Time to Redress a Grave Injustice

The world watches with apprehension as Iran's ruling mullahs persist with violations of human rights, sponsorship of terrorism, and nuclear development. The regime threatens regional and global security through a lethal mix of fundamentalism and nuclear weapons.
As the EU has tried "constructive engagement" with the clerical regime, the mullahs have shown no willingness to respond properly, demanding that the main opposition group, the People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), be listed as a terrorist group. Giving in to that demand has only helped those who use terror at home and sponsor it abroad, while the mullahs' nuclear programme continues.

It is time for the EU to focus on the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people. Europe and the rest of the world should be on the side of the millions demanding freedom and human rights, not those who have stolen these from them.

We co-chaired a symposium at Church House, Westminster, London, on 22 March, where dozens of members of both Houses of Parliament from the three major political parties joined more than 500 lawyers, human rights advocates, trade unionists, clergymen, student activists and members of the Anglo-Iranian community to call on the Government to de-proscribe the PMOI and remove a serious impediment to democratic change in Iran.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said via satellite link-up, "The terrorist label against the Iranian Resistance is not only a move against an opposition movement. It is capitulation to the dictates of the ayatollahs and a barrier to change in Iran."

Rejecting both appeasement and military intervention, Mrs. Rajavi called for support for democratic change by the Iranian people and the Iranian resistance movement.

With the law on the side of the resistance, we must stand by the Iranian people in their struggle against the religious tyranny. On 15 March, millions of young Iranians heeded the PMOI's call to turn the traditional end-of-Persian-year fire festival into a national protest against mullahs' tyranny. These young Iranians need the support and encouragement of freedom-loving people around the world. By blacklisting their resistance movement, we are sending them the opposite signal.

The terrorist tag must be hung around the neck of the real terrorists, the mullahs who rule Iran, not their victims. The symposium in London was part of a growing campaign to undo this injustice.

Appeasement must end and the PMOI removed from the terror list to signal support for democratic change by the Iranian people and their legitimate representative, the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

Rt. Hon. The Lord Slynn of Hadley, QC

Iranian people must be given the right to choose

Leader of the Iranian Resistance participated in the International Conference of Women Against Fundamentalism in Paris

Maryam Rajavi: Iranian people must be given the right to choose
There is no need for a military attack, democracy will prevail
We have the ability to lead a change. The world should help us.

Interview conducted by Stefanella Campana, Carla Reschia in Paris

Paris - 26 February - "Iran is not Iraq. It is us who will topple the ayatollahs' regime", said Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), during a speech at the women's conference against fundamentalism.

She highlighted the role of her movement after U.S. President George Bush reiterated that Iran is on the agenda in the talks over international issues. Since its foundation during the Shah's reign, the Iranian Mojahedin, being a secular Muslim organization, has recognized women's role in leadership.

They claim they were the first to reveal the Iranian government's financial support for international terrorism and their nuclear ambitions.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran has been able to clear itself from terrorism charges and received refugee status for its members in Camp Ashraf at the Iran-Iraq border.

Maryam Rajavi, in her speech in the European Parliament in December, revealed the severe increase in stoning to death punishment and the unprecedented number of arbitrary arrests, showing a sharp increase in repression by the regime. She urged an end to the appeasement policy toward the ayatollahs.

Q. Neither war nor appeasement, what solution does the NCRI suggest to remove the regime in Tehran?

A. As I said at the European Parliament in Strasburg, the Iranian people are at a point where they want to choose.
We have to put them in a situation to do that.
We neither need financial support nor weapons.
We have an extensive social and political network across the country with enough political influence to lead a democratic change in Iran. This is the only way to stop another war.

Q. Do you have any faith in Khatami's moderation?

A. As we have announced before, the so-called moderates turned to be hollow and shallow. Khatami is not different from other fundamentalists.
He did not stop torture and repression in prisons and stoning to death continues. He could not even stop the elimination of 'moderate' candidates in the last election.
The ruling ayatollahs in Iran and the people who support them are trying to reason that there is no alternative under the current circumstances to either continue with the status quo or a military invasion.
Here is where Europe can play an important role.
Up until now Europe has only been dealing with the theocrats in Tehran, but it is the time they realize they are directly facing a great threat.

They have to understand a democratic regime in Iran would be also in their interests.

On January 13, the European Parliament condemned the continuing human rights violations in Iran. That is important, but there must be a serious and focused policy.

Q. What is the practical solution you suggest?

A. We have suggested a third option as a practical solution, a referendum under UN supervision which allows people to choose.
Eventually, free election to form a constitutional assembly for drafting a new constitution. We want a free, secular Iran.
An Iran in which all religions and ethnic minorities bear equal rights and human rights are guaranteed for everyone.

Q. Do you believe that ayatollahs would submit to such referendum?

A. No. they know they will lose. For that reason the international community should put pressure on the regime. A movement against fundamentalism should be formed to isolate this regime and any engagement with them must stop. Our rights have to be recognized.

Q. As it appears now, the United States, compared with the Europeans, is more decisive in giving an ultimatum to Tehran, what do you expect from Bush?

A. They should take the People's Mojahedin off the terrorist list. In 1997 this movement was put on the list of terrorist organizations to appease Khatami. They should recognize us as the political representatives of an opposition that has been independent for the past 25 years.

Last November, here in Paris, 500 jurists and human rights experts, expressed their opinion and declared that labeling us as terrorists is a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Q. What is the role of Islam in your plans?

A. The ayatollahs have changed the Quran to their own advantage and are using it out of context. We are Muslim, but we respect all beliefs. In our political views, we believe in the separation of religion and state and this is reflected in our political platform. Our strength is driven by our women. The mullahs' regime suppressed them in every way they could and counted them as the source of corruption and violence. But, we are the antidote, their natural opposition.

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