By Julian Pecquet - 04/09/13 09:52 PM EDT
The council, which labels itself as Iran's Parliament-in-exile, was founded in Tehran in 1981 and is based in Paris. It says its aim is to replace Iran's theocracy with a “democratic, secular and non-nuclear republic.”
“The opening of the office is consistent with the Iranian resistance’s expanding efforts inside and outside Iran, aimed at bringing democratic change to Iran and the timing could not be better with the failure of the nuclear talks and the upcoming Presidential elections in Iran,” the group said. “It [is] of course, more than just opening an office. It sends the strong political message to Tehran that the real Iranian opposition is back in business. And is just across from the White House.”
Speakers include former Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.) and Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) and a host of former State Department officials of both parties, including U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton as well as John Sano, the CIA’s former deputy director for Clandestine Services.
According to the council, its Ten-Point Plan for the Future of Iran:
- emphasizes on ballot box as the only criterion for legitimacy;
- a pluralist system;
- respect for all individual freedoms;
- separation of religion and state;
- complete gender equality, including women’s right to choose their clothing, freedom in marriage, divorce, education and employment;
- rule of law and justice;
- commitment to Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
- a market economy;
- a foreign policy based on peaceful coexistence, international and regional peace and cooperation; and
- a non-nuclear Iran, free of weapons of mass destruction.
This post was updated at 7:20 p.m. with information about the MEK's role in the council.