National Council of Resistance of Iran – The Viable Democratic Alternative  




The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) represents an enduring democratic political coalition founded in Tehran in July 1981, which has steadfastly sought an end to religious dictatorship and promotes a free and democratic Iran based on its platform. The NCRI has adopted numerous plans for future Iran, one of which is the Plan to form a National Solidarity Front to overthrow the religious dictatorship ruling Iran. The plan calls for all forces who reject the ruling theocracy with all its factions and who endorse the separation of religion and state and believe in a republic to join the front. Mrs. Rajavi described the Front as “a reflection of the most profound democratic yearnings of all the people of Iran, regardless of ideology, belief, religion and ethnicity that transcends all partisan and political interests.” She said the Front “embodies the unshakable resolve of the Iranian people to overthrow the mullahs’ inhuman regime.”

History of NCRI

Founded in Tehran in 1981

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) is a democratic coalition of Iranian opposition organizations and personalities. It has emerged as the democratic alternative to the religious dictatorship ruling Iran. The most enduring political coalition in Iran’s modern history, the NCRI, was formed on the initiative of Mr. Massoud Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian Resistance, in July 1981 in Tehran, Iran.

Parliament of Iranian Resistance

The NCRI serves as the Parliament of the Iranian Resistance.

NCRI members include political figures representing a broad spectrum of political tendencies in Iran and representatives of ethnic and religious minorities. The NCRI aims to establish a pluralistic republic in Iran based on the separation of religion and state. Women comprise the majority of the Council’s members, in line with the movement’s emphasis on recognizing the equal participation of women in the political, social, and economic leadership of Iranian society.

The NCRI has formed 25 committees to deal with the issues of preparing for a future provisional coalition government once the illegitimate regime of the mullahs is toppled. Chairing each committee is a prominent political personality who is an expert in the field.

All members of the Council have one vote. All decisions are adopted by a simple majority. Once the clerical regime is toppled, the NCRI will act as a provisional government and will be in power for only six months. Its main responsibility is to organize a free and fair election for a National Legislative and Constituent Assembly that will determine the future form of government in Iran and transfer power to the representatives of the people of Iran.

  Plans Adopted by NCRI

Vote for NCRI President-elect

The NCRI Secretariat announced on October 22, 1993, that in a landmark plenary session, the NCRI voted unanimously to elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi as the President-elect for the transitional period after the downfall of the religious dictatorship regime. Her mandate is to oversee the peaceful transfer of power to the Iranian people following the regime’s overthrow.


National Solidarity Front

In November 2002, the NCRI adopted a Plan to form a National Solidarity Front to overthrow Iran’s religious dictatorship. The plan calls for all forces who reject the ruling theocracy with all its factions and who endorse the separation of religion and state and believe in a republic to join the front. Mrs. Rajavi described the Front as “a reflection of the most profound democratic yearnings of all the people of Iran, regardless of ideology, belief, religion and ethnicity that transcends all partisan and political interests.” She said the Front “embodies the unshakable resolve of the Iranian people to overthrow the mullahs’ inhuman regime.”

President-Elect for the transitional period

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi is the President-elect of the NCRI. In this capacity, she has mounted an extraordinary political, social, cultural, and ideological challenge to the ruling mullahs in Iran. Under her leadership, women have risen to hold leading positions in the Iranian Resistance. Over half of NCRI members are women.

Mrs. Rajavi has made numerous speeches challenging the mullahs’ fundamentalist interpretation of Islam and has promoted tolerance and democracy. Through her exceptional courage and determination, she has led by example to the many Iranians who seek democratic rule in Iran.

NCRI Secretariat

The NCRI has a secretariat based in Paris, headed by Ms. Mahnaz Salimian as the Senior Secretary of the NCRI. Mr. Abolghasem Rezaee is the Deputy Senior Secretary of NCRI. In total, the NCRI has five secretaries. The secretariat convenes NCRI meetings, conducts communications with members, and performs all administrative tasks.

NCRI Membership

The NCRI has nearly five hundred individual members, who are among the most prominent and respected Iranian academics, public servants, industrialists, entrepreneurs, former political prisoners, sports champions, writers, cultural figures, and human rights activists.

Chairperson of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee

Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chairman of the NCRI’s Foreign Affairs Committee

Mr. Mohammed Mohaddessin is the Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The son of a Grand Ayatollah and native of Qom, Mr. Mohaddessin, spent four years in the Shah’s prisons during the 1970s as a prisoner of conscience due to his political activities in opposition to the Shah’s regime. After the release of political prisoners in 1979, Mr. Mohaddessin joined the PMOI/MEK campaign against Khomeini’s authoritarian and reactionary tilt to absolute religious rule. Mr. Mohaddessin has served in key positions in the PMOI/MEK and the NCRI.


Maryam Rajavi’s Ten-point Plan for Future

The ten-point plan encompasses Maryam Rajavi’s vision for the future of Iran. The plan, which was first announced when she addressed a parliamentary group at the Council of Europe, has met widespread support from Iranians and the international community.

A synopsis of the NCRI Platform:

Human Rights:

The NCRI pledges to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all international covenants on human rights, including “freedom of association, freedom of thought and expression, media, political parties, trade unions, councils, religions and denominations, freedom of profession, and prevention of any violation of individual and social rights and freedoms.”


The NCRI recognizes “the right of women to vote and stand as candidates in all elections, and the right to vote in all referenda,” “the right to employment and free selection of profession, and the right to hold any public office, including the presidency or judgeship,” “the right to freely choose clothing,” and “the right to use, without discrimination, all instructional, educational, athletic, and artistic resources; the right to participate in all athletic competitions and artistic activities.”


The NCRI accepts national capitalism and the market economy, private ownership and investment. It emphasizes the need to utilize the latest scientific and technological achievements and views relations with the industrialized world as necessary to reconstruct Iran’s economy.

Freedom of Religion:

The NCRI believes in the separation of religion and state. According to its ratifications, “all forms of discrimination against the followers of various religions and denominations in the enjoyment of their individual and social rights are prohibited. No citizen shall enjoy any privileges or be subject to any deprivations with respect to nomination for election, suffrage, 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 denomination.”

Ethnic Minorities:

The NCRI recognizes the rights of all ethnic and national minorities. It has adopted a plan for the autonomy of Iranian Kurdistan, specifying that “the administration of all affairs of the autonomous region of Kurdistan,” except for those related to foreign policy, national defense, national security, foreign trade and customs, “fall within the authority of the autonomous institutions.”

International Relations:

The Council’s foreign policy is based on independence, respect for the United Nations Charter and international conventions and treaties, good neighborliness, international and regional cooperation and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. The NCRI supports peace in the Middle East and is committed to maintaining and protecting peace and tranquility in the region and condemns any aggression and expansionism.

The Value of the Resistance

The value of the Iranian Resistance as a political movement is rooted in its commitment to fundamental rights, equality, pluralism, and democratic governance – in its own institutions and procedures and in Iranian political life.  As Massoud Rajavi wrote in 1982, the MEK profoundly believe that to avoid the deviations that beset contemporary movements throughout the world:

Masoud Rajavi, Tehran June 1980

“…they must remain wholeheartedly committed to the will of the people and democracy.  If they are to act as a leading organization before all else, society must give them a mandate in a free and fair election.  It is not enough to have gone through the trials of repression, imprisonment, torture, and executions under the shah and the mullahs.  The MEK must also pass the test of general elections….  If the people don’t vote for us (after we have overthrown the mullahs’ regime), we shall remain in opposition, holding firmly to our principles.”

It is for this very reason that Rajavi and other officials of the PMOI/MEK and NCRI have made the same public promise throughout their history. They have maintained that if Khomeini or Khamenei ever conceded to a free and open election under full UN supervision within the framework of the people’s sovereignty and not velayat-e faqih, the Resistance would return peacefully to Iran to participate in the elections and abide by the will of the people, whatever the outcome. The Resistance’s goal, and therefore its principal value, is to restore power to Iran’s citizens, not to seize power for itself.  As Massoud Rajavi has repeatedly argued, of its many terrible and horrific deeds, the worst of the theocratic regime’s crimes was to usurp the sovereignty of the Iranian people.

Massoud Rajavi and the PMOI/MEK were among the very first to stand against the regime’s dictatorial bent in the name of religion, in addition to being among the first to suffer the repression, violence, and brutality of its wrath. The Resistance’s long history of opposition has made it extraordinarily familiar with the ruthlessness of the mullahs’ tactics and the relentlessness of their enmity as well as uniquely adept at countering the regime and using its ideological, political, and military weaknesses against it.

Given the mullahs’ drive to spread their brand of extremism to nations around the globe, the Iranian Resistance has accordingly established itself as a major check to its expansion in the Middle East and beyond.  By informing the international community about the authoritarian character and brutal excesses of the regime, monitoring and documenting its shocking record of human rights abuses, misogyny, and myriad forms of discrimination, and warning foreign nations and international agencies about Tehran’s terrorist activities and secret nuclear weapons program, the Resistance has constantly sought to raise global awareness about the threats that the Iranian regime represents to the wider world and to generate the international cooperation necessary to thwart them.

This is precisely why the Iranian regime considers the Iranian Resistance as its most lethal and feared enemy and spends immeasurable amounts of money, influence, effort and time to demonize and destroy it through every possible means, including political suppression, imprisonment, torture, and execution in Iran, and terrorism, misinformation, and assassination campaigns abroad.

The world is a safer place because of the Iranian Resistance and its indispensable role in stopping the global spread of the Iranian regime’s extremist ideology and terrorism and thwarting its nuclear weapons program.

Indeed, were it not for the Iranian Resistance’s stunning revelation of the Natanz uranium enrichment site and Arak Heavy Water facility in August 2002 and subsequent revelations that unveiled the extent to which the regime’s clandestine nuclear weapons work had advanced and triggered inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and ensuing measures by the United Nations Security Council, the mullahs would have had the bomb by now, and the fate of the Middle East and the world would not be the same.

The significance of the Iranian Resistance as a political movement consequently resides in its decades of principled responses to these urgent domestic and international problems.  Through it all, the Resistance has remained a beacon of hope and inspiration for the Iranian people and an enduring bulwark against the rising tides of Islamic extremism and terrorism in the Middle East and around the globe.

NCRI’s Achievements

The below represents a partial review of the achievements of the Iranian Resistance movement and its pivotal force, the PMOI/MEK, a member organization of the NCRI:

Starting the Resistance against Khomeini’s Tyranny

The Shah’s dictatorial rule and the unjust imprisonment of democratic-minded leaders such as Massoud Rajavi created a political vacuum that led Khomeini and his incompetent yet ruthless band of upstart mullahs to fill the void. Khomeini at first feigned interest in a broad-based government and political process. Yet as history proved, his disdain for freedom and democracy, his craving for power, and his obtuse social and political positions quickly removed any doubt about his intentions. Street thuggery by clerical-led bands of hooligans obscured any hopes for freedom of expression or free political life.

From 1979 to 1981, Iran descended into the dark ages of religious fascism as Khomeini manipulated elections and drew up a constitution that would cement the absolute rule of clerical stewardship over the revolution. The one political party that could stand up to Khomeini was the Muslim PMOI/MEK. Massoud Rajavi challenged Khomeini’s claim to the mantle of religious and political authority. The PMOI/MEK systematically dismantled his claims to Islam as patently false and proved his loose grasp on their interpretation of “democratic Islam.” Khomeini could not tolerate any challenge to his supremacy, and with the PMOI/MEK campaigning for an alternative vision for Iran and with huge rallies attended by increasingly more Iranians to hear Massoud Rajavi’s fiery speeches criticizing Khomeini and his new order, he decreed their blood to be spilled in a religious fatwa.

The PMOI/MEK conducted a popular mobilization of the Iranian people in this period and showed courageous discipline and non-violence in the face of violent gangs of clerical-led hooligans that attacked, injured, killed, and defaced lives and property with total impunity. By June 1981, the regime’s thugs killed dozens of PMOI/MEK supporters and imprisoned 3,000 for their peaceful political activities, many of whom would later be executed brutally without any semblance of a fair trial.

Turning Point – June 20, 1981

The PMOIMEK tested the last ounce of freedom on June 20, 1981, by calling on all Iranians to participate in a peaceful protest against the return to dictatorship.

The PMOI/MEK tested the last ounce of freedom on June 20, 1981, by calling on all Iranians to participate in a peaceful protest against the return to dictatorship. Khomeini was hell-bent on destroying his one capable opponent and ordered the IRGC to fire on the PMOI/MEK’s peaceful demonstration attended by half a million people in Tehran, including thousands of teenage students. The resulting carnage led to the deaths and summary executions of scores of innocent people on the sidewalks of Tehran on that day and in the days to follow.

The watershed events of June 20 went down in infamy and parted the political divide in Iran between Khomeini and his gang of murderers and the Iranian people and resistance movement. June 20 became a turning point that cemented the fate of the ruling religious dictatorship end as all dictatorships ended and birthed the Iranian Resistance movement (NCRI) with the PMOI/MEK as its pivotal force.

Tehran, 1981 mass arrest of MEK supporters

Ending Iran-Iraq War

In the struggle to reclaim freedom and democracy from the Khomeini regime after the June 1981 decimation of all political avenues of dissent by regime violence, the NCRI, in particular, its main organization, the PMOI/MEK, engaged in an all-out battle with the virulent ideology and regime that Khomeini instituted.

A major factor enabling Khomeini’s grip on power in Iran was the eight-year Iran-Iraq war. The PMOI/MEK had criticized Khomeini in 1980 for interfering in Iraq with the export of clerics preaching his brand of reactionary Islam. This interference was a major instigator of Iraq’s fatal mistake in attacking Iran.

The PMOI/MEK initially participated in the defense of the Iranian people from Iraqi aggression, and many PMOI supporters were killed or imprisoned (POW) in the war and later joined the organization after the end of hostilities. During the war, many PMOI volunteers were arrested on the frontlines at the instigation of pro-Khomeini clerics.  By June 1982, the Iraqis were no longer on Iranian territory. The Iraqis proposed a ceasefire after months of standstill and destruction on June 17, 1982, but Khomeini did not accept. Khomeini welcomed the war as a boon, calling it “a divine blessing,” as he used it demagogically to bash all opposition to his regime as an Iraqi fifth column. The demagoguery did not intimidate the Resistance, who began an earnest effort to sue for an end to the war.

The NCRI called out Khomeini’s selfish disregard for Iranians’ lives and property and his warmongering campaign to install an image of his government in Iraq. At the time, hundreds of thousands of Iranian school children were being pressed into military service and forced to charge into frontline minefields, resulting in needless death and sorrow for all Iranians.

The NCRI announced its Peace Plan to end the war on March 13, 1983. It called for an immediate ceasefire, withdrawal of all forces behind territorial boundaries, exchange of all POWs, acceptance of the 1975 Algiers Agreement’s line of demarcation between the two countries, and arbitration of damages by the International Court of Justice. An international campaign by the NCRI to push for peace resulted in official Iraqi acceptance of the NCRI’s peace plan by March 21, 1983, and backing by over 5,000 European, US, and international legislators and political figures. Khomeini, however, would not budge as he recognized the war’s utility to the existence of his regime. The PMOI/MEK and NCRI campaign for peace at home made it more difficult for the regime to mobilize the public for war.

NCRI Peace Plan

The PMOI/MEK forces relocated to the border region between Iraq and Iran in May 1986 in agreement with the Iraqi government to establish an independent presence to pursue freedom and liberation of their country. This move followed the deal between then French government of Jacques Chirac and the mullahs’ regime to release French hostages in Lebanon in return for restriction of the PMOI’s legitimate and lawful activities in France. Ashraf rose in the deserts of Diyala province about 60km from the Iranian border, with thousands of Iranian dissidents volunteering for the struggle. The effort developed into a seasoned force for change that attracted many Iranians who joined the newly formed National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA) to overthrow the mullahs in Tehran. The NLA had successive battlefield victories and eventually forced the Khomeini regime to accept a cease-fire with Iraq in July 1988.

Nuclear Revelations

Procuring or obtaining nuclear weapons is a key pillar of the Iranian regime’s survival strategy. The Khomeini regime initially declared it would not pursue nuclear energy, reflected in its decision to abandon work on the nuclear program, including the Bushehr nuclear power plant, already under construction by German firms at the time of the Shah.

However, once the mullahs realized that a young and vibrant society and a burgeoning democratic opposition represented a serious challenge to their backward rule, they changed course and sought nuclear weapons technology as an insurance policy against their eventual downfall.

Keenly aware of their inability to lead Iran and manage the surging force of a liberated population from monarchic oppression, the medieval mullahs sought to divert the freed energies of a repressed society. They instigated war by fomenting strife in neighboring countries under the banner of exporting the revolution. That was a euphemism for exporting terrorism and warmongering to the rest of the Middle East. They instituted absolute repression under the banner of religious authority inside Iran. They began to plan for nuclear weapons capabilities to ensure their survival. These three pillars were necessary to maintain a grip on power, as theorized by the regime’s key officials.

The regime also sought nuclear weapons to exert its hegemonic designs on neighboring countries and blackmail foreign interlocutors to secure economic and political concessions and force acceptance of their rule.

Iran is rich with vast oil and gas reserves as the cheapest form of energy. Some experts say that there are untapped oil and gas reserves that would suffice for the next 300 years. By all assessments, nuclear fuel is not cost-efficient in Iran, which sits on an ocean of oil and natural gas; belying regime claims to merely seek peaceful nuclear energy.

Another testament to the mullahs’ quest for the bomb has been the active concealment of their nuclear program from the eyes of the international community for nearly two decades.

When intelligence reports began to arrive from the networks of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Iran that the regime was actively seeking nuclear bombs, the Iranian Resistance was faced with a historical task: to prevent an aggressive, virulently sectarian and repressive religious fascism from obtaining nuclear weapons capability, and saving Iran, the region, and the world from the horrors of such a scenario.

Indeed, were it not for the Iranian Resistance’s stunning revelation of the Natanz uranium enrichment site and Arak Heavy Water facility in August 2002 and subsequent revelations, which unveiled the extent to which the regime’s clandestine nuclear weapons work had advanced, and which triggered inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and ensuing measures by the United Nations Security Council, the mullahs would have had the bomb by now, and the fate of the Middle East and the world would not be the same.

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NCRI Recognition in the United States

Owing to its three-decade-long campaign on the international scene, the NCRI has garnered enormous support and recognition from thousands of current and former officials, lawmakers, human rights advocates, and dignitaries across a wide spectrum of political orientations throughout the world.

The United States























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