Sunday 3 September

from 4-7pm

The Decorium, 22

Western Road,

Wood Green

London N22 6UH

We are here today celebrating the 59th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran/ the Mojahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK). I’m proud to have worked with them for 21 of those years.  The PMOI is one of five member organisations of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a political coalition headquartered in Paris, where it is effectively a parliament and government in-exile, numbering around 460 members, representing all religious and ethnic minorities in Iran, including Kurds, Baluchis, Armenians, Jews, and Zoroastrians. The coalition has tens of thousands of active supporters worldwide and indeed at the recent Free Iran World Summit in Paris, over 500 distinguished international figures took part.

The mullahs are horrified at the surge of international support for the PMOI and the charismatic President-elect of the NCRI - Mrs Maryam Rajavi. Worldwide, a statement championing the NCRI and the PMOI and the right of the Iranian people to overthrow their corrupt and brutal regime, has gained the support of more than 3,600 MPs and senators, including a majority in the US Congress, a majority in Italy, the Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, France, Slovenia, the UK and many more. The statement of support was also signed this summer by 124 former world leaders, including 52 former Presidents, 54 former Prime Ministers, one former Chancellor, and nine other former Heads of State from across the world. Two former Presidents of the European Commission and three Nobel Peace Prize laureates were also among those who signed. 

Mike Pence, the former US Vice President and current presidential candidate, added his signature and attended the Free Iran Summit in Paris in July in person, as did many hundreds of the eminent signatories. Those who signed the statements have shown their outright support for Mrs Rajavi’s 10-point plan as a blueprint for Iran’s future, built upon the pillars of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, within a secular and democratic republic. Who would have imagined such a surge of worldwide support when the PMOI was founded 59 years ago? 

But during that time the organisation has gone through a baptism of fire. In 1988, the then Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa ordering the massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners in jails across Iran. It was a crime against humanity and one of the worst acts of malicious butchery since the end of WWII.  The UN Special Rapporteur on Iran is now calling for an investigation into the 1988 massacre with the aim of prosecuting those found responsible. The majority of those executed were members or supporters of the PMOI. They were mostly young, well-educated, Iranian men and women. 

Some had been imprisoned for supporting the PMOI and had been released after serving their sentences. They were re-arrested in their thousands and subjected to arbitrary 3-minute trials in which they were asked a single question: “Do you still support the PMOI?” If they answered “Yes” they were immediately sent for execution. Batches of six at a time, were hanged in prison gymnasiums. Their bodies were then buried secretly, and their families ordered to remain silent under threat of prosecution. One of the key executioners during the 1988 massacre was Ebrahim Raisi, now the President of Iran, known as ‘The Butcher of Tehran,’ for his role in the killings.

Undeterred, courageous Resistance Units of the PMOI have continued the struggle. They have faced vicious suppression at home and a campaign of demonization and murderous terror by the mullahs abroad. They have also faced acts of appalling appeasement by western nations, but they have met such challenges with amazing resolve and courage. We should never forget that to the complete astonishment of Western intelligence agencies, it was the PMOI resistance network inside Iran, at great personal risk, who first exposed the Iranian regime’s top secret nuclear weapons programme, by announcing the existence of a uranium enrichment facility in Natanz in 2002.

With the Iranian economy in freefall as a result of decades of corruption, maladministration, and financing proxy wars across the Middle East, 70% of the 85 million Iranian population are now struggling to survive on incomes below the international poverty line. The mullahs are in blind panic. They see support for the PMOI and its Resistance Units burgeoning across Iran. They know that Iran is a tinderbox waiting to explode. The nationwide uprising caused by the death, last September, of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the so-called morality police, saw tens of millions take to the streets, mainly led by women. The mullahs killed 750 protesters and jailed over 33,000, but the PMOI controlled and coordinated the uprising, torching IRGC and Basij command posts, destroying regime effigies and banners of Ayatollah Khamenei and pasting up posters of Mrs Rajavi and the PMOI. They hacked into government websites and into main government broadcast channels, with ant-regime and pro-PMOI messages.

The regime has reacted in its usual way with arbitrary arrests, torture and executions. Indeed, in a frenzy of killings aimed at terrifying the rebellious population, the theocratic regime has hanged 56 people in the past month alone. Iran is now the leading per-capita executioner in the world. But it is brave PMOI women who have been at the forefront of the resistance. 

Having been held back for decades by a misogynist regime that despises females, the women within the PMOI are a hugely influential and powerful force, representing a source of inspiration and empowerment to the millions of women in Iran. It is this fact that petrifies the Iranian regime and the reason why they have such utter contempt for the PMOI and for the women within it.

Now young Iranian women are joining the resistance units that are springing up in every town and city in Iran. In the nationwide uprisings, tens of thousands of courageous female teachers, medical staff, nurses, students, factory workers and pensioners, chanting “Down with the dictator, be it the Shah or the Mullahs”,  have taken to the streets to demand an end to corruption, an end to discrimination and repression and an end to the clerical regime’s aggressive military adventurism across the Middle East. Hundreds of women have been amongst those killed by the IRGC and thousands more have been arrested. Brave women are now routinely joining their brothers to demand regime change and an end to the misogyny and repression which has terrorized not only the Iranian people for the past four decades, but a vast part of the Middle East as well. 

So, the medieval mullahs see the PMOI as the greatest threat to the continuation of their venally corrupt and vicious regime with good reason. Over the past 40 years, the PMOI has been the first and only serious opposition movement calling for the entire theocracy's overthrow and advocating for regime change at the hands of the Iranian people themselves. They have stood as a testament to the power of unity, resilience, and the unwavering spirit of those who seek to liberate a nation shackled by oppressive rule. They oppose all forms of dictatorship, be it the mullahs’ theocratic regime or the dictatorship of the Shah. 

Western powers must now blacklist the IRGC and call on the UN and the International Courts of Justice to indict the current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the President - Ebrahim Raisi and their cohorts, and to hold them accountable for crimes against humanity and human rights abuse. They must face trial in the Hague. The turbaned tyrants’ days are numbered. We should celebrate 59 years of the PMOI by orchestrating the mullahs’ downfall.