(NEW YORK) — Donald Trump’s attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, told members of Iran’s self-declared government in exile on Saturday that the U.S. sympathizes with their efforts to overthrow that country’s official government.
The former New York mayor spoke to members and supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the biggest opposition group to Iran’s Islamic regime. Two U.S.-based members who joined the gathering have been targeted for assassination by alleged Iranian agents named last month in criminal complaints issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
“So I say to the Iranian government, you must truly be afraid of being overthrown,” Giuliani said. “We will not forget that you wanted to commit murder on our soil.”
After Saturday’s attack on a military parade in Iran that killed more than 20 people, security was tight surrounding more than 1,500 people who came to a midtown Manhattan hotel for the meeting.
Giuliani said the Paris-based opposition organization is the democratic answer to an Iranian regime he called “a group of outlaws and murderers and people who pretend to be religious people and then have so much blood on their hands it’s almost unthinkable.”
Instead, Giuliani said, “Iran is entitled to freedom and democracy.”
Several months ago, Trump withdrew from a nuclear deal with Iran put in place by President Barack Obama and sanctions were reinstated.
The National Council comes to New York annually during the United Nations General Assembly, staging protests outside the world body against Iran’s leaders who are in town.
The U.S. government considered the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, linked politically to the council, to be a terrorist group the U.S. State Department removed from its list of such organizations in 2012.
Since the beginning of the year, Iranians have kept protesting and marching against the clerical regime, and the national currency has lost about two-thirds of its value, said Maryam Rajavi, leader of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, and the declared president-elect in exile of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
Speaking via video, she said: “The regime is surrounded, politically and internationally, and in economic terms it is on the brink of collapse.”
The new Iran, she said, would be based on free elections resulting in the separation of religion and state, human rights including equal participation of women in politics and the abolition of the death penalty.