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Speech by Guy Verhofstadt, Former Prime Minister of Belgium to the Grand Rally, Free Iran 2023, Paris—July 1, 2023

Guy Verhofstadt, Former Prime Minister of Belgium
Guy Verhofstadt, Former Prime Minister of Belgium

Paris, July 1, 2023:  Coinciding with the gathering of global leaders and legislators at the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)’s Headquarters in Auvers-sur-Oise for a significant assembly, a grand rally of Iranians and supporters of the Iranian Resistance took place in Vauban Square.

Freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the Iranian Resistance united to express unwavering solidarity with Mrs. Maryam Rajavi‘s ten-point plan for bringing about regime change in Iran and establishing freedom and democracy.

Mr. Guy Verhofstadt, Former Prime Minister of Belgium, addressed at the grand rally in Paris to the demonstrators.

The full text of Guy Verhofstadt, Former Prime Minister of Belgium, follows:

Thank you very much for your impressive presence today in Paris. I think that your massive presence is a clear sign that freedom and democracy in Iran are stronger than the oppression and violence of the mullah’s regime.

Dear friends, you know, as I do, that they have tried to stop and to forbid this meeting, and they failed because you’re here. And it’s proof of the fact that France is a real country with the rule of law, in contradiction with Iran. Even when the authorities here in this country don’t like a meeting, we can organize here a meeting to free Iran.

I have to tell you, I take the floor here in the name of 110 political leaders, former prime ministers, and former heads of state who have sent an important letter on the future of Iran to the current leadership of many of our countries. And in that letter of 110 political leaders, we are asking, we are requesting a fundamental change in the policies towards Iran and towards the mullah’s regime.

We think with these leaders that we need to stop the soft politics of appeasement toward the mullah’s regime, to think that we can make an agreement with the Mullahs in Tehran, to think that there are some moderates in the Mullah regime.

There are no moderates in the Mullahs’ regime in Iran, dear friends. The only thing that there is in the Mullah regime, let’s say it like it is, the Mullahs’ regime is a regime of killers, of criminals, who kill, who execute, who hang their own sons and daughters.

What happened in the last months in Iran is awful. Last year nearly 600 young people were killed, hanged, executed, and our memories are going to them. This year, at the beginning of this year, nearly 300 young people, because they protested against the regime, have been killed, executed, and hanged in Iran. And in the last month, in May, we have seen an orgy of violence by the Mullah’s regime.

Every day nearly four young people have been killed have been hanged, and their only crime is what? Their only crime is to ask for a free and democratic Iran, dear friends. But there is more than that. With the Mullahs, Iran has become now also the first country to deliver arms and military equipment to Russia and to Putin. And these military equipment, drones, and rockets, are used also to kill innocent civilians in Ukraine.

Mr. Guy Verhofstadt, Former Prime Minister of Belgium, addressed at the grand rally in Paris to the demonstrators
Mr. Guy Verhofstadt, Former Prime Minister of Belgium, addressed at the grand rally in Paris to the demonstrators

So, what we are asking for, and I hope that it can be supported by all of you, is that the leaders in the West develop new strategies and new policies to fight against the regime and not to appease the regime in Tehran. And that means, dear friends, four concrete things that we want to do, which I hope we can have your support for.

The first is that the Iranian revolutionary guards and their paramilitary units will be declared terrorist organizations as fast as possible. And that it is done without ambiguity and without exception. They are all the same. They are all killers.

The second thing that we need to do is that we need a significant extension of the sanctions against the leadership in Iran. Today there are 36 organizations, Iranian organizations, that are under sanctions by the European Union. There are in total today 216 individuals that fall under the sanctions of the European Union. Well, I think, we think, that it’s far too low. The whole backbone of the regime in Tehran needs to be put under international sanctions, dear friends. And that goes from police officers, prison guardians, to other civil servants. Because it’s necessary that the whole backbone of the Iranian regime is tackled.

The third thing that we need to do in such a new strategy of the international community is to prepare an alternative with all democratic organizations inside of Iran and in exile. And that alternative, let me be clear, needs to be based on the 10-point plan of Madame Rajavi. You know better than I do what these 10 points are. But let me give you a few of them. Free elections in Iran. Freedom of expression. Abolition of the death penalty. The separation between church and state. And the equality of women and men. That is the basis of the future for Iran.

And finally, we cannot wait. The international community has to prepare also the future of Iran and the economic recovery of Iran. Because the actual mullah’s regime is doing a lot of harm to ordinary citizens, men, women, companies, industry, the economy in Iran. So, we need to prepare already today instead of trying to make a deal on nuclear weapons. If we make a deal, the Mullahs will not respect it.

We know how they are. All we need to do is to make another agreement, an agreement between all the international community for an economic recovery program to prepare the post-Mullahs’ regime. That is the new strategy that the international community needs to develop as fast as possible, instead of trying to appease and give the impression that there is no alternative for the Mullahs. There is an alternative for the Mullahs.

You are here, and the people are on the streets of Iran today. So, from here in this beautiful place here in Paris, let’s sound and launch the message to the international community, no to the regime of Mullahs forever, no to a new dictatorship, whatever the nature is, yes to democracy and a free Iran. Thank you.

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