The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCR) was founded in July 1981 in Tehran to oppose the fundamentalist regime ruling Iran and establish a pluralist democracy. Eventually, the Council moved its headquarters to Paris. In late 1981 and early 198 2, the NCR drafted, adopted and published its principal positions and the outline of the future government's programs after the overthrow of the mullahs' regime.1 The council quickly expanded to include all democratic forces opposed to the Khomeini regime and not responsible for any crimes during the Shah's reign. The NCR continues to keep its doors open to such forces and public figures.
Currently, the NCR has more than 500 members, half of whom are women. Religious and ethnic minorities, such as the Kurds and Baluchis, are also represented. Six opposition organizations or parties have joined the body, along with 229 distinguished public figures, technocrats, specialists, artists, intellectuals and scholars residing in Europe and America. A number of army officers are also members.
Massoud Rajavi is the president of the council which acts as the Iranian Resistance's parliament. It has a secretariat and five secretaries, who oversee its administrative affairs. Twenty five committees will serve as the basis for the future government.
In its annual session, in August 1993, the National Council of Resistance elected Mrs. Maryam Rajavi as the President for the transition period, after the mullahs' overthrow until the ratification of the new constitution by the National Legislative and C onstituent Assembly and election of the new president consistent with the new constitution.
Mrs. Rajavi subsequently resigned from her posts as Secretary General of the People's Mojahedin Organization and Deputy Commander in Chief of the National Liberation Army of Iran. The NCR's members agreed that the election of Mrs. Rajavi, as a symbol o f national unity, is the best guarantee for the reconciliation of Iranian society, which has suffered severe spiritual and material damages under the mullahs. A woman head of state also ensures democracy and pluralism during the transition period and the transfer of sovereignty to the people, they noted.
Since her election, Mrs. Rajavi who resides in Paris, has become the source of hope for Iranians at home and abroad. Thousands of distinguished Iranian specialists in Europe and America have become active in the anti-fundamentalist movement, demonstrati ng their readiness to help reconstruct Iran. They have been organized within the framework of the NCR's committees. Renowned Iranian singers, banned from performing or forced into exile, have also declared solidarity with the President-elect in the past year. In July 1994, Iran's legendary singer, Marzieh, left Iran for France to announce her support for Mrs. Rajavi.
According to the NCR's Constitution, each council member has one vote. In addition, member organizations, regardless of their size, enjoy the right to veto. The NCR's decisions require the approval of two-thirds of those present, and no opposition from the member organizations.
The Council's bylaws stipulate that meetings are held once a month. Emergency meetings are held if suggested by the NCR President or by one-third of the Council's members. Any matter can be put on the Council's agenda if suggested by three members or by one with the approval of the NCR President. Tabling urgent or out of turn proposals requires the approval of one-third of the members. Prospective members must accept the program and ratification of the NCR and be approved in an NCR session. An NCR me mber can only be expelled by the unanimous consent of his or her peers.
The Provisional Government will be a coalition of different political groups and perspectives. It will be responsible for running the country for a maximum of six months, during which its primary task is to hold a free and fair election to form the Nation al Legislative and Constituent Assembly and transfer power to the people's elected representatives.
The Assembly is responsible for drafting the Constitution and determining the form of the new Republic. The NCR will act as the legislative assembly during the transition period and its decisions are binding for the Provisional Government. The NCR charte r stipulates that members have the right to question and initiate impeachment proceedings against the provisional government. All government posts during the transition period are temporary,. and officials will resign upon the transfer of power to the people's elected representatives .
The National Council of Resistance believes in political pluralism and a multi-party system. It recognizes democracy as the sole guarantee for the advancement and progress of the country. It believes in equal political and social rights for all and reject s all discrimination based on gender, creed or religion. It views elections and the popular vote as the sole criterion of legitimacy for elected officials. The NCR respects the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and commits itself to the Declaration's implementation. It recognizes complete freedom of thought and expression and prohibits any form of torture and ideological scrutiny under any pretext. The council allows all forms of opposition to the government up to the point of armed rebellion. It guar antees judicial and occupational security of all citizens and dissolves all military tribunals, revolutionary and emergency courts, and all repressive organs, such as the Pasdaran Corps, and bans any form of torture.
The National Council of Resistance believes in the separation of Church and State. Its plan in this regard stipulates that "while respecting all religions and denominations, the Council does not and will not recognize any religion as enjoying any privile ges. It rejects discrimination among the followers of different religions and denominations." The plan stresses: "No citizen shall be denied rights or granted privileges in being elected, suffrage, employment, education, judgeship and other social and in dividual rights on the basis of his or her religion or lack thereof." It guarantees complete freedom for the followers of all religions to practice their traditions and rites.
The NCR's economic policy is based upon the free market, recognition of national capitalism and the bazaar, private and personal ownership and investment. In the Council's view, reconstructing Iran's economy is possible only if all citizens engage in in vestment and only with the cooperation of technocrats, specialists and Iranian businessmen currently abroad. The Provisional Government considers the abolition of retrogressive and reactionary laws, once the current regime is toppled, a priority. The NCR program stresses strengthening industrial production, technical and professional training and utilizing the latest scientific and technical advancements. The Council aims to help and support the expansion of small businesses. The NCR believes subsidies for raw materials and essential goods are acceptable only as temporary measures, until the economy recovers. The NCR's other priorities include reducing inflation and unemployment.
The National Council of Resistance believes in complete equality between women and men. The NCR's conduct during these years best attests to this commitment. The Council's declaration on the "Rights and Freedoms of Women," stresses "the complete social, political, cultural and economic equality between women and men." The NCR plan also emphasizes the rights and freedoms of women in choosing their occupation, clothing, education, and spouse, and in seeking to divorce. In the NCR's view, the extensive participation of women in the Council and other aspects of the Resistance, including the highest position, the presidency, represents a strategic blow to the mullahs' fundamentalist outlook, whose basic characteristic is enmity toward women. The NCR also believes that the progress and advancement of a society can best be evaluated by the degree to which women's rights and freedoms are realized in that society.
The National Council of Resistance recognizes the rights of all ethnic minorities. It believes that granting the rights of all sectors of the society will guarantee national solidarity and a lasting democracy. To this end, it has formed the Committee on Ethnic Minorities .
The NCR has adopted a plan recognizing the autonomy of Iranian Kurdistan within the territorial integrity of Iran. For the first time in Iran's history, Iranian Kurds can administer their own affairs and teach Kurdish in their schools. Without any sexual , ethnic, racial and religious discrimination, they will enjoy, like other citizens, equal social, economic, political and cultural rights.
The National Council of Resistance considers the fight against the fundamentalist and extremist culture promulgated by the mullahs as one of its key responsibilities. This is reflected in all of the democratic programs and behavior of the Council.
In contrast to the mullahs' regime, which advocates extremism, brutality , vengeance and grief for the Iranian people, the NCR promotes moderation, compassion, mercy and happiness for all Iranians. President-elect Maryam Rajavi best describes the NCR vie ws concerning art and its importance: "We hope that our genuine culture and art can take the spirit of life and hope, light and brightness, prosperity and abundance throughout the country and deep into the heart of every Iranian, fueling the flames of hop e for a better life and a brighter future."2
The NCR's foreign policy is based on independence, respect for the United Nations Charter and international covenants and treaties, good neighborliness, peace and international and regional cooperation and non-interference in the affairs of other countrie s.
Promoting stability and peace in the sensitive Middle East region is one of the pillars of the NCR's foreign policy. The NCR supports the establishment of peace between Israel and Palestine and other Arab countries. It seeks to establish friendly relati ons with all regional countries. The NCR views expanding relations with industrial countries as essential to the reconstruction of the future Iran.
The NCR is committed to safeguarding peace and tranquillity in the region and condemns all forms of aggression and expansionism. The NCR opposes unrestrained stockpiling of conventional weapons, but allows weapo ns procurement to the extent necessary for the country's defense against foreign aggression. The National Council of Resistance is strongly opposed to nuclear proliferation and the production of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. The Council was the first to expose the clerical regime's efforts to procure nuclear weapons.3
The National Council of Resistance has official contacts with most European countries. It also enjoys amicable relations with Middle Eastern nations. On different occasions, parliamentarians in different countries throughout Europe and the United States have extended their support to the Council. In 1992, in a joint global initiative, 1,500 parliamentarians declared their support for the NCR as the democratic alternative to the Khomeini regime. This included a majority in the US House of Representative s. In July 1994, during the week of solidarity with the Resistance's President-elect, hundreds of distinguished parliamentarians and political personalities wrote separate letters to Mrs. Rajavi to declare their support for her and the NCR's efforts to establish democracy in Iran.
The large turnouts and diversity of participants in the worldwide demonstrations and rallies in support of Mrs. Rajavi in July 1994 demonstrated the need to respond to this wide spectrum of Iranians. The National Council of Resistance decided in August to create offices of the President-elect in different countries. To this end, the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran dissolved all of its offices and chapters, except for its press offices, in different countries. Fifty-three members and candidate me mbers of the organization's Leadership Council resigned in order to take on posts in the presidential offices, and called on all Mojahedin members and supporters to do their utmost to cooperate with the offices of the President-elect. The Mojahedin are t hus active only in Iran and as part of the National Liberation Army at the Iran-Iraq frontier. In foreign countries, only the NCR's representative offices and the offices of the President-elect function.