On Saturday, February 11, coinciding with the 33rd anniversary of the anti-Monarchial Revolution in Iran, in a great gathering in Paris, thousands of Iranians, while being supported by a number of prominent European and American dignitaries, reminded that a major development is on the way in Iran and a democratic change, as a solution to avoid an unprecedented regional and international crisis, is at hand.
Speakers to this meeting, presided over by the President of the Norwegian committee of Friends of a Free Iran Lars Rise, included: Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance; Philippe Douste-Blazy, the UN Deputy Secretary-General and former French Foreign Minister; Bill Richardson, former Ambassador to the United Nations and Governor of New Mexico (2003-2011); Andrew Card, White House Chief of Staff (2001-2006); Ed Rendell, former Governor of Pensilvania and former leader of the U.S. Democratic Party; Spencer Abraham, former U.S. Energy Secretary under Bush Administration; Ambassador Phillip Crawley, the U.S. State Department spokesman (2009-2011); Robert Josef, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; John Bruton, former Prime Minister of Ireland and former Ambassador of European Union to the U.S.; General David Phillips, Commander of U.S. Military Police (2008-2011) and the commander in charge of Ashraf residents’ safety and security; John Sano, former National Clandestine Service’s Deputy President and member of directorate of U.S. Central Intelligence Agency; emille Blessig and Jean-Pierre Brard, members of French National Assembly; Jean-François Le Garrett, mayor of Paris 1st District; Aude De Thuin, Founder and president of Women’s Economical and Social Forum; André Glucksmann, a member of New France Philosophers; Nontombi Tutu, human rights activist and daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Maryam Rajavi speech on the anniversary of the revolution of Iran
Dear Friends and Compatriots,
Before I start, I would like to salute our brother nation of Syria and the courageous and proud protesters there. I salute the heroic and bloodied city of Homs, a bastion of honor and perseverance against the murderous and cruel dictatorship in Syria.
Let us rise for a moment and applaud the Syrian people for their perseverance and glorious struggle.
The eleven-month-long struggle of our Syrian sisters and brothers has become an inspirational model for all the peoples of the region. The formation of units of the Syrian liberation army in various parts of the country speaks to their unwavering determination to achieve freedom.
This shining struggle has turned 2012 into a turning point in the contemporary history of the Middle East because it has targeted the coalition of dictators and religious fascists throughout the region.
It is a complete nightmare for Khamenei and his allies. That is why they are directly participating in the killing of the arisen people of Syria. The entire nation of Iran resents this despicable act.
The religious fascism ruling Iran officially welcomed the shameful decision by Russia and China to veto the UN Security Council resolution condemning the Bashar Assad regime. And, it is actively participating in the killing of the Syrian people through its Qods forces.
On behalf of the Iranian people and Resistance, we condemn Khamenei’s participation in crimes against humanity being committed in Syria, and underscore the need for urgent and practical measures by the international community to protect the defenseless people of Syria.
We must once again ask, what has become of the principle of Responsibility to Protect? What has happened to the international responsibility to protect? Where is the United Nations?
This is a cry that resonates from the cities of Syria to Ashraf to cities and prisons across my homeland, and it must be heard. The world community must fulfill its responsibility to protect the victims of massacres and arbitrary killings at the hands of fascists and dictators.
I would like to tell my sisters and brothers in Syria that we stand with you. We consider your martyrs as our own beloved martyrs. We share in your grief and suffering with every fiber of our being. Your victory would be our victory.
Yes, we tell them that we consider your martyrs as our own beloved martyrs. We share in your grief and suffering with every fiber of our being. Your victory would be our victory.
Dictators have, of course, no other reaction but brutality and shedding of blood when confronted with Homs and Ashraf.
But we tell them that it is Homs and it is Ashraf that will transform the image of the Middle East by advancing freedom and democracy.
Today, February 11, marks the anniversary of a revolution that brought down another dictatorship 33 years ago; a revolution for freedom that inspired solidarity and hope. But an evil being called Khomeini usurped the leadership of the revolution and engaged in suppression and elimination of freedoms to maintain his grip on power.
At the time, we strongly stood against the establishment of an absolute dictatorship under the guise of Islam and we refused to vote for the clerical regime’s reactionary constitution.
We said then and still maintain today that the Iranian people seek free elections and the establishment of a government based on the vote of all members of society, and not another despotic rule.
The constitution that the Iranian people desired and seek today is based on freedom and popular sovereignty and not the rule of the velayat-e faqih (absolute clerical rule), whose conduct we have witnessed throughout the last 33 years.
Khomeini, however, imposed his reactionary constitution on the Iranian people in those days.
Nonetheless, we tried to participate in the political process to guide the Khomeini regime towards a path of reform.
Millions of Iranians, members of ethnic groups across Iran, followers of various religions, different political groups and parties, and especially women and youth who backed Massoud Rajavi’s candidacy in the first presidential elections, lent their support to the resistance movement in this arduous and lengthy struggle.
Many still recall Massoud Rajavi’s lectures in Tehran’s University of Technology. His philosophical lectures sought to introduce the truth about a tolerant and democratic Islam while unmasking Khomeini’s reactionary interpretation of Islam. Those lectures, attended by tens of thousands of people, formed a new cultural and intellectual alternative that challenged the totalitarian regime and represented an antithesis to Khomeini’s fundamentalism. Indeed, they laid the foundations for a movement out of which emerged the largest resistance against the monstrous religious tyranny in Iran.
On the opposing end, Khomeini clearly saw the elimination of his power in a democratic environment. He ordered the mass murder of peaceful protesters in Tehran and heralded an era of countless executions, sinking the Iranian revolution in blood and extremism.
He started with domestic suppression and proceeded to set the stage for a destructive war with Iraq, sending a million Iranians to their deaths. And by the time he drank “the chalice of poison” by accepting the ceasefire, he immediately filled the void left by war with the export of terrorism. The mullahs’ attempts to export terrorism signify a war against the international community and the people of the region from Afghanistan to Iraq to Syria and to Lebanon, one which continues to this day.
Last week, Khamenei confessed that it was with the regime’s support that Lebanon’s Hezbollah was created and has continued to survive through the years.
Therefore, this regime’s history proves that warmongering and terrorism are part and parcel of its evil nature and that it can never abandon them.
Another chapter of this regime’s history was the charade of reformism, initiated once as economic moderation, then as political reform, and later in a feigning support for the Iranian people’s uprising.
But these false reformists have never stopped pledging allegiance to the velayat-e faqih constitution, supporting its nuclear program, or defending the regime’s survival in its entirety.
When the regime’s sham reformism was defeated, Khamenei invented the ultra-reactionary project of “principlism” to draw the battle lines against the Resistance and extensive popular uprisings.
He then appointed Ahmadinejad to execute this plan. The “principlism” project sought to find a way out of the impasse for the regime by engaging in international adventurism and distributing money among the regime’s revolutionary guards and Bassij paramilitary forces. He wanted to break the impasse, but he has failed.
Indeed, both the false reformism and the fascist initiative of “principlism” have been defeated. On the opposing side, it has been the democratic alternative to the clerical regime and the religious fascism ruling Iran that has been elevated more than ever before, continuing to take triumphant strides.
Allow me now to use this opportunity to offer a cursory and simple glimpse at the regime’s record:
On the one hand, the execution of 120,000 political dissidents, including the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, and the catastrophic suppression of women, youth and oppressed ethnic groups and followers of various religions.
On the other hand, the regime has destroyed a vast segment of the middle class and decimated the private sector; At least 40 million people have fallen below the poverty line, the unemployment rate stands at 35 percent, inflation rate is 40 percent, and the national currency is in a free fall. Despite all this, the regime has increased its military budget by 127 percent for the upcoming year in the Iranian calendar.
The record of the clerical regime is ridden with defeats and impasses. But their biggest defeat has been their inability to destroy Iran’s organized resistance.
Yes, the alternative that presents the solution for the future of Iran has over these years passed through the fires of massacres and frightening plots, and now represents the Iranian people’s main asset for achieving freedom.
That is why Ashraf has extraordinary significance both for the Iranian people and the peoples of the Middle East, and also on the opposing front for the velayat-e faqih regime. This is because Ashraf is the inspiration and symbol for freedom; because it has hoisted the flag for the overthrow of the regime and democratic change in Iran during the darkest and the most arduous of circumstances.
A review of the past three decades reveals four fundamental mistakes committed by the West:
First, it wrongly took the regime’s terrorism to be a sign of the mullahs’ power.
Second, it was unaware of the extent of the Iranian people’s hatred towards the ruling mullahs, a resentment that has erupted and has been manifested in recent times in dozens of large uprisings.
Third, it failed to recognize the regime’s inherent weakness and its urgent need for a nuclear weapon in order to avoid being overthrown. This was to the extent that Western governments offered carrots and incentives for years in the hopes of curbing the regime’s nuclear threat.
And fourth, it engaged in a futile search for a moderate faction among mullahs whose regime would implode without relying on velayat-e faqih, suppression, terrorism and the nuclear program.
The important question now becomes: what and where is the main source of such blatant mistakes? And why did Western governments continue to commit these mistakes for years, refusing to believe that their analyses, their outlook and their conducts are all wrong?
The answer is that when it comes to the main issue in Iran’s developments, which is the solution to the situation, they have adopted an erroneous approach, so much so that they participated in the suppression of the Iranian people’s resistance movement for the benefit of the mullahs’ regime. It is regrettable. And how has it done so? By bombing Ashraf in 2003; by attacking the offices of the National Council of Resistance in France in the same year; by transferring the security of Ashraf to the Iraqi government, and by illegally designating the PMOI as a terrorist organization in Europe and the United States.
All the while, the dynamic of the developments of the past three decades has been and still continues to be determined by the struggle to find the right solution. This is while nothing has given a freer hand to the ruling religious fascism and dictatorship more than striking at and impeding the work this Resistance.
Therefore, the history of the past three decades should teach Western governments that:
Averting the regime’s terrorism has only one answer and that is to open the way for the Iranian people’s organized resistance as a solution.
To impede this regime’s infiltration and hegemonic ambitions in the region, one must support this solution, period.
The prevention of this regime from acquiring a nuclear weapon has only one solution and that is to respect the will of the Iranian people for overthrowing the velayat-e faqih regime.
Therefore, allow me to stress that keeping the illegal and unjustified terrorist designation of the PMOI for the past 15 years by the US State Department has been a fundamental mistake. But its continuation in the current circumstances is a mistake which is a hundred times worse.
Yes, keeping the illegal and unjustified terrorist designation of the PMOI for the past 15 years by the US State Department has been a fundamental mistake. But its continuation in the current circumstances is a mistake which is a hundred times worse.
The transfer of the protection of Ashraf residents to the Iraqi government was a huge mistake. But failing to resist Khamenei’s pressures for destroying Ashraf and its residents today is hundreds of times more dangerous.
Everyone is aware that the Iranian Resistance and the residents of Ashraf have thus far exhibited utmost flexibility to advance the peaceful solution.
They have accepted to sacrifice many of their rights in addition to foregoing their right to reside in Iraq, where they have been for the past 25 years, as well as willing to leave the city which they have built on their own.
But, their explicit request, which is to receive the minimum assurances at the new camp, to ensure the safety and dignity of these freedom fighters, especially the women, is an imperative which must be responded to.
There should not be a police station within the camp parameters. The private sphere and property rights of Ashraf residents should be respected. And their freedom of movement should be recognized. Or at least sufficient space should be provided to them so that they can prepare the circumstances appropriately with the least and minimum requirements.
Nevertheless, 400 residents of Ashraf have upon my request accepted to be transferred to the new camp, Camp Liberty, with their vehicles and belongings, as a sign of good will. But, they have emphasized that unless the minimum assurances are given, none of the others will go to Liberty.
You are aware that the United Nations and the Iraqi government signed a Memorandum of Understanding on December 25 without the knowledge and participation of the representatives of Asharf residents.
On January 31, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative announced the readiness of Liberty, the new camp, for the transfer of the residents. But, it then emerged that neither the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) nor the World Health Organization has confirmed that the camp meets human rights and humanitarian standards.
In addition, only one seventh of the new camp is ready and not the entire space.
At the same time, the Iraqi government has repeatedly violated the terms of the MOU, seeking to convert Liberty into a prison. In fact, they want to impose homelessness and forcible displacement on the residents of Asharf.
And in a statement issued on February 1, the UNHCR announced that the Iraqi government has over the past five months obstructed the start of the process of reconfirming the refugee status of people at Ashraf, thereby causing the process to be delayed.
This is while previously they claimed that it is me and the residents themselves who are impeding the work of the UNHCR.
And, by the way, why have they so far refused to respond to the offer and request of 23 U.S. generals and former senior officials to travel to Iraq and inspect Camp Liberty?
They had announced that in order to monitor the first phase of the relocation of Ashraf residents, they stand ready to go there and monitor the situation. So, what explains the silence?
Here I also have to point to the statements by 150,000 lawyers and jurists in Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East, which explicitly demand the UNHCR to insist on its request regarding the voluntary nature of any relocation as well as the freedom of movement within the new camp.
Allow me to once again emphasize that anyone who is sincere about wanting to prevent the failure of the peaceful solution and to avoid another massacre at Ashraf or Liberty, must advocate for minimum assurances.
This responsibility lies with the UN, the EU and the U.S. They must respond to it.
And, moreover, anyone anywhere in the world who wants to confront the immediate threat of this regime must inevitably stand on the side of the residents of Ashraf, because Ashraf is neither a challenge nor an issue; it is the only solution in these critical circumstances. This Resistance is the key to solve the Iranian crisis and it is the key to confront the fascist dictatorship. And if the world wants to reach a logical answer to this crisis, it must inevitably focus on the Iranian Resistance and Ashraf residents.
Dear Friends and Compatriots,
33 years ago on February 11, the Iranian people experienced their immense power when they brought down a dictatorship that was armed to the teeth.
Without a doubt, they will once again display their immense power. But this time it will not only be manifested in defeating a religious fascism but also in building a free and democratic society.
This is a prospect guaranteed by the universe of martyrs: From Ashraf Rajavi and Moussa Khiabani and the martyrs of the PMOI on February 8, 1981 (the anniversary of which was three days ago), to the martyrs of “Ashraf Light” on April 8, 2011.
The result of all the sufferings and the immense blood that has been sacrificed in this period is the unanimous consensus of the Iranian people in favor of establishing a pluralistic republic based on separation of religion and state, gender equality, respect for individual rights, a nuclear-free Iran without the death penalty, and an Iran that will be a guarantor of peace and friendship in the entire region.
Indeed, this is the bright prospect that is before us.
Neither the dictatorship of Bashar Assad in Syria nor the dictatorship of Khamenei in Iran will last.
This is the will of both our peoples and it will triumph.
Yes, this is the will of our peoples and will certainly triumph. Freedom and democracy in Iran and in the region is within reach.
I thank you all.