- - Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I cannot find any words capable of describing the trust you are bestowing on me other than to say that I am humbled and that your outpouring of emotion is a reminder of the great responsibility that you have put on my shoulders.

Every single day and night, my mind is preoccupied with the hope and anticipation that I will one day be able to fulfill this responsibility, a responsibility that I have to you, the Iranian people, to history and to God Almighty.

I have come to convey the words of those who have not been heard, those who are the decisive force in Iran; the words of those who have been oppressed, but whose resolve will change the face of Iran. In this endeavor, I rely on your determination and conviction and I want you to know that I rely on and need each and every one of you.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Onwards to freedom in Iran: Bipartisan voices call for democratic change

One year has passed since the signing of the nuclear agreement between world powers and the velayat-e faqih regime (absolute clerical rule) in Iran.

The events of the past year can be summed up by the following: Ali Khamenei’s faction failed to find a way out of the crisis engulfing the entire regime. The faction led by (former regime president) Hashemi Rafsanjani and Hassan Rouhani, who viewed this agreement as a ladder on which to climb, fell headfirst instead.

Western governments and corporations that were dreaming of seeing a golden city in Iran instead found themselves among the wreckage created by the velayat-e faqih system.

Indeed, both factions failed in subduing a profoundly discontented society. In 2011, near the end of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s tenure, Khamenei realized that his regime was in peril. To save it, in his own words, he turned to the United States through “a reputable regional intermediary” and expressed readiness to abandon the nuclear program.

In September 2013, as the news of the nuclear talks was being made public, Khamenei ordered the massacre of Camp Ashraf residents, engaged in back-channel deals and resorted to slaughter to save Bashar al-Assad in Syria… He ultimately retreated or in the very least temporarily abandoned the nuclear weapons program. But the crisis engulfing the regime could not be contained. To the contrary, it was exacerbated, pushing the regime deeper into the quagmire of the Syrian war.

Simultaneously, the Rafsanjani-Rouhani faction sought to portray itself as the savior of the regime through the slogan of moderation. They assumed that after the nuclear deal all doors would instantly be opened for the regime, enabling them to find a way to contain the protest movement inside the country.

In the year since the nuclear accord, many of the sanctions were lifted and oil exports increased. But the generated revenues were poured into the inferno of the Syrian war. Dozens of political and business delegations visited Tehran, where they found a bankrupt, unstable and totally corrupt system.

The country’s economy was supposed to be fixed. But instead it plunged into recession more than ever before. The banking system is in ruins and factories closed down like autumn leaves.

The regime wanted to improve its relations with the rest of the world, but instead expanded its intervention in neighboring countries. As a result, at least six regional and neighboring governments severed their relations with the regime. In the end, they staged a sham election and resorted to massive propaganda about the victory of illusory moderates. But the result was the continuation of the Supreme Leader’s domination over both Assemblies, which Khamenei engineered and to which Rafsanjani consented. Indeed, this is the reality of masquerades about moderation and reform in Iran.

Today, Iranian workers say that Rouhani’s administration has imposed the most repressive policies against workers. Artists and musicians say that the scale of restrictions and pressures in the three years of Rouhani has been unprecedented since the revolution.

Our Kurdish, Arab and Baluchi compatriots, as well as the followers of other religions — especially our Sunni sisters and brothers — say that they have been subjected to repression and discrimination as never before The number of executions each year is two to three times the figure during Rouhani’s predecessor.

In other words, neither the deception about moderation nor the hoopla about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has succeeded in opening doors for the regime. Even if the international community had provided the regime with the greatest opportunities, Tehran would still remain feeble and incapable of resolving the crises engulfing it.

Owing to explosive public discontent, the regime is constantly gripped by fundamental instability. Additionally, it has come face-to-face with a capable and vigilant alternative force. It is aware that this very alternative has the ability to steer crises in the direction of overthrowing the entire regime.

Looking at what transpired in the past year, we can ascertain three fundamental realities:

First, both factions failed to find a way to preserve the regime. What is more, why should the Iranian people jump from the frying pan into the fire? The Iranian people reject the turban, whether it is white or black. The velayat-e faqih regime must be overthrown in its entirety.

The second reality is that because of the Iranian people’s simmering desire for freedom and their readiness to fight on, the overthrow of the religious dictatorship is possible and within reach.

The third reality is that a real solution stands out, which entails that no other solution exists within the ruling religious dictatorship itself. As a result, the solution offered by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, namely the overthrow of the ruling theocracy, is the most viable one.

This solution is underpinned by the existence of a democratic alternative. It is a solution based on the Iranian society’s simmering state and readiness. The suffering that political prisoners endure after staging lengthy hunger strikes exemplifies this resistance.

Our nation’s workers are flogged and teachers are given long prison terms, but they refuse to give up and continue to fight. Our nation’s young women and men are being arrested and humiliated every day, but they continue to defy the mullahs’ impositions. Mothers are imprisoned and endure a multitude of pressures, but they continue to demand justice. The combatants of freedom in Camp Liberty, Iraq, are shelled, and face death by attrition because of hardships and a crippling siege, but they refuse to surrender, symbolizing resistance against the ruling regime. This demonstrates our movement’s endless prowess. Our nation has arisen to secure its liberty even if it means “plucking it out of the dragon’s mouth.”

Today, therefore, the question is not whether the ruling theocracy will be overthrown. The question is how we can reach that goal more quickly. To achieve a free and just republic in Iran, we do not expect any miracles to happen. Nor do we expect any coincidental or chance occurrences in our favor. Our entire asset base consists of the Iranian nation and its vanguard children.

We are full of hope because we have a history that has supplied the backbone needed to achieve freedom; because our nation has within it the capacity to produce major change, and because we have an organized movement that has built a bridge to the future through its sacrifice and resistance.

International stakeholders assumed that the nuclear deal with Iran would bring tranquility and calm to the region. But, instead, it rained down barrel bombs and 70,000 Revolutionary Guards on the people of Syria. It resulted in ethnic cleansing of Sunnis by the terrorist Quds Force in Iraq. And it led to the spread of extremism under the banner of Islam in the whole region.

The Iranian Resistance stands with the brother nation of Syria and its brave combatants. It is honored to act as the voice of solidarity between the two nations.

In confronting us, the mullahs and Daesh are reading from the same script. Both espouse a similar reactionary ideology, which is diametrically opposed to the pristine teachings of Islam. They have a similar modus operandi when it comes to barbarity and savagery. They need to rely on one another to survive. For this reason, so long as the regime’s occupation of Syria, Iraq and Yemen continues, we cannot confront Daesh effectively.

Regrettably, the notion of practical coordination with the terrorist Quds Force is being justified on the pretext of confronting Daesh. I warn that any silence vis—vis such an approach or any collaboration with the mullahs would enable them to commit genocide and to infringe upon the national sovereignty of countries in the region.

We offer a solution that presents the only effective, the most indispensable and the most attainable option: the right of the Iranian people to overthrow the religious dictatorship and attain freedom and democracy. This must be recognized.

This solution does not only benefit the Iranian people. It also amounts to a breakthrough for the region and for the world. Many elected representatives of people throughout the world as well as senior U.S., European, Australian, Canadian, Asian and Middle Eastern personalities and dignitaries — who support freedom and democracy in Iran and the security of, and protection for, the residents of Liberty — proudly attest to this reality.

Throughout history, no obstacle and no barrier, however impenetrable and fortified, has succeeded in hindering this mandate. And in this light, the ruling religious dictatorship cannot withstand the power of the Iranian people’s Resistance.

Indeed, a new era will dawn in Iran; a society based on democracy, separation of religion and state, and gender equality will blossom.

To achieve this glorious objective, we have chosen to resist. We have chosen to resist anywhere and in any form to bring the ideal of freedom to fruition. We have chosen to resist so long as oppression and tyranny persist. And we are honored and proud to have made this choice.

We will not relent until the day when freedom, democracy and equality roar like a powerful torrent from Azerbaijan to Balochistan and from Khorasan to Khuzestan.

We will not relent until the day when Iranians of all persuasions and divergences can join hands to hoist the flag of victory, the flag of a free and democratic Iran.

Maryam Rajavi is the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. These excerpts are from Mrs. Rajavi’s remarks to the July 9 rally in Paris.

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