National Council of Resistance of Iran
|National Council of Resistance
شورای ملی مقاومت ایران
(Shoraye Melli-e Moghavemat-e-Iran)
|National Council of Resistance, Paris, France|
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), founded in 1981 in France, is one of the two parliament in exile of the "Iranian Resistance" (the other being National Council of Iran), 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 has been a controversial subject for economical-political exchange dialogues between the Iranian government, the European Union, and the United States on several occasions, but more recently has received support from politicians including Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Howard Dean and John Bolton. The European Union, Canada and the United States had formerly listed the major group inside the NCRI, the MEK, as a terrorist organization, but this designation has since been lifted under the weight of revelation of a history of improper accusations, first by the Council of the European Union in January 26, 2009, then by a decision by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on September 21, 2012 and lastly by a decision by the Canadian government on December 20, 2012.
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. Before the election of Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI was chaired by Massoud Rajavi. He has not made any public appearances since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, however statements from him are regularly quoted by Maryam Rajavi, and the NCRI reports that the "Iranian regime .. has employed known and unknown agents ... to conspire against the MEK and the NCRI and especially to target the leader of the resistance, Mr. Massoud Rajavi". Since 2004, the MEK has been considered by the US as “noncombatants” and “protected persons” under the Geneva Conventions. Evidence demonstrated that the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) carried out plots against the Iranian Resistance and the democratic opponents by sending agents to France where the NCRI resides. In 2013, the NCRI opened an office in Washington, DC.
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. She 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. 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, she announced her "Charter of Fundamental Freedoms" for future Iran. In June 1996, she addressed some 25,000 Iranians at London's Earls Court.
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."
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."
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.
The NCRI is regarded by the Iranian regime as a terrorist organization but is no longer classified as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation by the United States. On September 28, 2012, the US State Department formally removed MEK from its official list of terrorist organizations in a decision made by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ahead of an October 1 deadline set by an US appeals court.
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 US'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," Indyk says.
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 European Union had previously listed the MEK on its list but excluded the NCRI itself from the list of organizations considered to be terrorist organizations.
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.”
- Iran National Council
- National Resistance Movement of Iran
- Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran
- People's Mujahedin of Iran
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-  Plan on Provisional Government's Relations with Religion
-  A glimpse at the life of Maryam Rajavi
-  Maryam Rajavi's Words and Thoughts
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