National Council of Resistance of Iran
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|National Council of Resistance
شورای ملی مقاومت ایران
(Shoraye Melli-e Moghavemat-e-Iran)
|President||Maryam Rajavi, People's Mujahedin of Iran|
|National Council of Resistance, Paris, France|
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), founded in 1981 in France, is the parliament in exile of the "Iranian Resistance", and is a political umbrella coalition of five Iranian opposition political organizations, the largest organization being the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK).
The President-elect of the NCRI is Maryam Rajavi, currently living in exile in Paris. The NCRI is also co-chaired by Massoud Rajavi. He has not made any public appearances since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The NCRI has been a controversial subject for economical-political exchange dialogues between the Iranian government, the European Union, and the United States on several occasions, and considerable controversy surrounds the issues of whether the NCRI is merely a front group for the MEK, whether the NCRI is involved in terrorism, or whether it is "a legitimate dissident organization fighting for democracy in Iran."
The NCRI was originally formed by MEK head Massoud Rajavi and former president of Iran Abolhassan Banisadr, who were joined by National Democratic Front and Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran. Some time later the "violent pro-Iraq activities in the Iran-Iraq War caused the NDF and Banisadr to withdraw" from the NCRI. The NCRI is now sometimes referred to by the US State Department as simply as an alias for, or "one of several names used by" the MEK.
Organization structure 
All members of the Council have one vote, and all decisions are adopted by a simple majority. The council's 25 committees form the basis of a thought provisional coalition government to be instated if the present government in Iran were to be removed from power.
Parliament in Exile 
The NCRI has over 500 members, including representatives of ethnic and religious minorities such as the Kurds, Baluchis, Armenians, Jews and Zoroastrians, representing a broad spectrum of political tendencies in Iran. Acting as parliament in exile, the NCRI says that it aims to establish a democratic, secular and coalition government in Iran. Women comprise 50% of the council's members. Five organizations are also members of the NCRI, including the MEK.
Six-month provisional government 
The provisional government would be in power for only six months and its main responsibility would be to hold free and fair elections for a National Legislative and Constituent Assembly and to transfer power to the representatives of the people of Iran.
In August 1993, the NCRI unanimously elected Maryam Rajavi as President for the transitional period. Her mandate is to oversee the peaceful transfer of power to the Iranian people following the regime's overthrow. Rajavi was born in 1953 in Tehran and has a degree in metallurgy. The shah executed one of her sisters, Nargess, and the Khomeini regime murdered another, Massoumeh, who was pregnant at the time. Mrs. Rajavi was a leader of the anti-shah student movement in the 1970s.
Addressing a rally of 15,000 Iranians in Dortmund, Germany, on June 16, 1995, Mrs. Rajavi announced her "Charter of Fundamental Freedoms" for future Iran. In June 1996, Mrs. Rajavi addressed some 25,000 Iranians at London's Earls Court.
Human Rights 
The NCRI pledges to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all international covenants on human rights, including "freedom of association, freedom of thought and expression, media, political parties, trade unions, councils, religions and denominations, freedom of profession, and prevention of any violation of individual and social rights and freedoms."
The NCRI recognizes "the right of women to vote and stand as candidates in all elections, and the right to vote in all referenda," "the right to employment and free selection of profession, and the right to hold any public office, including the presidency or judgeship," "the right to freely choose clothing," and "the right to use, without discrimination, all instructional, educational, athletic, and artistic resources; the right to participate in all athletic competitions and artistic activities."
The council accepts national capitalism and the bazaar, private ownership and enterprise, as well as private investment. It emphasizes the need to utilize the latest scientific and technical achievements and views relations with industrial countries necessary to reconstruct Iran's economy.
Freedom of Religion 
The NCRI believes in the separation of Religion and State. According to its ratifications, "all forms of discrimination against the followers of various religions and denominations in the enjoyment of their individual and social rights are prohibited. No citizen shall enjoy any privileges or be subject to any deprivations with respect to nomination for election, suffrage, employment, education, becoming a judge or any other individual or social rights, for reason of belief or non-belief in particular religion or denomination."
National Minorities 
The NCRI recognizes the rights of all ethnic and national minorities. It has adopted a plan for the autonomy of Iranian Kurdistan, specifying that "the administration of all affairs of the autonomous region of Kurdistan," except for those related to foreign policy, national defense, national security, foreign trade and customs, "fall within the authority of the autonomous organs."
International Relations 
The council's foreign policy is based on independence, respect for the United Nations Charter and international conventions and treaties, good neighborliness, international and regional cooperation and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. The NCRI supports the Middle East peace process and is committed to maintaining and protecting peace and tranquility in the region and condemns any aggression and expansionism. The council opposes nuclear proliferation and the production of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.
Designation as a terrorist organization 
The NCRI is regarded by the Iranian regime as a terrorist organization, and is classified as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation by the United States. The US alleges that the NCRI "is not a separate organization, but is instead, and has been, an integral part of the MEK at all relevant times," and that the NCRI is "the political branch" of the MEK. However, some top US officials such as Dick Armey (the former House majority leader 1995-2003) have suggested that the State Department wrongly included MEK in the terrorist list from the beginning. Alireza Jafarzadeh was its official representative in the US until the Washington office was closed by the US State Department in 2002 on the grounds that it was only a front group for the MEK, by then listed as a terrorist organisation in the US. It has been alleged that the inclusion of NCRI and MEK in the list was a token offered to the theocratic regime of Iran rather than based the facts of the matter. According to the Wall Street Journal "Senior diplomats in the Clinton administration say the MEK figured prominently as a bargaining chip in a bridge-building effort with Tehran." The Journal added that: In 1997, the State Department added the MEK to a list of global terrorist organizations as "a signal" of the U.S.'s desire for rapprochement with Tehran's reformists, says Martin Indyk, who at the time was assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs. President Khatami's government "considered it a pretty big deal," Mr. Indyk says.
The European Union in May 2004 implied that NCRI is part of the MEK (rather than vice versa), but excluded the NCRI itself from a list of organisations considered to be terrorist organizations. Instead, the EU listed the MEK "minus the National Council of Resistance of Iran".
On Monday January 26, 2009, EU Council of Ministers agreed to remove the MEK from the EU terror list. The group said it was the outcome of a “seven-year-long legal and political battle”.
The Middle East department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the United Kingdom stated in early 2006 that it is widely understood that “Iran’s [nuclear] program, which was kept secret from the IAEA for 18 years, became public knowledge largely because of revelations of the NCRI, and this led to heightened international concern.” At the same time Michael Axworthy, former head of the Iran section at the FCO, claimed that the NCRI is a "tightly disciplined front-organization for the MEK and deemed them unreliable."
On September 28, 2012 The U.S. State Department formally removed MEK from its official list of terrorist organizations, beating an October 1 deadline in a MEK lawsuit.
See also 
- About the National Council of Resistance of Iran, NCRI website, accessed October 25, 2012.
- DC Court of Appeals Rules Against NCRI Petition for Review of "Foreign Terrorist Organization" Designation, July 9, 2004, United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia
- Kliger, Rachelle (January 11, 2006). "Resistance group claims evidence of Iranian bomb ambitions". The Media Line. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
- NRO, “A Very, Very Bad Bunch” by sam Dealey
- Keddie, Modern Iran, (2006), p.253)
- Designation of National Council of Resistance and National Council of Resistance of Iran under Executive Order 13224
- With Friends Like These
-  Plan on Provisional Government's Relations with Religion
-  A glimpse at the life of Maryam Rajavi
-  Maryam Rajavi's Words and Thoughts
- "Op-Ed". The Hill. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
- Lorimer, Doug (2006). "IRAN: US relies on terrorists for nuke 'intelligence'". Green Left Weekly, February 22, 2006. Green Left Weekly. Retrieved 2006-05-01.
- Andrew Higgins and Jay Solomon (2006-11-29), Iranian Imbroglio Gives New Boost To Odd Exile Group, Wall Street Journal
- Hafner, Katie. "The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
- Runner, Philippa (2012-11-20). "/ Foreign Affairs / EU ministers drop Iran group from terror list". Euobserver.com. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
- "EU removes PMOI from terrorist list". UPI.com. 2009-01-26. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
- John, Mark (January 26, 2009). "EU takes Iran opposition group off terror list". Reuters.
- "Council Common Position 2004/500/CESP of 17 May 2004" (PDF). Council of the European Union. May 17, 2004. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
- Shane, Scott (September 21, 2012). "Iranian Dissidents Convince U.S. to Drop Terror Label". New York Times.