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30 Jun 2023
Joshua Klein

NextImg:French Court Revokes Police Ban on Key Rally of Iranian Dissident Group

A court in France reversed the French government’s decision to ban a prominent Iranian opposition group’s rally in support of the current uprising in Iran, in what is being hailed as a “major blow” to Tehran’s repressive Islamic regime and a major victory for its opponents.

In a last-minute ruling on Friday, a French court ruled to allow for the annual Free Iran summit and rally to take place in Paris. 

The upcoming event, headed by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) — which calls for the overthrow of Iran’s clerical leadership — is expecting tens of thousands of supporters and Iranian expatriates from across Europe. 

The move comes after France initially chose to ban the demonstration over terror fears, according to a letter sent to the organizers and reported by Reuters.

At the time of the banning earlier this month, the NCRI expressed outrage over what it termed a “disgraceful act against democracy,” while accusing France of “succumbing” to Iranian pressure.

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But on Friday, following the Iranian opposition group’s filing of a legal complaint, the Paris administrative court reversed the French authorities’ cancellation of the event, calling it “a serious and manifestly illegal attack on the freedom to demonstrate.”

Subsequently, the NCRI vowed to proceed and hold the demonstration in central Paris on Saturday, as it called the court ruling “a heavy blow to the clerical regime and the policy of appeasement.”

In an exclusive statement to Breitbart News on Friday, NCRI’s Ali Safavi, who serves as president of Near East Policy Research (NEPR), welcomed the French judiciary’s authorization.

“This ruling thwarted the clerical regime’s attempt to exploit fabricated ‘security concerns’ to stifle democracy and free speech, thereby striking a major blow to the repressive regime and policies of appeasement towards it,” he said.

According to Safavi, the alleged “security concerns” were merely a “poor disguise for capitulation to the manipulative tactics of a regime known for extensive executions and fostering international terrorism.” 

“Past experiences show that appeasement only encourages further repression, executions, and terrorism,” he added.

He also argued that the mullahs of Tehran fear the Iranian people’s support for the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a vital constituent of the NCRI coalition, and its “crucial role in leading revolts, along with growing international support for the Iranian Resistance.” 

“Therefore, they seek to involve foreign powers in quelling this resistance,” he added. 

Asserting that the Paris court ruling delivered the theocratic republic a “significant setback,” Safavi slammed the French government for having “opted to infringe upon the rights to freedom of expression and assembly” instead of “ensuring protection against the threat.”

Safavi, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Paris-based NCRI, had originally referred to the rally’s ban as “disgraceful, unwarranted, and unlawful.”

“It is not only a dagger to the heart of the core European values of freedom of expression and assembly, but it also emboldens the medieval mullahs in their persistent use of blackmail and hostage-taking to manipulate concessions from their Western counterparts,” he explained at the time.

Speaking to a roaring applause at the NCRI’s annual Free Iran conference in Paris on Friday, former US Senator Joseph Lieberman began by congratulating the group and activists on the “extraordinary victory” in the courts of Paris.

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He then cited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who once stated that the “arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

“In this case, the moral arc of the universe here in Paris bent quickly toward justice,” he argued, insisting that the legal victory was due to the NCRI’s determination.

“You gave the French and France an opportunity to return to the high ground. You made this country better than it was for a short while when they banned that rally,” he added. 

Describing the “frustration and anger in the halls of power in Tehran” over the reversal, the former VP candidate hailed the “victory for freedom” in Iran and France, as well as the “extraordinary setback for the tyrants in Tehran.”

The events come as massive protests have swept Iran following the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the Islamic theocracy’s notorious “morality police” for violating strict requirements for women to keep their heads covered in public.

Since then, a slew of incidents involving abuses and deaths at the hands of the regime have been documented during an ongoing clampdown on protests, with clips circulating showing Iranian regime officers brutally assaulting protesters.

In response, criticisms of the Islamic regime and its tactics continue to grow.

Last month, more than a hundred former world leaders penned an open letter to the heads of the U.S., Canada, the E.U., and the U.K. calling for the regime in Tehran to be held accountable for its long-running crimes against humanity.

Among the over 100 signatories of the letter, including 50 former presidents and 47 former prime ministers, were former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, former British Prime Minister Liz Truss, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Italian ex-premier Matteo Renzi.

Meanwhile, a joint congressional House caucus hearing voiced support for the Iranian people’s uprising, following a wave of recent executions by the Islamic regime in an attempt to contain unrest in the country.

According to the NCRI, Iran — the largest state sponsor of terrorism worldwide — is currently witnessing a revolution “in the making,” with the Islamic Republic no longer capable of containing the current uprising.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.