Iran's current supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei speaks at the 25th anniversary of the death of founder of Islamic Revolution , Ayatollah Khomeini at his shrine in Tehran, Iran on June 4, 2014. Khamenei has recently made headlines saying Iran will not sign any nuclear deal unless all sanctions are lifted. File photo UPI/Leader.ir/HO | License Photo
BRUSSELS, June 28 (UPI) -- With the end-of-June deadline for a nuclear agreement with Iran fast approaching, prominent political and government leaders, past and present, from around the world are stepping up calls to beware of making concessions that would embolden the mullahs in Tehran and further destabilize the already shaky Middle East.
Nowhere was this more evident than at a recent rally outside Paris attended by 100,000 supporters of the Iranian resistance at which dignitaries and delegations from 69 countries on five continents heard the leader of the opposition and distinguished jurists and politicians warn that a nuclear deal is not enough. Only regime change will stop Tehran's meddling in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and its repression of its own people.
I was inspired by the words of Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Hers is the kind of leadership that Iran needs, not that of Ayatollah Khamanei and President Rouhani, who promise only terrorism that leads to uncounted deaths and misery in and out of Iran, a depressed economy in what should be a thriving nation, and millions of people Iiving in fear of constant repression.
Compare their words and dreams:
"The people of Iran neither want nuclear weapons, nor meddling in Iraq, Syria or Yemen, nor despotism, torture and shackles. The people of Iran are the tens of millions of enraged teachers, students, nurses, and workers who demand freedom, democracy, jobs and livelihood," Mrs Rajavi told the rally.
In contrast, the leaders of Iran for the past 35 years dream of a Middle East dominated by a nuclear-armed Iran that meddles in the affairs of its neighbors while keeping a tight rein on its own people.
If we look at today's Iran it's hard to find anyone not wanting a change. The 15 million deprived and destitute citizens languishing in shanty towns in the suburbs, the 10 to 15 million young people who cannot find jobs, and the millions of families feeling the heavy burden of high prices -- all of them feel the same pain and demand major change.
The breadth of support in Paris showed that the resistance movement is not alone.
Among 33 prominent figures from the United States to speak to this gathering were three U.S. presidential candidates, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former secretary of Homeland Security, former directors of the FBI and CIA, a former commandant of Marine Corps, and a former Army Chief of Staff, as well as a three-member delegation from the U.S. House. Many others sent video messages, including past or present senators Joseph Lieberman, who also was a candidate for vice president; John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee; and Bob Menendez. House members included Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Edward Royce and ranking Democrat Eliot Engel; Ted Poe, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-Proliferation and Trade; and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa.
That's a pretty impressive lineup and it includes dignitaries of all political stripes: liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican.
Now, it is up to the West to heed the messages of the Paris rally:
To the P5+1 countries negotiating a nuclear deal -- Stop appeasing the mullahs. Do not believe anything Tehran says about its nuclear intentions.
To freedom-loving peoples everywhere -- Support the Iranian Resistance. Remember that regime change in Tehran will eliminate the nuclear threat.
To those nations standing up to ISIS and Syria's dictator Bashar al-Assad -- don't climb into bed with Iran. Iraq and its friends must defeat ISIS by themselves. In this case, the enemy of my enemy is not my friend. Here, the enemy (Iran) of my enemy (ISIS) is still my enemy.
Rajavi reiterated "Resistance against this regime is our duty and our inalienable right. We have been and will be at war with this regime. With or without enrichment, with and without nuclear weapons, and under any circumstances, the struggle for freedom is the inalienable right of the Iranian people. "
And helping to support that right is the duty of all peoples and all nations who seek peace in the Middle East and a welcoming back of Iran into the family of democratic nations.
Ryszard Czarnecki is Vice President of the European Parliament
Follow him on Twitter: @r_czarnecki