The Italian Police has prevented the entry of a large number of Iranians who landed at Rome's 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 protes t.
Chanting “Down with Khatami,” “Hail to Rajavi,” “Khatami is a murderer,” “Terrorist Khatami out of Italy,” the demonstrators declared that diplomatic and economic ties with the theocratic regime ruling Iran will only encourage it in domestic repression an d export of terrorism.
Parliamentary deputies Ms. Cristina Matranga and Mr. Marco Taradash, from the Forza Italia Party; Mr. Giulio Savelli, from the UDR Party; deputies Nicolini and Torrone, as well as Ms. Miranda Martino, the famous Italian singer; and Dr. Antonio Stango, Pre sident of the Helsinki Watch, Italy, addressed the gathering.
A number of political dignitaries from other countries, including Mr. Lennart Friden, member of the Swedish Parliament, also took part and addressed the demonstration and expressed their protest to Khatami's trip to Italy.
Speakers stressed that Khatami's trip to Italy does not in any way contribute to improving the situation of human rights in Iran. One speaker said progress toward democracy is only possible with the victory of the Iranian Resistance.
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. Si milar 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 re solve to overthrow this regime and all its factions.
Mr. Rajavi also thanked everyone in Italy who expressed their opposition to Khatami's visit to that country and their solidarity with the Iranian people and Resistance. Such an extensive unanimity against Khatami's visit is a rare phenomenon in the histor y 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 said.
In the past weeks, a majority of deputies in the Italian Parliament, many Senators, dozens of Italian syndicates, associations and human rights organizations, as well as tens of thousands of Italian citizens expressed their protest to Khatami's trip to th at country.
In this demonstration, Mrs. Marzieh, the diva of Persian music and a number of chairmen of NCR's committees and council's members also spoke at the rally.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
March 9, 1999