NewsSpecial WireThousands of Iranians, in Paris, vote for another “President”

Thousands of Iranians, in Paris, vote for another “President”

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Iran Focus: Cergy, Jun. 18 – One day after the controversial presidential elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran, thousands of Iranian exiles gathered in a stadium north of Paris to cheer a woman they would like to see as “the liberated Iran’s president”. Under a scorching afternoon sun with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius, Iranians sang, cheered and danced to celebrate what they described as “the triumph of the boycott call” and declare their support for exiled opposition leader Maryam Rajavi. Iran Focus

Cergy, Jun. 18 – One day after the controversial presidential elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran, thousands of Iranian exiles gathered in a stadium north of Paris to cheer a woman they would like to see as “the liberated Iran’s president”.

Under a scorching afternoon sun with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius, Iranians sang, cheered and danced to celebrate what they described as “the triumph of the boycott call” and declare their support for exiled opposition leader Maryam Rajavi.

The crowd, estimated by organisers to number 20,000 and about half as many by police, waved tri-coloured Iranian flags and raised banners, which read, “Rajavi Yes, Mullahs No!”

Dozens of members of national parliaments in Europe, as well as representatives of human rights organisations, addressed the rally, which was sponsored by some 30 French non-governmental organizations. Noting the second anniversary of a spectacular raid by French police on the offices of the Iranian opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, many of the speakers denounced the French government for “caving in to the ayatollahs’ dictates”.

On June 17, 2003, more than 1,300 French anti-terrorist policemen raided NCRI offices and homes of Iranian exiles in the Parisian suburbs, and arrested 165 political refugees, including Rajavi. French judges set a legal precedent by releasing all the detainees.

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In a speech that was repeatedly interrupted by applause and chants, Maryam Rajavi said the run-off between former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Tehran mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave the Iranians a choice between “two terrorists”.

Rajavi praised the Iranian people for their “nationwide boycott” of the elections, which she said was “a milestone on the road to achieving democracy and freedom in our country”.

“Those who would assume power as a result of this election do not represent the Iranian people”, the charismatic leader told the crowd, as they chanted “Democracy, freedom, with Maryam Rajavi”.

Rajavi said “appeasement” of the Iranian regime by Western governments was “tantamount to blatantly participating in the suppression of the Iranian people and paving the way for greater export of terrorism and fundamentalism”.

Iranians, who came from as far away as Australia, North America and Japan to take part in the rally, received encouraging words from an array of distinguished French and European personalities, who included former French First Lady Danielle Mitterrand, former Algerian Prime Minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali, European Parliament’s First Vice-President Alejo Vidal Quadras, and former French minister Bernard Stasi. The mayors of five cities in the area also addressed the crowd.

The participants, many of them young Iranians, rejected Friday’s polls in Iran as “a masquerade”.

“A dumb hardliner and a crafty hardliner; that’s the choice we’re being offered and we say, no thanks,” said Roya Hamidian, a 32-year-old former teacher who came to the rally from London with her husband and their two daughters.

As the sun set on the football stadium, the Iranians, buoyed by the news from home, showed no sign of wanting to end the festive rally.

“The mullahs are on their last legs”, a young, flag-waving Iranian said as she chanted a patriotic song. “Now, it’s our turn”.

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