At a parliamentary meeting between French lawmakers, international dignitaries, and members of the Iranian Resistance on February 7, Cécile Rilhac, a member of the French National Assembly and the president of the Parliamentary Committee for a Democratic Iran (CPID) offered some powerful remarks concerning her understanding of the Iranian people’s fight against the clerical dictatorship, her experience with the Iranian Resistance and her support for the uprising that vows to bring about regime change in Iran.
A translation of MP Cécile Rilhac’s remarks is reflected below:
Let me introduce myself, Cécile Rilhac, the new president of the Parliamentary Committee for a Democratic Iran (CPID). I am pleased to open this parliamentary committee meeting for a democratic Iran. I want to welcome our guests who have joined us this evening to enrich this symposium. Ms. Ingrid Betancourt, Thank you for being with us; Mr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, thank you for being with us; and Ms. Dominique Attias, thank you very much for your presence. Thank you to my dear vice presidents, André Chassaigne and Hervé Solignac, who are at my side. So, this is the first big meeting of the CPID in this new legislature. The CPID was able to reconstitute itself in September, in the first quarter, of which I took the presidency and the succession of my colleague Michèle de Vaucouleurs, deputy for Yvelines. And I will do everything to continue his work.
I am very reassured in this mission because I am accompanied by four vice presidents, each belonging to a different political party, who have the particularity like me, but of having been re-elected. And so it’s been a while since my colleagues at my side have been members and vice-president of CPID, and I really thank their presence and the first exchanges we were able to have. All five of us belong to five different political sensitivities.
But today, facing you, we are the representatives of a democracy of the French Republic. We have the same desire to support the Iranian people in their quest for democracy, but above all, for freedom. The CPID, therefore, supported and accompanied the uprising through several press releases, notably in December, after the cruel hangings of two young demonstrators.
Let us recall that the power of the mullahs today, if it massacres, kills, condemns, and execute, is to terrorize its population, precisely to prevent it from rising. And, of course, the CPID is alongside the Iranians to try, from afar, to give them the courage they so badly need to continue to take to the streets and fight.
The uprising started almost 5 months ago; Iranian people, especially women, have moved the world with their courage & bravery in face of injustice, inequality, & discrimination.
This is the courage of a generation standing in face of death, arrests & torture.#IranRevolution pic.twitter.com/CgWCuhpH3K
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) February 7, 2023
We held our first meeting on October 25, at the start of the Iranian uprising. With the vice presidents, we convened a press release which I read to you: “This first meeting of the CPD is being held in a particular context because, for more than a month, Iran knows this extremely massive popular uprising, carried by women and young people. This population asks for respect for their fundamental and inalienable rights. Unable to meet their legitimate aspirations, the Iranian authoritarian regime has made the inhuman choice to toughen up its repression. And we were all collectively indignant, shocked by the brutality of the images and the testimonies that reached us. Faced with the abuses committed against young people and children, we cannot remain silent.”
We see the remarks that we made jointly in October. We can only reiterate them today. It is the mission that we have given ourselves within this committee not to remain silent and to carry the voice of the Iranian people in their struggle for genuine democracy, particularly the voice of Iranian women at the forefront of this movement. However, the CPID has come a long way in over fifteen years and has shared some values that align perfectly with our Republican values.
That is what we defend in the rule of law. For example, we support the abolition of the death penalty and the complete equality of women and men in political, social, cultural, and economic rights. We defend the equal participation of women in political leadership. The freedom they must have to choose their clothing freely. We jointly support the independence of justice. We defend freedom of expression. We defend freedom of demonstration.
And these values, we found them in the program, the famous ten-point program that Maryam Rajavi proposes for a free Iran, rid of the theocracy of the mullahs.
Among these democratic values and principles, there are free elections, ie the choice of universal suffrage as the only source of the legitimacy of power. And that is why we reject any form of dictatorship, whether it is that of mullahs who give themselves divine legitimacy to violently repress their people or the old monarchical tyranny, which recognized a certain legitimacy by a bond of blood and kinship.
Consequently, this slogan of the Iranians reaches us inside the country and repeats the tyrant everywhere, whether he is called Shah or Mullah, well that is also our motto. It is obvious.
I will conclude this conference and, following that, just one last short video. To conclude, we are with the people making this uprising and the Iranian resistance. This resistance has existed for 40 years. And this historical side, many of you have raised it, is essential for me, as I say with a smile because somewhere, I am the youngest on this board, but however, I am learning fast because I had very, very good teachers. Regarding what has already been done, we spoke earlier about the UN, the fact today that the UN withdrew precisely, Iran had this chair at the Women’s Commission. It was something incredible. It was unheard of. And through international mobilization, it is already a first victory to have succeeded in ensuring that Iran is no longer represented at the level of an international body that dares to defend women’s rights.
Le CPID, groupe de Parlementaires de sensibilités politiques différentes pour un #Iran Démocratique dénonce les répressions meurtrières et les conditions de la mort de #MahsaAmini
Retrouvez notre communiqué⤵️@hsaulignac @AndreChassaigne @phgosselin @yfavennec #IranProtests pic.twitter.com/m9IiVUg342
— Cécile RILHAC (@Cecile_Rilhac) September 29, 2022
They had no right to be there. And so, it’s already a first victory. And that we can congratulate ourselves collectively. Earlier, we talked a lot about humanism, women, life, and freedom, and we also recalled our republican triptych Liberty, equality, and fraternity. You have developed a lot, Madame, and I thank you for that. I want to come back to the last word, simply fraternity. Because today, if France is alongside Iran, if the parliamentarians are alongside the Iranians, let them be on French soil, but let them also be on Iranian soil and everywhere in the world. It is, of course, in this great spirit of fraternity.
There is no humanity without fraternity, and I say that with enormous conviction and all the deep values it represents.
One last thing. We, the youngest, let’s say, were immediately victims of this manipulation. And indeed, as soon as we started speaking out in support of the Iranian Resistance movement, of the PMOI, and therefore of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, yes, it’s true that immediately and all of a sudden, Insults, insults, things that you can’t control at the beginning fall on you. And with the strength of convictions, we are going to sweep away these insults, these lies. We are going to leave them aside because as many of us have said on this platform, we are the ones who are right. You are right, and you are the ones who write history. And I repeat it to those who are in Iran today, who are fighting, who are dying when they are the ones who write their history.
And we can only be by their side, with deep respect for what they do. Thank you all.