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U.S. professor, critical of Iranian state, explains why the “Iran Freedom” rally is important

Professor Raymond Tanter, a former senior staff member of the U.S. National Security Council, a professor of political science at Georgetown University, and a renowned expert on Iran, has been outspoken in his criticism of the continuing human rights abuses committed by Iranian state since 1979. He specializes in studying the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), a primary organ of Iranian resistance.

Tanter annually attends the “Iran Freedom” rally held near Paris in July, conducting interviews with guests and advocating for an end to clerical rule in Iran. He recently spoke with about why “Iran Freedom” is important.

“As a scholar studying the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (PMOI or MEK), the main resistance group that rejects clerical rule, and espouses a secular, democratic, and nonnuclear Iran, I have had the privilege of conducting a series of interviews in the annual rallies in Paris sponsored by supporters of the resistance.

“Instead of being a routine commemoration, these rallies have taken on a huge political meaning. The outsized attention the Iranian regime gives to the rallies, how upset it gets because of the worldwide press coverage, efforts to block media coverage in Iran, and attacks by Tehran against the dissidents when the rallies occur are indicative of the political message: As the only movement that has not compromised with the Iranian regime’s assertion that radical clerics should rule, they consider the resistance as a threat to their survival. The rallies remind those who reign in Iran that regime change from within remains on the table.”

Tanter said he has been “impressed with the geographical diversity of the attendees, professional qualifications, and steadfast commitment to achieve a secular, democratic, and nonnuclear Iran.”

Tanter’s support comes at a time of growing international consensus on the need for regime change in Iran. Despite the lifting of nuclear sanctions since the “Iran Deal“, human rights abuses have continued, with Iran having the highest per capita execution rate in the world. The economy has also been slow to rebound, with factory closures and lack of international trade contributing to what has been called an “economic crisis” in Iran.

More information about the “Iran Freedom” rally can be found here.

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