Canada, Toronto—February 4, 2023: On the eve of the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 anti-monarchy revolution, Canadian lawmakers, senior Americans, and former Canadian officials express support for the Iranian Resistance at the Iranian Communities Summit in Canada.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), was the keynote speaker at this event.
This event and its speakers shed light on the Iranian situation and provided Canadian lawyers and government officials with policy recommendations. The Iranian regime poses a serious and ongoing threat to global security and stability.
Below is an excerpt of the remarks of the speakers at the Toronto conference:
Former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird
To the people of Iran: Canadians stand with you in this struggle. I have been inspired by the bravery of the literally millions of Iranians who’ve taken to the streets to try and peacefully overthrow this fascist dictatorship in Tehran.
Women, teachers, unions, millions of students, and especially supporters of the MEK, they’re tired of the corruption, they’re tired of the mismanagement and they are tired of the authoritarianism of their terrible government.
They are sending a clear and unequivocal message to the mullahs: it’s time for you to go.
I can tell you one of the proudest moments that I had in public life especially working with Stephen Harper was the day that I was able to announce that we had kicked all the mullahs henchman spokespeople out of Canada once and for all.
The uprising in Iran is deeply rooted in the 40 years of struggle of the Iranian people. The uprising is not a spontaneous phenomenon—it is rooted in the history of Iran, 120,000 executions, and the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners because they were steadfast and supported the MEK.
The leading role of Iranian women is not incidental or coincidence but it derives from the struggle of Iranian women over the last 43 years. During the past 43 years tens of thousands of Iranian women, mainly MEK supporters, have been imprisoned tortured and thousands have been executed.
Women have been playing leading roles in the MEK for 30 years. The NCRI president is a woman of high quality who has been recognized worldwide for her confidence and her leadership and her principled opposition to this dictatorship and for the democratic coalition. The Iranian people want an end to dictatorship, and they are chanting in the streets in Tehran and across the country in every corner of Iran: down with the oppressors be at the Shah or the mullahs.
Like many of you, I have been inspired by Madame Rajavi’s 10-point plan for freedom of expression and assembly, the separation of religion and state, gender equality, and non-nuclear Iran, one that can live in peaceful coexistence with its neighbors and with the civilized world.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
If the revolution means rising up and sacrificing, if it means upsetting the status quo, and if it means closing all roads to regression, deviation, despotism, and dependence (as opposed to independence), then you and the Iranian people have the key to victory and freedom.
Your gathering today has two fundamental messages: it echoes the voice of the Iranian people who say that the uprising and revolution will continue until the regime is overthrown, and is also the expression of readiness by Iranians away from their homeland.
We are in February. You all remember the memories of the 1979 revolution, of how the people of Iran expelled the Shah and overthrew the monarchical regime.
The 1979 revolution sought freedom, democracy, and independence and opposed dependency and a client state. It sought a republic for which the Iranian people, who oppose Monarchy, yearned.
It sought to liberate the Iranian people from suppression, imprisonment, torture, and discrimination. And it sought social justice and welfare for all sectors, classes, and nationalities.
The greatest thief of the century, Khomeini, had arrived. He was at the peak of his social and religious popularity, making the situation doubly complicated for us. It was the only example and a unique case in the entire Iranian history where one person held religious and social legitimacy simultaneously with political legitimacy resulting from a revolution. Therefore, all the politicians of the time, except Massoud [Rajavi], kissed his hand when meeting him.
The problem was that during half a century of dictatorship, the Shah and his father had left no room for anyone and anything except the mullahs’ network. It got to the point that one day the Shah dissolved his puppet parties and said that there could be only one party, “Rastakhiz (resurgence),” and everyone who did not agree should either leave Iran or go to prison.
Khomeini enchained Iranian women. He shed blood and suppressed, humiliated, and looted the people of Iran as much as he could. He imposed poverty, deprivation, and despondency on the people, destroying the lives of everyone.
However, the Iranian people, their children, and true leaders did not bow to Khomeini. They started and organized a monumental resistance, and fought the regime by paying a huge price unprecedented in Iran’s history.
The Iranian Resistance has been engaged in a full-fledged war of liberation against the clerical regime for more than four decades. The Resistance movement is the Iranian people’s greatest national and patriotic asset to break out of the clutches of religious fascism.
And today, after overcoming thousands of obstacles, hardships, and difficult challenges, the people of Iran have reached the 2022 uprising. Behind them is a series of uprisings, massacres, and battles. They are backed by 57 years of continuous struggle against the dictatorships of the Shah and the mullahs.
Countless numbers of young and enlightened combatants have joined the fight. And brave women are at the forefront of this struggle. The Iranian resistance announced that 30,000 people were arrested during the uprising. Later, the regime’s media announced that the number of arrests was 29,000, and recently, the IRGC officially announced that some 10,000 had been arrested in Tehran, alone.
Khamenei has recently started selling state assets due to the budget deficit. He has given judicial immunity to the commission in charge of these sales to enforce his plan without hindrance. So, this is yet another significant step in plundering the Iranian nation’s assets. Khamenei cannot help the situation but follow a path where his every step fuels the uprising.
The events during this uprising have shown how Khamenei covertly or overtly uses the remnants of the past dictatorship.
Undeniable facts have shown that the Ministry of Intelligence and the IRGC are stage-managing these escapes, which in effect undermine the uprising and the regime’s overthrow.
However, the spread of the slogan “Death to the oppressor, be it the shah or the Leader (Khamenei),” although it resulted in the arrest of many young protesters, dashed the illusion of a return to the previous dictatorship.
Dear compatriots, precisely for this reason, wherever you are, you must, without exception, consider yourself a supporter of the Resistance and a messenger of Iran’s democratic revolution.
– Symbolic or ineffective sanctions are no longer sufficient.
– Khamenei, Raisi, Rouhani, Zarif, and all those whose hands are stained with the blood of the children of Iran must be prosecuted by the international community.
– Not only should the IRGC and the Ministry of Intelligence be designated as terrorist entities, but also, they should be dissolved. The designation is indispensable to international peace and security and must be adopted by the world community, international bodies, parliaments, and governments committed to human rights.
– The regime’s embassies must be closed. These nests of espionage and export of terrorism and fundamentalism are logistical centers and support the suppression of the uprising.
– The passports of all mercenaries should be revoked as the Belgian court verdict did for the terrorist bombers who plotted to bomb the NCRI gathering in 2018. The agents and operatives of the Ministry of Intelligence and the IRGC Quds Force should be expelled.
– The international community must recognize the right of Iranian youths and people to self-defense and the right to resist and overthrow the ruling religious fascism.
Dear friends, freedom-loving Iranians,
For freedom, and rejecting all forms of oppression and dictatorship.
For a democratic republic and people’s sovereignty.
For social justice, and an Iran free from poverty, theft, and plunder.
For the separation of religion and state, the rights of ethnic minorities, and the autonomy of Kurdistan.
For freedom of religions and creeds.
For gender equality and the decisive role of women in political leadership.
For the abolishment of compulsory government, compulsory religion, and compulsory veil.
For the release of political prisoners and the abolition of torture, executions, and inquisition.
May our uprising and revolution win victory by ending the night of oppression and repression and saving and liberating the oppressed as soon as possible.
Long live the Iranian people!
Long live freedom!
Victory to the Iranian people’s democratic revolution!
Full text of the speech of Mrs. Rajavi at the summit is here.
Judy Sgro, Canadian MP, Former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
We are clearly witnessing a momentous in modern Iranian history. For the past five months, the Iranian people have braved killings and arrests and have come to the streets to demand a regime change and demanding a democratic government.
Beautiful young women and handsome men are putting their lives on the line, something that we all need to applaud and encourage and do everything we can.
We’re not standing in the streets with them, but we all have a voice. You don’t have to be Iranian to have a voice, you have to care about democracy and human rights, and it’s imperative as parliamentarians that we talk to our friends and talk to our neighbors, educate them, talk to them about just what kind of persecution is going on there.
Iranians have made it clear that for them the choice is not between bad and worse, the current theocracy and the dictatorship that preceded it. They want a democratically elected republic. This is echoed in their chants of no to monarchy, no to theocracy and yes to democracy and equality.
This regime has been tolerated and its abuse is ignored for far too long by all western democracies, Canada included. Business as usual must end and the IRGC must be listed as a terrorist entity.
Thanks to the Iranian resistance they are strong, their determination, and the organization of thousands of resistant units inside Iran that had begun since 2014. The younger generation and the women of Iran, having defiance to the regime, stood up to say we do not fear anymore, we will fight we will die we will take our country back. That’s determination.
Dave Epp, Canadian MP
In June 2018, our government voted to list the IRGC as a terrorist entity. I pledge my voice, our colleagues’ voices, to continue to follow through to make that happen.
We stand with the people of Iran and in the hunt in the search and the struggle for freedom. You deserve it. The world deserves it.
Robert Torricelli, Former US Senator
I am often stunned at the amount of punishment humanity is willing to take before it says enough. People will endure so much, but haven’t the Iranian people endured enough?
It is time. History is punctuated. In the year 2023, it is time for the regime to end.
It is understood that the mullahs are despotic. It is understood that it is an outrage to history but yet in the councils of government, it is said again and again it’s a tragedy but there’s no alternative.
The Iranian people are skilled, educated, productive, patriotic people who care about their children and their future as much as any other people. And from that core ever since their revolution in 79 has been a group of people with the skill determination and resources with the reach around the globe that is prepared to lead: It is the MEK, it is the NCRI, it is Mrs. Rajavi.
This is an organization that can touch every capital in every country around the world. Gather thousands of people with a strong voice in every parliament in every Congress around the globe. They are the alternative.
The Iranian people want and deserve a functioning democracy, equal rights, equal gender rights, a nation at peace with itself and its neighbors, respecting liberties, and governing with the consent of the government. That is what the MEK and the NCRI represent. That is Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-point plan. we are the alternative and it is good and just alternative that the world can embrace.
In this fight, everyone has a role. Mrs. Rajavi has spent every waking hour of every day of every year leading this fight.
Amb. Lincoln Bloomfield, Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
I think there are three forces that will bring freedom to Iran. One is the brave women and girls of Iran. They’re not the only ones who are protesting but nowhere in the world do we see the women of a country saying absolutely no to a government. This is unprecedented.
The second thing that must happen: we have a responsibility. When I say we I mean everyone outside Iran, the diaspora but also responsible people, correspondents in the media, officials, and governments. We have a huge obligation and it’s heavier in the case of Iran because we have been repeating falsehoods for almost 44 years.
Why did the MEK become the number one threat to the regime officials? Muslim students and the intelligentsia supported Massoud Rajavi supported the MEK. He had thousands of people listening to his lectures he would have gained millions of votes had he run for president. So what happened? When he met with Khomeini, Khomeini asked him to bring the support of the Muslims behind his constitution and Masoud Rajavi said I can’t do that. The Iranian people suffered so much to overthrow the Shah. They will not accept another dictatorship. Islam means freedom.
Raisi was a judge from the age of 20. He was famous for sending people to their death for moharebeh; war against God. He is guilty of a major crime against humanity. He must face justice for the killing of upwards of 30,000 political prisoners, most of them MEK, in 1988.
It’s time that we brought the truth forward and demanded that the Iran regime to answer for their crimes.
When you hear the slogan about moderates, extremists, principalist, they’re all the same. They are all the same. These people are all part of the same criminal conspiracy.
We can’t keep up with all of the planned assassinations, kidnappings, bombings, cyber attacks, spies, and weapons transfers, including drones to Russia to be used against the graver Ukrainian people.
Let me finish with a word about Iran’s men who are the third element. Let me take one moment to pay tribute and salute the men of the MEK and the NCRI. For 30 years they’ve done something that I’ve never seen in the Muslim world: they have embraced the idea of female leadership.
The ayatollahs have disgraced and dishonored themselves and their followers. Iran’s women are demanding their rights. Iran’s men must now stand with them.
All of us here and around the world can do our part by exposing the truth. if we all do our part there will be accountability, there will be justice, freedom for all Iranians, and a new era of peace in the Middle East and beyond.
Senator Leo Housakos, Former Speaker of the Canadian Senate
I would like us to reserve the warmest reception and applause for those that matter and that’s the women and men on the front lines that are fighting this draconian regime back in Iran.
We’ve had politicians in our own country that say you need dialogue with a draconian regime like the one we have in Tehran, and let me tell you anytime you hear a politician say that all they do is embolden these draconian regimes to continue to carry on their unacceptable behavior.
Mr. Trudeau, use the Magnitsky Act if you’re serious about defending Iranian freedoms, and also list the IRGC as a terrorist group once and for all!
Dan Muys, Canadian MP
Mahsa Amini’s brutal murder woke up the world and it woke up people in Iran and woke up people here.
The message has been clear and the Resistance Units that the NCRI built up throughout Iran have been in the streets protesting, and these people and all of us are calling for freedom, democracy, women’s rights, human rights, and an end to the tyrannical dictatorship in Tehran.
The regime’s brutal response has also been clear for five months. Protesters killed perhaps nearing 1000 we don’t even know the full story, including women and children, public hangings, shooting into crowds of protesters, and over 30,000 arrests.
So what needs to happen now? From our perspective in the parliament of Canada, there are four things: one, list the IRGC as a terrorist organization. That is what we have been calling for. While the current government has leveled some sanctions against some officials that’s not enough. Follow through and list the IRGC now.
Secondly, we must continue to seek justice for the families of PS752.
As this regime is starting to crumble in 2023, Canada cannot be a haven for IRGC thugs and their families and those from this tyrannical regime that are seeking haven.
We must continue to ensure that those who perpetrated these crimes are brought to justice and that the human rights atrocities committed by this regime are prosecuted.
Anna Roberts, Canadian MP
We have to make a change today. Prime Minister Trudeau, we are asking you to stand up for the Iranian people and call out [the regime] like it is: they are terrorists.
David Matas, Human Rights Lawyer
Iran, since its inception, has perpetrated one atrocity after another, both at home and abroad. We know yet another horror inflicted by the regime with an estimated hundreds of dead, including many children and thousands arbitrarily detained since last September in reaction to the protests against the regime.
In Canada, the leadership and senior membership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, now designated as inadmissible under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, should also be listed under the Criminal Code as a terrorist entity.
Gross human rights violations should be sanctioned under the justice for victims of corrupt officials Magnitsky Act legislation.
The wheels of justice grind slowly but they grind inexorably as long as the perpetrators remain alive whether in power or not. The global justice system will seek them out and confront them with their crimes.
The pursuit of justice can accelerate regime change. That pursuit should happen now.
Tony Clement, Former President of the Treasury Board
In Ashraf, I saw women and men, old and young, who are there working on what they want for Iran, which is an opportunity to have a pluralistic democratic society.
The world, particularly the western world, can help Iran, and when you look at the things that are available for us in terms of sanctions, in terms of assisting that a pluralistic society is possible in Iran.
People are risking their lives every single day in hundreds of communities throughout Iran for a better tomorrow. I join with the NCRI to see that through, to a better life for Iranians.
The mullahs have repeated the crimes committed by Shah’s regime at a greater scale, in Evin and Gohardasht and other prisons that the Shah had built for the execution of revolutionaries. The mullahs are the true heirs of the Shah.
My brother, a student of economics, was executed at the age of 26 after enduring seven years of imprisonment. The young rebels today are the continuation of those martyrs who gave their lives in those years.
Some western governments have submitted to the regime’s requests to crack down on the Iranian Resistance. One terrible example was the June 17 coup against the offices of the Iranian Resistance in France.
Our people have spoken their opposition to the mullahs’ and Shah’s dictatorships. We, like the people of Iran, emphasize the demarcation of no to the Shah, no to the mullahs. This is the desire of all freedom-loving Iranians. The heroic uprising of the Iranian people has its roots in the history of the Iranian Resistance.
The MEK protected women since the mullahs came to power. I personally experienced this. They taught us about real democracy. I became a supporter of the MEK and I’m proud to be one.
In our country, Reza Shah forced women to remove their veils and Khomeini forced them to wear the veil. They are the flip sides of the same coin.
The MEK have only one yardstick: are you willing to fight and are you willing to make sacrifices?
The ten-point plan of Mrs. Rajavi provides a clear picture of the future in Iran.
In 1981, the MEK organized a great rally against the regime with 500,000 people. These people were targeted by the regime. Many were killed. The regime killed 120,000 of the MEK supporters, including 30,000 in 1988.
What do we need to topple this regime? Organization. Who has this organization? The MEK, the NCRI. They have a plan, and they can carry it out.
The regime’s demonization tactics against the MEK are comprised of lies spread through journalists and groups, single-person oppositions with no plan, and no members inside Iran who are willing to make sacrifices.
James Bezan, Canadian MP
I denounce Ayatollah Khamenei and the mullahs’ regime, who have trampled upon every aspect of international norms and values for decades. The regime in Tehran has repeatedly committed crimes against humanity.
This includes the 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners. This includes shooting down flight PS752. This includes aiding Russia and its illegal war in Ukraine. And it includes the brutal and unjust murder of Mahsa Amini, and all the lives taken by this ruthless, brutal regime.
This must stop. Canada must and can do more to help the people of Iran.
Michael Cooper, Canadian MP
The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world, and for 44 years the regime has terrorized the Iranian people. The world has been inspired over the past five months as hundreds of thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets in all corners of Iran to say enough is enough.
The regime has to go, and it has to go now. The response from the regime has been horrific and brutal, but it’s not surprising given the evil character of this regime.
Now is a critical time. After five months, the democratic resistance needs every level of support that it can get, and it’s why it’s so important that Canada work with our allies to assert maximum pressure on the regime. It’s long past due that Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity.
I was in Iran in 2017 when there was a nationwide uprising. Protests began in December and the people torched posters of Khamenei. On the second day, people came to the streets and chanted slogans against Khamenei.
On the third day, there was a huge crowd in the city center. The regime opened fire on the people. They were shooting people. I witnessed one of my friends being shot in the hand and he lost two of his fingers. Many were shot in their leg. We had seven martyrs in Qahdarijan who were shot in the head and the neck.
I hail the people of Isfahan and Iran, the people who have resisted and have brought Khamenei’s regime to its knees. Khamenei knows his time is up. The resistance of the Iranian people made the world see. The youth of Iran are bringing about new developments.
In 2018, the regime was blinding people with pellet guns. When I saw all of this I said that I would be the voice of my people, a people that never surrendered to the Pahlavi regime or the mullahs’ regime.
I pay homage to the martyr founders of the MEK and Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh, who was overthrown by a coup carried out by Shah’s regime.
At the end of the summit, Melika Ziaei, the host of the conference, thanked the participants of the conference. She expressed solidarity with the nationwide Iranian Revolution and congratulated the Iranian people on the anniversary of the anti-monarchy revolution.