In this part, we will discuss her early life, how she became involved with the Iranian Resistance, her ascendency to the presidency, and an overview of her values.
Maryam Rajavi was born on December 4, 1953, to a middle-class family in Tehran, Iran. Many of her family were active in the Iranian Resistance, fighting against the rule of the despotic Shah. One of her brothers, Mahmoud, was a political prisoner during the Shah’s regime for his membership of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), while her older sister Narges was killed by the Shah’s secret police (SAVAK) in 1975.
Maryam Rajavi joined the MEK student movement against the Shah’s regime in 1973 whilst studying Metallurgical Engineering at the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran and remained there until the 1979 revolution. However, the mullahs usurped the revolution and so Maryam Rajavi and the MEK remained steadfast to their beliefs.
Shortly after the revolution, Maryam Rajavi became an official in the social department of the MEK, during which time she stood as a candidate for the Iranian Parliament in the 1980 election. However, the mullahs were terrified of the MEK’s popularity and committed widespread voter fraud to ensure no Resistance candidates would get through. Despite this, Maryam Rajavi still received over 250,000 votes.
After the election, Maryam Rajavi’s sister Massoumeh, an industrial engineering student, was arrested by the mullahs in 1982. Despite being pregnant at the time, she was brutally tortured and ultimately hanged. This tragedy only spurred Maryam Rajavi on to liberate Iran.
She became the Joint-leader of the MEK in 1985, Secretary General of the MEK in 1989, and President-elect of the parliament-in-exile National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in 1993; a post she holds to this day. Her official role is President-elect for the period of transitioning power to the Iranian people, which means that she will take over when the mullahs fall for a period not to exceed six months in order to organise elections and draft a constitution.
Since her election, Maryam Rajavi has mounted a challenge to the Regime on all fronts, especially by promoting the involvement of women in the Resistance, with at least half of the political, diplomatic, social and cultural positions now being held by women.
She has also promoted the real message of Islam – tolerance and democracy – as opposed to the mullahs’ cruel and sadistic interpretation of Islam. Maryam Rajavi believes that one of the most important differences between these two entirely contradictory views of Islam focuses on the status of women. Among her published works are: “Islam, Women, and Equality,” “Women, the Force for Change,” and “Women against Fundamentalism.”
In our next piece, we will go more in-depth about Maryam Rajavi’s political views.