Maryam Rajavi Addresses Iranian Convention in Washington, DC
My Fellow Iranians,
It is a great pleasure to greet every one of you intellectuals, experts and representatives of Iranian communities in the United States. I congratulate you for taking the initiative to hold this convention on behalf of a broad spectrum of Iranians living in the United States and I wish you every success.
I am very pleased to join you today to tell the world of the Iranian people’s desire for change, the path to democratic change in Iran, and the obstacles facing us along this road.
Iranians have been striving to gain freedom for the past 25 years. 120,000 of the best sons and daughters of the Iranian people have been executed for the cause of freedom. Hundreds of thousands of political prisoners have been subjected to brutal torture for their love for freedom.
The desire for change in Iran erupts at every opportunity. Iranians’ cry for freedom reverberates from the Fire Festival to football matches, from Ashraf to Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and in other Iranian gatherings in Brussels, Paris, London and Washington, DC.
An unelected and illegitimate clique using the most ferocious suppression without fear of international censure is not allowing social protests to coalesce and bring about change, as happened in the Ukraine or in Georgia.
Indeed Iran is today the “darkest corner of our world.” The religious tyranny has remained in power through torture, murder, and the most barbaric repression. But experience of 25 years of mullahs’ rule and 25 years of national resistance against them shows that Western governments’ policy of appeasement has been the greatest help to the mullahs to retain power and block change in Iran.
It is hard, in recent decades, to find a regime so repressive and terrorist as the one in Iran receive so much support by Western governments.
Western governments are appeasing a regime whose president was directly involved in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988; a regime which murdered Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian photojournalist, after torture and rape; a regime which hanged an innocent 16-year-old girl in public; a regime whose Supreme Leader, President, Foreign Minister and Intelligence Minister have been convicted by a German court as masterminds of a campaign of physical elimination of political opponents abroad; a regime whose cabinet minister openly boasted that the ideology and the explosives for the 1980s bombings in Beirut came from Tehran; a regime whose direct involvement in Buenos Aires and Khobar bombings and numerous hostage-takings and highjackings has been proven; a regime which concealed its nuclear weapons program for 18 years and is pursuing this ominous project in defiance of the concerns of the international community; a regime whose human rights violations have been condemned in 51 resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Commission.
This is the behavior of a regime whose leaders must be tried for crimes against humanity. And yet, the more this regime charges ahead with its suppressive policies and export of terrorism and fundamentalism, the more it is appeased. Good-will messages continue to be sent to the mullahs and their president is welcomed by the leaders of European Union.
But the worst aspect of appeasement, which plays a crucial role in keeping the regime in power, is the terror tag on the Iranian Resistance. This is an illegitimate and unlawful accusation, designed only to mollify the mullahs.
This terror label is not just a measure against an opposition organization; it is caving in to the demands of the most brutal dictatorship of our times. This unjust tag is the biggest obstacle on the Iranian people’s path to democratic change.
The mullahs use this label to justify the continuing torture, execution and suppression of freedom-loving Iranians as a campaign against terrorism. Even the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988 is being justified with this label.
It was this terror label that was used to justify the closure of offices of the People’s Mojahedin and the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Washington. Those offices had exposed the nuclear projects of the clerical regime. So the message of this designation for the mullahs is that they could continue repression, terrorism and nuclear projects, while its message to our people is that the West is on the side of the dictators and is opposed to change.
It was on the basis of this label that the mullahs demanded the bombing of Iran’s freedom fighters, their disarmament and their expulsion from Iraq. The mullahs thus intended to take advantage of the special geopolitics of the region to export Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism to Iraq and embark on widespread meddling in that country.
Mullahs’ meddling in Iraq has been criticized repeatedly in recent months by Iraq’s President, Prime Minister and prominent cabinet ministers.
To this day, more than 2.7 million Iraqis have declared in a petition that “fundamentalism and dictatorship in Iran are blocking the path to democracy and stability in Iraq.”
They declared: “With its genuine interpretation of Islam and deep roots within Iranian society, the PMOI is the anti-thesis of Islamic fundamentalism, an important political and cultural bulwark against infiltration into Iraq of mullahs’ ideology, and a most effective counterweight against the expansionist goals of the Iranian regime. The people and democratic forces of Iraq find in the PMOI a natural ally and partner in this region.”
Leaders of the United States have rightly been saying in recent months that the mullahs have no support or legitimacy in Iran, that they are the source of terrorism in the world today, and that they seek to acquire nuclear weapons. They acknowledge that the Iranian people are longing for freedom. On behalf of the Iranian people, we declare that the terror label is the most important hurdle facing the freedom movement and democratic revolution of the Iranian people.
President George Bush rightly said last month, “Decades of excusing and accommodating tyranny in the pursuit of stability have only led to injustice and instability and tragedy.”
In my view, the most flagrant example has been the accommodation of Iran’s theocratic despots and injustice toward the Iranian Resistance. Let us remember that one day after the designation of the PMOI as a terrorist organization by the Clinton administration in October 1997, a senior U.S. official said that the aim was to send a good-will gesture to the mullahs’ President Khatami.
This was a legacy of the kind of misguided policy that led to the coup against Dr. Mossadeq’s nationalist government in 1953. Surprisingly, the previous U.S. administration apologized for U.S. role in that coup to the very mullahs who were among Mossadeq’s sworn enemies.
Just as the time has come to abandon the appeasement of tyrants, so the time has come to remove the ominous legacy of that policy, namely the terror label against the Iranian Resistance.
Two centuries ago, Thomas Jefferson, the father of American democracy, said: “When patience has begotten false estimates of its motives, when wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will be borne, resistance becomes morality.”
It is in the same spirit that I say the Iranian people’s resistance is reincarnation of morality in my country. Resistance against the ruling religious fascism is tantamount to the existence of the Iranian people. No wonder, then, that honorable defenders of human rights and representatives of people of Europe and the United States have repeatedly endorsed the legitimacy of this resistance movement.
Is it not true that after 16 months of investigation of members of the PMOI by several U.S. agencies, senior U.S. officials acknowledged that there were no grounds to bring charges against any member of the movement?
Is it not the case that the most distinguished international law professors presented unequivocal legal opinions declaring that accusing the Mojahedin of terrorism totally lacks any legal basis and has been politically motivated?
Despite all the weapons it had in its arsenal, this resistance did not fire a single bullet during the war in Iraq. How could a resistance movement be accused of terrorism, when it kept its focus solely on the mullahs’ regime and the struggle for freedom in Iran, even as it was being bombed during the war?
This resistance movement, as the U.S. Central Command has declared, voluntarily agreed to have all its weapons consolidated in order to contribute to a safe and secure environment in Iraq.
This resistance called for referendum for peaceful regime change in Iran and rejected any terrorism, violence and illegal and unjustified taking up of arms.
This resistance and the people on whose support it thrives have the capacity and the competence to bring about change in Iran.
Democratic change in Iran will not be achieved by appeasement or foreign military intervention. Democratic change will be achieved by the people of Iran and their organized resistance. This is the way for lasting democracy and freedom to take root in Iran.
Experience of the past quarter-century proves that without establishment of democracy in Iran there will be no peace, stability or tranquility in the region. Democracy in Iran opens the way for development and prosperity and is the key to peace and security in this sensitive part of the world.
Iranian Resistance Leader Massoud Rajavi repeatedly stated from the first day of mullahs’ rule in Iran in February 1979 that the number one issue for Iran is the question of democracy, freedom and respect for people’s vote. The enemies of the Iranian people are the forces of Islamic fundamentalism and religious fanaticism, who are brutally violating the sanctity of freedom.
The Founding Fathers of America wrote in the Declaration of Independence 230 years ago, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
We want these very rights for the people of Iran. Our people have a right to live in freedom, free from fear, with a government elected by them and for them.
The NCRI platform stipulates that there will be free elections within six months after regime change in Iran to elect a constitutional assembly to form a new government and formulate a constitution for the new republic.
This resistance fully respects the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international covenants and calls for separation of church and state.
In its platform, this resistance movement guarantees free market economy, private investment and ownership and investment for national economic development.
We call for full gender equality in all political, social and economic rights and call for equal and active participation of women in political leadership and the country’s management.
We welcome mutual ties with all countries and spread of peace and tranquility in the region and want an Iran free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.
Political forces seeking the establishment of a secular republic based on democracy and representative government within the National Solidarity Front are aligned with these positions.
The majority of Iranian people speak with one voice on the need for democratic change in Iran.
Within this framework, I once again call on all fellow Iranians from all religions, beliefs and political tendencies to come together in a broader unity and solidarity for democratic change in Iran.
The path for democratic change in Iran will be paved by ending the ominous policy of appeasement and removing the PMOI from the terrorism list.
The people of Iran have risen to free Iran and will undoubtedly achieve their goal.
In the name of freedom, justice and peace, I call on every one to help the Iranian people and their resistance. This resistance movement will undoubtedly establish democracy in Iran.
- Tags: Free Iran, Iran, Maryam Rajavi, NCRI