Have the winds of change started in Iran?

Tens of thousands of supporters of Iran's main opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), gathered in a massive convention hall in Villepinte, Paris over the weekend to call on the international community to back the Iranian people's democratic aspirations and recognize the NCRI as a real alternative to the mullahs' theocracy.

The grand gathering of Iranians, which takes place annually in Paris, was this year attended by more than 50 parliamentary delegations from all around the world, including the U.S. and the Middle East, as well as by the former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani; the former chairman of the U.S. Democratic Party and former governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell; the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John R. Bolton; a member of the European Parliament, Gérard Deprez; and many prominent political dignitaries.

The keynote speaker at the event was NCRI president Mrs. Maryam Rajavi.  In her speech, which was also broadcast inside Iran, she underscored that "regime change [in Iran] is within reach because the mullahs have gotten themselves stuck in three wars of attrition in the Middle East. Their withdrawal from these conflicts in whatever form or shape will undermine their own existence."

In the U.S., an Iran policy remains unclear, but it is obvious that the current White House does not want to appease the Iranian regime. 

Regionally and internationally, the Iranian regime is in the worst situation because it has destroyed all bridges with the U.S. and its neighboring Arab countries.  Today, the regime in Tehran is terrorizing its own people and is a major threat to the Middle East and the world peace.

The NCRI is fighting to bring about democratic change by overthrowing the mullahs' theocracy.  For over three decades, the Iranian resistance has urged the international community to adopt a firm policy toward the regime; hence, it is not surprising that Mrs. Rajavi welcomed the statement following the recent Islamic-American Summit.

"We have welcomed the statements made at the Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh against the Iranian regime's terrorist and destabilizing activities," she said in her speech.  "Nevertheless, we emphasize that the ultimate solution to the crisis in the region and confronting groups like ISIS is the overthrow of the Iranian regime by the Iranian people and resistance."

The realities on the ground in the Middle East show that Mrs. Rajavi is accurate.  As the campaign to destroy the Islamic State (ISIS) ultimately succeeds, the most serious threat facing the world and the U.S. president will become Iran's destabilizing actions in the region – for example, in areas in Syria and Iraq that are liberated from ISIS.  If the Iranian regime is allowed to usurp these areas, then Iran will pose an even greater danger to the U.S., Europe, and Gulf countries.

Consequently, to protect their national interests, the U.S. is and should looking for a solution to stop the mullahs.  Until now, U.S. policy has been to accommodate Iran's actions; evidently, this policy has failed.  The U.S. hoped to reform Iran's behavior by cozying up to President Hassan Rouhani, but on the contrary, this policy has increased Iran's intervention in the Middle East.  That is why the U.S. and its Arab allies have taken steps to change their policy.

Hence, a few weeks ago, the U.S. secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, announced that "our policy towards Iran is to push back on this hegemony, contain their ability to develop obviously nuclear weapons, and to work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government.  Those elements are there[.]"

It is an obvious fact that the NCRI and its democratic platform for Iran provide a viable alternative for this policy.  The former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, highlighted a crucial aspect about this policy at the gathering in Paris.  "There is a viable opposition to the rule of the ayatollahs, and that opposition is centered in this room today," he said in his speech.

The most vitriolic remarks at the gathering came from Mayor Giuliani, who pointed to the Iranian regime's malign activities in the region, stressing that the mullahs are the source of instability and crisis in the region and have kept their grip on power over the past 38 years through widespread repression and blatant disregard for human rights at home and the export of extremism and terrorism abroad.

"I am happiest to be here because finally I can probably say that the government of United States supports you.  We are behind you.  We agree with your values.  Finally, I can stand here and say that you, my government and your leadership, we see Iran exactly the same way.  The regime is evil, and it must go," he said, addressing the tens of thousands gathered in Paris.

How the Iranian regime can be overthrown with minimal risks?

It is time for the international community to make decisions on Iran.  It is a known fact that the Iranian regime is root of the problems in the region.  Therefore, it is necessary that Mrs. Rajavi's voice be heard.

To end the mullahs' regime in Iran, Mrs. Rajavi made three recommendations.  "Recognize the resistance of the Iranian people to overthrow the mullahs' religious dictatorship.  Expel the regime from the U.N. and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and hand over Iran's seat to the Iranian people's resistance.  Designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps [IRGC] as a terrorist organization and evict it from the entire region."

If the international community wants democracy and human rights to take root and progress in the Middle East, it should heed these recommendations.

Freelance journalist Hamid Bahrami is a former political prisoner in Iran.  He is human rights and political activist.

Tens of thousands of supporters of Iran's main opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), gathered in a massive convention hall in Villepinte, Paris over the weekend to call on the international community to back the Iranian people's democratic aspirations and recognize the NCRI as a real alternative to the mullahs' theocracy.

The grand gathering of Iranians, which takes place annually in Paris, was this year attended by more than 50 parliamentary delegations from all around the world, including the U.S. and the Middle East, as well as by the former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani; the former chairman of the U.S. Democratic Party and former governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell; the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John R. Bolton; a member of the European Parliament, Gérard Deprez; and many prominent political dignitaries.

The keynote speaker at the event was NCRI president Mrs. Maryam Rajavi.  In her speech, which was also broadcast inside Iran, she underscored that "regime change [in Iran] is within reach because the mullahs have gotten themselves stuck in three wars of attrition in the Middle East. Their withdrawal from these conflicts in whatever form or shape will undermine their own existence."

In the U.S., an Iran policy remains unclear, but it is obvious that the current White House does not want to appease the Iranian regime. 

Regionally and internationally, the Iranian regime is in the worst situation because it has destroyed all bridges with the U.S. and its neighboring Arab countries.  Today, the regime in Tehran is terrorizing its own people and is a major threat to the Middle East and the world peace.

The NCRI is fighting to bring about democratic change by overthrowing the mullahs' theocracy.  For over three decades, the Iranian resistance has urged the international community to adopt a firm policy toward the regime; hence, it is not surprising that Mrs. Rajavi welcomed the statement following the recent Islamic-American Summit.

"We have welcomed the statements made at the Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh against the Iranian regime's terrorist and destabilizing activities," she said in her speech.  "Nevertheless, we emphasize that the ultimate solution to the crisis in the region and confronting groups like ISIS is the overthrow of the Iranian regime by the Iranian people and resistance."

The realities on the ground in the Middle East show that Mrs. Rajavi is accurate.  As the campaign to destroy the Islamic State (ISIS) ultimately succeeds, the most serious threat facing the world and the U.S. president will become Iran's destabilizing actions in the region – for example, in areas in Syria and Iraq that are liberated from ISIS.  If the Iranian regime is allowed to usurp these areas, then Iran will pose an even greater danger to the U.S., Europe, and Gulf countries.

Consequently, to protect their national interests, the U.S. is and should looking for a solution to stop the mullahs.  Until now, U.S. policy has been to accommodate Iran's actions; evidently, this policy has failed.  The U.S. hoped to reform Iran's behavior by cozying up to President Hassan Rouhani, but on the contrary, this policy has increased Iran's intervention in the Middle East.  That is why the U.S. and its Arab allies have taken steps to change their policy.

Hence, a few weeks ago, the U.S. secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, announced that "our policy towards Iran is to push back on this hegemony, contain their ability to develop obviously nuclear weapons, and to work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government.  Those elements are there[.]"

It is an obvious fact that the NCRI and its democratic platform for Iran provide a viable alternative for this policy.  The former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, highlighted a crucial aspect about this policy at the gathering in Paris.  "There is a viable opposition to the rule of the ayatollahs, and that opposition is centered in this room today," he said in his speech.

The most vitriolic remarks at the gathering came from Mayor Giuliani, who pointed to the Iranian regime's malign activities in the region, stressing that the mullahs are the source of instability and crisis in the region and have kept their grip on power over the past 38 years through widespread repression and blatant disregard for human rights at home and the export of extremism and terrorism abroad.

"I am happiest to be here because finally I can probably say that the government of United States supports you.  We are behind you.  We agree with your values.  Finally, I can stand here and say that you, my government and your leadership, we see Iran exactly the same way.  The regime is evil, and it must go," he said, addressing the tens of thousands gathered in Paris.

How the Iranian regime can be overthrown with minimal risks?

It is time for the international community to make decisions on Iran.  It is a known fact that the Iranian regime is root of the problems in the region.  Therefore, it is necessary that Mrs. Rajavi's voice be heard.

To end the mullahs' regime in Iran, Mrs. Rajavi made three recommendations.  "Recognize the resistance of the Iranian people to overthrow the mullahs' religious dictatorship.  Expel the regime from the U.N. and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and hand over Iran's seat to the Iranian people's resistance.  Designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps [IRGC] as a terrorist organization and evict it from the entire region."

If the international community wants democracy and human rights to take root and progress in the Middle East, it should heed these recommendations.

Freelance journalist Hamid Bahrami is a former political prisoner in Iran.  He is human rights and political activist.