Diplomatic coup for Iranian opposition at Paris rally
The People's Mujahedeen of Iran drew tens of thousands of opponents to Iran's clerical regime to its rally outside of Paris on Saturday, including prominent Western political heavyweights.
The presence of former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar represented a major diplomatic success for the People's Mujahedeen of Iran (PMOI), which the United States still considers a terrorist organisation.
The PMOI advocates the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is a major organisation of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the political umbrella of exiled Iranian opposition groups.
NCRI president Maryam Radjavi called for democracy in Iran and an end to Islamic rule.
"The Iranian people will continue to resist until the dictatorship is overthrown," she told the crowd at the event in a northern suburb of Paris. Bolton, Washington's UN ambassador from 2005 to 2006, called for the PMOI to be removed from the US terror watchlist, and criticised the crackdown that followed last year's contested elections in Iran.
"Iran is more than ready for democracy," he said.
Organisers put the crowd at 100,000, and said around 20 parliamentarians -- mostly European -- had attended. Police said 30,000 people were present.
The European Union removed the PMOI from its list of terror groups in 2009.
© 2010 AFP