I’d like to briefly share my views:
First, it is important to identify the core problem. Of course, there are a number of challenges, and all of them are real. These challenges could be tackled only after the core problem is solved. Rajavi said: I cannot stress enough on the importance of the first step which is identifying the core problem.
Second, we need a realistic assessment of the situation. Dictators appear more powerful than what they really are. In 1979, Iran was called “an island of stability” under the Shah. And today, the mullahs’ regime is far weaker than the Shah’s regime when it was overthrown Maryam Rajavi stressed.
Third, identifying the key players and in this case, the forces for change.
Fourth, being prepared to pay the price to solve the problem.
Glancing at the past 3 to 4 decades, it would not be difficult to identify the core problem. Maryam Rajavi said: There is not a single crisis in the region where the mullahs’ regime is not involved. From Lebanon to Yemen, in Syria and in Iraq, even in the Middle East peace which is a much older problem, the Iranian regime’s destructive role is undeniable.
Rajavi then reiterated that focusing on the activities of Iran’s ruling dictatorship does not require military intervention. The regime’s lobby in Washington and Europe attempts to falsely portray firmness and siding with the Iranian people for change, as war mongering.
Rajavi then stressed that: on the contrary, their approach and ignoring the problem would be a recipe for disaster, as it has been in the past.
Maryam Rajavi said: I believe focusing on the core problem, requires the following steps:
1. Holding the dictatorship accountable for its crimes against the Iranian people and in the region, including taking steps to bring to justice the perpetrators of the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, those who stayed loyal to Iran’s freedom and were massacred in just a few months on Khomeini’s fatwa.
2. Taking practical steps to drive the IRGC and its proxies out of Syria and Iraq and other countries in the region. The mullahs’ meddling in the region is vital to their survival. Therefore, forcing the regime to end its meddling is a major setback to the dictatorship. Khamenei and other regime officials have repeatedly declared that if we do not fight in Iraq and Syria, we will have to fight in Tehran, Isfahan and other Iranian cities.
Maryam Rajavi restated that it is time for practical steps.
3. Those benefiting from trade with the Iranian regime are not the people of Iran but the IRGC. Therefore, comprehensive sanctions, including sanctions on its banking system, must be imposed on the regime. As I said before, the past policies on making concessions to the religious fascism have been disastrous. The peoples of Iran and the region have paid a heavy price for it.
The most destructive aspects of this policy were a deal over the Iranian Resistance, the terrorist designation of the MEK, breaching US commitments to the MEK members in Ashraf and Liberty, and inaction vis-à-vis their murder Maryam Rajavi stressed.
To end the disastrous past policies Rajavi said, it is essential to recognize the National Council of Resistance of Iran with MEK as its main force as the only democratic alternative to the religious terrorist dictatorship in Iran. Maryam Rajavi said: This alternative believes in a free and democratic Iran, gender equality, separation of religion and state and a non-nuclear Iran. Such recognition would send a message of firmness to the mullahs and a message of solidarity to the people of Iran.
Rajavi repeated that: Regime change is within reach and the people of Iran are capable of realizing it.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my views with you and best wishes for a successful conference.
About Maryam Rajavi:
Maryam Rajavi was born into a middle-class family in Tehran. One of her brothers, Mahmoud, is a veteran member of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), and was a political prisoner during the Shah’s regime.
Her older sister Narges was killed by the Shah’s secret police, SAVAK, in 1975. Her other sister, Massoumeh, an industrial engineering student, was arrested by the clerical regime in 1982. Pregnant at the time, she was ultimately hanged after undergoing brutal torture.
Rajavi joined the MEK as a young woman. Following the 1979 anti-monarchical revolution, she ran for a seat in Parliament from Tehran during the first parliamentary election in 1980. But, due to widespread voter fraud by the new fundamentalist regime, none of the opposition candidates made it into Parliament. Despite the fraud, Rajavi received over 250,000 votes.
President-elect of the NCRI
In 1993, during its plenary session, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a coalition whose members include a number of Iranian opposition organizations and prominent personalities, elected Mrs. Rajavi as the President-elect for the period of transitioning power to the Iranian people.
The NCRI acts as a parliament-in-exile and a legislative assembly
As the President-elect of the NCRI, Maryam Rajavi has mounted an extraordinary political, social, cultural and ideological challenge to the ruling mullahs in Iran. Under her leadership, women have risen to hold key positions in the Iranian Resistance. Over half of NCRI members are women. They occupy various political, diplomatic, social and cultural positions in the Resistance.
Mrs. Rajavi has made numerous speeches regarding the real message of Islam, which revolves around tolerance and democracy, in direct contradiction of the reactionary and fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. She believes that one of the most important differentiators between these two entirely contradictory views of Islam focuses on attitudes toward the status of women. Among her published works are: “Islam, Women, and Equality,” “Women, the Force for Change,” and “Women against Fundamentalism.”
In 1994, during a speech delivered at the Oslo city hall, Mrs. Rajavi warned about the octopus of religious tyranny and Islamic fundamentalism whose heart beats in Tehran. She said: “Fundamentalism has turned into the greatest threat to peace in the region and the world,” adding, “The mullahs ruling Iran are pursuing their expansionist agenda and exporting crises and tensions by exploiting the religious beliefs of over a billion Muslims.”
During a June 21, 1996 speech entitled, “Women, the Voice of the Oppressed,” delivered at a conference in London’s Earls Court, Rajavi said, “The issue of women and the equality movement is linked to the struggle against reactionary ideology and fundamentalism. For women are not only pioneers in the equality movement, but also the main force for progress, peace and social justice. In my view, humankind can only rid itself of the evil phenomenon of reactionary outlook and fundamentalism if women would assume their leading role in this global campaign and employ all forms of democratic struggle to shut the door on any form of appeasement and compromise with the misogynous and inhumane mullahs in Iran.”
The Third Option
In December 2004, during a speech at the European Parliament, Maryam Rajavi proposed the Third Option, a clear prospect to resolve the Iranian crisis, which had caused anxiety on a global scale.
She said: “In response to the Iranian crisis, two options are regularly proposed: Either compromise with the mullahs’ regime, in a bid to contain or gradually change the regime. Western countries have pursued this policy in the past two decades. Or, the second option, overthrowing the mullahs by way of a foreign war, similar to what occurred in Iraq. No one is interested a repeat of the Iraqi experience in Iran. But, I have come here today to say that there is a third option: Change by the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance. With the removal of foreign obstacles, the Iranian people and Resistance would have the ability and the readiness to bring about such change. This presents the only way to avert a foreign war. Offering concessions to the mullahs is not the alternative to a foreign conflict and will not dissuade them from pursuing their ominous intentions.”
International Solidarity with the Iranian Resistance
Today, in the eyes of the Iranian people, Maryam Rajavi is the pioneer of the struggle for democratic change in Iran. In recent years, she has led a global movement comprised of some of the most celebrated political and social personalities, including former U.S. government officials and secretaries in the political and military arenas, as well as political personalities and parliamentarians from the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia. This international movement has attained significant victories in support of regime change and establishment of freedom and democracy in Iran through its support and recognition of the Iranian Resistance and the organized opposition in Camps Ashraf and Liberty. The movement has gained international credibility and legitimacy.
International Campaign to Delist the MEK
Another front in the struggle led by Maryam Rajavi was a major campaign to remove the MEK from terrorist lists in Europe and the U.S. while exposing secret deals in the context of appeasing the clerical regime. These efforts led to the delisting of the MEK in the United Kingdom in 2008 and the European Union in 2009, as well as the dismissal of terrorism charges in the June 17, 2003 dossier by a senior French Investigative magistrate in May 2011 and the revocation of the MEK’s terrorist designation in the United States in September 2012.
International Campaign in Defense of Resistance Members in Ashraf and Liberty
In 2009, the U.S. government transferred the protection and security of over 3,000 Resistance members in Camp Ashraf to the Iraqi government. On the orders of the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki attacked Camp Ashraf in July 2009, April 2011, and again in September 2013, killing over 100 residents and injuring more than 1,000 in the process. Subsequent to these attacks, the residents of Ashraf were transferred to Camp Liberty under the auspices of the United Nations. They were attacked several more times by missiles and rockets, as a result of which dozens were killed and many more were wounded. The objective of the clerical regime and its puppet government in Iraq through these attacks was to completely eradicate the Iranian Resistance.
Mrs. Rajavi led an international campaign in support of Iranian Resistance members in Ashraf and Liberty, which included hundreds of statements issued by human rights organizations, numerous reports and statements by UN-affiliated organizations, and statements by thousands of parliamentarians around the world, in addition to multiple resolutions passed in parliaments and international institutions. Efforts in the U.S. led to the adoption of a 2016 resolution in Congress calling for the provision of security for the residents of Camp Liberty.