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
FOUNDING 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
- Peace Plan for the Iran-Iraq War – March 13, 1983
- Plan for Autonomy of Iranian Kurdistan –November 8, 1983
- Plan for Freedoms and Rights of Women –April 17, 1985
- Plan on Provisional Government's Relations with Religion in Iran – November 1985
- Plan of National Solidarity Front to Overthrow Religious Dictatorship Ruling Iran – November 4, 2002
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 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."
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 the NCRI members are women.
Mrs. Rajavi has made numerous speeches challenging the mullahs’ fundamentalist interpretation of Islam and has promoted tolerance and democracy. By her exceptional courage and determination, she has led by example to the many Iranians who seek democratic rule in Iran.
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.
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
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:
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 reason of belief or non-belief in a particular religion or denomination.”
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.”
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:
“…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 the 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. For 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 from 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 for the Iranian Resistance because of 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 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.
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 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 – 20 JUNE 1981
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 that included 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 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 to end as all dictatorships end, and birthed the Iranian Resistance movement (NCRI) with the PMOI/MEK as its pivotal force.
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, who later joined the organization after the end of hostilities. In the course of 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 to 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.
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.
Procuring or obtaining nuclear weapons is a key pillar of the Iranian regime’s survival strategy. The Khomeini regime initially declared it will not pursue nuclear energy, reflected in its decision to abandon work on the nuclear program including 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 of course was a euphemism for the export of terrorism and warmongering to the rest of the Middle East region. They instituted absolute repression under the banner of religious authority inside Iran. They began to plan for nuclear weapons capabilities to insure 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 seeking peaceful nuclear energy.
Another testament to the mullahs’ quest for the bomb has been their 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 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.
ASHRAF - ORGANIZED AND COMMITTED TO CHANGE IN IRAN
CAMP ASHRAF BASTION OF FREEDOM
Camp Ashraf, established in 1986 was home to members of the PMOI/MEK. The Iranian people recognize Ashraf as the bastion of resistance for freedom. Its valiant persistence remains a source inspiration for the Iranian people.
BUILDING CAMP ASHRAF
In 1986, it was an approximately 36 square kilometer piece of barren land in a dry desolate desert. However, its residents soon developed Ashraf into a cultured, tidy, and productive city with all necessary facilities including a well-equipped hospital, power plant, and water purification plant with their sweat and blood. The PMOI/MEK pumped water from a Tigris offshoot 30 kilometers away from the camp and provided water to more than 20,000 Iraqi inhabitants en route to Ashraf.
CAMP ASHRAF AFTER THE INVASION
Following an agreement in May 2003, PMOI/MEK weapons were placed under Coalition forces control in return for the Coalition to protect Ashraf. On July 2, 2004, the United States recognized the residents at Ashraf as ‘protected persons’ under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
BREACH OF COMMITMENT TO PROTECT CAMP ASHRAF RESIDENTS
On February 20, 2009, in violation of its commitment, the U.S. transferred the protection of Ashraf to the Iraqi government led by al-Maliki who was a puppet of the mullahs’ regime and a trained diehard of the IRGC. Subsequently, the Iraqi government, at the behest of the mullahs’ regime, imposed a siege on the camp, even preventing access to proper medical services.
MILITARY ATTACKS ON CAMP ASHRAF
Camp Ashraf was the subject of deadly attacks on three occasions, July 2009, April 2011 and September 1, 2013 by Iraqi forces, which resulted in more than 100 deaths, seven taken hostage, scores injured, and extensive damages to property.
THE CAMP ASHRAF MASSACRE
On September 1, 2013, an elite group of Iraqi forces in coordination with the IRGC’s Quds Force attacked Ashraf residents at dawn. The assailants attacked the camp at 5:15 AM from various directions, and systematically hunted, shot, and killed any resident they could find, execution style, not sparing even those they found incapacitated at the infirmary. The massacre, destruction by explosives, and the kidnapping of seven residents continued until 7 AM. As a result of this criminal act, 52 defenseless residents were killed, some were while they were handcuffed or wounded in the clinic, and seven people, including six women, were taken hostage. After six years, there is no news of the hostages’ fate. During this attack, the assailants destroyed millions of dollars of the residents’ property with explosions and fires.
FORCED EVICTION OF CAMP ASHRAF RESIDENTS TO CAMP LIBERTY
Finally, the residents were involuntarily relocated to Camp Liberty, starting from February 2012, which lasted until September 2013. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention designated the camp as a detention center. At Camp Liberty in Baghdad, the residents faced missile and rocket attacks by Iran’s proxies while in a small camp surrounded by Iraqi forces. Several dozen were killed and more injured during the missile attacks.
SUCCESSFUL RELOCATION OF THE RESIDENTS TO ALBANIA
The Iranian regime wanted to disband and annihilate the residents at Camps Ashraf and Liberty. However, due to the untiring efforts of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, steadfastness of the PMOI/MEK members in Iraq, and the international support they received, the regime did not get what it wished for and the MEK relocated its members en masse to Albania to continue its presence in Ashraf 3 in opposition and resistance to religious dictatorship in Iran.
This epic stand for nearly 14 years (from early 2003 to September 2016) in the face of bombings, ground attacks, missiles, massacres, atrocities, and a medical siege, that ended with the death and maiming of hundreds of Ashraf residents, and immeasurable psychological tortures, represents another heroic chapter in the annals of the Iranian people’s century-long struggle for freedom.
NCRI RECOGNITION IN UNITED STATES
Owing to its three-decade-long campaign on the international scene, the NCRI has garnered enormous support and recognition of 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
- Res.374- Mr. McClintock (for himself, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Johnson of Georgia, Mr. Luetkemeyer, Mrs. Wagner, Mr. Hurd of Texas, Mr. Webster of Florida, Mr. Brooks of Alabama, Mr. Cartwright, Mr. Weber of Texas, Mr. Budd, Mr. Mooney of West Virginia, Mr. Cook, Mr. LaMalfa, Mr. Fitzpatrick, Mr. Grothman, Mr. Diaz-Balart, Ms. Stefanik, Mr. Steube, Ms. Jackson Lee, Mr. Wilson of South Carolina, Mr. Higgins of New York, Mr. Sensenbrenner, Mr. Stewart, Mrs. Lesko, Mr. Clay, Mr. Riggleman, Mr. Fleischmann, Mr. Gohmert, Mr. Crenshaw, Mr. Johnson of Ohio, Mr. McKinley, Mr. Walker, Mr. Norman, Mrs. Hartzler, Mrs. Miller, Mr. Peterson, Mr. Allred, and Mr. Burgess) and 96 cosponsors, “Condemning Iranian state-sponsored terrorism and expressing support for the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic of Iran.”
- Res.1034- Introduced by Mr. McClintock (for himself, Mr. Gosar, and Mr. Poe of Texas) and 91 co-sponsors, “Condemning Iranian state-sponsored terrorism and expressing support for the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic of Iran.” The resolution notes, “On July 2, 2018, the Belgium Federal Prosecutor’s Office announced the foiling of a terrorist plot against the “Free Iran 2018 – the Alternative” gathering held on June 30, 2018, commenced to show support for the Iranian opposition leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan for future Iran, that calls for universal right to vote, free elections, and advocates gender, religious and ethnic equality, and adheres to a market economy.”
- Res.188- Introduced by Homeland Security Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX), Foreign Affairs Committee Chair and Ranking members Ed Royce (R-CA), and Elliot Engel (D-NY), and Chair of Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission James McGovern (D-MA): “In a recently disclosed audiotape, the late Hussein Ali Montazeri, a grand ayatollah who served as Khomeini’s chief deputy, noted the regime’s efforts to target the MEK and said that the 1988 mass killings were ‘the greatest crime committed during the Islamic.’”
- Con.Res.42 regarding the safe and expeditious resettlement to Albania of all residents of Camp Liberty unanimously passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee presided by Chairman Bob Corker and Ranking member Ben Cardin.
- The House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi released a statement on the successful relocation of the “exiled Iranian opposition group Mujahedin e- Khalq out of Camp Liberty in Iraq.”
- The National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2016, signed into law by President Obama, included a language in support of the "security and protection" of MEK members in Camp Liberty, Iraq.
- Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on October 7, 2015, titled “Iranian Influence in Iraq and the Case of Camp Liberty,” presided by Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and ranking member Jack Reed (D-RI), in which safety and security of MEK members in Camp Liberty was urged.
- In Hearing titled “ISIS: Defining the Enemy” on April 29, 2015, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) addressed the MEK and its activities in Iran and said, “Whatever the MEK did or is accused of, it was against a terrorist regime.”
- Language on the safety, security, and well being of the MEK members residing in Camp Liberty in FY2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill signed by President Obama into Law.
- Senator John McCain Oct. 22, 2014 letter to Secretary Kerry recalled the U.S. commitment to protect Camp Liberty, “I urge you to continue to push for the protection of the residents of Camp Liberty and to expedite the refugee resettlement process.”
- National Defense Authorization Act FY 2014 included language regarding the safety and security of the residents of Camp Liberty.
- July 17, 2014, Letter by Senators Levin, McCain, Shaheen and Blunt to Secretary John Kerry, “To express grave concern regarding the situation in Iraq, and the safety of Iranian dissidents, members of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), residing in Camp liberty.”
- Letter of 48 (23D+25R) representatives to Secretary Kerry, urging him to “take all necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of (Camp) Liberty residents.”
- Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, October 3, 2013: Chairman Robert Menendez followed Senator McCain’s statement on Camp Ashraf residents and said, “I have put out a statement in this regard and have also talked to our Department. You know, America went to MEK and we said disarm and we will protect you.”
- Res. 89 with 102 co-sponsors: "The United States Department of State commended the MEK members for their cooperation and assistance in implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding.”
- Letter of March 23, 2012 by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) to Sec. Hillary Clinton, “I am writing to formally request a detail regarding the State department’s review of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq’s (MEK).”
- Letter of 79 representatives to Secretary Clinton: “U.S. is responsible for-and must ensure-that humanitarian protection for the residents of Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty are upheld.”
- Res. 60 Chair of the Select Intelligence Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chair of the Oversight Committee Darrel Issa (R-CA), Chair of the Armed Services Committee Howard McKeon (R-CA) were among the 99 sponsors (52 D and 47 R), including seven Committee chairs; The resolution urged “the Secretary of State to remove the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) from the Department of State’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.”
- Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry called for full investigation into the massacre of members of the MEK in Camp Ashraf.
- Chairman Carl Levin in his remarks addressing Secretary Panetta during a Senate Armed Services Hearing on November 15, 2011, raised the significance of the protection of MEK members in Iraq and suggested, “Just assure them (Iraqi Government) if you would, that … there is a lot of concern in the Congress about it, and this [an attack]… will severely negatively impact their relationship with the US Congress.
- Res 1431with 112 co-sponsors seeks removal of “People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran from the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations…”
- Res.704 with 224 co-sponsors (126 D and 98 R) condemning the attack on Camp Ashraf and supporting the protection of MEK members in the camp.
- Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman (D-CA), letter to Iraq Prime Minister: “I look forward to working with your government to help ensure the continued protection and well-being of those living in (Camp) Ashraf.”
- Letter of 15 representatives to President Bush calling for “removing the MEK from this blacklist.”
- 150 members of the US House of Representatives expressed support for the MEK as “a legitimate resistance movement,” and “a prominent anti-fundamentalist organization adhering to a tolerant Islam,” and “a major player in confronting this ominous phenomenon and terrorism emanating from it.”
- 32 U.S. Senators: "US policy should reach out to those working to establish a democratic and pluralistic system in the country. In this context, support for the democratic goals of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and its President-elect, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, whose objectives are supported by the majority of Iranians, can contribute to peace, human rights and regional stability.”
- 228 House Members: “in such circumstances, it is only our support for the Iranian people’s aspirations for fundamental change and the democratic goals of the National Council of Resistance that can contribute to the promotion of peace, human rights and stability in this part of the world.” The statement also refers to the “Mojahedin opposition” [MEK] as a “legitimate resistance movement.”
- Letter by 28 Senators to Secretary of State, identified the MEK as “a legitimate resistance movement, even though they remain on your agency’s list of terrorist organizations.”
- 220 House Members: “On October 9, 1997, the Los Angeles Times reported that ‘One senior Clinton administration official said inclusion of the People’s Moujahedeen [MEK] was intended as a goodwill gesture to Tehran and its newly elected moderate president, Mohammad Khatami.’… It was not Congress’ intent that a legitimate opposition to the Iranian regime be included within that particular list of terrorist groups.”
- 225 House Members: “Support for advocates of democracy such as, the Iranian Resistance's President-elect Maryam Rajavi, would contribute to peace and stability in the region. This resistance has called for free and fair elections under the auspices of the United Nations and the creation of a democratic, secular, pluralist government."
- 202 House members: “The National Council of Resistance of Iran…will contribute to the realization of political pluralism and democracy in Iran.”
- 219 House Members: "We are convinced that support for the National Council of Resistance will contribute to the achievement of peace and stability for all the countries of the region."
UPRISING - CONTINUING STRUGGLE IN IRAN
The uprising that started in December 2017 in Iran was a powerful sign of unrest that rattled the religious dictatorship and all its factions. The protests started for seemingly economic grievances but rapidly expanded to widespread and continuous calls for the overthrow of the regime in its entirety. Protesters chanted “Death to Khamenei”, “Death to Rouhani”, and “Reformer, Hardliner, the game is now over”, targeting the entirety of the clerical coalition that rules Iran.
The protests continued throughout 2018 and encompassed workers, farmers, rural communities, teachers, defrauded investors, truckers, environmentalists, and women and students. The protesters denounced the regime’s foreign policy with “Let go of Syria, think about our condition” and “Our enemy is here, but they lie to us that it’s America.”
International human rights organizations such as Amnesty International estimate about 7,000 arrests by the regime during the uprisings and protests, and the regime itself has admitted to at least 4,600 arrests (Hassan Abbasi, Ofogh State TV, June 1, 2019). The Iranian Resistance has reported that as of January 2019, a more accurate figure is around 8,000 according to internal reporting and research. Security forces killed at least 36 persons during the uprisings, 11 of them under brutal torture in regime detention centers.
The PMOI/MEK’s resistance units have been very active in all cities across Iran, informing and assisting the public on ways to resist the regime. The MEK expanded its “Resistance Units” over the past year. Their activities include torching large billboards of Khamenei and Rouhani in busy districts of Tehran and other cities, and destroying regime symbols at Bassij and IRGC centers. They write slogans against the regime, distribute informational leaflets, and drape bridges in busy districts of Tehran with huge banners of Mrs. Rajavi. The regime is very alarmed that these activities will encourage the public to further rise up against it.
- Mahmoud Alavi, Minister of MOIS, admitted on April 19, 2019, that the regime had arrested 116 Resistance Units of the MEK over the past year. This is a clear acknowledgment of the Resistance Units progress and activities.
- A report by the MOIS in East Azerbaijan province on April 22, 2019, stated, that MEK activities in the province increased in the period of March 2018 to March 2019. The report said, “The MEK exploited economic and social problems to expand its activities last year. Some 60 persons associated with the group were arrested and more than 50 others were identified and warned.”
- Fars News Agency, affiliated with IRGC reported on August 5, 2018: "In the turmoil of January 2018, the PMOI identified opportunities and capacities inside the country and formally ordered operations to be launched through Resistance Units. These units consisted of 2 to 5 MEK members."
- State-run Baharestaneh website – August 28, 2018: "Today, the PMOI have infiltrated in all social sectors and are directing them, including truck drivers, bazaar merchants, teachers and workers.”
- State-run Baharestaneh website – August 28, 2018: "The PMOI have formed groups called ‘Resistance Units’ that have the power of replication, and the potential and ability to replace their leaders in the field."
- Eje’I, the spokesperson for the regime’s Judiciary: "Nowadays some people chant slogans against the Judiciary and the authorities. Be careful, God forbid, a PMOI member might come in the people’s midst and people will follow him. We must be careful not to be abused by the PMOI.”
- Ghasemi, an IRGC commander - August 7, 2018: "We have a problem, namely the PMOI. We must be careful not to neglect this. They have infiltrated some organizations and IRGC ranks.”
The PMOI/MEK has also organized “popular councils” which have been very active in all cities across Iran, informing and assisting the public on ways to resist the regime. While members of Resistance Units are from the younger generation, members of popular councils are people from all ages and sectors of the population who take part in certain social activities.
These councils have provided advice and opportunities to organize independently for cooperative assistance to stricken compatriots ignored by the corrupt clerical regime. One exemplary campaign was during the disastrous floods that overtook Iran in April, May, and June. PMOI/MEK popular councils gathered material assistance donated in various neighborhoods and trucked and distributed them to stricken areas. People bitterly complaining that the government had done nothing to assist them met the council members with warm welcome.
The regime faces a dilemma by pretending that the PMOI/MEK has no popular support in Iran, and yet increasingly needing to point out the active presence of PMOI/MEK resistance units and councils in order to dissuade the public from joining them. This trend has led to increasing news of resistance activities in regime news media in recent months.
Public news of sentences of PMOI/MEK activists have been frequently surfacing in the news media. On May 20, a so-called revolutionary court in Tehran sentenced a 34 year-old PMOI/MEK activist and member of a resistance unit to death and three others to five years in prison for engaging in non-violent dissemination of anti-regime literature.
The PMOI/MEK has announced that the actual figures of arrests and sentences have been much higher. Due to various security concerns and need for secrecy to protect sources and methods, the PMOI/MEK published a limited list of names recently of 28 detainees in over 13 cities, appealing to international human rights organizations to take urgent action for their release.
In the past 12 months up to June 2019, popular uprisings and protests have swept through 556 cities and towns and industrial centers in Iran, consisting of 1354 workers actions in 146 cities.
A brief tally of organized protests and strikes is:
- Four rounds of widespread national strikes by truckers in 323 cities
- Three rounds of national strikes by teachers in 104 cities from 348 academic institutions
- Widespread bazaar (business) strikes in 12 provinces
- A 38-day strike and protest marches by the Ahwaz steel workers union
- A 28-day strike and protest marches by the Haft-Tapeh sugar cane workers in Shush
- Railroad workers strike in 35 cities protesting unpaid salaries
- Municipal workers strike in 60 cities protesting unpaid salaries
PMOI/MEK resistance units and councils with thousands of dedicated members in over 150 cities and towns continue to organize and campaign for regime change in Iran leading to daily protest actions in various cities.