The French authorities have decided to prohibit a scheduled Iranian opposition rally in Paris due to the potential risk of a terrorist attack.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which is based in Paris and serves as the political arm of the People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), had planned its annual gathering for July 1.
In a letter addressed to the organizers and obtained by Reuters, Laurent Nuñez, the Chief of Police in Paris, explained that the recent nationwide protests against the Iranian government created a “tense environment” that posed “significant security risks” to NCRI events.
As a result, the annual meeting of the group “cannot take place,” added Nuñez.
Shahin Gobadi, a member of the NCRI’s Foreign Affairs Committee, denounced the decision, stating: “If French authorities maintain this stance, it will demonstrate a blatant disregard for democratic principles, giving in to the blackmail and hostage-taking of the ruling religious tyranny.”
Paris police confirmed the ban in a statement sent to Reuters, citing the potential “disruption of public order” due to the current geopolitical situation. They further explained that holding such an event would complicate security measures for both the event itself and the safety of notable attendees.
The ban comes shortly after the release of several European citizens by the Islamic Republic, including two French nationals.
In May, a prisoner exchange agreement between Belgium and Iran resulted in the return of Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat sentenced to 20 years in Belgian prison for planning to bomb an NCRI rally in Paris in 2018.
Nuñez’s letter highlighted that this foiled attack was part of a series of violent operations in France and Europe, such as assassinations and abductions targeting Iranian opposition figures.
“Partner countries have recently uncovered multiple planned violent attacks, potentially directed at Iranian opposition figures,” the letter stated.
The Paris police chief also expressed concerns about the complexity of ensuring the security of the event due to the expected presence of several hundred foreign dignitaries and PMOI members traveling from abroad.
Additionally, Nuñez mentioned the risk of clashes between the NCRI and other rival Iranian opposition groups during the rally.
Since the widespread protests in Iran erupted following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody in September, numerous supportive rallies have taken place worldwide.
The unrest has diminished following a crackdown by Iranian security forces, resulting in the deaths of over 520 individuals and the unjust detention of more than 20,000 others in connection with the protests, according to activists.
After biased trials, the judiciary has handed down severe sentences, including the death penalty, to the protesters.