Tens of thousands of Iranians gathered in the giant auditorium in Villepinte Exhibition Center, near Paris, on Saturday 24 June 2017, in a massive expression of support urging the world to adopt a firm approach toward the theocratic regime in Iran.
The gathering featured a large and varied selection of speakers from all over the world and across the political spectrum, including Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS), and a large delegation from the Syrian opposition.
Addressing the conference, Prince Turki Al-Faisal called for Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian officials to be brought to justice for their “crimes against the Iranian people,” who he described as the “first victims” of the Iranian regime.
He said he was “honored” to be at the event, which was attended by thousands of people who fled “their country because of the dictatorship of the Mullahs’ regime.”
Prince Turki explained that what made Arabs and Iranians brothers, was “not only geography but the humanitarian relationships.”
He added: “There are Arab tribes that lived in Iran and became families, and there are a lot of Persian families who came (to Saudi Arabia) to perform their pilgrimage and also became our families.”
He said all at the conference “stood together” as they shared a “mutual history” that helped the development of human civilization.
“All the (Gulf Cooperation Council) GCC countries and their neighbor Iran have always been living in harmony until the Khomeini revolution came into being in 1979,” Prince Turki added.
He said there was an “external strategy… to replace the concept of stability with the concept of coup and conflict.”
The rally focused on the prospects for democratic change in Iran and condemned the regime’s repression of human rights and record for regional intervention.
Speakers also voiced their support for change and solidarity with the Iranian opposition with the rallying cry of “free Iran.”
The gathering, held annually near Paris, typically draws hundreds of prominent figures from all over the world and was an impressive display of the political muscle of Iran’s principal opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
The rally captured the growing momentum for change regarding Iran, including changes in policies and attitudes in the Middle East and Washington, and the prospect of a new approach toward the regime in the Islamic Republic.
The array of speakers, which included several prominent Americans, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, as well as Congressmen Ted Poe, expressed hope that the changes taking place in the international community would culminate in a new approach toward Iran and a strategic partnership with the Iranian opposition.
Full speech of Prince Turki Al-Faisal, available on Youtube: