Text of speech by Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian Resistance at Convention of Iranian Communities for Democracy held Paris on February 8, 2014. Source: Maryam-Rajavi.com :
"Thirty-five years ago, on February 11, 1979, the Iranian people deposed the monarchic dictatorship. But, Khomeini stole their revolution and instituted religious tyranny instead.
The Iranian people rose up to form a vast and impressive resistance, which has survived to this day. Over the past 35 years, much blood has been shed from the bodies of the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance. They have suffered many blows, with the biggest one being the betrayal of their trust. Despite all this, however, you see that today the Iranian people have an organized and unified resistance movement that is full of hope. So, I say to my compatriots: you can count and depend on such hope, love, and sacrifice; you can rely on this vast treasure and be sure that another revolution is on its way.
Friends of the Resistance,
Representatives of Iranian associations and groups, who have come here from across Europe, the U.S. and Australia,
I salute you all.
As the 35th anniversary of the anti-monarchic revolution approaches, let us remember all the brave women and men who suffered and made sacrifices to attain the freedom of the enchained people of Iran.
Let us show our gratitude and respect to those who paved the way for the anti-monarchic revolution, from Mohammad Hanifnejad, Said Mohsen, and Ali Asghar Badizadehgan, to Bijan Jazani, Massoud Ahmadzadeh, Amir Parviz Pouyan and Shokrollah Paknejad. We salute the Fadayeen vanguards who 43 years ago on this day created the epic of Siahkal.
Today also marks the 32nd anniversary of the heroic tale created by Ashraf Rajavi, Commander Moussa Khiabani and their friends on February 8, 1982. Ashraf, Moussa and their colleagues truly reflected the pride, steadfastness and bravery of a nation that continues to fight. They are the eternal role models for the devoted and the dedicated; for the MEK freedom-fighters today, and tomorrow for anyone who seeks to destroy the obstacles of their times and pave the way toward victory and freedom.
It was with such role models that the MEK heroines and heroes, Zohreh Ghaemi, Giti Givechian, and their colleagues, [who were murdered on September 1] became the symbols of resistance for freedom.
At the outset, let me stress several fundamental truths on behalf of the Iranian people's Resistance:
Despite facing the most brutal forms of repression, which have been largely unprecedented in the contemporary world, the Iranian people have never surrendered to the clerical regime. Three decades of perseverance by the MEK and the Iranian Resistance against the ruling dictatorship is the condensed version and essence of the Iranian people's refusal to surrender.
From a historical and political viewpoint, the overthrow of the velayat-e faqih regime and its replacement with popular sovereignty is a crucial imperative in every respect. This is because this regime is fundamentally at war with the principle of popular sovereignty. It does not have the slightest legitimacy. And all of the parliamentary and presidential elections under the rule of this regime have simply been spectacles for the candidates loyal to the velayat-e faqih to collect votes. All of them have played a role in all of the crimes committed by this regime.
The clerical regime is close to being overthrown and is in its last phases. Fundamental change is within reach with the overthrow of the regime. The fact that Khamenei has accepted the presidency of a mullah belonging to the rival faction or the fact that he has signed the Geneva nuclear deal is not a sign of softness and moderation. It is a necessity for a regime in its final phases.
Since mullah Rouhani took office last summer, both the number of hangings inside Iran and also the severity of brutal attacks against MEK freedom-fighters at Ashraf and Liberty have increased. And the inhumane warmongering of the Iranian regime in Syria has taken new proportions, just like its crimes and transgressions in Iraq. These are all part of the clerical regime's attempt to rein in the profound social disenchantment that exists in Iranian society and to escape the prospect of being overthrown.
If the ruling mullahs were to implement the nuclear deal completely and take the necessary next steps, this would mean that they have recognized the collapse of their regime. And if they do not do so, they will face more challenges and tumult. So, we tell them: gulp down this chalice of position until the last drop.
To western governments, who during the nuclear negotiations accepted a one-step retreat instead of the full dismantling of the regime's nuclear facilities, let us emphasize:
First, force the mullahs to agree to unannounced inspections in order to have a firm guarantee that the mullahs will never get their hands on a nuclear weapon.
Second, compel them to stop torture and executions in Iran. Do not make deals by sacrificing the rights of the Iranian people.
And, third, expel the Iranian regime from Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and remove the mullahs' instruments of warmongering and terrorism in the region.
The anti-monarchic revolution in Iran marked one of the greatest events of the twentieth century. This was a revolution that could be a role model for democracy movements around the region. But the most monstrous and destructive reactionary force in Iranian history, Khomeini and his accomplices, rode the waves of the revolution to power, exploiting the Muslim people's religious sentiments, and sough to establish an evil empire under the banner of Islam. With the regime's full support and direct leadership, fundamentalism quickly rose to be the most immediate threat in the entire region, positioning itself as an alternative to existing dictatorships. As a result, peoples in the region were forced to choose between continuing to be prisoners of dictatorships or submitting to the evil yoke of fundamentalism and terrorism.
In addition to having an expansionist agenda, such belligerent objectives were also a means to continue the survival of the clerical regime, which does not have the slightest potential and wherewithal to respond to the needs of Iranian society.
In our country, since the start of Khomeini's rule, the Leader of the Iranian Resistance Massoud Rajavi explicitly warned that the primary threat to the Iranian revolution comes from religious reactionary forces, while underlining the inviolable demarcation that separates true and democratic Islam from the reactionary claims of the mullahs falsely portrayed as Islam.
That is why the MEK (The people's Mojahedin Organizationof Iran - PMOI) had a decisive role in making people aware and triggering their quick departure from the ruling regime. They also prevented the religious dictatorship to realize its dream of creating an Islamic Empire.
Over the past three years, the mullahs have not been able to impose their reactionary model on the arisen people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other countries. Needless to say, the Iranian regime continues its broad interference.
As a result, today, there is a great conflict and chasm between fundamentalism and democracy across the region.
Sadly, when it comes to the recent developments in the region, western powers have by and large sided with reactionary and fundamentalist forces, much like in the past two centuries they sided with dictators and reactionary mullahs in Iran as they supported movements against nationalist government of Dr. Mossadegh. In Iraq and Egypt, too, while dangling a gift-wrapped notion of democracy, they have put themselves in the same camp as the Iranian regime in defending the most undemocratic forces. In Syria, they have practically accepted the ruling dictatorship despite all its crimes.
Yes, our region has and still continues to pay a great price in its confrontation against the rule of reactionary forces.
But, there is no doubt that a great spring and renaissance of anti-fundamentalism is blossoming in that part of the world thanks to its informed populations. We salute this renaissance and welcome it with open arms.
Over the past 35 years, the velayat-e faqih regime ruling over our homeland has been a never-ending story of catastrophes:
120,000 of the bravest children of the Iranian people have been executed including 30.000 political prisoners in 1988;
Hundreds of thousands of political prisoners have been tortured;
The so-called chain murders took the lives of writers and intellectuals;
And hundreds of dissidents were assassinated abroad.
During the past three decades, the mullahs have turned Iran into a country that:
Has the highest number of per capita executions in the world;
Ranks first in suppressing the freedom of speech and the press;
Has the highest inflation rate in the world;
Has one of the most corrupt financial and bureaucratic systems in the entire world;
Contains some of the most polluted cities on Earth;
Has 10 million unemployed people and 50 million people who live under the poverty line;
And a country where every night at least four million people go to bed hungry, while six million are addicted to drugs.
Despite all this, we have not come here to simply talk about such utterly bitter developments. We also want to unveil the alternative state of affairs that can be realized and is within reach.
Our task is to change these circumstances and to create a future and generate a hope that shines in the depths of darkness.
What we say can be summarized in two essential truths.
First, the Iranian regime is a defeated system and is at the end of its rope in all respects.
And, second, despite all the suppression and murders, the Iranian people and their resistance movement have not surrendered to this regime even for a day. They have neither accepted the regime's culture nor its reactionary religion and traditions.
The Iranian Resistance owes this firm refusal to surrender, perseverance and advancement over the past 35 years to the fact that Massoud Rajavi emphasized the following points since the outset:
First of all, the primary concern in Iran is freedom and confronting authoritarianism and dictatorship, and not Khomeini's fraudulent claims against imperialism.
Secondly, Massoud Rajavi declared the main enemy of the Iranian people to be Khomeini and the velayat-e faqih regime, and set the objective to be the overthrow of this regime.
He also exposed the reactionary ways, the brutality and the regression labelled as Islam, and instead raised the flag of a democratic Islam. In this path he founded the National Council of Resistance vis-à-vis the religious fascism ruling Iran.
And last but not least, he emphasized gender equality and the imperative of leadership by women, recognizing the status of this progressive force. A force that today is the determining factor for perseverance and overthrow, and that tomorrow will guarantee true freedom and democracy.
And, as such, a knowledgeable and informed generation was born that was ready to make sacrifices. It turned into the most organized force in Iranian history and forming a great national treasure.
Look at the pure and sacrificing faces of these women and men, and the path they charted for the freedom of Iran and their people.
Look at the frightened and confused claims made by the commanders of the regime's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who see in the perseverance of Ashrafis the nightmare of overthrow and Operation Eternal Light.
Look at the spread of Ashrafi's message in the enchained homeland, where despite the suppression and wave of executions, this message resonates and echoes in the Iranian regime's prisons.
Look at the global campaign and the 180-day hunger strike of Ashrafis and our compatriots around the world.
Indeed, this shows that in the course of the struggle against the inhumane regime and religious fascism, a movement has blossomed and solidified with deep roots in Iranian society. It spans the entire world and includes various social sectors and all of Iran's ethnicities, who have united around the ideal of freedom. By following their leader and teacher, they sacrifice and value unity and solidarity while shunning all forms of quest for power and personal profit. They promise human relations that are rooted in transparency, freedom and equality.
If it was not for the readiness and desire of the enchained people of Iran to overthrow the velayat-e faqih regime, Ashraf could not have persevered alone in the face of the siege by two dictatorships and the daggers of betrayal and violation of commitments by international parties.
During these years, Europe and especially the U.S. has furnished the largest incentive package to the regime by participating in the suppression of the Resistance.
Bombing the disarming the National Liberation Army, continued efforts to break up the MEK (PMOI), transferring the protection of Ashraf to the Iranian regime's puppet government in Iraq, supporting the displacement of Ashrafis, and the repeated violations of promises with respect to protecting Ashrafis are all elements of this incentive package.
The United Nations, as far as it concerns Ashraf and Liberty, has left an unprecedented legacy of violating commitments and disregarding the blatant violations of international treaties. Specifically with respect to the six massacres that took place at Ashraf and Liberty over the past five years, it has not conducted even a single independent investigation. In addition to all this, through the former UNAMI head's biased and false reports, it has practically closed its eyes on the crimes committed by the Iraqi government and the Iranian regime, paving the way for future attacks.
You all know that in the course of these criminal attacks, 116 people have been martyred, 1,375 have been wounded, and seven have been taken hostage. Eighteen others lost their lives as a result of an inhumane medical siege.
The enormity of what the Ashrafis have done, and at the same time the authenticity of their perseverance, lies in the fact that they have chosen to stand and fight in such a horrendous environment.
For this reason, a single step by the Ashrafis represents the most imperative steps for the freedom of the Iranian people.
On this basis, we call on the international community to help free immediately the Ashrafi hostages, temporarily relocate all MEK (PMOI) at Camp Liberty to the U.S. or Europe, ensure the most immediate security needs of Liberty residents against missile attacks, establish a 24-hour monitoring post by UN monitors and a Blue Helmet team inside Liberty, referral of the task of investigating the Ashraf massacre to the International Criminal Court by the UN Security Council, and the sale of property at Ashraf by the residents' legal representative.
These demands represent some of the rights of the MEK freedom-fighters and insisting on them represents the Iranian people's right for resistance.
Another aspect of the extensiveness and deep roots of the Iranian Resistance is the organized movement of freedom-loving Iranian exiles around the world. Today, officials and representatives of 302 Iranian associations and societies supporting the Iranian Resistance are gathered here. The variety and diversity in ethnicity, occupation, education, and age make it a microcosm of the entire Iranian society.
But, when it comes to the belief and faith in the ideal of freedom, they are united and of the same mind and I am delighted to participate at your gathering.
For the past three decades, you have conquered one campaign after another through your perseverance, sacrifices devoid of expectations, and by respecting the Resistance's boundary with the clerical regime in its entirety.
So, be proud of your determination and devotion, which have repeatedly rallied the world in support of Ashraf and Liberty. You have become their voice.
Time and again, you have risen up in defense of human rights in Iran and the uprisings of our compatriots.
And you are carrying the considerable financial burden of this movement, from organizing thousands of gatherings, sit-ins and protest actions to conducting a variety of other political and media activities.
Indeed, you have shown that any freedom-loving and patriotic Iranian can play a significant role in the campaign to overthrow the religious tyranny. Hail to all of you.
And, lastly, I have to recall the brilliant fact that the Iranian people's uprisings and protests against the regime show the fighting spirit of our people.
Since the great demonstration of June 20, 1980 and the September 27 uprising to the uprisings in Boukan, Zanjan, Arak, Eslamshahr, and Mashhad over two decades ago; from the student uprising of July 8, 1999, and the magnificent uprisings of 2009 and 2010 to the daily protests staged by workers, students, farmers and other parts of the Iranian society.
Yes, these are diverse aspects of this great Resistance.
In the same vain, the perseverance of political prisoners, their expression of solidarity, their spirit of bravery and their resistance against the regime's policy of killing them gradually, all represent the yearning of the people of Iran for freedom. And they shall obtain freedom.
In recent weeks, another aspect of the Iranian people's struggle for freedom has been the glaring presence and support of the people in solidarity with Simay Azadi or the National Iran TV. This expression of support, which showed a small part of the Iranian Resistance's financial independence, was also a representation of the outpour of sentiments, love and affection of the Iranian people for freedom and the freedom-fighting MEK. This financial support represents only a part of such sentiment.
A rainbow of various sectors of society yearning for freedom, from across Iran and the rest of the world, with so much love and affection that you offer to the pioneers of freedom in Iran. This is your answer to the regime's Supreme leader that has failed to destroy the Iranian Resistance and cannot prevent its doomed downfall.
On the anniversary of the revolution against the monarchical dictatorship, on behalf of the Iranian Resistance, we once again vow to keep our pledge to the Iranian people. The pledge for seeking freedom, democracy and equality. A pledge to realize the dreams of the martyrs, all those who have suffered and the oppressed.
Our roadmap for realizing the demands of the Iranian people is to struggle for the overthrow of the clerical regime on all fronts.
Our goal is freedom, democracy, equality and the establishment of a republic based on the separation of church and state.
On this path, we highlight the demarcation with the regime in its entirety and we also stress solidarity with all those true defenders of overthrowing the regime.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) was founded for this purpose, to overthrow the velayat-e faqih regime.
Power and governance belongs to the republic of Iranians. The only criterion would be a free, direct, equal and secret ballot casted by the Iranian people.
The clerical regime has usurped the popular sovereignty of the Iranian people which is their most critical right.
According to the first article of the NCRI's platform, the provisional government, which has resulted from resistance, is "essentially tasked with transferring power to the Iranian people."
This duty shall be fulfilled at the end of a maximum 6-month period after the clerical regime's overthrow by forming a national assembly through free and popular elections, with direct, equal and secret ballots cast by the Iranian people.
As soon as the national assembly has been formed and expresses readiness to fulfill its responsibilities and obligations, the provisional government shall hand over its resignation to the assembly.
We believe that:
The Iranian people must enjoy all the rights stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international treaties and conventions, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture, and the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
30 years ago, the NCRI adopted a plan for the autonomy of Iranian Kurdistan, stipulating that all nationalities and ethnicities in Iran must enjoy equal rights and opportunities with others. Everyone shall have a right to be educated in their mother tongue.
Let me also stress the following responsibilities of the provisional government, which would take effect on the day that the mullahs are overthrown:
The abrogation and revocation of all suppressive and compulsory measures and forms of discrimination instituted by the clerical regime against Iranian women, including the revocation of the denial of the right to freely choose one's occupation and clothing;
The recognition of complete gender equality in social, political, cultural and economic rights
The recognition of individual and social rights of the people as stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human rights
Social freedoms, including freedom of assembly, freedom of thought and speech, free press, parties, unions, councils, religious and faiths.
Freedom to choose one's occupation and prevention of all violations against individual and social rights and social freedoms.
Yes, we seek a social edifice of domestic relations, whose every brick has been strengthened by the free choice of all Iranians.
In order to realize these goals, I call on all my compatriots to struggle and rise up to overthrow the velayat-e faqih regime.
As I have stressed repeatedly, we do not seek to obtain power. Our aim is to transfer popular sovereignty to the Iranian people. We want the people of Iran to enjoy the greatest power of a human being, the power to choose freely.
Sovereignty and freedom of choice are rights that the Iranian people deserve and must attain. It will be so.
Hail to freedom
Hail to the people of Iran
Hail to you all."
Interview with former Iranian political prisoner Mostafa Naderi