The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) : Iran Opposition Parliament in Exile

shora NCRI 10

On July 21, 1981, marking the anniversary of the Iranian people's uprising in 1952 against the Shah and in support of the nationalist leader Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq, and one month past the beginning of mass executions of the regime's opponents, Mr. Massoud Rajavi, then leader of the opposition People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), announced in Tehran the formation of a coalition of democratic opposition forces seeking to overthrow the mullahs' Velayat-e Faqih regime and establish a pluralistic democracy in the country.

Ten days later, Massoud Rajavi flew to Paris. The President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) set up his headquarters in Auvers-sur-Oise, north of Paris, which rapidly turned into a focus of attention for policymakers and reporters in France and other countries.

In autumn 1981, the NCRI began a series of intense and lengthy meetings in which its members drafted and adopted the Council's constitution, its platform, and the immediate tasks of a provisional government as well as the NCRI's internal modus operandi. All of the adopted documents were immediately published.

The NCRI decided that the elections for the "Constitutional and National Legislative Assembly" will be held no later than six months after the fall of the clerical regime by the NCRI provisional government. The formation of the Constitutional Assembly would put an end to the duties and reason d'etre of the NCRI and the provisional government would hand in its resignation to the Constitutional Assembly.

The Constitutional Assembly would be in charge of drafting the Constitution of the new republic, appointing the new government and legislating for administration of the country's affairs until the new Constitution is adopted. The Constitutional Assembly would be in charge no longer than two years.
The NCRI was founded on the basis of the declaration “no to the Shah and no to the mullahs.” It relies on the principles of freedom and popular sovereignty, which means:
Freedom of choice and vote for all citizens, freedom and democracy, gender equality, autonomy of ethnic groups, human rights, people’s participation in deciding their own destiny, social and economic justice, and national solidarity.

The NCRI is duty-bound to transfer sovereignty to the people of Iran. The NCRI platform recognizes the people’s right to decide their own destiny. It has declared that “achieving popular sovereignty… is the most precious outcome of the Iranian people’s just Resistance.” It further adds that the prerequisite for popular sovereignty is “to provide and guarantee the equipment, resources, and ways of intervention and participation of all the citizens in making decisions and implementing them.”
In fact, the fundamental spirit of the NCRI Platform, the essence of its adopted plans, and the content of its most important statements and declarations are in a word summed up in the principle of the people’s sovereignty in place of the sovereignty of the Shah and the mullahs.

The NCRI Plans

The NCRI has adopted various plans for the future of Iran. They include:
The NCRI Peace Plan
The NCRI Plan for the Autonomy of the Iranian Kurdistan
The NCRI Plan on Provisional Government’s Relations with Religion
The NCRI Plan on Women’s Rights and Freedoms
The NCRI Plan for the National Solidarity Front

The NCRI Peace Plan

One of the greatest contributions of the National Council of Resistance of Iran was to launch the peace movement in the heat of Khomeini’s senseless war with Iraq; a war that left some one million people dead on the Iranian side alone. The ruins caused by that war have not been repaired yet, and the pain and suffering of those who lost their homes have not been relieved.

In March 1982, in the document outlining the Immediate Tasks of the Transitional Government, the NCRI declared that “the urgent termination of the Iran-Iraq war and the establishment of a just peace based on territorial integrity and rights of the people of Iran” are among the Council’s duties.
On May 24, 1982, after the Iraqi forces withdrew from Iran’s territory, and while Khomeini fanned the flames of war, the NCRI President courageously hoisted the flag of peace. With extraordinary risk-taking, he rose up against the ominous war which was deceptively being portrayed by Khomeini as a patriotic and religious duty.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran advanced an extensive peace movement with the motto of peace and freedom. In March 1983, the NCRI adopted its Peace Plan. While emphasizing the 1975 Algerian Accord and the “land and river borders” laid out in that accord, the NCRI underscored that “the determination of war damages will be referred to the International Court of Justice at The Hague” to guarantee Iran’s national interests at the highest level. At the time, the government of Iraq welcomed the NCRI Peace Plan as the basis for the beginning of peace talks. But, the mullahs’ regime has not been able to sign any peace agreement, even with the governments in Iraq which are under its own influence.

The NCRI Plan for the Autonomy of the Iranian Kurdistan

One of the most important issues the NCRI tackled since its inception is the autonomy of the oppressed ethnic minorities. The NCRI underlines in its plan that all ethnic groups and all the various nationalities of our country will enjoy internal autonomy. The Plan also underscores that their cultural, social and political rights and freedoms are provided within the framework of the country’s unity, national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Specifically, the NCRI drew up a 12-point plan for the Autonomy of the Iranian Kurdistan which was adopted in 1983. After three decades, it remains one of the world’s most comprehensive models in this regard.

The Plan on Separation of Religion and State

The NCRI’s response to the experience of religious fascism and barbaric despotism under the banner of Islam is the Plan on Provisional Government’s Relations with Religion, adopted by the NCRI in November 1985.
The NCRI Plan denounces all religious coercions and compelling people into practicing religion. It further rejects all forms of “discriminations as well as any political or social privileges and coercions” in relation to Islam.
The NCRI Platform, drafted in 1981, underscores “equal political and social rights of all citizens” and seeks to abolish “all gender, ethnic and religious privileges.” Of course, the mere formation of the NCRI and the relations among its forces serve as a practical model of separation of religion and state, and a republic based on freedom and equality.
The plan, on the one hand, stipulates that “under no circumstance is any religion or denomination recognized as possessing special privileges or rights” and, on the other, it underlines “the freedom of religions and faiths.”
The plan emphasizes in its first article that “All forms of discrimination against the followers of various religions and faiths in the enjoyment of their individual and social rights are prohibited. No citizens shall enjoy any privileges or be subject to any deprivations in respect of nomination for election, voting, employment, education, becoming a judge, or any other individual or social rights, for the reason of belief or non-belief in a particular religion or faith.” In Article 3, the Plan stipulates that “Jurisdiction of judicial authorities is not based upon their religious or ideological stance, and laws not formulated within the legislative institution of the land will have no official sanction or validity.”

The NCRI Plan on Women’s Rights and Freedoms

The National Council of Resistance of Iran has pursued a persistent and incessant fight against the catastrophic oppression and inequality of women in Iran. It has presented a clear plan to obliterate gender inequalities. Unanimously adopted in 1987, the Plan reiterated the need for Iranian women to attain their rightful place in society. It thus inspired Iranian women to wage a struggle for their freedom and equality.

The NCRI official emblem

In 1993, upon the proposal of the NCRI President Massoud Rajavi, the National Council of Resistance of Iran adopted the ancient Persian Lion and Sun as the NCRI's official emblem, and placed it on the tri-colored flag of Iran.

The NCRI President-elect

In 1993, the NCRI unanimously elected Maryam Rajavi as the NCRI President-elect for the transitional period after the mullahs' overthrow.

The NCRI Plan for the National Solidarity Front

In 2002, the NCRI adopted a plan to form the National Solidarity Front for the overthrow of Iran's ruling religious tyranny. Within the framework of this front, the NCRI declared that it is prepared to cooperate with other political forces. The National Solidarity Front embraces all Iranians who totally reject the Velayat-e Faqih regime and all its internal factions, and seek to establish a democratic and independent republic based on separation of religion and state.

Abolishment of the Death Penalty

In 2005, the NCRI's President-elect declared: "In the free Iran of tomorrow, we will be committed to and defend the abolition of the death penalty and elimination of all forms of cruel punishments. We once again reiterate our commitment to the Convention against Torture, international humanitarian laws, and the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women."

Modus operandi and composition of the NCRI

The NCRI acts as the Iranian people's Parliament-in-Exile and legislative assembly.
According to the NCRI's internal regulations, the Council's meetings are official with the attendance of half plus one of the members. Its decisions can be adopted with the positive votes of half plus one of the attending members. In practice, however, the NCRI has made its decisions with unanimous approval of all its members. It has always endeavored to include dissident and opposing views in its decisions and adopted plans.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran embraces representatives of Iran's diverse religious and ethnic combination including the Kurds, Baluchis, Arabs, Persians, Turks, Turkomans, Muslims, Armenians, Jews and Zoroastrians as well as atheists, and adherents to various persuasions and schools of thought.

The NCRI also includes artists, writers, physicians, businessmen, bazaar merchants, university professors, military servicemen, athletes, politicians, scientists and industrialists.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran is an alternative developed from the heart of the people’s front, for the sovereignty of freedom and a people’s republic. The suffering, torture and struggles of consecutive generations of the Iranian people over 120 years made it possible to establish and sustain a democratic alternative.
The Iranian society, Iran’s history, and the revolutions and movements which have been constantly in the making since the Constitutional Movement, created the potential for instituting such a grassroots alternative to achieve people's sovereignty. However, it would have been impossible to transform this potential into a political and concrete reality without a qualified leadership and without enormous efforts and suffering. And this has been the role of Massoud Rajavi, the NCRI President, who triumphantly marked such a magnificent accomplishment and through it, guaranteed the future of the Resistance movement in its entirety.


Maryam Rajavi


President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran

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