With increased protests happening in Iran in recent years, another uprising is inevitable. With this prospect on the horizon, it is necessary to look towards the future of Iran and discover more about the opposition leader, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Maryam Rajavi, through this biography.

This piece will focus on her early life and the beginnings of her career. Further pieces will look at her career in recent years, her policies, and her hopes for the future of Iran.

Maryam Rajavi, was born on December 4, 1953 to middle-class parents in Tehran, Iran. She went on to study at the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran and graduated with a degree in Metallurgical Engineering.

She was one of several siblings who later went on to actively participate in the resistance of the oppressive regimes in power in Iran. Her older brother, Mahmoud, is a veteran member of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and was imprisoned during the Shah’s regime for his political activities and her older sister, Narges, was murdered by SAVAK, the Shah’s secret police, in 1975. Her younger sister, Massoumeh, was arrested and imprisoned by the  regime in 1982 when she was an industrial engineering student. While pregnant, she was brutally tortured and executed.

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Maryam Rajavi began her political career while at university as an official in the student movement affiliated with the MEK against the Shah’s regime. She took this role between 1973 and 1979. She then became an official in the MEK’s social department until 1981. During this stint, she ran as a candidate for Parliament in 1980, following the revolution that removed the Shah from power the year before. Khamenei and his new regime fraudulently manipulated votes at the time to prevent any opposition candidates from obtaining seats in parliament. Although the regime prevented Mrs. Rajavi from being elected, she still managed to receive more than 250,000 votes during her campaign.

In 1982, she left Iran and was transferred to the political headquarters of the MEK in Auvers-sur-Oise in the outskirts of Paris. She became the joint leader of the MEK in 1985, before serving as the Secretary General between 1989 and 1993. Since then, she has served as President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

The NCRI, is a diverse coalition of Iranian resistance organizations, based in France, made up of different dissident groups, the biggest of which being the MEK. Their main focus is to put an end to the Iranian regime and lead Iran to a free, democratic future. They act as a parliament-in-exile and a legislative assembly for the Iranian people.

Maryam Rajavi’s role as President-elect means she is responsible for handling the transitional period after the mullahs’ regime is overthrown, until the country is placed firmly back in the hands of the Iranian people.