The Italian Police has prevented the entry of a large number of Iranians who landed at Leonardo Da Vinci Airport this morning to join the demonstration. They have also blocked the entry of many Iranians to the Fori Imperiali Ave. to join the protest.
Chanting "Down with Khatami," "Khatami is a murderer," "Terrorist Khatami out of Italy," the demonstrators said diplomatic and economic ties with the theocratic regime ruling Iran will only encourage it in domestic repression and export of terrorism.
A number of Italian legislators from both the Italian Parliament and Senate as well as a number of political figures from other countries will address the rally. The Hon. Eni Felamaviga, member of U.S. House of Representatives, and Mr. Lennart Friden, member of the Swedish Parliament have come to Rome to express their protest to Khatami's trip to Italy and solidarity with the protesters.
In a message to the rally, Mr. Massoud Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, lauded the demonstrators, adding: This demonstration is a statement of protest by the Iranian people and Resistance to [Italy's] hosting of Khatami. Similar to the demonstrations of our compatriots in Lyon, France (June 1998) and New York, U.S.A. (September 1998), the protest today is a manifestation of the Iranian people's repugnance toward the religious, terrorist dictatorship ruling Iran and their resolve to overthrow this regime and all its factions.
Mr. Rajavi also thanked a majority of members of the Italian Parliament, members of the Senate, labor syndicates, associations and human rights organizations, and the tens of thousands of Italian citizens who expressed their opposition to Khatami's visit to Italy and their solidarity with the Iranian people and Resistance. Such an extensive unanimity against Khatami's visit is an unprecedented phenomenon in the history of diplomatic relations on the international level. It shows that building relations with the mullahs' medieval regime not only runs counter to the highest interests of the people of Iran, but is against the wishes of the majority of the people of Italy, and is, therefore, devoid of any legitimacy or support, Mr. Rajavi asserted.
The NCR President said: Yesterday, at the end of the vote count in the Councils' election farce, the clerical regime's Interior Ministry announced that only 1,403,389 votes had been counted in the capital. This figure is only 23.7% of 5,900,000 eligible voters in Tehran. The mullahs' regime thus admits that despite widespread rigging, more than 76% of Tehran's residents had boycotted the election. According to the regime's statistics, the number of participants in the "Islamic Councils" elections in Tehran province was less than the number of participants in the Assembly of Experts elections.
Addressing all the parties who used this election farce as a pretext to expand their economic and political relations with the clerical regime, Mr. Rajavi said: The "Islamic Councils" elections reaffirmed that the clerical regime and all its factions have usurped the Iranian people's right to national sovereignty. According to the Ministry of the Interior, the leading candidate in Tehran, Abdollah Nouri, who was supported by both Khatami and Rafsanjani, received only 588,000 votes, i.e. less than 10% of the eligible voters.
Two decades of crimes against humanity and continued torture and executions cannot be ignored and expanding diplomatic and economic relations with this regime is in no way legitimate.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
March 9, 1999