The leader of the Iranian opposition is urging US President Joe Biden to hold Iran accountable for human rights violations, stressing that the mullahs are now at the “weakest point” since its inception in 1979.
Maryam Rajavi, the President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said: “The Iranian regime is at its weakest point in its history of the last 42 years. It is economically bankrupt. The national currency is in a free fall, and corruption has penetrated every aspect of the regime.”
The NCRI, which is an umbrella organisation of several democratic groups that seek mullahs’ overthrow in Iran, has a 10-point plan to transform Iran from a religious dictatorship to a secular democracy.
Iran has seen increased pressure from the international community and its own citizens over the past few years, including economic sanctions and two national uprisings. These uprisings began over economic matters but soon became about regime change, before the authorities cracked down brutally and killed over 1,000 people in the November 2019 protests alone.
While the protests were stopped because of the coronavirus, which has killed over 210,000 in Iran, the people’s anger is still there and its growing thanks to the authorities’ lacklustre response. Indeed, many believe that the government is intentionally mishandling the pandemic to subdue uprisings.
Rajavi said: “The Iranian people are extremely embittered and angry. The November 2019 and January 2020 uprisings clearly demonstrated the people’s desire for regime change. Due to the regime’s criminal policies, so far at least 210,000 people have lost their lives to the coronavirus, and there are no global comparables in this regard. This has intensified the people’s dissatisfaction even more.”
The Biden administration previously suggested that it wished to re-enter the 2015 nuclear agreement, but an official said that this deal would need to be reworked to include other issues of concern. He has also not made any move towards re-joining via an Executive Order, which is how the US first joined and then left the deal.
So far, Rajavi said, there has been no contact between the NCRI and the Biden administration, but she stressed that when he deals with the Iran situation, he must prioritise the creation of a democracy.
She said: “Any policy vis-à-vis the clerical regime must take into account the desire of the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people as expressed in the clearest form during the 2019 uprising; and that is to end the religious tyranny and to establish a democratic government. Human rights must be placed at the front and centre of this policy. And, the Iranian regime must be held to account for gross violations of the Iranian people’s fundamental human rights.”
On a related note, a court a Belgium issued 20 years imprisonment for Iran’s incarcerated diplomat Assadollah Assadi, who had attempted to bomb NCRI’s rally in 2018. Rajavi said this came on the orders of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.
She said: “This trial demonstrates that it is high time to end the policy of appeasement and adopt a firm policy in its place. This regime can only understand the language of firmness.”