WASHINGTON DC, October 23, 2022 — On Friday, October 21, 2022, during a virtual congressional briefing in support of the ongoing uprising in Iran, over 30 bi-partisan members of the United States Congress addressed the event to express support for the Iranian people’s continued protests for a free Iran.
For more than a month, the streets of Iran have been the site of unprecedented confrontation between the repressive forces of Iran’s clerical regime and pro-democracy protesters who are seeking to overthrow the medieval religious theocracy. The protests has now affected over 190 cities in all 31 provinces of Iran.
In the last 2 sessions of U.S. Congress, a number of House and Senate resolutions have highlighted and encouraged the Iranian people’s right to resist oppression and seek freedom. In the current 117th Congress, H.Res.118 with 257 bipartisan cosponsors explicitly expresses, “support for the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular, and nonnuclear Republic of Iran.” This resolution also noted “support for the opposition leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan for the future of Iran, which calls for the universal right to vote, free elections, and a market economy, and advocates gender, religious, and ethnic equality, a foreign policy based on peaceful coexistence, and a nonnuclear Iran.”
Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, opened this virtual event, sponsored by the Organization of Iranian American Communities, with her remarks, followed by Congresswomen Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) and other bi-partisan members of U.S. Congress.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi’s remarks to the bi-partisan congressional meeting
Honorable members of Congress,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am happy to have the opportunity to talk to you in this sensitive situation.
First, I would like to thank the honorable members of Congress for your support of the uprising and the Iranian people’s Resistance for freedom.
The majority of Congress adopted House Resolution 118.
The resolution condemned the mullahs’ regime and declared support for the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom, indicating the fact that the American people and their representatives stand with the people of Iran.
Today, I would like to address five issues:
- First, the main goal of the nationwide uprising in Iran
- Second, the role of women in the uprising
- Third, the fact that the protests are organized
- Fourth, the prospects
- And fifth, the role of the International Community
First, the nationwide uprising
The nationwide protests in Iran have continued for five weeks and expanded to 194 cities, despite brutal suppression.
The people’s main demand is best reflected in their chants in the streets. Death to the dictator and Death to Khamenei.
They want the regime’s overthrow in its entirety.
People in the streets have clearly declared their opposition to all forms of dictatorship through their chants of “Death to the oppressor, be it the shah or Khamenei.”
In five weeks, despite the murder of more than 400 protesters, the arrest of over 20 thousand, and the killing of at least 30 to 40 innocent prisoners in the Evin Prison for supporting the people’s uprising, the regime has not been able to stop the protests.
The wall of fear in society has cracked.
The second topic concerns women’s role.
Women play a leading role in the present uprising.
Women’s courage and leadership roles did not emerge overnight, but they are rooted in the Iranian women’s 40-year struggle against this regime.
Tens of thousands of women sacrificed their lives or were tortured because of their ties to the MEK and opposition to the misogynous regime including in the massacre of 1988.
The mullahs’ regime has deprived women of their most essential and fundamental rights, including the freedom to choose their clothes.
Women do not demand anything from the regime. Their main demand is regime change.
They know they need to overthrow the fundamentalist regime to achieve their rights.
The murder of an innocent young woman, Mahsa Amini, shocked the world.
Since then, many more young women have been killed.
The third topic concerns the fact that the uprising is organized.
Today’s protests in Iran are not without background and backing.
Rather, they are rooted in the regime’s failure to respond to the most fundamental needs of the Iranian people.
These protests have roots in four decades of resistance against political and social suppression and the mullahs’ economic crisis.
They rely on sacrifices by those who fought the regime.
Organized resistance has led this struggle.
The uprising could not have continued without having some kind of organization or structure and the continuous activities of the Resistance Units on the ground.
One of the special characteristics of the uprising is the active participation of university and high school students, both boys and girls.
The Iranian regime officials have time and again acknowledged the leadership role of the Resistance Units and made threats against them.
Fourth, is the prospect of change; Iran is on the brink of a major change.
Although the regime might resort to even more violence, the developments of the past five weeks, particularly the fighting spirit of the young generation, the existence of Resistance Units across the country, and people’s support for them show that we have entered a new phase.
The clerical regime is much weaker than at any other time.
There is increasing tension within the security forces’ ranks.
This is why the mullahs need to mostly rely on the IRGC to preserve their regime.
The prospect for regime change in Iran is within reach more than at any other time.
According to the platform of the National Council of Resistance, as the regime’s alternative, power must be transferred to the people during a very brief transitional period by holding a free election.
A transitional government will take office to hold an election within six months to form the Constitutional Assembly.
The assembly will, on the one hand, elect a new transitional government and oversee its conduct, and on the other hand, draft the Constitution of the new republic.
The fifth topic concerns the duties of the international community.
The time has come for a new policy on the mullahs’ regime.
It is time for western governments to realize that Iran is on the brink of change.
It is time for them to stand with the people of Iran and their desire for democratic change.
A democratic republic based on people’s votes, gender equality, and separation of religion-state and a non-nuclear Iran.
The Iranian people are every day at risk of attacks, killings, and arrests. They want to overthrow the religious fascism.
The world must recognize the Iranian people’s right to self-defense in the face of brutal suppression.
A practical step would be to make sure that the people of Iran have free access to the internet.
The Iranian people’s democratic revolution will succeed.
The Iranian people and Resistance will always remember their friends in difficult times.
Thank you all.