Iran Focus: Washington, D.C., Jan. 20 A vocal demonstration was held outside the White House on Thursday by Iranian Americans opposed to the current theocratic regime ruling Iran and seeking support for democratic regime change.
Washington, D.C., Jan. 20 A vocal demonstration was held outside the White House on Thursday by Iranian Americans opposed to the current theocratic regime ruling Iran and seeking support for democratic regime change.
Iranian Americans flocked the White House from across the United States to take part in the rally organised by the Council for Democratic Change in Iran.
Waving tri-coloured Iranian flags and lifting colourful banners, the demonstrators, estimated by organisers to be in the thousands, called on the Bush Administration to support a third option for Iran. They rejected the West appeasing Tehran over its nuclear ambitions but at the same time they insisted they were opposed to a foreign military intervention in Iran.
We support Maryam Rajavis third option. The West must support the Iranian people and their Resistance to bring about democratic regime change in our homeland, said Mina Rafiee, a young Iranian woman who had attended the protest and was holding Rajavis portrait.
Maryam Rajavi is the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the principle Iranian opposition coalition, whose largest group is the Peoples Mojahedin, or Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK).
One of the demonstrators main demands was the lifting of the name of the MeK from the U.S. State Departments list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations.
The groups name was placed in the FTO list in 1997 during the Clinton Administration in what senior State Department officials described at the time as a goodwill gesture to the newly-installed administration of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.
Now, with the ascendancy of the Islamic Republics most radical ultra-conservatives to power and the instalment of former Revolutionary Guards commander Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President, the demonstrators demanded that the Bush Administration remove the MeKs name from the blacklist and offer it political support to topple the theocratic government in power in Iran.
Among the participants in Thursdays rally which took place on Lafayette Park, were a number of Americans including several whose relatives had been killed in terrorist attacks carried out on Tehrans orders.
Many of the Iranians who attended brought with them photos of their relatives who had been executed in Iran for supporting the MeKs cause.
Massoud Farahani-Davoudi said that he had come to add his voice to others in the Iranian American community seeking regime change in Iran.
The U.S. should support the people in Ashraf City to bring an end to the religious dictatorship ruling Iran, Farahani-Davoudi said, referring to the MeKs Ashraf base situated northeast of Baghdad.
Several U.S. Congressmen and Senators issued statements of support for the rallys objectives.
Congressman Bob Filner, in a message, said, If we can not have war and if appeasement does not work, we have a Third option.
It is time to take the MEK off the terrorist list, he said.
Republican Senators Tom Coburn, member of Homeland Security and Government Affairs committees, and Key Bailey Hutchinson, member of Appropriations Committee, along with Congressman Tom Tancredo and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee also sent solidarity messages.
Congressmen Christopher Shays said that he shared the demonstrators concern that that the Iranian regime posed a major threat to peace and stability in the Middle East and the wider world.
The only reasonable and viable way for the Iranian people and the West is to support a democratic change by backing the Iranian resistance and its organised opposition. We should say Yes to Mrs. Rajavis call for a democratic change by Iranian people, a statement by Congressman Ed Towns said.
The demonstration was timed to take place days before the State of the Union Address by President George W. Bush, who in 2002 described Iran as a member of the Axis of Evil.