Maryam Rajavi is the leader of a combination of Iranian Resistance forces that fight for freedom in Iran. She is the elected president of the National Council of Resistance in Iran, an umbrella name for a group of resistance groups in the country. The PMOI/MEK party forms a significant percentage and acts as an exile government of Iran. Click here to read about the biography of Maryam Rajavi.
Rise to Political Activism
Rajavi began fighting for democracy in Iran since she was young. The death of her two sisters fuelled her political ambitions. Shah Mohammed’s secret police killed one of them while the other was tortured and murdered by the Khomeini’s Revolutionary Guards. It was then that she decided to become a member of the People’s Mujaheddin of Iran (PMOI) in a bid to overthrow the evil regime that was strongly supported by the United States. Her brother Mahmoud had also joined the MEK and was held prisoner during Shah’s regime. Later, she became an official of the movement before joining the social department after the Iranian Revolution. Frantic efforts of the Mujaheddin saw the Shah of Iran overthrown in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution.
In 1980, Maryam Rajavi ran for a Parliamentary position in Tehran where she garnered 250,000 votes. Her victory was short-lived as the ruling mullahs banned anyone who was found relating with MEK from holding an administrative position. These fundamentalist forces were hardly interested in creating a democratic state in Iran. As a result, they joined forces to fight against MEK members, dashing any hopes for freedom in Iran. Ruhollah Khomeini was made the leader of the fundamentalists’ forces and was responsible for hijacking the planned revolution, marking the end of the Mujaheddin participation in post-Shah activities. The most memorable event is the rally that Maryam helped organize where close to 500,000 people attended. Police arrested thousands of the suspected Mujaheddin supporters and executed them. Maryam managed to flee to France, the then headquarters of MEK. It was then that the National Liberation Army was formed and Maryam made Deputy Commander in Chief. In 1993, Rajavi was elected president of the resistance group, which meant that if Iran’s fundamentalist regime was overthrown, she would assume office.
During her 25-year tenure, Maryam’s work has transformed the lives of many women and taken a leading role in building an active resistance group for Iran. She has achieved this by:
- Increasing women’s role in the NCRI; women hold half of the positions.
- Increased support from the international community by highlight the NCRI as the main part campaigning for democracy in Iran
- Maryam fought to remove MEK from the terrorism listing in the US. The West had included it in a bid to appease the fundamentalist’s regime.
- Supported the safe relocation of MEK members who were living in exile to Albania as they lived in fear of the Iranian regime
- Increased MEK’s credibility in the international community by providing evidence that discredited the lies that were spread by the Fundamentalists. MEK’s exposure of the ongoing nuclear program operated by the Iranian regime also strengthened support from the international community.