PARIS: Top world politicians joined Iran’s opposition leaders on Saturday at a mass rally to demand regime change in Tehran.
Tens of thousands of supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) called for democratic change and the overthrow of Iran’s ruling clerics.
They were joined at the rally in Paris by former prime ministers and foreign ministers, a former FBI director, a former US attorney general, diplomats and parliamentarians from the US, Europe and the Middle East.
The gathering followed a week of protests in Tehran, including rare signs of discontent from traders and merchants in the city’s Grand Bazaar, traditional supporters of the regime.
In a rousing keynote address at Saturday’s rally, NCRI leader Maryam Rajavi said such protests would ultimately lead to the overthrow of Tehran’s clerical rulers. “We believe it is possible to eradicate high prices, poverty, unemployment, shanty dwelling, water shortage and environmental calamities,” she said.
“But, before anything else, the trampled political rights, specifically the right to sovereignty of the Iranian people, must be restored and revived. This is the aim of our resistance and the raison d’etre for the NCRI.”
US President Donald Trump’s legal adviser, the former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, told the rally: “This president does not intend to turn his back on freedom fighters.”
Bill Richardson, former US ambassador to the UN, said: “The end is near. What you’re seeing is enormous change.”
Speaking to a cheering crowd, he said: “You are the source of change in Iran, the young people, the women, the resistance. Is there an alternative to the mullahs? Yes, it’s the resistance.”
Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the rally: “The protests in the streets rise in the streets and they will rise until the regime is gone.”
The Arab News columnist Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist who attended Saturday’s rally, told Arab News: “The NCRI is a democratic coalition of Iranian opposition groups. The organization has a mandate to transition power peacefully to the Iranian people following the toppling of the current regime.
“Most of the slogans chanted by protesters inside Iran have been formulated and echoed by the NCRI and its pivotal organization the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). The MEK’s popularity inside the country is growing, and many of the speakers and analysts I talked to at the event believe the organization is coordinating the protests.”