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Iranians Honor 1979 Revolution Legacy, Call for a Democratic Iran

paris ncri rally 12022023

Thousands of Iranians, supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) gather in Paris, Place Denfert Rochereau, in solidarity with the Iran protests and honoring the legacy of the 1979 anti-monarchic revolution. Several renowned European politicians and lawmakers, particularly from France, speak at this event, supporting the Iranian people’s democratic aspirations, mainly their rejection of any form of tyranny. The keynote speaker of this event will be Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI’s President-elect. This page will be updated with the latest news of today’s grand gathering.


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Former Mayor Jean Francois Legaret

This regime threatens the globe. We are here for a common message: We must fight. Freedom and democracy must win in Iran. Maryam Rajavi’s program supports this. We stand in solidarity with the people of Ashraf 3. This fight must support three words: democracy, republic, and freedom.

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Former Mayor Jacques Boutault

We support the revolution to get rid of the regime. The 1979 revolution was stolen by the mullahs 44 years ago. We democrats stand in solidarity with you. I pay tribute to Ms. Amini who was martyred in September. Freedom is about having the right to choose.

Women show bravery in their rebellion against the regime. The mullahs’ regime is crumbling. Governments across the globe must put pressure on the mullahs to stop the cruelty against their own people.

A few years ago, I visited an exhibition here in Paris about the 1988 massacre of political prisoners who were supporters of the MEK. At the time, I spoke to Maryam Rajavi. I admire her fight and struggle as a woman, a democrat, and a political leader.

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Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt

It is great to be on the right side of history, here with the Iranian diaspora, in solidarity with protesters in Iran. We commemorate the anniversary of the downfall of the Shah dictatorship, a bloody and corrupt dictatorship. This was a democratic revolution that was stolen by Khomeini who replaced the Shah. He took advantage of the Shah’s repression of the opposition to seize power. Today, the opposition is back in the streets. Protesters are chanting “Death to the dictator, whether it be the Shah or the mullahs!”

Today, Iran has a unique opportunity because it is in a unique situation. Khomeini was not able to eliminate the only opposition movement that stood all this time and remained organized. The opposition is present not only in the streets of Tehran and across Iran, but also across the world and here in Paris.

Just like in the streets of Tehran and large cities of Iran, where the revolution is led by women, at the head of the Iranian Resistance is a woman. This is a struggle led by women for the freedom of all people.

It is time for us to rise and stop being scared and stop kneeling in front of the Iranian regime—not only for the Iranian people but also us here in Europe. The struggle of the Iranian people is our struggle. We are held hostage by this regime.

We want a free Iran, for all Iranians, for all French people, and all Europeans. We fight for all the hostages. Our governments must acknowledge the transition to a democratic government led by Maryam Rajavi. The return to tyranny, whether another version of the mullahs’ regime or the Shah dictatorship, will be a betrayal to the people of Iran.

We are here to honor the memory of the youth who were hanged just because they demonstrated their rights. We will fight until democracy is back in Iran.

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Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI’s President-elect:

Greetings to all of you who are standing here in this cold weather.
For over 40 years, you have been present at any time and under any circumstances to convey the resounding NO of the Iranian people and the Resistance to religious fascism.
We are grateful to our European and French friends and dignitaries who have always defended the Iranian Resistance for freedom and democracy. My salute to each and every one of you.

Khomeini hijacked the 1979 Revolution
Dear compatriots,
On the anniversary of the anti-monarchical revolution, we are reminded of the recent glorious uprising and the blood that still flows from the bodies of the Iranian people. The word of REVOLUTION has triumphed and broken the yokes of the Shah and the mullahs, and it shines bright, fighting on, and determined to bring freedom to victory.

However, in the absence of true leaders who had either been killed in the field or imprisoned, Khomeini hijacked the revolution. He refused to order the people to fight against Shah’s dictatorship but instead ordered the massacre of PMOI prisoners who stood their ground. Khomeini was Shah’s actual heir and crown prince who elevated the legacy of crimes and atrocities of the Shah and his father to new heights.

As Massoud Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian Resistance, said, “What has happened to us is a result of the mullahs’ reactionary rule, not revolution. From the beginning, the issue was that the regressive regime masked itself as a revolution. The measure of a revolution is freedom, sovereignty, and the people’s vote.”

It is ironic that many mullahs collaborated with the Shah and his notorious SAVAK when he was in power, and now that the mullahs are in power, the remnants of the Shah have taken the side of the mullahs’ notorious IRGC.

They openly state that the IRGC and Basij are “the prime force to guarantee Iran’s future security and stability.” They express their preference for the clerical dictatorship by saying, “If there were a choice between this regime and the PMOI, the people would most likely choose the mullahs.”

The historical hostility of the Shah and the Sheikh toward the Mojahedin, nationalist, patriotic, and progressive forces, and oppressed ethnic groups highlights their intrinsic unity.

A dictatorship is a dictatorship, whether with a turban or a crown. The same people who celebrated the ominous day of August 19, 1953, and the foreign coup against Dr. Mossadeq’s patriotic and democratic government now describe the day when they were thrown out of their royal palaces as an ominous day.
What is truly ominous is not the revolution, but the evil reactionary forces that praise the IRGC and the Basij.

The present moment is marked by a peculiar irony, as even the former regime President Mohammad Khatami has acknowledged that the path of reformism has reached an impasse. Meanwhile, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who was once the Prime Minister under Khomeini, has proclaimed that the constitutional framework of the regime is now obsolete.

If you are sincere in your declarations, it is imperative that you reject the fount of corruption: Khomeini’s usurpation of the Iranian people’s sovereignty and the hijacking of the revolution. Furthermore, it is time to abandon the decades-old mantra of “death to the PMOI,” as they stand in stark opposition to the oppressive clerical regime. It is essential that you shed light on and condemn the 1988 massacre of the PMOI, and clarify your role in the suffering of the Iranian people and their children.

Once again, the Iranian Resistance emphasized that this regime was beyond reform. In reality, the facade of reform was merely a safety valve to preserve the regime.

Let us examine the present state of affairs. Which faction was the instigator and driving force behind the rallies calling for the return of the monarchy, reflected in the slogan of “Reza Shah, Rest in Peace”? It is widely known that such rallies served as a safety valve for the regime, aimed at dividing, undermining, and diverting the uprising.

However, as the uprising gained momentum and adopted a more radical stance in September, those slogans dissolved like snow and were replaced by the fearless youths and the masses of the people shouting, “Death to the oppressor, whether it be the Shah or Khamenei.”

Dear compatriots!
We find ourselves in the midst of a new democratic revolution, where our people strive for a democratic republic free from torture, violence, oppression, and dependency. Let us remember that dictatorship, whether draped in a turban or a crown, remains a dictatorship.

And let us not forget that plunder, whether committed by Khamenei’s Setad or the Barekat Foundation, or by Reza Shah who forcibly seized the lands and villages of our country, or by his son who took billions of dollars of Iran’s wealth abroad without accountability, is plunder nonetheless.

Coercion, too, remains coercion, whether it takes the form of forced removal of the hijab or forced imposition of the hijab.

And now, the son of the Shah dares to question the PMOI over the headscarves of their women and to separate them from men, mirroring the repressive culture of Reza Khan and Khomeini’s patronizing attitude.

Where has respect for others’ beliefs, customs, rights, and freedom of choice gone? We must remember the heroic women who were tortured or executed in their fight against Khomeini, and the women who held leadership positions in the vanguard organization advancing the cause of freedom.

Does the image of Commander Sara, with a dagger piercing her heart and hanging by her feet from a tree on a rock in Hassan Abad Pass, not bear witness to the atrocities the regime committed?

I must ask, did your SAVAK interrogators not brutally murder my sister?
This is the common thread of misogyny that unites the Shah and the Sheikh, and their fate will be the same – certain overthrow.

What we and the people of Iran say

Dear friends,
It is time to leave behind the realm of illusions and embrace the realities of the world we live in. This is what our people, as well as ourselves, demand: The IRGC must be added to the list of designated terrorist organizations by the European Union. The IRGC and the Intelligence Ministry, which have been used as a diplomatic facade for the regime’s bombing plots, must be disbanded. This is what the people of Iran demand and is indispensable to promoting regional and global peace.

The era of granting concessions to the mullahs is over. This is no time to cultivate constructive relationships with a regime that perpetuates atrocities through executions and massacres. Instead, it is imperative to extend sincere apologies to the people of Iran for past support of religious tyranny.

The people of Iran have a fundamental right to reclaim their country from the shackles of religious fascism, and the valiant youth have the right to defend themselves against the IRGC, covert agents, and the barrage of bullets that pierce their eyes, heads, and hearts. The world must officially recognize these rights for the people of Iran.

We salute the fallen heroes, may freedom endure! May the democratic revolution of the Iranian people be victorious!

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Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian Prime Minister

During the 1979 revolution, I was 26 years old. I was hopeful that with the departure of the dictator, the people of Iran had good prospects for freedom. But unfortunately, a new dictator replaced the old one. Since the mullahs took power, there hasn’t been a single day without violence. It is difficult to believe these brave men and women were able to take to the streets despite the violent repression in the past four decades. They want to simply achieve a democratic Iran. They are an example of courage.

It is our responsibility and duty to end the violence and killing in Iran and end the use of capital punishment. As Europeans, we need to do a lot more. We must hold the regime accountable for its crimes. We must impose massive sanctions on those who are responsible for human rights abuses in Iran. We must break the backbone of the Iranian regime, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. We must condemn the ideology and criminal activity of the regime. We must cut off funding to this organization and make sure it is listed as a terrorist entity.

We must also protect the Iranian people and the Iranian diaspora here in Europe. The question must be the following: Why are we still negotiating with Iran? Why do you think we can achieve a sustainable agreement with this unreliable interlocutor? If we reach a nuclear agreement with a regime that kills its citizens, it will be a green light for the regime to continue its crimes.

The regime must be forced to release political prisoners and hostages without any concessions. Concessions will only encourage the regime to take more hostages. It is important for us to take control together and implement a plan that ensures freedom in Iran.

Iran, your country, is the cradle of human civilization. You are in an important fight between democracy and autocracy. Iran will be freed from dictators and given back to its people.

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John Bercow, former Speaker of the UK House of Commons

We detest dictatorship and we demand democracy for the long-suffering people of Iran. Lest anybody tries to misrepresent us, we are clear, meeting here, marking the 44th anniversary of the overthrow of the diabolical and despicable Shah, that we do not want to go back to that dictatorship under any circumstances. We know he was a corrupt killer. Corrupt in massive theft and killer in the execution of Iranians who simply wanted to be free. The Shah did not believe in democracy, freedom, the rights of media, the rights of women, or the rights of minorities. And it was because of his appalling record and his persistence and thuggery over decades that he was removed. That was the basis of what should have been a revolution by and for the people of Iran. But the ayatollahs hijacked that revolution. They twisted and distorted and perverted that revolution. They ruined that revolution.

The monarchical despotism of the Shah gave way to and was replaced by the religious despotism of the ayatollahs. They do not believe in freedom. They do not believe in the rights of the media, the rights of women, and the rights of ethnic minorities. They are dictators every bit as much as the Shah was a dictatorship. We don’t want dictatorship for the people of Iran. We want democracy. We want freedom, the rule of law, respect for the media, equality for women, and the protection of the equal rights of minorities. Whatever your religion or whether you subscribe to any religion at all, you have the right to be free. The people of Iran have a decent democratic alternative to the regime in Iran, and you heard it in the passionate, powerful, and persuasive words of Mrs. Rajavi. We all know that Mrs. Rajavi is a person of guts, vision, character, and an unquenchable desire to commit herself to public service and the people of Iran. Her ten-point plan shows how the NCRI would go about securing a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic. That’s what you want and what we want.

I want to identify and empathize with the powerful remarks of all previous speakers. If we are to help the people of Iran to chart a course to genuine democracy, we must recognize that it is time to proscribe those who don’t believe in democracy or freedom and only believe in the fascistic application of force. The IRGC represents precisely that bestial, dangerous, and violence-oriented ethos. It should be proscribed as the terrorist organization that it is.

What is most encouraging is the presence of young people who will not be satisfied until there is a free, democratic, secular, human rights–respecting republic in Iran. Keep faith. Never tire. Remain resolute. Freedom is around the corner.

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NCRI Senior Secretary Mahnaz Salimian

We celebrate democracy and independence. In the past five months, heroes inside Iran have fascinated the world. Despite executions, they stress that they will never give up. They continue to say, “Khamenei you tyrant, we will overthrow you!” Today, you are the true voice of the uprising and its martyrs and political prisoners.

During this time, despite the conspiracies of the enemies, you insisted on the slogan, “Down with the tyrant, whether it be the Shah or the mullahs!” This is a fundamental principle that rejects any form of dictatorship and recognizes the Iranian people’s sovereignty and independence. From our experience, we can see that the regime has truly weakened. But it will not fall by itself. It will only topple through revolution and resistance.

The regime is trying to block the democratic alternative. But this resistance, with more than 120,000 martyrs and the activities of Resistance Units and youths, will overthrow this regime and rid the region and the world of its evil.

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Mahan Taraj, jurist

Resistance against repression and the barbaric system of the mullahs. The resistance of the MEK is justified by the mass number of martyrs they have had. It is clear that the mullahs will be overthrown by the resistance and the people. This is why the mullahs and their allies use propaganda to try to demonize them. If the mullahs’ regime attacks them so much it is because they know that it is the MEK and their Resistance Units who will overthrow them.

The regime and its allies try to use so-called online polls to prove that the resistance has no support inside Iran. Does a poll carried out under dictatorship enjoy any legitimacy? No. These types of initiatives only serve the survival of the regime.

As Mrs. Rajavi has said, we don’t want to obtain power. We want to overthrow the regime so that the people can choose their own leaders in democratic elections. We will continue our resistance until the regime is overthrown.

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Zinat Mirhashemi, Member of the NCRI and the Central Committee of the Cherik-Hay-E Fedaii Organization (OIPFG)

The goal of the 1979 revolution was to overthrow Shah’s dictatorship and install freedom and democracy. It was a victory for the people of Iran. But freedom was not able to triumph, and the struggle continued. We want to get rid of all types of discrimination. In this struggle, thousands of men and women sacrificed their lives. Unfortunately, the revolution was hijacked by the mullahs. They continued to cooperate with the SAVAK to suppress dissidents.

We will not forgive or forget. All the people who were tortured and killed by the mullahs and Shah’s regime must not be forgotten. The crimes of the mullahs’ regime must not make us forget the crimes of Shah’s regime.

We will be able to overcome the challenges of this dictatorship. The people of Iran want freedom and independence and popular sovereignty and a secular republic.

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Neda Amani, human rights activist

History shows that the time is up for this regime. The people don’t want the regime and the regime can’t govern. In the streets, there is a movement that will not stop. History also teaches us that we will not return to the Shah er

a. The Shah was overthrown by a popular revolution, and he will not return.

Monarchy was a despotic power inside Iran. It was ruled by a single party.

Today we see resistance inside Iran. The people and their resistance will bring down the oppressor.


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Farhang Pouya, physicist

The people of Iran will not sit on their laurels until the regime is overthrown. The regime is at its weakest. The last word will be said by the Resistance Units on the streets of Iran. We are proud to support them with all our strength.

In the past five months of uprisings, the people of Iran have made it clear that they will settle for nothing short of regime change.

The end of the regime is near. This is why the regime and its intelligence services are trying to put different hurdles in place. But with the Resistance Units, the people of Iran are guaranteed to be victorious.

The Iranian people benefit from a strong coalition such as the NCRI. Meanwhile, there are ridiculous efforts by the supporters of the monarchy to pretend there is support for the Shah inside Iran. These polls are biased and unscientific. The Resistance Units are the thorn in the side of the regime, preventing it from continuing its reign.


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Mehdi Abrishamchi, Chairman of the NCRI Peace Commission

We are here to mark Iran’s 1979 anti-monarchial revolution. Today’s gathering was the Iranian people’s call that removed Shah’s monarchy back in 1979. The Iranian people may be deprived of freedom for some time now. However, no one can deprive the people of Iran of freedom forever.

Today, as you were chanting, you are the voices of girls in the streets of Iran, the Resistance Units, the prisoners who are repressed in the dungeons of the regime. You’re the voice of young boys in Iran who are standing up against the religious dictatorship and are shouting: Never surrender.

Today, your voice is the voice of all rebels, those who are resisting torture. And our slogan is “Death to the oppressor, be it the Shah or the mullahs!”

In addition to stressing the need for regime change, this gathering also sends another message: we will not allow the regime to force the people to choose between religious dictatorship or a return to the dictatorship of the Shah.

Our people will not go back in time. History will not be reversed. The mullahs picked up where Shah’s regime left off in its crimes. They murdered many MEK members imprisoned and tortured in Shah’s prisons. The mullahs’ Revolutionary Guards are the continuation of the Shah’s SAVAK.

Our people have decided to join forces and fight against the coalition of the mullahs’ and the Shah regimes. The Iranian Resistance wants nothing for itself and has nothing to lose. We want everything for our people. What is happening in our country today shows that the only answer is resistance against the regime. There is no room for complacency.

When the regime shows no mercy to children, when women are killed for hijab rules, when people are tortured in prisons, and when the regime kills more than 750 people in five months of protests, it shows that the only answer to the mullahs’ repression is resistance. The price of freedom is determined by the mullahs. We will pay the price of freedom whatever it is.

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