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French Parliament Hosts NCRI President-elect Mrs. Rajavi’s Call for Democratic Change in Iran

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On Tuesday, January 30, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), was invited by the Iranian Democratic Parliamentary Committee (CPID) to address a gathering at the Victor Hugo Hall of the French National Assembly. Notable attendees included Mr. Guy Verhofstadt, former Prime Minister of Belgium and a Member of the European Parliament, and Mrs. Ingrid Betancourt, former Senator and presidential candidate of Colombia.

During the session, French National Assembly members such as Cécile Rilhac, André Chassaigne, Yannick Favennec, Patrick Hetzel, Hervé Saulignac, Philippe Gosselin, Jean-Pierre Brard, and Jean-François Legaret also shared their perspectives.

Mrs. Cécile Rilhac, Chair of the Iranian Democratic Committee in the French Parliament, welcomed Mrs. Rajavi and presented her with a copy of the statement of support from the majority of French Assembly members for the Iranian people’s uprising and resistance, along with Mrs. Rajavi’s Ten-Point Plan.

In her address, Mrs. Rajavi emphasized the urgent need to address the clerical regime’s role as the main instigator of conflict in the Middle East and its continuation of executions. She proposed a four-step initiative to address the crisis, including designating the Revolutionary Guards as terrorist organizations and reactivating Security Council sanctions against the regime’s nuclear projects.

She highlighted that the regime’s pursuit of war in the Middle East stems from its internal crisis and emphasized the importance of recognizing the Iranian people’s struggle for democracy, gender equality, and national autonomy.

Mrs. Rajavi called on the French MPs to:

  1. Placing the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the list of terrorist entities, in line with the National Assembly’s declaration of last June and the European Parliament’s resolution in January 2023.
  2. Activating the “snapback” mechanism as outlined in the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, enabling the reactivation of sanctions resolutions against the regime’s nuclear project.
  3. Placing the Iranian regime under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, which addresses regimes posing a threat to world peace.
  4. Recognizing the Iranian people’s ongoing struggle to overthrow religious fascism.

Moderating the session, French Member of Parliament Cécile Rilhac addressed a gathering and emphasized the significance of the progress made. Mrs. Rilhac commenced her speech by presenting the committee’s 2023 report, highlighting their support for the Iranian people amidst uprisings in Iran.

MP Rilhac announced that the declaration received substantial support from French legislators, including a majority of 295 French representatives, including five group presidents three political party leaders, and over 130 senators. She presented Mrs. Rajavi with a document summarizing all the signatures—a symbol of solidarity from French parliamentarians.

Reading the text of the 2024 declaration, Mrs. Rilhac said, “We strongly condemn the destructive role of the Iranian regime in the Middle East and its bellicose policy, calling for the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRGC, as the main terrorist entity, destabilizing the region. We insist on holding accountable those responsible for serious human rights violations in Iran, especially the repression of women, the lack of justice for protesters, and the perpetrators of crimes against humanity.”

“The Iranian people deserve to benefit from a democratic system, freedom of assembly, the abolition of the death penalty, gender equality, and the separation of religion and state as declared in the Ten-Point Plan of Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI,” MP Rilhac added. “This plan was supported in 2023 by over 3600 parliamentarians worldwide, including over 400 in France. Faced with the Iranian regime’s obstruction of any peaceful activity for change and knowing that 750 people were killed during the 2022-2023 protests, we consider resistance against oppression as a natural and inalienable right for every Iranian citizen, in accordance with Article 2 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, of 1789. This right’s embodiment in Iran materializes in the activity of resistance units across the country against the IRGC, drawing on the historic message of General de Gaulle on June 18, 1940: ‘Whatever happens, the flame of resistance must not go out.’”

President of the Democratic and Republican Left group (GDR) in the National Assembly André Chassaigne said, “The negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue are at a standstill. The frustration and anger of the Iranian population towards the theocratic regime are at their peak. And at the same time, the region is ablaze with militias loyal to Iran.”

Reflecting on his extensive experience in supporting and working with the Iranian Resistance, Mr. Chassaigne added, “We were not wrong to share the positions of the NCRI and the Ten-Point Plan of its president, Mrs. Rajavi, for a democratic Iran. We were not wrong to say that the solution to all the threats from Iran against Europe, against our world today, in terms of security, exports, terrorism, support for Islamist extremism, and even threats against our own citizens, was to make democracy triumph in Iran, a real democracy. There is no other way than a regime change in Iran for a solution of peace and tranquility in the Near and Middle East. Our democratic states have a long experience, that of being deceived by mullahs, supposedly moderate, who pretended to want to negotiate with our diplomats, too often naive.”

Quoting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the parliamentarian emphasized the inherent right to resist tyranny and oppression, asserting that the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom is both justified and urgent.

Drawing parallels with France’s revolutionary history, MP Chassaigne said, “Iranians have the right to protest. They have the right to freedom of expression. They have the right to freedom of assembly. And if denied, they then have the right to revolt and resist.”

He concluded, “I say this with strength, but also with emotion: The Resistance Units of the PMOI in Iran only embody this right that our ancestors recognized two centuries ago and that our parents exercised in the face of Nazi occupation and atrocities. The commitments of our ancestors oblige us, because we are indebted to their sacrifices, as we are today stakeholders in the Iranian Resistance, a resistance that is also ours, a resistance that, too, obliges us. This is the meaning of our commitment today.”

MEP and former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt expressed concern over the weak stance of the European Union, governments, and the American administration towards Iran. He highlighted the ongoing dramatic situation within Iran, citing recent executions and international tensions, like fueling the brutal invasion of Ukraine and the attacks on US personnel in Jordan.

Mr. Verhofstadt said, “I think that the West and certainly the American administration and also our governments have a great interest in reflecting, in redefining their approach towards the Mullah regime. An approach which, I repeat, until now has been a policy of appeasement, where we will try to do the best with this regime, saying and sometimes repeating that there was certainly no alternative for the regime that came to power a few decades ago.”

Expressing his recommendation on foreign policy, he said, “The first pillar of our strategy is to address the ongoing issue of hostage-taking by the Mullah regime. This blackmail tactic has affected Belgium and is likely to occur in other European countries as well. My stance is clear: if Western and European hostages, including Americans, remain captive, there’s no justification for maintaining open embassies for the Mullah regime or allowing their diplomats to operate freely in our capitals. It’s time to make a definitive decision: until all hostages are released, diplomats from the Mullah regime should not have a presence in our capitals or on our soil.”

Dismissing nuclear negotiations with Tehran, the former Belgian PM called on the US and EU countries to increase sanctions on Iran’s regime. He also called on these nations to expand the sanctions regime every time someone is executed inside Iran. He also stressed the need for the EU to proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.

Mr. Verhofstadt concluded, “I believe that this is perhaps still the most important thing in this new strategy of the West towards the mullah regime, it is time to begin to recognize that the Iranian people, the Iranian resistance, have the legitimate right, I would say, to resist against the mullah regime. And therefore to begin to prepare with the Iranian opposition and with the Iranian Resistance the future of the country to demonstrate that there is indeed an alternative to the mullah regime. And personally, I believe that Mrs. Rajavi’s Ten-Point Plan would be a good basis for this alternative in the future.”

Mrs. Ingrid Betancourt, a former Senator and presidential candidate from Colombia, delivered a speech discussing a series of documents that had surfaced, revealing a network of collaborators and spies with significant influence, particularly linked to the Iranian regime and working for or even inside Western governments.

She argued that the network comprised individuals, deeply connected to the Iranian government, infiltrating strategic positions in Western administrations. Their discourse aims to undermine Western determination towards Iran and they emphasize the necessity of engaging with Iranian delegates for Middle Eastern peace, despite evidence suggesting the regime’s involvement in perpetuating terrorism and conflict in the region.

Discussing a major target of these influence networks being the Iranian Resistance and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, the former Colombian Senator said, “For many years, I’ve had the opportunity to accompany the PMOI at various events across Europe. The PMOI has branches not only in Sweden, but also in Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, England, Spain, and elsewhere. This organization comprises individuals who, like you and me, are guided by their convictions and principles. We choose to be here instead of at home because our actions reflect who we are. Over the past 12 years, I’ve met many individuals who, like myself, are motivated by these fundamental principles and values, which define us as democrats.”

Former French MP Jean-Pierre Brard expressed support for the Iranian Resistance and by pointing to the Iranian regime’s assassination attempt on the former EU Parliament’s Vice President Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras in Madrid, he highlighted the dangers faced by supporters of the Resistance.

Reflecting on historical parallels, Mr. Brard drew attention to the struggles faced by the Iranian people and the need for international solidarity. He referenced the commemoration of historical events, such as the anniversary of the execution of the Manouchian group, to underscore the importance of remembering past sacrifices in the fight against oppression.

He criticized complacency towards the Iranian regime and urged for proactive measures to ensure the safety of those standing in solidarity with the resistance. In conclusion, Mr. Brard reaffirmed his commitment to supporting the Iranian people and pledged to stand alongside them in their quest for freedom and democracy.

Mr. Jean-François Legaret, the former mayor of the 1st arrondissement of Paris praised the work of the NCRI, calling it the only viable alternative to the Iranian regime and its “repression and bellicosity.”

He said, “The leaders of the regime, starting with the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, continue to point the finger at their main opponent, the PMOI and the NCRI. It’s a real obsession. They talk only about that because they have understood that it’s the only possible alternative to this regime. The presence of this repression and severity against the PMOI opponents everywhere in the world is quite significant.”

“The whole world must see that this resistance exists,” Mr Legaret added. “And it must be understood that for the mullahs’ regime, the opponents, the PMOI, are the main threat, I would say the existential threat against the Iran of the mullahs.”

The former Mayor concluded, “Now, under persistent pressure and facing growing demonstrations, the regime’s maneuvers seek to undermine support for the PMOI from the young Iranian generation. They divert tensions and make baseless accusations in the context of demonization against the only political alternative. Thus, in Iran, the mullahs are increasing repression that worsens from day to day against the only existing alternative, the NCRI, and the PMOI. The mullahs are right to be afraid. With the Ten-Point Plan for Iran of tomorrow, the NCRI presents in every respect the only democratic alternative and the assurance of finally achieving in Iran a regime of freedom. Freedom for women, freedom for men, freedom of worship, abolition of the death penalty, separation of religion and state. That’s the political alternative. That’s why this fight is worth it.”

French MP Philippe Gosselin called for a regime change in Iran, arguing that it is the only way to bring peace and stability to the region. He accused the regime of funding and arming terrorist groups, destabilizing the region, and causing immense suffering to the Iranian people.

“The regime spends crazy sums to support its regional power ambitions and objectives, but also, no doubt, destabilization,” MP Gosselin said. “80% of the population lives below the poverty line. This money could certainly be used in better conditions.”

The French representative said that at least 359 people have been executed in Iran in the past three months.

MP Gosselin called for the international community to support the Iranian people in their struggle for freedom. He said that the Iranian people are “capable of achieving this change” and that “the flame of resistance must never be extinguished.”

French MP Hervé Saulignac expressed his support for the Iranian people in their struggle against the theocratic regime. He also called on Western governments to take a more active role in supporting the Iranian opposition.

Reflecting on the Iranian regime’s warmongering and proxy fighting in the Middle East, Mr. Saulignac said, “Madame President, you have exposed this threat to the world. In this context, and for years, Western governments, driven in particular by economic interests, have kept silent and turned a blind eye. With regard to France, if bilateral exchanges with Iran have decreased after the US withdrawal from the Vienna agreement in 2018, I want to recall here that the level of goods exchanges between the two countries remains high since it stands at 367 million euros, 313 million euros of exports to Iran, or an increase of 40% increase in exports, totaling 55 million euros in imports, thus generating a positive balance of 258 million euros, according to data from French customs.”

MP Saulignac stressed that the Iranian people are more determined than ever to overthrow the regime, despite the repression they face. He also called on Western governments to stop doing business with Tehran and to instead support the Iranian opposition. He said that this would send a clear message to the regime that it is not welcome in the international community.

French Member of Parliament Patrick Hetzel expressed solidarity with the Iranian Resistance, acknowledging efforts made beyond Iranian borders to advance democratic ideals. Noting the significant representation within the National Assembly, Hetzel highlighted that over half of the representatives were mobilized in support of the Iranian Resistance—a symbolic gesture indicating France’s strong backing for the cause.

In conclusion, Hetzel reiterated the collective aspiration for a democratic Iran and emphasized the urgency of achieving freedom for the Iranian people.

French Member of Parliament Yannick Favennec addressed a gathering, highlighting the grave human rights situation in Iran. Referring to a UN report, Mr. Favennec condemned the widespread repression beyond executions, citing examples of political prisoners like Mariam Akbari and Massoumeh Sanobari, who faced prolonged solitary confinement and unjust sentences, respectively.

He said, “This repression is unacceptable. It is time for the international community to take action. I call on the UN, the European Union, and the French government to put in place increased pressure on the Iranian regime to stop its execution machine and to hold to account the authorities who maintain themselves in power at the cost of mass execution.”