Outside of Iran, President Rouhani is not a popular figurehead. Many Iranians, who have left Iran and seek the removal of the mullahs’ and their theocracy, have continued to gain support among the international community for regime change, not attempt to create a moderate Iran through the current regime.
As Rouhani addressed the UN on Wednesday, demonstrators gathered to protest his speech and the human rights abuses that are continually perpetrated on the Iranian people.
Thousands of Iranian-Americans gathered to protest the presence of Rouhani in New York at the headquarters of the United Nations. An elaborate artistic street play, symbolizing the 11,000 protests across Iran, was performed. Those involved indicated that it was meant to speak to the Iranian people’s desire for true regime change.
Over the past year, the Iranian people have held over 11,000 protest acts nationwide. More than 3,100 people have been executed in Iran during the presidencies of Rouhani, despite his speeches claiming that his government was focused on citizen’s rights. There has also been increasing international attention to the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners.
Several leaders from the international community attended and spoke at the protest. This includes Joe Lieberman, former U.S. Senator; John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; and Robert Torricelli, former U.S. Senator. Additionally, members of the faith community attended and spoke at the event.The protest was sponsored by the Organization of Iranian-American Communities (OIAC). This organization advocates for a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear Iranian government.
Pictures depicting protests from around Iran, just in this year alone, show an increasingly discontented population, despite assurances from President Rouhani during his UN speech that the people supported his second term. Many of the protestors also carried pictures of the opposition leaders, Maryam Rajavi and Massoud Rajavi.
The rally also called on world powers, particularly the U.S., to recognize the rights of the Iranian people to bring about regime change and to condemn the ongoing human rights abuses in Iran and to end the impunity of the Iranian officials responsible for the 1988 massacre.
Other protestors were from various delegations of individuals from other countries throughout the Middle East. Faith leaders from various organizations also spoke at the event, showing their support for those who want to create change in Iran.