NCRI leader Maryam Rajavi addresses the audience at the Paris event on Saturday, June 29. (Photo: NCRI).


Heavyweights in Paris to support Iranian opposition-in-exile


Dozens of political heavyweights from the West gathered over the weekend in Paris to support the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) at the same time as thousands demonstrated in Berlin and Tirana, the capital of Albania.

Attendees at the annual event included former US vice president Mike Pence, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, Republican Senator Ted Cruz, former MEP Guy Verhofstadt, former French interior and defence minister Michèlle Allio-Maríe, and Peter Altmaier, a minister under Angela Merkel.

This year, the summit coincided with the Iranian presidential elections on June 28, following which both parties, Conservative and reformist, will go to a second round after a technical tie.

Reformist Masoud Pezeshkian and Conservative Saeed Khalili are competing to take the place of former president Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a plane crash on May 19 (the causes of which is still unknown). Both also hope to win the favour of Ayatollah Khamenei, supreme leader of Iran since 1989.

“The death of Raisi – the butcher of Tehran – dealt a great blow to the tyrannical regime of the ayatollahs, but not its end,” said NCRI leader Maryam Rajavi during her Paris speech.

“Raisi was a crucial bridge to ensure the transition of power. He was the only way to link Khamenei’s office with the government, which is why this election is the dead-end result of one of the biggest farces in history,” she said.

About 88 per cent of Iran’s population did not go to the polls, which the MEK said it considered “a success” and a sign that the regime “is mortally wounded.”

“It is an obvious rejection of dictatorship,” Rajavi said.

Members of parliament from Ireland, Estonia and Italy presented proposals for a “democratic Iran” based on the 10 points outlined by Rajavi.

Among that plan’s objectives are the “rejection of the clerical regime”, to be replaced by a “secular” country consistent with its Socialist vision, the “separation of powers” and the “de-nuclearisation” of the country to promote “peace, coexistence and international and regional co-operation”.

“Just as the USSR collapsed because of its own sins, the same will happen to the regime in Iran,” said Pence, who endorsed Rajavi’s plan.

Parallel to the event in the French capital, a major demonstration took place in Berlin where thousands of Iranians marched through the city.

Attending the protest was former European Parliament vice president Alejo Vidal-Quadras, who has recovered after being shot in the head on November 9.

The struggle between the Iranian Government and those in exile has been going on since just after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The NCRI’s activities date back to 1965 and its fight against the dictatorship of Shah Reza Pahlevi – later overthrown by Khomeini.

In 2018, the US FBI dismantled an Iranian terrorist group in California allegedly aiming to make an attempt on two NCRI members’ lives, one of whom was Ali Safavi, a member of the group’s Foreign Relations Committee and its representative in the US.