prime minister’s residence in London on Thursday to call for the UK government to support protesters in Iran.

Members of 40 opposition groups from the Iranian community in Britain turned out in Westminster for the rally, organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). 

“We’re here to be the voice of the Iranian people and express our support for the National Council of Resistance of Iran and the PMOI who have been striving for peace and democracy in Iran since the Iranian regime came into power,” said Azadeh Hosseini, a member of the Anglo Iranian Teachers Association.

“The NCRI has the support of many different British parliamentarians across the different parties,” she said.

Around 100 people attended the Downing Street rally and a separate rally also took place outside the Iranian embassy.


Describing itself on its website as “an inclusive and pluralistic Parliament-in-exile” that “aims to establish a secular democratic republic in Iran,” the NCRI is an umbrella organisation that was founded in 1981 in Iran and is now headquartered in France.

The PMOI, an exiled Iranian opposition group which advocates for the overthrow of the regime, is among the NCRI’s affiliates.

“Iranians are very disappointed with the UK prime minister staying silent,” said Laila Jazayeri, director of the Anglo Iranian Women Association in the UK, one of the opposition groups that signed a letter addressed to May and handed over to Downing Street staff during the rally.

“We are calling on her to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Iranian people, youth and women who are crying for freedom and democratic change.”

NCRI supporter Eti Kia, 47, said: “It’s in the interests of everyone to support the protestors because Iran is a threat to everyone.”

At least 22 people have been killed and more than a thousand have been arrested in clashes with security forces since the protests began on December 28.

Speaking to crowds at the rally, Nagmeh Rajabi, a member of the Anglo-Iranian Youth Association said: “We call on the UK government to strongly condemn the brutal crackdown by the Iranian regime and stand alongside those risking their lives for freedom.”

Mohamad Sulimani, 30, a supporter of the Anglo Iranian Youth Association said: “We are getting there after 40 years of struggle, but people are getting killed.

“Now is the time to stand up for the Iranian people.”

What began as a reaction to Iran’s faltering economy has quickly grown into the largest display of public discontent in the country since the 2009 Green Movement, with tens of thousands of protestors taking to the streets in cities across Iran to challenge the government.

Speaking to Arab News ahead of the rally in Westminster, Hossein Abedini, a member of the NCRI said: “The peaceful protests have been very brutally suppressed by the regime.”


“All of the European politicians, and especially those who have always said that they support human rights and democracy in Iran, should come out and strongly support the people of Iran in the protests.”

Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said on Thursday: “Law enforcement officials have the right to defend themselves, and a duty to protect the safety of the public. However, reports of the use of firearms against unarmed protesters by security forces are deeply troubling and would contravene Iran’s human rights obligations under international law.”

“It is time for change and it is time for all Western leaders to wake up to the reality and stop tying their fate to a regime that has no future,” Jazayeri said.

“Years of silence against the violation of human rights, years of appeasement policy helped no one but the regime.”​


Turkey sends weapons to opposition fighters in Syria

Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters get a major boost as Ankara backs them with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them hold their ground. (Reuters)
Updated 45 sec ago
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Turkey sends weapons to opposition fighters in Syria

  • Ankara signals readiness to preserve its influence in Syria’s Idlib province in northwestern region

AMMAN: Turkey has equipped an array of mainstream Syrian opposition fighters it backs with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Russian-backed assault, senior opposition officials and opposition sources said on Saturday.
Russia is backing the Syrian army’s large aerial and ground assault as it seeks to gain control of the last big stretch of opposition-held territory in the northwest of the country.
Syria’s Bashar Assad launched the assault last month, saying fighters had breached an existing cease-fire, triggering a civilian exodus by bombarding Idlib and adjacent areas. It has been the biggest escalation since last summer between Assad and the opposition fighters in Idlib province and a belt of territory around it.
Ankara stepped up supplies in recent days after failing to persuade Russia in recent meetings of a joint working group that it should end its escalation to avert a major influx of refugees pouring into Turkey, two senior opposition figures said.
In doing so Turkey signaled its readiness to preserve its influence in northwestern Syria, where it has beefed up its troop presence in a dozen military bases that were set up under a de-escalation deal with Russia, a senior opposition commander said.
Turkish officials were not immediately available for comment.
Overnight, a Turkish military convoy arrived in a base in northern Hama near opposition-held Jabal Al-Zawiya, where Russian and Syrian jets have been pounding for weeks, a fighter and a witness said.
The delivery of dozens of armored vehicles, Grad rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles helped roll back some army gains and retake the strategically located town of Kfar Nabouda.