Note: The largest gathering of Iranians in exile was held in the afternoon of June 22 in Villepinte, near Paris, with the participation of over 600 political dignitaries, lawmakers, and jurists representing a wide spectrum of political tendencies from 47 countries around the world. This is the speech given by Maryam Rajavi at the gathering-Toward freedom in Paris, France, on June 22, 2013.
In the name of God,
In the name of Iran, and in the name of freedom.
In the name of the heroes of the Iranian people’s freedom, from the martyrs of June 20, 1981 and Ashraf Rajavi and Moussa Khiabani, to those massacred and executed in 1988, to Sedigheh Mojaveri and Neda Hassani; from Neda Aqa-Soltan and Sattar Beheshti to the 10 Mojaheds who became immortal on February 9 and June 15 in Liberty.
I salute the heroes of the resistance and perseverance, the combatants of freedom in Ashraf and Liberty as well as political prisoners across Iran. And hail to the valiant people who are preparing for the struggle and uprising.
And last but not least, I want to salute the elected representatives of more than 50 countries as well as senior officials and commanders from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe, Asia, Arab countries and Africa who have gathered here in solidarity with the Iranian people. I hail them all.
The election masquerade, which concluded with the introduction of the mullahs’ new president and the rocket attack on and the killing of the Mojahedin (in Camp Liberty, Iraq), reflects the phase of the regime’s overthrow. That sham had no semblance of a genuine or free election.
The eight handpicked candidates were advisors, aides or representatives of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
And this election was held in circumstances of absolute repression, denial of access to internet, a ban on media and the mobilization of one million Revolutionary Guards and security agents.
In every step of the way, the so-called election revealed the regime’s impasse: from the summary disqualification of the candidates and the utterly ludicrous debate among the candidates to the hasty warp-up of the election. Accordingly, please allow me to underscore several key issues.
1. The regime in its entirety came out weaker after the election and moved a step closer to being overthrown. Khamenei rejected Hashemi Rafsanjani, but in doing so, owing to the regime’s internal balance, he failed to engineer the election such that it could secure the victory of one of his favorite candidates. Fearing the eruption of protests, he gave into the election of mullah Hassan Rowhani.
Afraid that this sham election would turn into a noose around the regime’s neck, Khamenei hastily wrapped it up and gave up on the idea of a run-off. Otherwise, gatherings that had taken place on the eve of the election with the chants of “free all political prisoners” would have quickly turned into widespread uprisings.
2. By firing rockets at Camp Liberty and carrying out a massacre simultaneous with the election, the clerical regime demonstrated what it perceives to be the main threat to the entirety of the regime. Precisely for this reason, several hours before announcing the election result, Khamenei tried to conceal his defeat by attacking Liberty and murdering the combatants of freedom in a bid to warn the Iranian people who were poised to stage uprisings.
3. The ascendance of Rowhani is the byproduct of a series of defeats suffered by the totality of the regime, i.e., Khamenei’s defeat, the disintegration of the ruling faction, Ahmadinejad’s defeat, the impasse of the policy of contraction and the failure and ineptitude of the so-called reformists within the regime. Thus, this is not a choice for reforming the regime or saving it from being overthrown, but rather it is a choice for the final phase of the mullahs’ regime.
4. So long as this regime is in power, nothing will change. The only solution is the overthrow of the clerical regime. As the Iranian Resistance’s Leader Massoud Rajavi said, “the disruption of the evil regime’s internal equilibrium testifies to the Supreme Leader’s weakness and unstable situation. This is a welcome development for the Iranian people because it offers an opportunity for the advancement of the resistance and the uprising.” Nevertheless, as I said after the announcement of the results, we say to the regime’s new president: Nothing will change so long as freedom of expression and human rights are non-existent, so long as political prisoners and political parties are not free, so long as the regime’s intransigent policy in Syria and Iraq remains intact and so long as the regime insists on obtaining nuclear weapons.
This is because the Supreme Leader is well aware that any serious change in these policies would lead to the overthrow of the regime in its entirety. Nevertheless, we say, go ahead, this is your chance.
5. The new president of the clerical regime, who has come to the scene with the slogan of moderation, is a veteran functionary of the regime’s machinery of war, security and repression.
Nevertheless, we say to those western countries and appeasers who are trying in vain to portray such a figure as a moderate that please proceed, and if you can, then compel the regime to retreat from its nuclear program, i.e., drink the chalice of poison. If you can, then compel the mullahs to stop interfering in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
But, I warn that you should not waste any opportunities. After a decade of futile talks, you should not be beguiled by someone who boasts of being quite adept at deceiving westerners. Do not be fooled once again. You must prevent the regime before its nuclear bomb drops on people of the world.
6. Beyond all the election commotion, the ruling regime has waged war on the people of Syria to forestall its overthrow. This dirty war is not to save Assad, but to save Khamenei in Tehran. For, this regime has to spread fundamentalism and terrorism from Afghanistan to Iraq and from Bahrain to Yemen in order to preserve itself.
The world’s conscience is distressed to see that western countries have stood by, only looking on while 100,000 women, men and children in Syria have been massacred. The time has come for you to stop tolerating the Revolutionary Guards and the Quds Force in La-Zeqiyeh, Tartous and Beirut and to end their presence.
So, I warn all the decision makers in the Middle East, Europe and the United States as well as all the countries in the region, including Iran’s neighbors, which are the primary targets of the regime, that the final moments have arrived. So, if they do not want to witness the spread of war and bloodshed in the region, there is no other option but to overthrow this regime.
7. The decades-long experience has demonstrated that appeasing the velayat-e faqih regime is to walk along a failed path. It was this destructive policy that led to disarming and laying siege on the People’s Mojahedin and handing over the security of Camp Ashraf to the Iraqis, thereby delaying the mullahs’ overthrow.
The path to freedom is indeed the third option, i.e., neither appeasement, nor war, but the overthrow of the ruling theocracy by the Iranian people and resistance. This option will come to fruition by the combatant anti-regime forces, the resistance’s cells in Iran and the forces of the democratic revolution of the Iranian people.
In attacking Camp Liberty last week and on the day that the residents of sham election were announced, resulting in the martyrdom of two Mojaheds, Kolthum Serahati and Javad Naqashan, the regime sought to maintain its fragile balance against the main resistance force.
Today, I want to ask the world community, in particular the United Nations and the US Government, why did they not act to prevent this crime.
This massacre was quite predictable and could have been averted.
The regime’s first missile attack on Liberty Prison on February 9th, which left eight residents dead, made it palpably clear that Liberty is completely unsafe. Everyone realized that the forcible eviction of the Ashrafies, facilitated through the deceptive tactics of the UN Special Representative to Iraq, was in truth relocating them to a killing field.
At the time, the natural expectation was that the UN and the US would quickly resolve the security issue because they had committed themselves to the protection of the Mojahedin in Liberty. This was especially the case because Khamenei’s agents were publicly threatening another attack and the Iraqi government had announced explicitly that it cannot ensure the safety of Liberty.
Moreover, the US embassy in Baghdad had predicted that the attack will be repeated.
So, everyone knew that another attack was in the offing. But they did not take even the minimum required security measures.
In the four months since, the Iranian resistance warned the relevant authorities hundreds of times.
I personally and repeatedly wrote to President Obama, the UN Secretary General, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the US Secretary of State and other officials, calling on them to prevent the next massacre.
We wrote that the residents of Liberty are vulnerable to any attack. We said that there are no shelters at Liberty, so allow the residents to bring inside the protective T-Walls currently outside the walls of the Camp and to transfer their personal protective gear such as helmets and vests from Ashraf, and allow them to return to the relatively safer Ashraf, from where they could be relocated to other countries.
But the reality is that during this period, UNAMI could have easily brought the protective gear for the residents. The US embassy could have easily secured the transfer of the T-Walls inside the Liberty.
The UN Secretary General and the US government could have paved the way for the return of the residents from Liberty to Ashraf.
But in the four months since the attack, they stood by and did nothing.
Instead, UN Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler, justified the Iraqi government’s turning Liberty into a prison, and through widespread demonization and concocted false reports he laid the blame squarely on the residents themselves.
It also blamed the Iranian Resistance for the failure of the resettlement process to third countries. They kept repeating this nonsense over and over in a bid to overshadow the issue of Liberty’s lack of security.
It is now time for them to be held to account for the blood that was spilled and for the lives that were lost. Ignoring a preventable crime is no longer simply appeasement, cowardice, or passivity. It is complicity in criminal activity and those complicit must be prosecuted.
It is regrettable indeed that the UN and the US are insisting that thousands of residents remain under the barrage of the clerical regime’s missiles and rely on hollow promises and piecemeal relocation to third countries, not knowing how long that would take.
For the past three years, we have knocked on every door to relocate Ashrafies to other countries. We have knocked on all doors. We have said time and again that we would pay for all the expenses. But 16 months after relocation from Ashraf to Liberty, only dozens have been transferred to Albania through our own efforts and expense while tolerating pressures. Eight have gone elsewhere. This is while 210 were supposed to be resettled in Albania by the end of April.
Thus, now that you cannot implement the resettlement plan, you have no right to pay for this failure with the blood of the Iranian people’s children.
Open the doors of Liberty and let the Mojahedin return to Ashraf right now. Yes, right now, right now.
The velayat-e faqih regime sees its own survival dependant on the destruction of the Mojahedin. This dynamic has made Ashraf and Liberty the focal point of the struggle against the inhumane clerical regime.
And I have said many times that the clerical regime does not really want the Mojahedin to leave Ashraf or Iraq. The regime’s objective is to physically eliminate the Mojahedin or force them into surrender. There is no third option.
Precisely for this reason, the Iranian regime is the main obstacle to the protection of Liberty residents or their return to Camp Ashraf.
In reality, a well-conceived design and plan was in the works to dismantle the Mojahedin. This plan was advanced by the UN Special Representative to Iraq in coordination with the mullahs’ regime, ranging from the forcible relocation to turning Liberty into a prison.
And when they encountered the Mojahedin’s perseverance, they resorted to attacking and killing them.
Yet, despite all the pressures, the Mojahedin’s steadfastness and campaigns advanced by the supporters of the resistance came to fruition and pushed aside Martin Kobler, who is Maliki’s and Khamenei’s ally, and you ultimately prevailed.
Now, the person who was on a mission to dismantle the Mojahedin has himself been exposed and sacked.
So, we tell the likeminded people and equals to learn from this experience. You are at the end of a line which began with Khomeini. Khomeini failed in his ominous mission to destroy the Mojahedin. As such, Khamenei and his accomplices will gain nothing but failure and disgrace.
In opposition to the beast of suppression and crime, whose targets range from Iran’s cities and villages to Damascus and Baghdad, a resolute resistance movement has fortunately stood tall and symbolizes the dignity, credibility and raison d’être of Iran and Iranians.
This is a movement comprised of the most enlightened and the most selfless children of the Iranian people, who are the focal point of hope and guarantee freedom.
But who laid the grounds for this strategic treasure trove and how and by following what path has he brought it to fruition?
Khomeini hijacked the Iranian revolution and perverted Iranian culture and the values of struggle using a reactionary mindset and demagoguery. He subjugated our nation to repression, war and backwardness.
But, who was it that challenged Khomeini by raising the mantra of a democratic revolution in Iran, in stark contrast with Khomeini’s “Islamic Revolution”?
Who stood against Khomeini’s destructive aggression by hoisting the flag of uncompromising resistance?
Who was it that shed light on the confusing political atmosphere and decisively said that the main slogan of the Iranian revolution is freedom and the main threat to it is the reactionary and religious dictatorship?
Who was it that said that the viper of the regime will never give birth to a dove of reform and moderation, something that has been proved over the past 30 years?
Now, I ask you, who was that person?
Indeed, it was Massoud Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian Resistance.
It is Massoud and his path that inspired hope in Mojahedin prisoners, who have and who will wage resistance under torture.
Those executed and massacred have cried out his name and path.
And what he said three decades ago still resonates today: “I have been lashed thousands of times; they have put the noose around my neck thousands of times. I represent the generation of countless heroes, and I have come to sacrifice myself for the freedom of my enchained nation.”
Indeed, his words herald emancipation for those who yearn for freedom. And the enemies of freedom view his words as sinful and criminal.
It was Massoud Rajavi who founded the National Council of Resistance of Iran and the National Liberation Army of Iran and guided the Iranian people’s organized resistance through a tsunami of bombings, attacks and encirclement.
Precisely for this reason, as is the case with all other bitter experiences of history, the enemy’s hand and the poisonous daggers of treachery are busy at character assassination and physical elimination.
In the United States, Abraham Lincoln was called a dictator and lacking qualifications because he had signed the declaration against slavery.
During the oil nationalization movement, the great Dr. Mossadeq was attacked as a demagogue, selfish and egocentric.
And today, we are witness to the synchronized chorus of Khamenei, Maliki and Kobler and their functionaries who pursue the very same ominous intentions.
For the record, let me shed light on the scope of this scheme: Last July, after halting my meetings with Martin Kobler, a stellar group of distinguished US and European dignitaries, who are present here, intervened and so I agreed to meet him. During this meeting, notwithstanding Kobler’s connivance and subterfuge to set the stage for the Mojahedin’s forcible relocation from Ashraf to Liberty, he was insisting on getting some information on Massoud Rajavi, having earlier met and carried out detailed discussions with the mullahs’ intelligence officials. I vehemently protested. But he continued to insist on asking questions about the matter in an extremely suspicious manner and, while pretending to take a position of compassion, even told me that he was merely interested in protecting Massoud Rajavi during the relocation process. This insistence angered all the personalities present in the meeting and some questioned his motives for asking such dubious questions.
Parallel with Kobler’s attempts to trace and track, the Iranian regime’s agents among Maliki’s military and plain clothes officers, while being supervised by Kobler’s colleagues, began photographing the Mojahedin in the course of the searches when the last remaining convoys were been transferred from Ashraf to Liberty. When the Mojahedin protested, Kobler urged prudence and silence on the part of the Mojahedin instead of preventing this act of espionage.
Obviously, everyone knows who was and is behind such schemes.
In the words of the renowned Iranian poet, Ahmad Shamlou,
“He who knocks on the door at night;
Has come to extinguish the light,
Stand ready at the crossroads,
With blood-stained machetes in hand.”
But I must say that despite all the conspiracies and treachery, the generation whom Massoud Rajavi has reared will have the final word; the very generation of the countless heroes that roars these words: In the desolate land of tyranny and suppression, we represent the love for a freedom that encapsulates the essence of humanity. In the midst of darkness, lies and hostility, we represent the sacrifice and sincerity that paves the way forward. And in the darkness and gloom produced by the absolute clerical rule, we embody the winning resolve that inspires and gives rise to the army of liberation which will overthrow the regime.
In the political and public affairs arena, we are witness to the vengeance directed at Massoud Rajavi and his combatants.
They ask why are they insisting on overthrowing the ruling theocracy and why are they not prepared to dissolve the Mojahedin organization?
In a nutshell, they complain because we are struggling and resisting.
They say because the resistance has not disintegrated, because its members have not surrendered and refused to abandon their ideals, they are at fault.
Indeed, this is precisely the logic of the henchmen, who claim that the tortured prisoner has only himself to blame because had he not resisted, he would not have been tortured. If he had kneeled, and cooperated with the henchmen, he would not have been executed.
According to this logic, all the pioneers in history have themselves to blame for their suffering, homelessness and death.
On this basis, Jesus Christ had himself to blame for being crucified because he told his disciples that they must not be afraid of death and must pick up their crosses and join him.
And our leader, Imam Hussein was to blame for his own martyrdom and that of his supporters on Ashura, because he rose against oppression.
If this is the case, we are pride to have committed the offenses and the crimes you are accusing us of perpetrating.
We are proud of these allegations and the pain and suffering, which are our only assets and a sign of our resistance and defiance. We will never abandon our struggle for freedom. This is the secret to our endurance.
The mullahs’ 35-year rule has resulted in killings, devastation, impoverishment, addiction, high prices and unemployment.
May you and your regime be cursed for forcing five million Iranians to sleep hungry every night!
May you be damned because the sale of body parts in Iran is greater than any other country!
And may you be cursed because you have filled the streets of Tehran with child laborers, so many women roaming the streets, and so many young addicts.
But, in the face of so much sadness and pain, we only strengthen our resolve a thousand times to realize the Iranian people’s freedom and happiness
O’ blissful freedom,
How shall I greet you?
On the day of your return
The blood that flows
Greets your steps
Like a bouquet of red roses
Last year, in this very hall, one of our urgent tasks was to remove the Mojahedin from the US terror list.
The judgment by the federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, your struggle and campaign and the efforts by the justice-seeking friends of the resistance in the US and Europe as well as the perseverance of the combatants of freedom in Ashraf and Liberty finally resulted in the delisting.
Our objective in getting the designation revoked was to remove a major obstacle in the path of change in Iran. Now, after the victory, it is time that we expand this struggle everywhere to overthrow the velayat-e faqih regime.
Of course, overthrowing this regime will not happen by itself. It requires a resistance movement with a cohesive and united organization, with members ready to sacrifice, with popular support, with financial independence, with the widespread presence of women in all arenas and with a democratic alternative with clear objectives and plan.
So, allow me here to recall the Ten-point plan articulated by this resistance movement. The blood of the martyrs, the suffering of those incarcerated and the efforts of the combatants of freedom lend credibility to this plan.
1. In our view, the ballot box is the only criterion for legitimacy. Accordingly, we seek a republic based on universal suffrage.
2. We want a pluralist system, freedom of parties and assembly. We respect all individual freedoms. We underscore complete freedom of expression and of the media and unconditional access by all to the internet.
3. We support and are committed to the abolition of death penalty.
4. We are committed to the separation of Religion and State. Any form of discrimination against the followers of any religion and denomination will be prohibited.
5. We believe in complete gender equality in political, social and economic arenas. We are also committed to equal participation of women in political leadership. Any form of discrimination against women will be abolished. They will enjoy the right to freely choose their clothing. They are free in marriage, divorce, education and employment.
6. We believe in the rule of law and justice. We want to set up a modern judicial system based on the principles of presumption of innocence, the right to defense, effective judicial protection and the right to be tried in a public court. We also seek the total independence of judges. The mullahs’ Sharia law will be abolished.
7. We are committed to the equality of all nationalities. We underscore the plan for the autonomy of Iranian Kurdistan, adopted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran. The language and culture of our compatriots from whatever nationality, are among our nation’s human resources and must spread and be promulgated in tomorrow’s Iran.
8. We recognize private property, private investment and the market economy. All Iranian people must enjoy equal opportunity in employment and in business ventures. We will protect and revitalize the environment.
9. Our foreign policy will be based on peaceful coexistence, international and regional peace and cooperation, as well as respect for the United Nations Charter.
10. We want a non-nuclear Iran, free of weapons of mass destruction.
We are not saying that the mullahs must go so that we could replace them.
We are saying that the Iranian people’s vote, choice and opinion must have sovereignty.
We have come to sacrifice ourselves for the Iranian people’s free choice.
This choice will herald trust, freedom and justice in Iran. And it shall be so.
Supporters of the resistance,
You ask what our policy is and what path lies ahead of us?
The answer is to carry on the fight in all its forms, everywhere and with full power.
You ask what our goal is.
The answer is to establish freedom, democracy and equality in the fettered Iran.
If this struggle faces difficulty and hardship, if it is long and torturous, so be it. We are not afraid because we have risen to sacrifice all of our being and existence to the cause of the Iranian people’s freedom.
So, we must rise up by relying on the force of wisdom to fight on with the beast of oppression. And we shall fight, until we uproot the dragon and sketch a new plan.
Hail to Freedom,
Hail to the Iranian people,
Hail to the Mojahedin in Ashraf and Liberty
Hail to all of you.