Simultaneous with Monday’s meeting of the E.U. Foreign Affairs Council, six thousands of Iranians held a large rally and demonstration in Brussels to demand the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. The IRGC is the Iranian regime’s central apparatus to quell ongoing nationwide protests.
The rally also coincides with Nowruz (the Iranian New Year) and was organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Many participants carried the Iranian flag with lion and sun insignia while chanting, “Blacklist IRGC now!” They also urged the E.U. to adopt a decisive policy against the clerical regime’s terrorism, blackmail, and hostage-taking.
Marching in orderly rows, many of the protesters wore the traditional attire of various region of Iran. They held large banners in support of the ongoing anti-government protests that have engulfed Iran for the past six months. Echoing one of their main slogans, a huge yellow banner at the Brussels rally read “Down with the oppressor, be it the Shah or the Supreme Leader [Khamenei].”
Young Iranians carried photos of children and teenagers who were killed in the government crackdown of the protests.
Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the NCRI, was the rally’s keynote speaker. In her video message, she hailed the Iranians gathered in Brussels on New Year’s Day and said ” “The IRGC is the clerical regime’s main tool for implementing its criminal policies both domestically and abroad. The Revolutionary Guards are the ones who engage in carnage on the streets all across Iran. They blind people, shoot down passenger airliners, and have killed, injured, and displaced millions of people in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.”
“The warmongering reach of the IRGC extends beyond European borders, and its terrorism has even reached the United States. Despite this, you continue to delay the terrorist designation of the IRGC. Delaying this task will only provide more opportunities for the mullahs to continue and escalate their suppression and belligerence, we call on the European Union to stop sending political and financial aid to the enemy of the Iranian people instead of verbal expressions of sympathy with the people of Iran, Rajavi added.
Prominent European and American dignitaries and members of the Belgian parliament took part in the protest in support of the protesters’ calls to action.
Former US Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, the nephew of late President John F. Kennedy, flew to Brussels for the rally, where he said: “Today we must stand up to the fascism, the torture chambers, the death squads of another Nazi regime. Make no mistake. The IRGC is nothing more than a modern Gestapo.
“Europe and the United States and countries around the world stood up against Adolf Hitler because he was a threat to democracy and freedom all around the world. And today, we are seeing that same fight from the people of Iran, but also people from around the world, to stand up against the mullahs’ brutal dictatorship. We must understand that this is not merely an Iranian issue. This is a world human rights issue. I may not be from Tehran. But I am standing with all of those in Iran who want the same freedom that I enjoy in the United States.”
Latifa Aït Baala, member of the Brussels Parliament from MR party stressed “The uprising against the regime continues today. This movement started with the struggle against the shah’s dictatorship. The people of Iran don’t want tyranny. The regime is a danger to its own people as well as a threat to peace and stability across the globe. The regime’s policies must be condemned. It suppresses not only its own people but also takes other nationals as hostages to use as bargaining chips.”
Opposition Belgian Senator Mark Demesmaeker was also among the speakers. He said: ““The people of Iran have shown the whole world that they want regime change, that they reject the current religious dictatorship of the mullahs, and that they don’t want to go back to the dictatorship of the Shah. This regime in Iran is a threat to the security of Europe. The mullahs are actively engaged in Russian aggression against Ukraine. The regime is the number one sponsor of terrorism in the world. It uses its embassies here in Europe and its so-called diplomats for terrorism against us, against its opponents, and especially the main opposition PMOI.
The European Union and its member states must take a firm position against the Iranian regime by designating the IRGC in the terrorist list of the European Union. What are they waiting for? We must stand up against the terrorism of the Iranian regime strongly, because if we show any weakness, any kind of weakness, the mullahs will become even more aggressive.
Freedom and democracy and human rights and independence die when people give up fighting for them when the free world appeases dictators and aggressors.”
Iranian activists provided theatrical performances and a large street exhibition and set up a traditional Nowrouz setting at the site of the rally.
The protesters expressed their outrage over the regime’s suppressive measures, including the poisoning of schoolgirls, and called for an international fact-finding delegation to be dispatched to deal with this heinous crime.
Since September 16, 2022, Iran has witnessed an unprecedented and continuous nationwide uprising and protests to overthrow the ruling theocracy. According to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) network, at least 750 demonstrators, including 84 women and 70 children, have been killed, and more than 30,000 demonstrators have been arrested.
Despite brutal repression, torture, sexual abuse, and the execution of four demonstrators, the regime has not been able to curb the protest movement, which aims to overthrow the regime and establish a democratic republic.