Live Update - #FreeIran Gathering 2017
19:55 (Local Paris Time)
Mirhashemi takes the stage and gives a speech.
She said: “We must support the movement of justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre.”
19:53 (Local Paris Time)
Chavez introduces Zinat Mirhashemi, a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and Central Committee member of the Cherik-hay-e Fadaii Khalq Organization of Iran.
19:43 (Local Paris Time)
Yade and Betancourt take the stage and give a speech.
Betancourt reminded us that the Iranian Regime, like Daesh, are not Muslims.
She said: “This movement is a movement of resistance by Muslims, for Muslims. They have rejected the mullahs’ version of Islam.”
Rama Yade said: “The 1988 massacre was a crime against humanity… There will be no peace without justice.”
She told the Resistance that the must not give up their fight and encouraged the French government not to concede, lest they risk French values.
19:42 (Local Paris Time)
Chavez introduces Rama Yade, the Former Secretary of State for Human Rights of France, and Ingrid Betancourt, former Presidential candidate of Colombia and former hostage.
19:31 (Local Paris Time)
The Egyptian delegation takes the stage and the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament makes a speech.
19:30 (Local Paris Time)
Chavez introduces the Egyptian delegation.
19:24 (Local Paris Time)
The Canadian delegation takes the stage and John Baird, former Member of the Canadian House of Commons and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, makes a speech.
Baird said: “The people of Iran demand and deserve better than the religious fascism ruling Iran...The money spent by the regime on nuclear weapons and terrorism is being stolen from the Iranian people... The policies of appeasement let the people of Iran down.”
19:23 (Local Paris Time)
Chavez introduces the Canadian delegation.
19:14 (Local Paris Time)
The Delegation of Italy and San Marino takes the stage and Giulio Terzi, the Former Foreign Minister of Italy makes a speech, in which he made a passionate appeal for the freedom of Iran.
He said: “It is now that change can happen. Change will come soon.”
He warned the international community against forgetting the 1988 massacre, in which 30,000 political prisoners, mainly members of the MEK, were murdered. He insisted that those responsible must be brought to justice.
He also warned against doing business with Iran.
Terzi said: “Governments rushing to do business with Iran are misinformed and ill advised. Our leaders should look first and foremost to the Iranian people.”
19:13 (Local Paris Time)
Chavez introduces the Delegation of Italy and San Marino
18:26 (Local Paris Time)
Chavez introduces 3 speakers from the USA; Tom Ridge, Former United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Mukasey, Former Attorney General of the United States, and Louis Freeh, former Director of the FBI.
All three paid tribute to the sacrifice of the Iranian people, especially the MEK, in their speech.
Mukasey said: “We will remain eternally grateful to the people of Albania for making the people who were in Camp Ashraf safe.”
Louis Freeh said: “The people of Ashraf are heroes.”
18:20 (Local Paris Time)
Askar takes the stage and makes a speech.
18:19 (Local Paris Time)
Chavez introduces Mohammad Askar.
18:13 (Local Paris Time)
Rendell takes the stage and makes a speech in which he assessed that a free Iran, ruled by Maryam Rajavi would mean peace and security for the Middle East and an Iran that puts human rights at the centre of its democracy.
He also paid tribute to the Iranian Resistance and the MEK.
He said: “[I have] never felt prouder and more accomplished in his public career that freeing the people of Ashraf...We have fought for freedom in America. We know the struggle and we are behind you. “
18:12 (Local Paris Time)
Torricelli introduces Ed Rendell, the former Chairman of the US Democratic Party and former Governor of Pennsylvania.
18:03 (Local Paris Time)
The German Delegation takes the stage and Prof. Dr. Rita Süssmuth, the former President of German Bundestag, and Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, the former Minister of Justice, make a speech.
They acknowledged the plight of those MEK members who were relocated to safety in Albania in 2016, saying that they had not suffered in vain.
They continued by praising Maryam Rajavi and the Iranian Resistance (NCRI and MEK).
They said: “Rajavi spreads the light of enlightenment. She is the hope for those who want to live in peace together. She is committed to a peaceful liberation of Iran.”
18:02 (Local Paris Time)
Torricelli introduces the German Delegation.
17:55 (Local Paris Time)
Kouchner takes the stage and gives a speech, praising the Resistance for its commitment to gender equality, freedom. and separation of religion and state.
He said: “[That] is what makes the movement successful and stand out.”
17:54 (Local Paris Time)
Torricelli introduce Bernard Kouchner, the former French Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and co-founder of Doctors Without Borders (MSF).
17:44 (Local Paris Time)
The British Delegation takes the stage and Sir David Ames MP and Theresa Villiers MP make a speech each.
Ames praised the work of the Resistance forces and promised to stand with them, advising Maryam Rajavi that she had the full support of the British delegation.
He said: “The Iranian Resistance is the only democratic alternative to the theocratic regime.”
He finished by calling for a Free Iran.
Villiers said: “The Iranian regime is a source of evil in the world. We want a brighter future for the people of Iran.”
17:43 (Local Paris Time)
Torricelli introduces the British delegation.
17:38 (Local Paris Time)
Keane takes the stage and gives a speech, praising the Trump administration for righting the wrongs on US policy towards Iran, and promised the Trump would deal with the Iranian Regime as he has with Russia and North Korea.
He said: “The Trump administration brings great hope after the disastrous policies of Obama administration.”
He predicted that the US Government would soon designated the IRGC as a terrorist organisation.
17:37 (Local Paris Time)
Torricelli introduce Jack Keane, former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army.
17:32 (Local Paris Time)
A short film about the Connexion with Albania is played.
17:21 (Local Paris Time)
The USA Congress Delegation takes the stage and a selection of short speeches are given from Members of the United States House of Representatives, Ted Poe, Tom Garrett Jr., and Robert Pittenger.
Poe said: “We are in a fight for freedom – the most important thing. One day soon we will see freedom and democracy in Iran.”
He called on the people of Iran to take to the streets in peaceful protest and the international community to designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity; promising to make it a reality in the US.
While Garrett and Pittenger insisted that the US Congress would stand united with the freedom loving people of Iran.
17:20 (Local Paris Time)
Torricelli introduce the USA Congress Delegation.
17:09 (Local Paris Time)
Liberman takes the stage and gives a speech, in which he praised the people at the gathering for sending a message to both the Iranian Regime and the people of Iran.
He also noted that one day the truth about the 1988 massacre will be fully know and those responsible will be held to account.
17:08 (Local Paris Time)
Torricelli introduces Joe Liberman, former US Senator and former Vice-president candidate.
16:48 (Local Paris Time)
Al Saud takes the stage and gives a speech about the Iranian Regime.
He spoke about the relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which was peaceful until the Regime took over in Iran. Now, it appears that Iran is spreading its influence across the Middle East.
Al Saud said: “The regime is looking for more crises and is therefore using militias to pressure other countries. This is how the regime pursues power.”
He addressed that the Iranian elections were neither free, nor fair.
He said: “Hitler also said elections were held, but like in Iran, they were not democratic. Elections do not always signal democracy.”
Then, Al Saud discussed how the Iranian people were the main victims of the Regime.
He said: “Your struggle to pursue the Iranian regime is legitimate. It is necessary and an obligation. ”
16:47 (Local Paris Time)
Torricelli introduces special guest Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.
16:33 (Local Paris Time)
Gingrich takes the stage and gives a speech in which he praises the Trump administration for their attitude towards the Iranian Regime and praises the Resistance for the valiant fight for freedom.
He said: “Iran must be free. The dictatorship must be destroyed. Containment is appeasement, and appeasement is surrender.”
He continued: “The right to happiness to be free is an American concern. Freedom is not safe anywhere as long as dictatorships are in a position to threaten freedom… In America, we want to win this fight because everywhere is in danger until the dictatorship ends.”
16:32 (Local Paris Time)
Torricelli introduces Newt Gingrich, Former US Presidential candidate and Speaker of the House.
16:18 (Local Paris Time)
Giulliani takes the stage and gives a speech, in which he gives thanks to Maryam Rajavi.
He said: “ We wouldn’t be here today without the leadership of Mrs. Rajavi. Thanks to her, our brothers and sisters from Camp Liberty are free.”
He also insisted that Donald Trump recognized the threat poosed by the Iranian Regime and is focused on it.
Giuliani said: “The Resistance stands for freedom of religion, freedom for women, free elections, the rule of all, respecting human dignity and human rights. We need this in Iran. This is why the Resistance is the hope of Iran…. The regime will fall. We don’t know when, but I’m confident it will happen in my lifetime… We can see the world beginning to turn. It is starting to look at Iran realistically. Regime change is inevitable. It WILL happen.”
16:15 (Local Paris Time)
Former US Senator Robert Torricelli introduces Rudy Giulliani, the former Mayor of New York City.
During his introduction, Torricelli address the crowd by saying “This room holds the biggest gathering of Iranians with freedom”.
16:10 (Local Paris Time)
There is a live musical performance, featuring over 100 people. They are drumming or clapping their arms above their heads and the audience joins in.
15:50 (Local Paris Time)
A memorial is held for all those lost in the Iranian people’s fight for freedom.
Maryam Rajavi makes her way to the statue of the Martyrs to lay flowers. The lights are dimmed and her path is illuminated by the small lights held by those in the crowd.
The Connexion with Albania also make their way to the statue, each with a rose in hand.
15:46 (Local Paris Time)
The National Anthem of Iran is played.
15:41 (Local Paris Time)
Mrs. Ravjavi’s speech ends, as the crowds cheers, chants the slogan “we are ready”, and waves their flags. Rajavi takes a flag and waves it in solidarity.
15:01 (Local Paris Time)
Maryam Rajavi begins her keynote speech, entitled: Three fundamental truths for obtaining freedom in Iran, peace and tranquility in the Middle East.
In the speech the President-elect of the Iranian opposition addresses that the failing of the Regime and the rising wave of resistance from the Iranian people themselves has made now the right time for the regime change in Iran.
Maryam Rajavi noted three major developments that impact on the Free Iran gathering and spell the end for the Iranian Regime:
1. Foiling the Iranian Regime’s plan to annihilate the Resistance movement be relocating members of the MEK to safety in Albania
2. The failure of the US and Europe’s policy of appeasement towards the Iranian Regime
3. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s defeat in the sham elections
She assessed that it was obvious that the Iranian Regime was afraid of its people and the democratic resistance forces; citing the nearly 11,000 protests against the Regime in 2016 alone.
Maryam Rajavi said: “Look at those grave dwellers, the 10-million unemployed, the 20-million shanty-town dwellers and the 30 percent who are starving. The mullahs are encircled by these very people. The hand-picked candidates for the sham presidential election admitted that this is a regime of the 4 percent and that 96 percent of the people despise it.”
She said: “The winds of change have started blowing in our homeland. The ruling regime is in disarray and paralysed as never before. Iranian society is simmering with discontent and the international community is finally getting closer to the reality that appeasing the ruling theocracy is misguided.”
Maryam Rajavi outlined that there are three fundamental truths for obtaining freedom in Iran, and peace in the Middle East:
1. The Iranian Regime must be overthrown
2. The overthrow is within reach
3. The Iranian Resistance (NCRI/MEK) is capable of toppling the Regime
The President-elect of the Iranian opposition assessed that the only real solution is Regime change, which can be reached if the international community would support the will of the people and the Resistance.
Maryam Rajavi said: “The conclusion is what the Iranian Resistance has emphasised since the outset and many in the world have reached today: The solution, and the only solution, is regime change.”
Maryam Rajavi explained that not only did the MEK and the Resistance have the will of the people, they also have the ability to rule as an effective government, which they have shown as they govern as exiles in France. She advised that the international community can and should trust the Iranian Resistance with governing.
She said: “We have always stood by what we have said and promised. Not a day goes by without the movement fighting relentlessly for the cause of freedom. Some 120,000 members and sympathisers of this movement have been executed, and the movement has been subjected to massive repression and a continuous barrage of propaganda since June 20, 1981; the mountains wavered, but your Resistance movement remained steadfast. And it will not relent until it uproots the medieval mullahs’ Caliph, Khamenei. Now, [our Resistance] will pass through fire and it will make the ultimate sacrifice… to turn Iran into a flourishing garden of freedom and justice.”
Maryam Rajavi spoke of the constant, unwavering opposition that the Resistance has provided to the Regime.
She said: “The Iranian Resistance is proud that it has stood up to the mullahs’ religious fascism in all these three spheres: It has been the flag-bearer of peace and freedom; it has been a vanguard in defending the people of Syria, and it has led the way for a non-nuclear Iran.”
She continued: “In our view and in the view of the freedom-loving people of Iran, the Constitution of the ruling religious tyranny is illegitimate, discredited, and void. Our people want a constitution based on freedom, democracy, and equality. The time has come for the international community to heed the demands of the people of Iran.”
Maryam Rajavi concluded with a call to the Iranian people.
She said: “Dear compatriots, I rely on your enormous power, on your restless quest for freedom and equality. I count on you, the women and youths of Iran, the Kurds, the Balouchis, the Arabs, Azeris, Turkomans, Lors and Bakhtiaries. There is a power in you that has made the ruling dictatorship desperate in the face of your resistance and protests; there is a power in you which can definitely overthrow the religious fascist regime.”
14:59 (Local Paris Time)
The keynote speaker, Maryam Rajavi, speaks about the Iranian Resistance’s special relationship with Albania and welcomes the Connexion with Albania on stage.
14:51 (Local Paris Time)
Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the Iranian opposition enters the conventions center while receiving a very warm welcome from the crowd, chanting Iran- Maryam, Maryam- Iran. Maryam Rajavi responded to the crowd, by waving the flag of Iran.
14:20 (Local Paris Time)
The Polish Delegation takes the stage and Marcin święcicki, a Polish politician and economist, gives a speech about gaining freedom from an oppressive Regime and how the people of Iran can do the same.
święcicki said: “Many people in Poland did not believe that it was possible to be free from an oppressive regime, but we did it...We want the end of the regime and we are here to support the resistance in the fight...You can overcome the situation and you can bring freedom to the people.
święcicki also expressed concern for the EU’s light approach to Iran.
14:19 (Local Paris Time)
Stevenson introduces the Polish Delegation
14:10 (Local Paris Time)
The Syrian Delegation takes the stage and Nasr Hariri, Former member of the People's Council of Syria from Daraa, and Suhair Alattasi, the leading female secular activist in the Syrian opposition, each give a speech.
Their speeches made clear that the Iranian people support the overthrow of the Regime and called for others to support it to.
They said that the heroic people who are standing in the face of the Iranian regime are sacrificing everything and noted that they would continue to fight for freedom for Syrians and Iranians.
14:09 (Local Paris Time)
Stevenson introduces the Syrian Delegation.
14.04 (Local Paris Time)
The Youth Singers are introduced and proceed to sing a song in all their different languages.
13.58 (Local Paris Time)
The Palestinian Delegation takes the stage and Walid Asaf, the Palestinian Authority's Chairman of the Commission Against the Wall and Settlements, gives a speech, declaring the Palestinian Delegation’s support for the Resistance.
Asaf said: “With our efforts, we will not let the Iranian regime dominate the region. We will establish the dream of the Iranian regime: liberty and democracy….The path to democracy requires time and effort and sacrifice. But we will have victory.”
13.57 (Local Paris Time)
Stevenson introduces the Palestinian Delegation.
13.52 (Local Paris Time)
Stevenson introduces the Delegation of the European Parliament and Belgium. Els Van Hoof, a Belgian MP, makes a speech expressing concern for violation of rights of women and minorities in Iran and voicing support for Maryam Rajavi and the Iranian Resistance (NCRI/MEK) for their view of a future Iran.
Els van Hoof hails the MEK for the leadership of women in the organisation.
13.43 (Local Paris Time)
Bolton takes the stage and gives a speech, in which he clarified that President Trump’s administration is totally opposed to the regime in Tehran.
John Bolton declared: “The 1979 Iranian regime will NOT reach its 40th birthday.”
13.42 (Local Paris Time)
Stevenson introduces former U.S. ambassador to the UN, John Bolton.
13.37 (Local Paris Time)
The singer, Mrs. Goshio Shakeri, is welcomed onto the stage to perform the song "women half of history", while nine people march across the stage with white flags.
13.31 (Local Paris Time)
The Women’s Delegation takes the stage and Ranjan Kumari gives a speech.
Kumari said: “The movement under Maryam Rajavi’s leadership can and must bring change to Iran.”
Maria Candida Alameda, also from the Women’s Delegation, said: “After the relocation of MEK to Albania, the next step is victory of Mrs. Rajavi to a free Iran.”
Samsami took the time to hail political prisoners and their courage in supporting the Free Iran gathering.
13.30 (Local Paris Time)
Stevenson introduces the Women’s Delegation.
13.18 (Local Paris Time)
The French Delegation takes the stage and a selection of short speeches are given from Martine Valleton, the Mayor of Villepinte, D. Lefevre, Senator Alain Néri, and Michèle de Vau Covler.
Valleton expressed hope for the victory of the Resistance and for a Free Iran, while Néri reaffirmed his support and the support of French dignitaries for the Iranian Resistance.
13.17 (Local Paris Time)
Struan Stevenson, former MEP for Scotland and President of the Friends of Free Iran Intergroup, introduces the French Delegation.
13.11 (Local Paris Time)
Filabi introduces a short film about the leader of the Iranian Resistance, Massoud Rajavi, which is met with applause and cheers from the audience.
Addressing the audience, Chavez said: “You are the hope for the freedom of Iran.”
13.08 (Local Paris Time)
The Delegation of Youth are welcomed on stage and Hanifeh Khayeri gives a speech
13.04 (Local Paris Time)
The Delegation of Specialists are welcomed on stage and Professor Firouz Daneshgari gives a speech declared support for the ten-point plan of the Iranian Resistance presented by Maryam Rajavi.
13.01 (Local Paris Time)
The Delegation of Athletics and Youth are welcomed on stage and Wrestling Champion Moslem E. Filabi gives a speech, hailing the people of Iran who have effectively cornered the Regime with their calls for justice.
The Free Iran Gathering 2017 opened with a selection of short speeches from Gibert Mitterrand, son of the late French President Francois Mitterrand, Anwar Malek, a Former Arab League observer, Linda Chavez, the Former White House Director of Public Liaison, and Sona Samsami, an Iranian community leader.
Mitterrand, who is also president of Danielle Mitterrand foundation (France Liberte), welcomed the audience to the Free Iran Grand Gathering 2017, while Samsami, the NCRI representative to the US and co-moderator of the event, said that the people in attendance are the voice of the voiceless.