by Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
Thousands gather outside French capital for annual "Grand Gathering of Iranians," organized by National Council of Resistance of Iran
Thousands of Iranian government opponents gathered outside of Paris on Saturday for the annual "Grand Gathering of Iranians," organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, to condemn the country's regime and its interference in the Middle East.
Founded in 1981, the NCRI defines itself as a "broad coalition of democratic Iranian organizations, groups, and personalities" and "an inclusive and pluralistic parliament-in-exile that has more than 500 members," which aims "to establish a secular democratic republic in Iran, based on the separation of religion and state."
Among those present were several international delegations and representatives, such as former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.
Iran reached a deal with the United States -- under former President Barack Obama -- and other major nations in 2015 to restrict Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international economic sanctions against the Islamic republic.
However, Iran is still subject to an arms embargo and other restrictions, which are not technically part of the nuclear agreement.
U.S. President Donald Trump has criticized the deal calling it a "disaster" and the "worst deal ever negotiated" and in April ordered that it be reviewed, which could take months.
"The very fact that they [Iran] have a justice minister who killed 30,000 people should tell you all you need to know about how bad and how dishonest the dictatorship is," Gingrich said. "So I think first, being honest about what it is: It's the largest supporter of state terrorism in the world. And all of the European countries ought to recognize that and they should recognize as President Trump does, that the [nuclear] agreement that was reached under [former U.S. President Barack] Obama is crazy. I mean this is not a dictatorship that you can appease."
Bolton said, "I think the regime in Tehran is very fragile, I think there is enormous domestic opposition to it. The regime has the guns, we saw that in 2009 when the Basij militia put down demonstrations against the fraudulent outcome of the election, so it's very hard for the popular will to be expressed, but as with many authoritarian societies when pressure grows sometimes it can collapse overnight. And I think with the change of administration in Washington, the geopolitical circumstances in the region have changed dramatically."Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
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