Pence joins Iranian resistance in Paris, calls for 'secular, democratic, non-nuclear' Tehran
Pence’s remarks came as thousands marched through Paris streets supporting the MEK.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, now a candidate for president in 2024, is embracing anew a top Iranian resistance group while calling for regime change to usher in a "secular, democratic, non-nuclear" government in Tehran.
Pence was among the global luminaries Saturday to speak at the 20th Free Iran Summit, telling supporters of Iranian dissidents gathered in Paris they had the support of Americans.
Thousands marched peacefully through Paris streets in support of The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, or MEK even as much of the rest of the French capital burned amid violent riots triggered by a police shooting.
MEK is the main part of the Albania-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, or NCRI, which sees itself as an Iranian government in exile. Both organizations are focused on weakening and eventually overthrowing the current Iranian government led by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
“I speak on behalf of tens of millions of Americans, of both political parties and of every walk of life, when I say that the American people support your goal of establishing a secular, democratic, non-nuclear Iranian republic that derives its just powers from the consent of the governed,” Pence told the gathering.
Donald’s Trump’s for vice president is one of more than a dozen declared candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
“The American cause, and the cause of all democracies, is freedom, and in this cause we must never be silent,” he said.
Pence was part of a high-profile troupe of speakers Saturday -- from the U.S. and beyond -- to express support for the efforts of the MEK and the NCRI. Other Americans included former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former United Nations Ambassador and National Security Advisor John Bolton, former U.S. Sens. Joe Lieberman and Robert Torricelli; retired Gen. Wesley Clark, the former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO; and U.S. Congressmen Lance Gooden and Raul Ruiz.
They joined the former prime ministers from Canada, the U.K., Belgium, Slovenia, and Romania as well as dignitaries from further afield.
“You are messengers of friendship between the peoples of the United States, Canada, Australia, Africa, and elsewhere in Europe and the Middle East,” NCRI leader Maryam Rajavi told the VIP officials and other supporters.
` Saturday, including Pompeo, who said the NCRI cause should be the cause of “believers in democracy everywhere."
Clark, the retired general, said that Iran under Khamenei and the mullahs was a threat to global stability, while former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared that support for the NCRI was support for “a peaceful and non-nuclear future for Iran and democracy for Iranians."
Saturday’s demonstration was nearly canceled amid security concerns voiced by French law enforcement. On Friday, a last-minute decision by a French court reversed the ban over the objections of Paris police prefect Laurent Nuñez. MEK officials said that the march would have been larger if not for police warnings and that, in the end, the demonstration took place without police providing security.
Though most of the high-profile officials who addressed the conference spoke in person, Pompeo and former British prime Minister Liz Truss appeared via video link.