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20 Aug 2022

Speech at NCRI session on the Council’s 41st Founding Anniversary

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Speech at NCRI session on the Council’s 41st Founding Anniversary

Maryam Rajavi: The alternative to the mullahs’ regime has its roots in a long struggle against religious tyranny

Greetings to all friends and fellow members of the National Council of Resistance present here and in other countries.
And our warm greetings to all the dear sisters and brothers here and in other countries who have joined us as NCRI members or observers

To begin with, we honor the memory of Dr. Manouchehr Hezarkhani, the Chairman of the Culture and Arts Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). After 41 years, his seat in this assembly is empty, but his political and cultural legacy in the NCRI remains an inspiration to the generation that rose up to rebel and resist, overthrow the regime and win freedom.

Everyone remembers that wherever there was struggle and resistance, Dr. Hezarkhani was present and spoke about the legitimacy of the resistance with penetrating logic and eloquent language.
We remember that since 1981 and the founding of the NCRI, Dr. Hezarkhani’s fraternal and friendly assistance in spirit, action, and with his pen to the NCRI Chairman was commendable and instructive.
We also honor the living memory of Dr. Samad Fathpour, a sincere friend of the Resistance, as well as our brother, the great Mojahed Abbas Modarresifar, with his long history of struggle in the Shah’s prisons and then in Ashraf and Liberty camps [in Iraq].

We also honor the memory of my beloved sister, Hamideh Ta’ati, a member of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), who was a living example of struggle and courage.
Indeed, each of them were symbols of resistance and loyalty to the cause by dedicating their lives to the Iranian people’s liberation.
We also honor the memory of the poet and activist author, Mr. Rahman Karimi, and Mr. Majid Taleghani who passed away due to illness.

Expansion of the battle fronts against the mullahs’ regime

Since the previous summit, we have gone through a year marked by the expansion of the struggle fronts, the efforts of the Iranian Resistance and the democratic alternative, as well as the promotion of their activities.

This period coincided with the presidency of Ebrahim Raisi, the 1988 massacre henchman. This was a period when the mullahs’ regime, entangled in internal and external crises, turned to its two usual tactics: executions and savage repression of women.
The number of executions recorded under Raisi amounted to at least 520 cases, which is far more than in previous years.

In five days alone, from July 23 to July 27, twenty prisoners, including two women, were executed.
The repression of women in our country these days, under the pretext of “mal-veiling,” which is invented by the mullahs, has taken unprecedented dimensions. Heartbreaking scenes of aggression against freedom-loving and honorable girls and women hurt the conscience of every human being.
The regime has expanded its suppression of women even to the cemeteries. They have been damaging the tombstones of women who display “improperly veiled” portraits.
Indeed, negotiating and talking with a regime that is a disgrace for contemporary humanity is shameful. It amounts to trampling on the values that the world has acquired at the cost of hundreds of millions of lives in recent centuries. The international community must reject the mullahs’ regime.

Dear friends,
During this one-year period, the organized force of the resistance in the form of Resistance Units and Popular Resistance Councils has dramatically expanded.
The military assaults, targeting the bases of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), about which you have certainly heard, have increased as well.
The latest case targeted the headquarters of the Special Units of the State Security Forces (SSF) that play a criminal role in the brutal suppression of the uprisings and the killing of young people.
Since January 27, 2022, the Resistance Units have seized the control of websites and servers of various regime agencies.

In October last year, the NCRI office in Washington, D.C. made an important disclosure about the regime’s drone production and manufacturing centers.
Throughout the past year, at every opportunity, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the NCRI have advanced the movement of seeking justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre in legal, social and international arenas. This was done in the form of international conferences, publication of books, or conferences attended by world-renowned jurists.
There were also calls for an immediate investigation of the 1988 massacre, such as the appeal by 462 current and former UN officials, renowned lawyers, international court judges and authorities, and Nobel Prize laureates.

At the end of September last year, as a result of NCRI’s legal activities, the Swiss Federal Court issued a very important decision, which said that despite the passage of more than 30 years, the case regarding the assassination of Prof. Kazem Rajavi is not closed and should instead be investigated in the context of genocide and crimes against humanity. Both of these matters are not subject to any statute of limitations.

Throughout the year, in response to the events in Iran, the supporters of the Iranian Resistance organized many demonstrations and rallies in many major capitals of the world.
Confronting the mullahs’ demonization and vilification campaigns against the PMOI and NCRI, the NCRI Counter-terrorism and Security Committee made public 26 confidential documents of the regime’s Press TV. The documents show in part the behind-the-scenes production of documentaries, programs, and video clips against the PMOI for the mullahs’ foreign ministry and judiciary, in exchange for large payments of money to the network of “friendly journalists.”
The NCRI was able to play an important role in keeping Khamenei’s IRGC on the U.S. list of terrorist groups.

On the other hand, the efforts of the PMOI and its supporters have helped expand global solidarity with the Iranian Resistance.
The visits to Ashraf-3 by former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, and former European prime ministers and their explicit emphasis on the need to recognize the right of the Iranian people to resist and overthrow the regime is a new achievement for the Iranian people’s Resistance movement.

In addition, there was a yearlong ceaseless campaign in Stockholm in conjunction with the trial of the regime’s executioner Hamid Noury. The PMOI and the NCRI succeeded in foiling what was initially a complex conspiracy to discredit the Call for Justice Movement and to distort the identity of the PMOI victims of the 1988 massacre.
The unprecedented epic resistance of the political prisoners who remained faithful to their cause during the massacre was made clear for everyone inside Iran and around the world. It also underscored the need to bring the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and its President Ebrahim Raisi to justice for committing crimes against humanity.

Finally, there was the campaign against the regime’s treaty with Belgium to get back its jailed diplomat-terrorist, which was one of the most important chapters in last year’s activities.
The first stage of this campaign lasted a total of 20 days. Our compatriots, supporters, and members of the Iranian Resistance in various countries protested and organized sit-ins and demonstrations. In the next stage, we started the political and legal campaigns, which are continuing.
The Brussels Court extended the ban on the extradition of the mullahs’ bomb-carrying diplomat-terrorist until September 19 to deal with the content of the plaintiffs’ request, which is an achievement for the Iranian Resistance’s global campaign and the efforts of its supporters. For all that they have done, they are to be congratulated.

In this campaign, what impressed everyone, including both the domestic and foreign media, as well as Belgian parliamentarians from the opposition parties and the ruling factions, and especially noteworthy for the regime itself, was the PMOI’s and NCRI’s mobilization and leadership capabilities.
Through the activities I briefly mentioned, the Iranian Resistance has been able to have a significant impact on intensifying the regime’s crisis of overthrow over the past year.
In addition, the number of Iranians, especially young people, who join the Iranian Resistance increased and the quality of their influence was enhanced considerably.
The NCRI’s platform for the establishment of a republic based on freedom and democracy, universal suffrage, the separation of religion and state, gender equality, and autonomy of ethnic groups has received more popular approval than ever before.
The NCRI has also achieved many successes in the daily struggle to expose the regime’s vulnerability and deadlocks on the verge of overthrow. It has shown that the NCRI is the alternative and the solution, and promises a viable and concrete prospect.

The NCRI sets the yardstick in the fight for the regime’s overthrow

Dear friends,
When we talk about the alternative, it is not merely a hollow claim or a vague title that has no impact on the daily vicissitudes of the struggle against the regime.
Rather, we are referring to the guiding force and mechanism of advancement that determines the direction of the collection of all the activities in the struggle. It clarifies the steps to be taken, the direction, the slogan, the commonalities and contradictions, and it sets the priorities.
The alternative represents the solution to every problem faced by the movement in its daily struggle on a difficult and rough terrain. It shows the targets, distinguishes good from bad, differentiates right from wrong, and protects the assets of the Iranian people and Resistance from being stolen by the regime and its accomplices. In a word, the alternative is the yardstick in the struggle for the clerical regime’s overthrow.

At this point, I would like to speak about the function of the NCRI, especially at a time when Iran is engulfed in a revolutionary state.
The NCRI Chairman focused from the outset on Khamenei’s roadmap and strategy of closing ranks in the regime, and said this represents the path toward the regime’s overthrow. He stressed that it would be impossible for the regime to return to the previous balance of power. Moreover, he outlined a theory about the phenomenon of Raisi, which says that Raisi is “the outcome and clearest indicator of the phase of overthrow.”(1)

When it comes to the nuclear issue, he explained the theoretical and political perspective that with Raisi, we have entered a phase where even an atomic bomb will not be able to save the regime.
He underlined the essential factor for the regime’s repression, namely the IRGC, which he said is “the central organ of armed violence and repression and the main tool for preserving the religious dictatorship. It is not enough to blacklist it; it must be disbanded altogether.”(2)
With regard to social and economic issues, the NCRI has launched a persistent and non-stop campaign against Khamenei’s sinister strategy during the Coronavirus pandemic. Even the state media wrote, “The opposition is doing its best (…) to put the government at the top of the list of culprits responsible for the increase in the death toll and cases of Coronavirus. Consequently, they unscrupulously introduce (Khamenei) as the one responsible for the death toll.”(3)

The NCRI has strongly reinforced the bonds between the oppressed ethnic minorities and the nationwide opposition through its actions and reactions. It has drawn public attention to the fact that this democratic alternative is the only source of support for the Baluch, Kurds and Arab compatriots nationwide.

Countering the regime’s decision to divide Sistan-and-Baluchestan into four provinces, the Resistance denounced the plan as a move to “sow discord in Sistan-and-Baluchestan,” and called on the valiant Baluchies to rise up against it.(4)
The NCRI strongly opposed the plan to divide the province of Khuzestan into two, and encouraged our compatriots in Khuzestan to protest against this plan, which only distracts attention from the uprising and sows divisions among the people of the province.(5)

In the wake of the regime’s bombing of some regions in the Iraqi Kurdistan, the NCRI chairman said, “To push back against the mullahs’ regime in the bombing of innocent people and Iranian Kurdish parties in the border region, people must rise up in the oppressed cities of Iranian Kurdistan and throughout the country, as they did in the case of water shortages in Khuzestan.”(6)
During the uprising in Khuzestan, the NCRI Chairman emphasized the destructive role of the IRGC and said, “Khamenei’s IRGC must stop deliberately drying up the marshes, which causes environmental disasters, especially for our Arab compatriots and get lost.”(7)
Furthermore, regarding the high prices, hunger and homelessness imposed on the people, the NCRI Chairman revealed the essence of Khamenei’s policy.
Yes, the truth is that after the pandemic, Khamenei and Raisi want to massacre people through the imposition of high prices and hunger.

The National Council of Resistance says the following:
“We emphasize that Khamenei and his headquarters must completely abandon the one trillion dollars of assets amassed in the Executive Headquarters of Khomeini’s Order (SETAD), the Mostazafan Foundation, the Astan-e-Quds Foundation, and the cooperatives of the IRGC, Bassij militia, and the State Security Forces. These funds should be used for the livelihood, employment, medical care, and education of the entire population.”

Maryam Rajavi: The alternative to the mullahs' regime has its roots in a long struggle against religious tyranny

Khamenei’s attempt to divert the movement

As for the uprisings and the protest movement, the mullahs are trying to portray the protests as apolitical, with limited demands. They want to prevent them from joining with the main force of the uprising, namely the Resistance Units.
Khamenei has repeatedly tried to separate the “people’s demands” from the “sabotage of a certain group.” He wants to limit the Iranian people’s roaring movement to the so-called civil rights struggle and complaints about marginal issues.
In contrast, the NCRI has in theory and practice, in their statements, positions, and efforts, guided the people’s struggles to target Khamenei’s headquarters, and have strengthened national solidarity against the ruling regime.

The NCRI also fought the regime’s tactic of sending Bassij and Hezbollahi agents among protesters to spread deviatory slogans. The Iranian Resistance waged a political and theoretical campaign against all kinds of theatrics aimed at demoralizing the uprisings and stripping them of the spirit of overthrow.
The Iranian Resistance also refuted the claims of those who promote compromise with the regime, who propagate costless methods, which serve the survival of the religious tyranny. It also denounced the seasonal theatrics of spurious “alternatives.”
Today, the protest movements in Iran are signified with the will to overthrow the clerical regime in Iran, a demand that is identified with the NCRI and the Iranian Resistance.
The slogans of “down with the dictator”, “down with Raisi” and “down with Khamenei” have become common in the acts of protest.

We highlight the slogan “down with Khamenei – down with Raisi” as the Iranian people’s main slogan and the general slogan of the uprisings to overthrow the regime.
The Iranian Resistance’s other achievement was to forge bonds between the activities of Resistance Units and the oppressed people’s reactions to the regime’s repression and destruction of their homes.
Examples include the Resistance Units’ activities in response to the inhumane destruction of the poor people’s shelters by Khamenei’s repressive agents in Zahedan, Khorramabad, Baharestan, and Robat-Karim.

Or the Resistance Units’ response to the appalling insults and beatings of women under the pretext of being improperly veiled in Maragheh and other cities. Another example was seen in the attack on the regime court that sentenced Navid Afkari to death, or in protests against the execution of Iman Sabzikar, in Jonaqan.
The Resistance Units have consistently targeted the mullahs’ religious seminaries and centers, thereby highlighting two facts. One is the Iranian people’s disgust with the mullahs’ religious propaganda, and the other is the people’s desire to separate religion from state, a desire that the NCRI has reflected in its plans since 40 years ago.

The process of quantitative and qualitative expansion of the Resistance Units, including the audio and video messages sent by more than 5,000 members of these units, has once again demonstrated the broad-based support in society for the Iranian Resistance.
The fact is that a young and rebellious generation has turned to the anti-regime fighting force, to the democratic alternative, and to the struggle to overthrow the regime.
The number two man in the mullahs’ Judiciary said, “For a period, it was thought that the PMOI/MEK was a small group without any supporters, so there is no need to talk about them. But we no longer think so and since 2021, heavy pressure was brought on countries that host the PMOI groups.”(8)
Yes, the Iranian Resistance has compelled the mullahs to regret their years of denying the PMOI’s social base and to confess that they were wrong.

Finally, on the unity of popular forces against the religious dictatorship, the NCRI Chairman, drawing on the painful and bloody experience of the Iranian Resistance, defined this progressive and real solution in the following terms: “Unity and solidarity find their meaning and are tested in the field of action to overthrow the religious tyranny. This is the self-motivated and law-based mechanism that purifies the ranks of the movement from residues of the Shah and the mullahs, from tyranny and dependence, and from opportunism.”(9)

The right response to the crisis in Iran

I would like to conclude by saying that the roots of this alternative have been strengthened in a long and bitter struggle against religious tyranny.
The force that opposes religious fascism has organized itself, developed plans and a program, and has paid the price for its day-to-day resistance.
And in recent years, as conditions have become more difficult, it has increased its capacity to shoulder heavier responsibilities and to fight on.
It has also maintained its political demarcations, democratic principles and values in defense of freedom, and protected them from the enemy.
If it were not for the will to oppose religious fascism at all costs in all cultural, social and political aspects, what would have happened to Iran and the Iranian people with the rule of this bloodthirsty and fearsome tyranny?
If we look at the turning points, from June 20, 1981, to July 25, 1988, the anniversary of the Iranian National Liberation Army’s Operation Eternal Light, to July 28 and 29, 2009, when the PMOI in Ashraf, Iraq, repelled the attack of [then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri] Maliki’s mercenaries with their bare hands to Massoud Rajavi’s flight to France from Tehran’s First Fighter Airbase on July 29, 1981, they indicate one thing: the Iranian Resistance’s history, filled with vital turning points and risky and costly decisions, has led the regime to this precarious state of desperation and put the resistance and the alternative in a position of maximum offense.
It is not without reason that the NCRI Chairman and all of you are targets of the regime’s demonization campaigns and lies.

Dear friends,
The NCRI’s capabilities and competencies have been proven because a series of fundamental issues about the fate of the people, the revolution, Iran, and Iranians have found their worthy answer in this alternative. With the existence of this alternative, the overthrow of the regime will result in peace, stability, unity, and territorial integrity.
The uprisings of the past few years have proven that Iranians, from Arab compatriots to Kurdish, Baluchi, Turkmen, Qashqai and Bakhtiari compatriots, are all part of the same body and are united against the enemy of Iran and Iranians, i.e. the religious dictatorship. The National Council of Resistance of Iran has emphasized the autonomy within the framework of an indivisible country and its territorial integrity.

Finally, this alternative, with its set of programs, plans, views, and especially with its leadership in the battle against religious dictatorship, provides both the answer to the problems of today’s struggle and the solution to the problems of tomorrow’s Iran.
Let us remember Dr. Hezarkhani, who said at the NCRI meeting held at this time last year:
“When the PMOI opened up the narrow horizon of resistance in its weighty global campaign against Khomeini, I clearly said and wrote that the PMOI had succeeded in extricating the mind of Iranian society from the Middle Ages and welcomed it into the present era.”
Our many greetings to the Chairman of the NCRI, the architect and organizer of this Resistance, who, in these sensitive, complex, and complicated circumstances, has restarted his series of teachings in simple language, to educate the young generation, and has thus guaranteed the training of a flourishing, fighting, and forward-thinking generation.

The alternative presented in the form of the National Council of Resistance of Iran is the product of the people’s hardships and sacrifices, and at the same time, it is the most vivid and concrete proof attesting that the Iranian people’s victory is certain.

Victory is yours.


1-Nowruz (Persian New Year), March 2021
2-May 24, 2021
3-The state-run newspaper Ressalat, August 15, 2021
4-Message of the PMOI spokesperson, November 30, 2020
5-Message of the PMOI spokesperson, August 15, 2021
6-September 11, 2020
7-Message to Khuzestan protests against water shortages, July 19, 2021
8-The Iranian state Television, June 24, 2022
9-June 10, 2022

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