Washington protesters demand ‘regime change’ in Iran

Figures of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, left, and Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, marching during the Iranian-American communities’ protests in Washington. (AFP)
Updated 09 March 2019
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Washington protesters demand ‘regime change’ in Iran

  • Some of the protestors held portraits of Maryam Rajavi, leader of a banned opposition group in Iran
  • Trump administration accused Iran of destabilizing the Middle East region

WASHINGTON: Hundreds of people turned out in Washington Friday demanding regime change in Iran and denouncing “atrocity toward the people” under Tehran’s regime.
Protesters waved Iranian flags as they chanted for “regime change now” — with some holding portraits of Maryam Rajavi, leader of the People’s Mujahedin, an Iranian opposition group banned in the country.
“The regime inside Iran is doing so much atrocity toward the people. Iran in whole has been destroyed by this regime,” said Michael Passi, an Iranian-American engineer.
“There are a lot of executions, a lot of tortures and a lot of export of terrorism by this regime,” he alleged.
“We want separation of religion and the state,” added Mina Entezari, an Arizona-based designer who was a political prisoner in Iran for seven years. “We want freedom for people.”
The administration of US President Donald Trump consistently blasts a lack of freedoms in Iran and its “destabilizing” influence on the Middle East.
A firm adversary of the Islamic republic, he has reimplemented harsh economic sanctions — but Washington insists it is not pushing for regime change, only a change to Iran’s policy in areas including missile development and support for militant groups.
“I’m 100 percent behind President Trump’s policy,” Passi said. “The only language that this Iranian regime understands is a language of force.”


Australia summons Turkish envoy over ‘offensive’ Erdogan comments

Updated 8 min 32 sec ago
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Australia summons Turkish envoy over ‘offensive’ Erdogan comments

SYDNEY: Australia’s prime minister said he would summon Turkey’s ambassador in Canberra on Wednesday to explain “very offensive” comments made by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the wake of the Christchurch massacre.
Erdogan, while campaigning for local elections, presented the attack as part of an assault on Turkey and Islam and warned anti-Muslim Australians would suffer the same fate as soldiers at Gallipoli, a blood-drenched WWI battle.
“I find it a very offensive comment, of course I do, and I will be calling in the Turkish ambassador today to meet with me to discuss these issues,” Scott Morrison told national broadcaster ABC.
Erdogan had already been sharply rebuked by New Zealand for his comments and for using gruesome video shot by the Christchurch mosque gunman as an election campaign prop.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters protested on Monday that such politicization of the massacre “imperils the future and safety of the New Zealand people and our people abroad, and it’s totally unfair.”
Peters announced on Tuesday that he would be traveling to Turkey this week at Istanbul’s request to attend a special meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Three Turkish nationals were wounded in the rampage that killed 50 worshippers at two mosques in the southern New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday.
The accused gunman, a self-avowed white supremacist from Australia, livestreamed much of the attack and spread a manifesto on social media claiming it was a strike against Muslim “invaders.”
The manifesto references Turkey and the minarets of Istanbul’s famed Hagia Sophia, now a museum, that was once a church before becoming a mosque during the Ottoman empire.
“This is not an isolated event, it is something more organized,” he said during a campaign event on Monday in Canakkale in western Turkey.
“They are testing us with the message they are sending us from New Zealand, 16,500 km (10,250 miles) from here.”
Erdogan did not project the video at the Monday event.
Peters said he had complained directly to visiting Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.