Paris (CNSNews.com) – Addressing an Iranian opposition group’s rally in Paris on Saturday, two close political allies of President Trump pointed to the collapse of the Soviet Union in predicting the downfall of the Islamic regime in Tehran.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were among a bipartisan group of prominent Americans who participated in the annual “Free Iran” event organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)/People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran (MEK), an exiled group outlawed and regarded by the regime as terrorists.
Citing protests that erupted last December and have ebbed and flowed in many Iranian cities and towns over the ensuing months, Giuliani declared that as the protests “continue to grow and grow, with numbers that now threaten to topple the regime, when that happens, then freedom is right around the corner.”
“It could have happened eight or nine years ago, with the uprising in 2009 – the uprising that disgracefully, my government turned its back on. Shame on that administration.”
When protests erupted in Iran in 2009 in response to the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President Obama responded cautiously at first. Only ten days after they broke out did he condemn them explicitly for the first time.
Giuliani compared the Obama administration’s approach to Trump’s when the current protests began at the end of last year.
“The president of the United States – about whom there’s a lot of controversy, about whether he should tweet or not – took out his little phone and he tweeted, and he supported the protesters, like Ronald Reagan did for the protesters in Poland when Solidarity marched against communism,” He said.
“And what happened there? Communism fell. Poland is free. The Iron Curtain evaporated and the Berlin Wall was chopped down. That will happen [in Iran] now.”
“The era of appeasement is over,” Giuliani said. “The time has come to stand up to these bullies and these murderers and these thieves.”
Giuliani is a member of Trump’s personal legal team. The State Department made clear in May that he does not speak for the president on foreign policy issues.
He told reporters at the rally he was not representing or speaking on behalf of the Trump administration, but was participating in the NCRI event “as a free U.S. citizen, like other Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, who support Iran opposition to the mullah regime of Tehran.”
‘On the side of history’
In his address to the rally, Gingrich also referred to the Soviet example.
“The Soviet Union looked unbelievably powerful, and then one day it disappeared,” he said.
“The fact is that the Khamenei regime is much weaker than the Soviet Union ever was,” he continued, saying that corruption, rivalries in leadership and the regime’s inability to provide citizens with a decent life were all weakening the system.
“I believe with all my heart that we are on the side of history,” Gingrich said. “I believe that human beings everywhere would rather govern themselves than have to suffer under a dictatorship that steals from them, oppresses them, punishes them and sets arbitrary rules.”
Giuliani and Gingrich both slammed countries that continue to do business with Iran.
“How much better are you than the terrorists, when you are giving them money and propping up this regime?” Giuliani asked, while Gingrich called for a campaign to “shame European countries that are still doing business with Iran.”
Other American guests included former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, former Homeland Security Advisor Frances Townsend, former Democratic lawmaker Sen. Robert Torricelli (N.J.) and former U.S. Army chief of staff Gen. George Casey.
They were joined by delegates from Canada, Europe and the Arab world.
The NCRI, a group that attracts support from some quarters but also harsh criticism from others, says it is working to replace the regime in Tehran with a democratic republic.
In her address, NCRI leader – or “president-elect” – Maryam Rajavi pointed to the protests in Iran and said that the “prospect of victory is within reach.”
“A passionate generation thirsty for freedom has risen to take over the entire country and take back Iran from the occupiers.”
This year’s annual NCRI rally in Paris is the 14th, but the first since Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal struck by the Obama administration and five other countries. The exit prepares the way for a resumption of U.S. sanctions in the coming months.
Richardson was among several speakers who expressed hope that next year’s rally would be held in Tehran under a new government.
“Are you ready to see Mrs. Rajavi president of Iran?” he asked the gathering. “The only things you hear now is water shortages, corruption, executions and political unrest. You know why? Because the end of the mullah regime is close.”