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    Posted September 25, 2013 by
    New York City, New York

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    Iranian-Americans rally against Rouhani near United Nations


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Photographer Joel Graham captured the scene as hundreds of people protested against Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s appearance at the United Nations yesterday. Graham got there just as President Obama was arriving for his speech (photo 1). Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Sen. Rob Torricelli and former RNC Chairman Michael Steele were among those speaking to the crowd.

    “The main message was an appeal to censure Rouhani's regime for human rights violations and his alleged involvement in the recent massacre of 52 dissident refugees at Camp Ashraf in Iraq,” Graham said. “It seemed different than last year's rally at the UN when they protested the arrival of Ahmadinejad. Security was tighter and the speakers were more passionate -- I think they are concerned over Rouhani's attempt at portraying Iran and his regime as people who are anti-nuclear and wanting peace in the world.” Graham was not participating in the rally; he was an observer.

    Watch Rouhani's interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    As President Obama arrived at the UN to address the 68th Session of the General Assembly, hundreds of protesters rallied across the street in opposition to President Hassan Rouhani of Iran. Speakers included Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-Elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran who addressed the crowd via a closed circuit video link. She accused the UN of “mocking human rights” by hosting Rouhani and referred to him a murderer.


    Speakers at the rally included former congressman Patrick Kennedy, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former senator Robert Torricelli, and former UN Ambassador John Bolton. Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele spoke and leaders of the Syrian Opposition also took the stage.


    All of the speakers voiced the same concerns regarding Rouhani’s “human rights crimes” and implored President Obama not to be taken in by Rouhani’s overtures to begin a dialog with the US. They specifically asked that Obama not shake his hand at the assembly across the street. They collectively argued that Rouhani is disingenuous and using superficial rhetoric while his track record clearly states his true intentions when it comes to terrorism, nuclear weapons, and the Iranian position on Israel. They warned that the world should not expect any change from Iran while Rouhani is president and cited his allegiance to Ali Hosseini Khamenei as the reason he was able to take office in August.


    Kennedy, Giuliani, and Torricelli cited the September 1 massacre of 52 Iranian dissidents in Iraq as a recent example of Rouhani’s predictable style in governing and accused the Rouhani regime of collusion in the atrocity. The speakers demanded nothing less than complete regime change in Iran.


    Members of the Syrian Opposition also joined their Iranian-American counterparts and asked for the world to act after the recent chemical attack in Syria. They asked for assistance from the US and the international community in defeating Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country’s civil war. They cautioned the UN that delaying a response to the recent chemical attack in Syria will provide more time for the government to succeed in defeating the opposition.


    While speakers of the Syrian opposition stood on the stage waving flags and opposition leader Ahmed al-Jarba addressed the crowd via a satellite link, a Syrian national wearing a military uniform appeared in front of the stage and saluted the screen.

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