National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) President-elect, Maryam Rajavi, is a political activist dedicated to the restoration of democracy in Iran.
Born Dec. 4 1953 in Tehran Iran, Rajavi began as an activist in college, helping to organize the student movement against the Shah while earning a bachelor's degree in metallurgy from the Sharif University of Technology. She has stated that her political activism officially began following the death of her sister, Narges, who was executed by SAVAK agents. Rajavi would later lose another sister, Massoumeh, to the Khomeini's regime.
Following the Iranian Revolution, she joined The People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), as an official in the social section. Rajavi ran for a seat in the first Majlis (parliament) in Feb. 1980, but was unsuccessful in large part due to manipulation by the mullahs.
Rajavi fled Iran and become a joint leader of the PMOIin 1985.She was married toMassoud Rajavi shortly after, and in 1989, was elected secretary general of the PMOI, serving in this capacity until 1993.
Rajavi was elected President-elect of the NCRI in 1993, and is currently leading the charge for democracy in Iran, stating, "Freedom is the most precious value. It is the very essence of progress.... for us, freedom is an ideal and a conviction. It is the spirit that guides our resistance. Freedom is the raison d'être of our movement, it is the reason for its growth and development."
A proponent of freedom in Iran overall, Rajavi is a major supporter of equality for women in particular, publishing three books on the subject. Maryam Rajavi's book "Women Against Fundamentalism," explains the experiences of women in the Iranian Resistance and their struggle against Islamic fundamentalism, while "Islam, Women and Equality," and "Women, the Force for Change," are both speech compilations
Rajavi also speaks frequently on the topic, once stating, "Iranian women must free themselves. Freedom does not come free and no one will ever deliver it to us in a silver platter. We must build relationships that are unimpeded by gender-based distinctions and discrimination. The path to liberation begins the moment you believe that no one can prevent the liberation of a woman who has chosen to be free of all fetters we all know too well."
Today, nearly half of the members of the NCRI are women, filling positions in international, political, social and cultural affairs. Maryam Rajavi continues her advocacy efforts in the fight for human rights and democracy in Iran.