Text of Address by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi,
President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
Paris, 2 February 2013 - Dear Friends, Distinguished Guests,
I salute you and the honorable personalities joining us today from the United States, France, Spain, Estonia, Egypt and other countries. On the eve of the anniversary of the anti-monarchic revolution, we honor that usurped revolution and renew our pledge to overthrow the ruling regime in its entirety. When I chose to walk in the path of freedom. I decided to sacrifice my life for freedom
In the stormy seas
The guardian of tyranny
Adeptly fights it out
With the God of Freedom
Indeed, we are committed to bring the current phase, the overthrowing of the ruling theocracy, to a victorious end by relying on our enlightened and courageous people. And it shall be so.
In a few days, we will celebrate the anniversary of February 8, 1982, which is a glorious peak in the history of Iran’s freedom.
Hail to Ashraf Rajavi and Moussa Khiabani and their comrades who fought valiantly on that day and made the ultimate sacrifice. Their perseverance against the religious fascism earned them eternal praise from our nation.
Three decades after the murderous and fundamentalist regime came to power in Iran, extremists are roaming free in the four corners of the world, from Indonesia on the shores of the Pacific to Central Asia and to West Africa.
Let me begin by asking these questions:
Was the spread of fundamentalism in such dimensions not containable?
Was the result of the Arab Spring inevitable? And if not, what is the solution?
How did Islamic fundamentalism assume power in Iran?
And is there a solution and alternative to confront the ogre of Islamic fundamentalism?
To answer these questions, let us look back at history.
Thirty-four years ago, the Iranian people rose up against dictatorship and for freedom and democracy. However, Khomeini exploited an exceptional opportunity to usurp the leadership of the revolution.
The monarchic dictatorship that resorted to suppression and murder, either killing pro-democracy intellectuals or imprisoning them until its final days, especially the leaders of the People’s Mojahedin and the Fedayee Organization, completely set the stage for the fundamentalist mullahs to step into a power vacuum.
Indeed, Khomeini was not the genuine representative of a revolution that had started in defense of freedom and democracy. His medieval regime was alien to the demands of the Iranian people and to the advancement of Iranian society.
For this reason, Khomeini clamped down on society, adopted a misogynous path and exported fundamentalism and terrorism, to maintain his grip on power.
Khomeini was diverting the tremendous, yet spontaneous, tide of the revolution towards backwardness and destruction. But, Massoud Rajavi saved the genuine and evolutionary spirit of the February 1979 revolution from the clutches of the ruthless reactionaries.
Three years before the revolution, he warned that the threat to the entire movement for liberty was posed by the rightwing reactionary tendency. Then, in the face of religious despotism, he hoisted the banner of freedom and helped form the basis for a magnificent perseverance which for decades challenged Khomeini’s reactionary ideology and Islamic fundamentalism, became its archenemies and primary threat, while consolidating the Iranian people’s assets for freedom and democracy.
Some view the mullahs’ reactionary expansionism as a sign of their power. But this is a major blunder. Because the mullahs feel vulnerable in the face of an extremely disgruntled population, they have resorted to warmongering and meddling in the affairs of other countries. For them, this is a mechanism for maintaining power. If they fail to export their fundamentalism, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, the backbone of the velayat-e faqih, will lose its raison d’être and would quickly implode.
For this reason, the regime’s Supreme Leader has repeatedly stated that he views Middle Eastern countries as the strategic depth of his regime's reach.
Since 1991, the Iranian resistance has exposed the details and warned of the Iranian regime’s plans to dominate the region.
In 1992 and 1993, it published a book, “Islamic Fundamentalism: The New Global Threat,” warning that the Iranian regime does not recognize geographic borders and that consistent with its constitution, it has been trying to establish a global Islamic Empire.
However, the most senior U.S. and European officials dismissed this "threat" and said that we must reach out to “moderate fundamentalists.” By pursuing the mirage of moderation within the mullahs’ regime, western countries greatly facilitated the spread of Islamic fundamentalism.
In a gathering of Norwegian personalities at Oslo City Hall in November 1995, while warning about the threat of fundamentalism, I emphasized on the need to form a united front against fundamentalism.
Regrettably, the West closed its eyes and ears to this threat, and within a few years, it came face-to-face with its catastrophic consequences. These included the 9/11 tragedy in New York, and a series of ominous incidents in Madrid, London, Bali, New Delhi and elsewhere around the world.
The Resistance similarly warned the world about mullahs’ nuclear weapons program. Ten years ago the Iranian Resistance revealed the secret nuclear sites of the regime. But, Western governments have already lost ten years that could be spent to stop this program.
Today, the crisis in Mali has attracted a great deal of attention. France is trying to push back against this danger and I hope that it would achieve final victory soon
There is hardly any doubt that were it not for the mullahs’ covert and overt ties with the extremists and their extensive export of weapons to Africa, the developments in that country would have taken a different trajectory
The UN Security Council resolution 1747 has banned the export of weapons by the Iranian regime. Yet, as the UN sanctions committee has reported, the mullahs have repeatedly violated this resolution by exporting arms to Africa.
On January 12th, the New York Times revealed that bullet casings in African wars can be traced to Iran.
We had said from the outset that terrorism is a tactic emanating from an Islamic fundamentalist ideology. Just as any other ideology, fundamentalism cannot effectively spread globally without having an epicenter. Military and security confrontation with the consequences of this phenomenon in different parts of the world cannot in-and-of itself uproot this threat. Effective confrontation has to align with two factors:
First, the epicenter of fundamentalism must be targeted. This means that one cannot appease the godfather of terrorism in Tehran while expecting at the same time to root out its tentacles around the globe.
Today, it is evident that the mullahs ruling Iran are the ideological, political, training, financial and logistical backbone of fundamentalists and terrorists everywhere. The creation of the Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Iranian regime’s meddling in Syria and Iraq clearly testify to this fact.
Precisely for this reason, in order to orient the Arab Spring towards freedom and democracy, the nations of this region must draw a decisive boundary with the religious dictatorship ruling Iran. Otherwise its fate would not be clear.
Second, confronting fundamentalism is possible only through an ideological and cultural alternative, namely a tolerant and democratic Islam, similar to the Islam espoused and defended by the People’s Mojahedin.
Absent such a model, the fundamentalists will again penetrate the ranks of Muslim masses who grapple with poverty and injustice.
Democratic Islam is based on mercy and freedom; it is diametrically opposed to the fundamentalists’ monopolistic and suppressive ways. The importance of the impact of this model has manifested itself on the ground, especially in gender equality. The issue of women is the most significant hallmark which distinguishes democratic Islam from fundamentalist Islam. The latter is uniquely misogynous.
The women’s leading role in the struggle against fundamentalists, in prisons and in torture chambers and in their assumption of responsibility in the ranks of the resistance movement, has demonstrated the democratic and progressive nature of this model and has inspired women and young people in the fight against religious dictatorship.
Genuine Islam advocates gender equality, human rights and people’s sovereignty. Indeed, limb amputation, stoning and religious discrimination have nothing to do with Islam. They are all fabricated and manufactured by the ruling mullahs in Iran.
With such a wherewithal, the Resistance movement has in the course of three decades of struggle against the ruling regime succeeded in isolating it and proving its lack of legitimacy in the eyes of a vast majority of the Iranian people.
This is a major historical achievement brought about at a great cost, including the sacrifice of 120,000 children of the Iranian people. All Muslim nations and the entire world have benefited and can benefit from this historical achievement.
Iranian history is identified with this Resistance, which succeeded in delegitimizing and undercutting Islamic fundamentalism in Iran and exposing it the world over. Otherwise, the fundamentalists, in virtue of their historical, cultural and religious roots, could have consolidated their rule for generations to come by resorting to demagoguery.
The Iranian Resistance and the sacrifice of the most enlightened and valiant children of the Iranian people created new prospects, which will lay the foundation for a democratic and modern Iran and a tolerant and free society.
Such prospects have been enshrined in the Resistance’s democratic platform, which reflects the beliefs and demands of a majority of Iranians and which has cornered the mullahs.
Allow me to repeat the highlights of this platform and the views of the Iranian Resistance:
10. And, the free Iran of tomorrow will be free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.
Yes, this is what we envision for the Iran of tomorrow.
This is our answer to 34 years of dictatorship, decline and backwardness. Our answer is summed up in three words: Freedom, democracy and equality.
And this is the solution that will ultimately triumph.
Allow me to ask once again what is the status of the Iranian regime, which is the epicenter of fundamentalism? Is it on the rise or in decline? Is it gaining power in the region or, is it losing power even in Tehran?
In late November, at a conference in Paris, I reiterated that the drift of this regime towards overthrow has manifested itself in five deep crises: the nuclear dossier, the looming collapse of Assad’s dictatorship in Syria, a crisis-riddled and collapsing economy, the explosion of the rage of the hungry and the destitute and the rift and terminal conflict within the top echelons of the ruling system.
The developments of the past three months indicate that all these crises have been aggravated.
For example, as it pertains to the schism within the ruling clique, Supreme Leader Khamenei’s growing inability to contain the crisis has become more evident. Three months ago, the President, the Speaker of the Parliament, and the head of the Exigency Council were fighting amongst themselves and openly and privately challenging the Supreme Leader. Today, the Mo’talefeh Party, Khamenei’s long-standing ally, has been flexing its muscles as well.
What has intensified the internal power struggle is the sham presidential election, which in its own right expedites the overthrow of the regime. Let me remind everyone that as far as the Iranian people are concerned, this election is devoid of any legitimacy, particularly since all the candidates are the same criminals who have part taken in the torture, massacre and ravaging of the Iranian people over the past 34 years.
Another example is the explosive state of discontent in Iranian society, which spreads by the day. Society’s tumult can be felt everywhere.
Destitute workers protest unremittingly. Protests among our Kurdish, Arab and Baluchi sisters and brothers, who are the oppressed ethnic minorities, continue to escalate. Political prisoners stage successive hunger strikes despite their poor and deteriorating health.
In reality, the velayat-e faqih regime has no solution to offer and has lost the capacity to contain the crises.
In this respect, I must refer to four major ruptures engulfing the regime.
The first is the erosion of the regime’s social base, such that it is not even three percent. The Bazaar and the bazaaris, the historical and traditional supporters of the regime, are now challenging it. The seminaries in Qom, Mashhad and Isfahan, long backers of the regime, have now turned away. Ten out of the 17 senior Shiite Marja’s (Grand Ayatollahs) openly oppose Khamenei.
The second is that the ruling theocracy lacks a fighting force willing to risk its life to preserve the state. Today, Revolutionary Guard commanders acknowledge that individuals ranging from “the officer corps to the Ayatollahs” have become disaffected and are defecting.
The third is the Supreme Leader’s crisis of legitimacy and prowess. He has lost his authority and there is no cure.
The fourth rupture in the Iranian regime is reflected by the failure of the strategy of exporting fundamentalism. This could be seen in the trend that is leading towards the overthrow of the Syrian regime, the mullahs’ key ally in the region. Several days ago, Khamenei’s advisor described Syria as the golden ring in the regime’s front and said any attack on Syria would be an attack on Iran. The uprising by the people of Iraq in recent weeks, which grows by the day, has specifically targeted the mullahs’ proxy dictatorship in Iraq and has exacerbated the disintegration of the mullahs’ strategy to export fundamentalism.
Hail to the people of Iraq who have risen up in their millions to oppose the mullahs’ meddling and are demanding the overthrow of Nuri al-Maliki.
Let me summarize: The ruling theocracy has lost its pillars and it has fully consumed its reserves. So it is unable to continue its rule.
Despite these realities, however, western governments, which for years ignored the fundamentalists’ threats, have closed their eyes on the regime’s faltering state and have ignored the role of the Resistance movement.
I must emphasize that regime change does not benefit the Iranian people alone. You too have interest in the overthrow of the mullahs. Today, the entire world would benefit from changing a fundamentalist regime as it gets closer to nuclear weapons and has spilled blood all over the Middle East.
Thus, in the interest of your own people and countries put an end to the policy of appeasement and stand with the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance.
The fact is that it is the Iranian people’s organized resistance which has turned the society’s explosive state into a terminal danger for the regime.
The main component of this Resistance, namely the Mojahedin in Camps Ashraf and Liberty, triumphed over massacres and repeated deadlines and proved their bonafides, wherewithal and cohesiveness in the face of the greatest and heaviest conspiracies. The Resistance’s rank-and-file inside Iran is expanding and getting ready.
Of course, Khamenei has not and will not spare any effort to destroy and eliminate the People’s Mojahedin. The Iraqi Government, acting at the behest of the Iranian regime, and in collusion with the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Iraq, evicted them from their home of 26 years, Camp Ashraf, and forced them into a prison called Liberty. It prevented them from transferring their property to Liberty and is not allowing them to sell their assets in Ashraf. Practically speaking, it has denied them the right to ownership of their property.
The pretext was that interviews for refugee status determination had to be conducted outside Camp Ashraf and that the residents were going to be resettled in third countries. However, a year later, and while the UNHCR has interviewed about 2,000 residents, only five have been relocated outside Iraq through the UN process.
I reiterate that this forcible eviction must end. Liberty residents, especially those already interviewed by the UNHCR, must be immediately returned to Camp Ashraf, their home of 26 years, and from there be resettled in third countries.
In these circumstances, the U.S. responsibility for the safety and security of the residents of Ashraf and Liberty and protecting their rights, including ownership rights, is greater than ever. The residents are protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The U.S. signed an agreement with each and every one of them to protect them until their final disposition in return for consolidating their weapons.
The United States can in no way abandon its own responsibility vis-à-vis Ashraf residents by passing it on to the United Nations.
The failure to uphold this responsibility has resulted in two massacres, 50 killed and 1,130 wounded, an oppressive six-year siege and a collective forced eviction.
In reality, the U.S. Government’s appeasement of the religious fascism ruling Iran and its incredibly misguided actions against the Iranian Resistance, including the 15-year terrorist designation of the PMOI, its bombing of the PMOI at the request of Tehran during the invasion of Iraq and the failure to carry out its duties to protect the residents, especially since 2009, have inflicted irreparable damage on the Iranian people and Resistance. These damages must be compensated for.
Now, the U.S. must actively intervene so that the residents can return to Ashraf. Otherwise it would be responsible for what may henceforth happen in Liberty Prison.
We also call on the international community to stand with the Iranian people for regime change.
We ask that western governments cut off their diplomatic ties with the ruling religious fascism and expel Qods Force agents and MOIS operatives from their territories.
We insist that they refer the regime’s appalling human rights dossier to the UN Security Council.
We ask them not to waste time by engaging in fruitless nuclear talks, otherwise the world would face an irremediable crisis.
Despite enduring hardships brought about by the theocratic regime and notwithstanding all the errors committed by western governments toward Iran, the Iranian Resistance has relied on the courageous and invincible people of Iran for its staying power and succeeded in laying the grounds for a democratic Iran in the future.
Now, our nation is on the threshold of a major leap, in which all the pain and suffering will bear fruit. Time has come to end the ominous era of dictatorship and close the dark chapter of fear, poverty, insecurity, deception and backwardness.
Indeed, it is time to end the unspeakable pain and grief of families and mothers who see their children on the gallows.
Let us not forget that when the dissident blogger Sattar Beheshti was killed under torture two months ago, her mother shouted, “I will give up my own life but I will never give up on avenging his death and I fear nothing in doing so.”
Hail to you, hail to you who have echoed the voices of political prisoners and all those who proudly sing in torture chambers and at the gallows, refusing to fear the henchmen, even in their final moments. Yes, you have echoed their voices, so hail to you.
I mentioned Sattar Beheshti's mother. Her dialogue with Beheshti’s interrogator and torturer reflects the spirit of resistance percolating the Iranian society. She said, “I told the interrogator I only have one word to say to you. I want to know what my son did when you were torturing him. Was he crying and moaning? And the interrogator said, when we were beating him, he was laughing. And I said what a lion he was and what cowards you were.”
Indeed, the Iranian people take pride in such heroes and such mothers, from Aziz Rezai, with eight martyred children, to other heroic mothers who should be proud.
And how blessed is this Resistance for having such mothers, who one after another have stood tall against dictators without budging for a moment. They insist on their commitment to freedom and democracy in Iran until their last breaths. They have done so during 34 years of resistance and perseverance in the face of the darkest religious dictatorship, and now we have arrived at the moment of getting ready to overthrow the regime.
So, hail to the vanguards of Iran’s freedom in Ashraf and Liberty and their glorious perseverance.
Hail to Massoud Rajavi, who called for the formation of Liberation Army units across the nation, rekindling the flames of hope, heralding the dawn of freedom and the victory of the Iranian people.
Hail to you, who are chanting you are "ready." The heroic nation of Iran has heard your chants. They, too, are learning from you and from the vanguards in Ashraf and Liberty, and are saying they are "ready." Dictators must be trembling as they hear these chants, which will ultimately sweep them aside.
Hail to the selfless and valiant women and men who have kept alive the Iranian revolution, from Sediqeh Mojaveri to Neda Hassani to Neda Agha Soltan; from Ali Saremi to Farzad Kamangar, to Keramat Zareiyan to Assiyeh and Saba.
And hail to the courageous and Ashrafi-like youth who are hard at work across the nation to prepare for the overthrow of the ruling theocracy. They will no doubt bring about the triumph of freedom.
Hail to freedom,
Hail to the People of Iran
Hail to all of you.