The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF) condemns the Iranian regime's unfounded and anti-democratic protest against a peaceful gathering of tens of thousands of Iranians and parliamentarians from all over the world for a free and democratic Iran in Paris on July 9, 2016. At that event tens of thousands of Iranians were joined by politicians, parliamentarians and dignitaries from all around the world, including Arab countries in the Middle East.

In a blatant attempt to silence legitimate opposition, the Iranian regime summoned the French ambassador to denounce the Free Iran gathering and demand that French government restrict the activities of Iran's most organised democratic opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

In a similar effort, Tehran also summoned the Egyptian Chargé D'Affaires to “strongly protest” against the presence of an Egyptian parliamentary delegation in the Paris gathering. Earlier this year, the Iranian authorities tried unsuccessfully to stop a protest rally by the Iranian opposition in Vienna, which led to Hassan Rouhani cancelling his planned visit to the Austrian capital.

For over three decades, the Iranian authorities have denied the people of Iran their fundamental right to freedom of expression and assembly and cracked down brutally on any attempt to organise a viable and democratic opposition to the ruling theocracy.

Tehran's hysterical reaction against the gathering of Iranians in Paris in support of a free and democratic Iran and the NCRI is the latest desperate effort by the regime to dictate its repressive policies to European governments and export its religious dictatorship to Europe through threats and intimidation.

Their bullying reaction demonstrates that the NCRI, led by the respected female Muslim leader Mrs Maryam Rajavi, and its 10-point democratic platform for future Iran constitute a viable alternative to the current theocracy in Iran and represent a solution to Tehran's domestic repression, support for terrorism and its destabilising role in the region.

Tehran's unacceptable reaction shows that the regime is weak and can only resort to terrorism, repression and issuing ultimatums to silence legitimate opposition. It also highlights the need for Western governments strongly to condemn the Tehran regime for undermining and rejecting democratic values and the Rule of Law.

This reaffirms calls by the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF) for a responsible and firm policy by Western governments in relation to the Iranian regime. That policy should focus on Tehran’s human rights abuses, and its support for terrorism and violent Islamism.

Constructive dialogue with Iran's democratic opposition coalition, the NCRI, should be seen as a constructive policy.

British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom

20 July 2016