PROTESTS in Iran that saw scores of people killed and thousands arrested marked a “turning point”, according to the leader of the country’s opposition in exile.

Speaking in Paris, Maryam Rajavi, president of the National Council of Resistance in Iran, told a gathering of politicians opposed to the clerical regime that conditions would never return to the status quo.

“What happened in Iran was beyond some protest demonstrations against economic problems, but a nationwide movement against the clerical regime in its entirety,” she said.

The demonstrations were based on the failure of the regime of Iran’s supreme leader Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, to tackle basic problems including unemployment, inflation and social and political suppression, said Rajavi.

"The reality is that financial, political and judicial corruption has engulfed the regime,” she said. “Serious political changes are the only way to deal with these crises. This is something that the regime is not able to do.”

Rajavi said she had urged European leaders to act to compel the regime to free those arrested, guarantee freedom of speech, and put an end to the suppression of women, as well as abolishing the compulsory veil.

“All forms of relations with the Iranian regime must be conditioned on end to executions and repression,” she said.

Labour peer Lord Tony Clarke told the conference the international delegation supported Rajavi’s call to Europe.

He added: “The European Union should stop trading with corporations and those affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards and the suppressive organs and condition the continuation and expansion of political and economic relationship with Iran on the release of prisoners and the suspension of executions.”