An exiled Iranian opposition group called in Paris on Saturday for a boycott of the June presidential election that will choose a successor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"This election whose only candidates are criminals implicated in the torture, massacre and looting of the Iranian people for 34 years, has no legitimacy in the eyes of the Iranian people and must be boycotted," The Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran said in a statement.

"Our nation is on the eve of a great leap forward, a change to end this morbid period of dictatorship," said NCRI president Maryam Rajavi.

"The Iran of tomorrow will be nuclear-free and free of weapons of mass destruction," she said.

NCRI, which presents itself as a parliament in exile, wants the West to grant it the same recognition it has accorded to the Syrian National Coalition battling to overthrow Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.

Saturday's meeting was attended by a number of political figures including Newt Gingrich, the former candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]