3,000 Iranians stage demonstration in the Hague to protest forcible repatriation of Iranian asylum-seekers

In the biggest-ever rally concerning the rights of Iranian asylum-seekers in Holland, 3,000 Iranians demonstrated in the Hague today to protest against the Dutch government's policy toward Iranian asylum-seekers. The rally, organized by the Representative office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Holland, demanded that Iranian asylum-seekers be granted refugee status.

In a message to the rally, which was held across from the Parliament, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the Iranian Resistance's President-elect, said: "Iran under the mullahs' rule is not safe for anyone save the mullahs' agents. The forcible repatriation of Iranian asylum-seekers is not merely a grave violation of the sacred right to asylum. It is also a green light to the mullahs that they can increase the suppression and torture in Iran and assassination of Iranian dissidents abroad."

Mrs. Rajavi said: "The rise in the number of executions and acts of terror in recent months show that the mullahs' new president, Khatami, is no different from his predecessors: he lacks both the power and the desire to bring about any change in Iran."

"The world must not allow human rights and the right to asylum be sacrificed on the altar of petty economic interests," said Mrs. Rajavi, referring to trade ties with the clerical regime. She called on all Iranians to help the Iranian asylum-seekers in Holland.

In the rally, two members of the Dutch parliament, Mr. Wim Van de Camp of the Christian Democratic Party and Mr. Paul Rosenmoller, leader of the parliamentary group of the Greens Party, declared their support for the protestors' demands.

A number of parliamentarians and human rights advocates from Britain, Italy, Germany, France and Norway also issued statements, condemning the exertion of pressure on asylum-seekers and calling for respect for the sacred right to asylum.

Ms. Badro-Zaman Pour-Tabbakh, the NCR representative in the Netherlands, Dr. Karim Qassim, chairman of NCR's Committee on Environment, and Mr. Abolqassem Rezai, NCR's secretary, spoke at the rally.

The demonstrators then marched through the center of the Hague, carrying Iran's tri-colored flags and banners condemning the abuse of human rights by the Tehran regime and calling for decisiveness against the ruling theocracy.

The resolution of the demonstration was read at the conclusion of the march. It underlined that Khatami was as criminal as other mullahs and that any expectation of moderation within this clerical regime was but a mirage. The resolution also condemned the Dutch policy of extraditing Iranian asylum seekers and called on that government not to sacrifice human rights and the sacred right to asylum for petty economic interests.

A delegation representing the demonstrators and led by Ms. Pour-Tabbakh went to the Prime Minister's Office and delivered the text of the resolution to a representative of the Prime Minister.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran - Paris
September 12, 1997

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