Maryam Rajavi (Persian: مریم رجوی, née Qajar-Azodanlu, Persian: مریم قجر عضدانلو) is a leader of the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), an organization advocating for the overthrow of the Iranian government, and president-elect of its National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). She is married to Massoud Rajavi, who is the co-leader of MEK.
4 December 1953
|Organization||People's Mujahedin of Iran|
Early life and educationEdit
Rajavi was born Maryam Qajar-Azodanlu on 4 December 1953 in Tehran, Iran. She was raised in a middle-class family of civil servants descended from a member of the Qajar dynasty. She attended the Sharif University of Technology in Iran, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in metallurgy.
Rajavi has stated that her political activism began when she was twenty-two after her sister Narges was killed by SAVAK. Her other sister, Massumeh, was also executed (while pregnant) in 1982 by Ruhollah Khomeini’s regime. Then she became a member of the People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK), and began her political career. Rajavi served as deputy commander and MEK Secretary General until 1993. On 22 October 1993, the NCRI elected Rajavi to be "Iran’s interim President" if the NCRI were to assume power in Iran.
Rajavi served as an organizer of the anti-Shah student movement in the 1970s. In 1979, she became an official of the social section of the PMOI/MEK, where she served until 1981. Rajavi was a parliamentary candidate in 1980.
In 1985, she became Joint-Leader of the PMOI and served as the Secretary General between 1989 and 1993.
In a statement that condemned the ISIS attacks against Iran's parliament and the tomb of the Islamic Republic's founder, Rajavi stated: "ISIS's conduct clearly benefits the Iranian regime's Supreme Leader Khamenei, who wholeheartedly welcomes it as an opportunity to overcome his regime's regional and international impasse and isolation. The founder and the number one state sponsor of terror is thus trying to switch the place of murderer and the victim and portray the central banker of terrorism as a victim."
In October 2011, Theresa May banned Rajavi from coming to Britain in a trip where she was to "explain how women are mistreated in Iran". The high court then sued Theresa May, with Lord Carlile of Berriew (the Government's former independent reviewer of counter-terrorism laws) saying that May's decision "could be viewed as appeasing the Mullahs". In 2014, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom dismissed an appeal from Lord Carlile of Berriew QC and others and upheld it to maintain the ban, which had originally being implemented in 1997. Members of the UK House of Lords argued that the Home Secretary was "violating Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention of Human Rights (the Convention)", saying that "Home Secretary’s reasons were legally irrelevant, because they depended on the potential reaction of a foreign state which did not share the values embodied in the Convention." Rajavi is not excluded from any other European country and engages regularly with parliamentarians in the European Parliament.
|1980||Parliament (Tehran, Rey and Shemiranat)||221,831||10.4||67th||Lost|||
In 1992, following the EP Council supported Maryam Rajavi’s advocacy for "the international community act specially in favor of women’s rights" following condemnation of human rights violations by the Iranian government.
Rajavi presented her plan at the Council of Europe in 2006, which supports complete gender equality in political and social rights and, specifically, a commitment to equal participation of women in political leadership. Her 10-point plan for the future of Iran stipulates that any form of discrimination against women would be abolished and that women would enjoy the right to choose their clothing freely. It also includes the ending of cruel and degrading punishments.
In April 2021, Maryam Rajavi endorsed resolution HR 118, which expresses “support for Iranian people’s desire for a democratic republic” and “condemns ‘violations of human rights and state-sponsored terrorism’ by Tehran”.
In July 2021, Rajavi organized a protest in Berlin to protest the election of Ebrahim Raisi as President of Iran. Rajavi called Raisi the "henchman" of the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988. She was joined in the protest by former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who expressed his support for Rajavi and the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
A 10-point manifesto published by Rajavi sets out a programme to transform Iran. She states her commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to other international instruments. She calls for the abolition of the death penalty, the creation of a modern legal system and the independence of judges. Rajavi would end Tehran's funding of Hamas, Hezbollah and other militant groups and is committed to peaceful coexistence, relations with all countries and respect for the Charter of the United Nations. The manifesto also contains the statement that "We recognize private property, private investment and the market economy." In June 2020, a majority of members of the USA's House of Representatives backed a "bipartisan resolution" supporting Rajavi and the NCRI's "call for a secular, democratic Iran" while "condemning Iranian state-sponsored terrorism." The resolution, backed by 221 lawmakers (including Louie Gohmert and Sheila Jackson Lee), gave support to Rajavi's 10-point plan for Iran's future (which include "a universal right to vote, market economy, and a non-nuclear Iran") while calling on the prevention of "malign activities of the Iranian regime’s diplomatic missions."
2018 Rally incidentEdit
In 2018, Vienna-based Iranian diplomat Asadollah Asadi was tried and sentenced to 20 years in prison in a high-profile case for masterminding a terrorism plot against a rally led by Maryam Rajavi. The rally was also attended by civilians and high-profile Westerners scheduled to speak (including Rudy Giuliani, Stephen Harper, and Bill Richardson).
On 17 June 2003, Rajavi was arrested by Paris Police Prefecture alongside some 150 MEK members. She and 23 other people were investigated over suspicion of links to terrorism. All charges were later dropped.
In July 2010, the Iraqi High Tribunal issued an arrest warrant for 39 MEK members, including Rajavi, "due to evidence that confirms they committed crimes against humanity" by "involvement with the former Iraqi security forces in suppressing the 1991 uprising against the former Iraqi regime and the killing of Iraqi citizens". The MEK have denied the charges, saying that they constitute a "politically motivated decision and it’s the last gift presented from the government of Nuri al-Maliki to the Iranian government".
- Banisadr who was affiliated with the National Council of Resistance of Iran from 1981 to 1984, was considered as the "President of Iran" in the claimed government by the council. The office was vacant after Banisadr.
- Since 2003 Massoud Rajavi has disappeared and leadership of the group has practically passed to his wife Maryam Rajavi.
- Connie Bruck (2006). "Exiles: How Iran's expatriates are gaming the nuclear threat". The New Yorker. Vol. 82, no. 1–11. F-R Publishing Corporation. pp. 54–55.
This transition was epitomized by Rajavi's involvement, in 1985, with Maryam Azodanlu. Maryam was already married, to Mehdi Abrishamchi, one of Rajavi's close associates. Rajavi overcame that fact by making the romance a matter of revolutionary necessity. First, he said that he was making Maryam his co-leader-and that it would transform thinking about the role of women throughout the Muslim world. Then, about a month later, it was announced that Maryam was divorced from Abrishamchi and that the two co-leaders would marry, in order to further the "ideological revolution."
- Geyer, Georgie Anne (26 August 1996), Iranian Exiles Have A Committed Leader In Maryam Rajavi, Chicago Tribune, retrieved 20 January 2020
- Kenneth Katzman (2001). "Iran: The People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran". In Albert V. Benliot (ed.). Iran: Outlaw, Outcast, Or Normal Country?. Nova Publishers. p. 97. ISBN 1560729546.
- Kian Parsa (July 2008) [Tir 1387]. "شورای ملی مقاومت، بنیصدر و رجوی، از ائتلاف تا جدایی". Shahrvand Magazine (in Persian) (52). Archived from the original on 3 October 2013.
- Steven O'Hern (2012). Iran's Revolutionary Guard: The Threat That Grows While America Sleeps. Potomac Books, Inc. p. 208. ISBN 978-1597977012.
- Stephen Sloan; Sean K. Anderson (2009). Historical Dictionary of Terrorism. Historical Dictionaries of War, Revolution, and Civil Unrest (3 ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 454. ISBN 978-0810863118.
- "Profile: Maryam Rajavi". BBC News. 17 June 2003. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
- Steven O'Hern (2012). Iran's Revolutionary Guard: The Threat That Grows While America Sleeps. Potomac Books, Inc. p. 208. ISBN 978-1597977012.
- Sleeman, Elizabeth (2001), "RAJAVI, Maryam", The International Who's Who of Women 2002, Psychology Press, p. 464, ISBN 9781857431223
- Smith, Craig S. (24 September 2005). "Exiled Iranians Try to Foment Revolution From France". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- Goodwin, Jan (31 December 2002). Price of Honor: Muslim Women Lift the Veil of Silence on the Islamic World. Plume. ISBN 9780698157798.
- Katzman, Kenneth (2001). "Iran: The People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran". In Benliot, Albert V. (ed.). Iran: Outlaw, Outcast, Or Normal Country?. Nova. p. 97-98. ISBN 978-1-56072-954-9.
- Cohen, Ronen (2009), The Rise and Fall of the Mojahedin Khalq, 1987–1997: Their Survival After the Islamic Revolution and Resistance to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Sussex Academic Press, p. 12, ISBN 978-1-84519-270-9
- Just because ISIS attacked Iran doesn't mean Iran isn't supporting terrorism. 12 June 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2017
- Muhanad Mohammed. "Iraqi court seeks arrest of Iranian exiles". The Times. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
- Muhanad Mohammed (10 April 2012). "May 'is appeasing Iran' by blocking dissident's visit". The Standard. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
- Barakatt, Marina (25 November 2014). "U.K. Supreme Court Upholds Home Secretary's Decision to Prevent an Iranian Politician from Entering the U.K. (November 12, 2014)". The American Society of International Law. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
- "R (on the application of Lord Carlile of Berriew QC and others) (Appellants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent)  UKSC 60" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
- "Parliamentarians lose Maryam Rajavi court battle". Hillingdon & Uxbridge Times. Hillingdon & Uxbridge Times. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
- Marian Houk (9 August 2016). "Why Abbas-MEK meeting made waves everywhere but Palestine". Al-Monitor. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
- "اسامی نامزدهای تهران که بیش از ۱۰ هزار رأی آوردهاند" [Names of Tehran candidates who gained more than 10,000 votes], Kayhan (in Persian), no. 10964, p. 3, 5 April 1980 [16 Farvardin 1359], 15m4471, archived from the original on 29 April 2019, retrieved 20 January 2020 – via The University of Manchester Library
- Cohen, Ronen. "The Triple Exclusion of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization - Their Activities for Human Rights in Iran as a Voice in the Wilderness". Middle Eastern Studies. 49 (6): 952.
The EP's condemnations of Iran continued also in 1992 and focused mainly upon the violations of human rights, the executions , the persecutions of ethnic and religious minorities, the oppression of women and the persecution of government opponents inside and outside Iran, as well as the attempts to assassinate MKO and NCRI leaders ... During that year the EP put much emphasis on women's oppression in Iran. The EP supported Maryam Rajavi's messages that demanded the international community act specially in favor of women's rights
- Human Rights in Iran, Debate in the UK House of Commons, House of Commons Hansard, 28 June 2016 This article contains quotations from this source, which is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0. © Crown copyright.
- "Congressional leaders urge Biden to take tough stand on Iran". Arab News.
- "Iranian exiles protest, demand prosecution of president-elect". Reuters. 10 July 2021. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
- "Mike Pompeo offers momentous support for Iranian opposition". UPI.
- Iran: Human Rights Debate in the UK House of Lords, House of Lord Hansard, 8 December 2016 This article contains quotations from this source, which is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0. © Crown copyright.
- "Maryam Rajavi".
- "Majority of House members back resolution supporting Iranian opposition, condemning regime's terror". Fox News. 17 June 2020.
- "'The world is watching': Lawmakers tout bipartisan resolution condemning Iran". 17 June 2020.
- "A Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card for Iranian Terrorists".
- "France bomb plot: Iran diplomat Assadollah Assadi sentenced to 20 years". BBC News. 4 February 2021.
- Paris police target Iranian groups, BBC, 17 June 2003, retrieved 28 December 2016
- Rajavi released on bail, Al Jazeera, 4 July 2003
- France drops case against Iranian dissidents after 11-year probe, Reuters, 17 September 2014
- Jolly, David (12 May 2011), "France Will Drop Charges Against Iranian Dissidents", The New York Times
- France Drops Case Against Iranian Dissidents, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 17 September 2014
- Muhanad Mohammed (11 July 2010). Rania El Gamal; David Stamp (eds.). "Iraqi court seeks arrest of Iranian exiles". Reuters. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
Rajavi's wife Maryam, leader of the French-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the PMOI's political wing, was also included in the warrant, Abdul Sahib added.
- Rajavi, Maryam (20 March 2020). Great March Towards Freedom: Maryam Rajavi's Messages and Speeches to the Annual Gatherings of Iranian Resistance at Ashraf 3 - Albania July 2019. National Council of Resistance of Iran. ISBN 978-2-491615-01-7.
- "No to Compulsory Veil: No to Compulsory Religion, No to Compulsory Government". NCRI. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
- Maryam Rajavi. Women, Islam & Fundamentalism (pdf). Paris.
- Rajavī, Maryam (18 September 2018). Iran Will Be Free: Speech by Maryam Rajavi. NCRI-US. ISBN 978-1-944942-21-2.
- "Key to Countering Islamic Fundamentalism". NCRI. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2020.