Iran exiles tied to top Trump advisers urge regime change

US Air Force maintainers prepare a US military drone RQ-4A Global Hawk for takeoff at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. (Reuters)
Updated 22 June 2019

Iran exiles tied to top Trump advisers urge regime change

  • Rallyists gather outside State Department demanding end to theocratic govt
  • Washington has accused Iran of responsibility for carrying out attacks on tankers in the congested shipping lanes heading out of the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz

WASHINGTON: Supporters of an Iranian exile group with ties to some of President Donald Trump’s top advisers rallied Friday for regime change in Iran, amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran.
Clad in yellow vests emblazoned with the words “Free Iran,” more than 1,000 members of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq gathered outside the State Department to demand an end to Iran’s theocratic government. The demonstration took place just hours after Trump claimed he had approved but then called off military strikes against Iran to retaliate for its downing of a US drone in the Persian Gulf.
After the rally, the demonstrators were to march to the White House to press their case.
“We have and will continue to declare that what we seek is the regime’s overthrow, overthrow, overthrow,” the group’s Paris-based leader Maryam Rajavi said in a video message to the crowd, which also included current and former US lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties.
Known as the MEK, the group has hosted Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton at previous events and the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is a supporter. Before joining the administration, Bolton told an MEK meeting in 2018 that “before 2019, we here ... will celebrate in Iran.” Giuliani, the former New York mayor, has made similar comments before the MEK.

HIGHLIGHT

Known as the MEK, the Iranian exile group has hosted Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton at previous events and the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is a supporter.

Last year its annual rally in Paris that Giuliani attended was the target of an alleged Tehran-backed bomb plot that was thwarted by arrests.
An Austrian-based Iranian diplomat is being held in Belgium, where police found bomb material in the car of a couple of Iranian origin.
The group has its headquarters outside Paris with several thousand members in Albania, extracted in a UN-brokered effort from Iraq.
In another development, the US has requested a closed-door UN Security Council meeting on Iran and the latest developments in the Gulf, diplomats said on Friday.
The discussions would touch on both the recent attacks against oil tankers in the Gulf and the Iranian downing of a US spy drone, a diplomat said on condition of anonymity. Another diplomat told AFP the meeting would take place Monday afternoon.
Washington has also accused Iran of responsibility for carrying out attacks on tankers in the congested shipping lanes heading out of the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz.


Protests in New Delhi against India’s citizenship law ahead of Trump visit

Updated 12 min 1 sec ago

Protests in New Delhi against India’s citizenship law ahead of Trump visit

  • Hundreds of people supporting the new law clashed with those opposing it
  • The protest comes just a day before US President Donald Trump begins a two-day visit to India

NEW DELHI: Police used tear gas to disperse large crowds in India’s capital of New Delhi on Sunday in the latest eruption of violence at protests over a new citizenship law, police officials said.
Hundreds of people supporting the new law clashed with those opposing it, with the two groups pelting each other with stones in the Maujpur area in the northeastern part of the city, according to television footage.
“There must be some miscreants who want to spoil the peace in the area. We will identify them and take action against them,” Alok Kumar, a senior Delhi police official, told reporters about the protest.
“The situation is under control now,” he added.
The protest comes just a day before US President Donald Trump begins a two-day visit to India, where he is expected to raise the issue of religious freedom in the country with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which eases the path for non-Muslims from neighboring Muslim-majority nations to gain citizenship, has triggered weeks of sometimes violent protests against Modi’s government.
The Indian law is seen by opponents as discriminating against Muslims and has deepened concerns that Modi’s administration is undermining India’s secular traditions.
Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party denies any bias against the country’s 180 million Muslims.
On Sunday, a separate protest also erupted in the northern Indian city of Aligarh, where protesters threw stones at the police, state administration official Chandra Bhushan Singh said.
The Internet in the area had been suspended until midnight, he added.