Rajavi's image in 1980 election posters
4 December 1953
|Organization||People's Mujahedin of Iran|
Maryam Rajavi (Persian: مریم رجوی, née Qajar-Azodanlu, Persian: مریم قجر عضدانلو) is the leader of the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), an organization trying to overthrow the Iranian government, and President-elect of its National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). She is the wife of Massoud Rajavi.
Rajavi was born Maryam Qajar-Azodanlu on 4 December 1953 in Tehran, Iran. She was in a middle-class civil servant family descended from a member of the Qajar dynasty. She attended the Sharif University of Technology in Iran, earning a B.S. in metallurgy.
Rajavi has stated that her political activism started when she was twenty-two after her sister Narges was killed by SAVAK. Then she became a member of the People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK), and began her political career. Maryam Rajavi served as deputy commander and MEK Secretary General until 1993. On 22 October 1993, the NCRI elected Maryam 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."
A 10-point manifesto published by Maryam 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 United Nations charter. The manifesto also contains the statement that 'We recognize private property, private investment and the market economy.'.
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.
On October 2011 Theresa May banned Maryam 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, 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|||
On 17 June 2003, Maryam Rajavi was arrested by Paris Police Prefecture alongside some 150 MEK members. Rajavi denied the charges, saying "the case was mounted to appease Iran." 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".
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."
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.
|Party political offices|
as Leader of People's Mujahedin of Iran
| Co-leader of People's Mujahedin of Iran
Served alongside: Massoud Rajavi
Title last held byAbolhassan Banisadr
as President of Iran in pretence
| President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran|
| Secretay-General of People's Mujahedin of Iran
|New title|| Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the People's Mujahedin of Iran military wing