Former house speaker and touted Donald Trump vice president Newt Gingrich has lashed out at US government policy in Iran saying Washington was "giving money to a leading state sponsor of terrorism".
Speaking at a rally for the People's Mojahedin of Iran, Iran's principle opposition group, Gingrich attacked US President Barack Obama's efforts of rapprochement with the Islamic Republic. The outgoing US leader's year-old nuclear deal with Iran ended UN sanctions and unfroze billions of dollars worth of assets in exchange for the curtailment of the country's nuclear programme.
"They have methodically outmanoeuvred diplomats of the United States and the European countries. They have methodically set the stage for us to finance their dictatorship, to prop up their powers and to pay for their terrorism," Gingrich told the thousands assembled at the rally in Paris.
In an interview on 9 July with Brietbart News, the Republican stalwart said he would run on a Trump ticket for the White House if asked. He said Trump had run an "extraordinary" campaign and added that a Trump presidency could be as defining as Ronald Regan's leadership in the 1980s.
The Republican presidential nominee has been deeply critical of the US nuclear deal with Iran. In April, the former reality TV star called the agreement "a disaster" and said he would look to renegotiate relations with Tehran if he takes the oath of office in November.
Gingrich's statements were met with rapturous applause by the gathering of the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI). The largest Iranian resistance movement, the people's mojahedin is a member of the democratic opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran, opposed to the Hassan Rohani regime.
However, the group has courted controversy since the 1970s, when it was accused of carrying out a string of attacks on US targets. The PMOI denies the accusations. The organisation was only delisted as a terror group by the US and EU in 2009 and 2012 respectively. The PMOI renounced violence in 2001.
Gingrich called on the US to support the group saying it was a key ally against Iran. "We have an an obligation with your help to communicate one key fact. With support, with encouragement, with a systematic effort the people of Iran will rise against the dictatorship and we will eliminate the dictatorship as a threat to civilisation," he said.
"What you are doing by being here, what you are doing by bringing all of these delegations from all around the world, what you are doing by getting the news media to pay attention to the importance of your cause. I want each of you to know that being here is an important act of citizenship, you are making a difference and you are part of history and that with your continued commitment you are winning the argument," he added.
Callum Paton travelled to the National Council of Resistance of Iran rally in Paris courtesy of the People's Mojahedin of Iran