Brussels, September 15, 2023: In commemoration of the one-year anniversary of Iran’s 2022 nationwide uprising against the authoritarian regime, Iranians and supporters of the Iranian Resistance gathered in a significant demonstration in the capital of Belgium. This event served as a tribute to the uprising, its fallen heroes, and all those passionately advocating for freedom throughout the country.
Demonstrators proudly displayed placards and chanted slogans that symbolized their unwavering belief in the uprising‘s inevitable triumph, resonating with their deep desire for a democratic republic in a liberated Iran of the future. Their unified voices echoed the resilient spirit of the Iranian population and their steadfast determination to overthrow the oppressive rule of the mullahs, especially on this momentous anniversary.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), conveyed a powerful message to her fellow compatriots participating in these demonstrations, reflecting their shared dream of freedom and democracy.
Mrs. Rajavi said, “A year has passed since the eruption of the nationwide uprising in Iran, sparked by the tragic loss of Zhina Amini (Mahsa). This uprising set the regime ablaze in its entirety. It has been a year brimming with the bravery and sacrifice of the Iranian people’s children, from Zahedan to Tehran, from Kurdistan to Khorasan, from Tabriz to Rasht, Kermanshah, Isfahan, Kerman, Shiraz, and every corner of Iran.
This uprising, a manifestation of the boundless strength of the Iranian people, has wrought miracles and inspired awe. An uprising that, no matter how much they tried to suppress it, no matter how much blood they spilled from its body, neither deviated from its course nor relinquished its resolve to topple the regime.
And today, it is the Iranian uprising whose footsteps are being heard. And it is the architects of uprising and rebels who say, ‘We will return, marching victoriously through the streets to topple the palaces of tyranny and suppression of the clerics.’”
“Khamenei and his ruthless IRGC are well aware that another uprising is looming, yet they are powerless to prevent it,” Mrs. Rajavi added. “The same factors and motivations that created the uprising of 2022-2023 are at work with even greater intensity, preparing the social landscape for the next big uprising.
The daily protests that erupt across society, from the retirees’ rallies, frequent workers’ strikes, and scattered revolts in various parts of the country to the relentless attacks by rebellious youths against the IRGC and suppression agents, are all the ripples of the same looming volcano.
The astronomical rise in prices, rendering people homeless, the regime’s entrenchment and increasingly yielding to bloodthirsty figures like Ebrahim Raisi, the henchman of 1988—all of these constitute a ruthless war against Iranian society. They not only intensify the motivations for an uprising but also dig their own grave in the process.
Yes, this regime is at an impasse; it will not return to its previous balance. It faces a society where not only the social readiness for overthrowing the regime has increased, but the confrontational stance of the young generation against the Revolutionary Guards has also intensified.
The more the clerical regime resorts to behind-the-scenes deals with foreign interlocutors, the more it hatches plots against the PMOI and the NCRI, and the more appeasing powers degrade themselves in the face of the regime’s policy of hostage-taking and blackmail, the point of no return has been reached; this regime can no longer avert its own downfall.”
Mrs. Rajavi emphasized the conspiracies and plans of the clerical regime aimed at obstructing the revolutionary path. These efforts involve seeking foreign aid and manipulating individuals within the Iranian community who pretend to be dissidents.
She asserted, “Guided by Massoud Rajavi, [NCRI founder], the revolutionary solution thwarted the uprising from being stolen and directed it towards the overthrow of the Velayat-e Faqih regime. Massoud safeguarded the great heritage of the people and history, and the blood of 120,000 Mojahedin and revolutionaries, including those 30,000 unforgettable martyrs, strengthening the people’s front against the dictatorships of both the Shah and the mullahs.
Through the challenging obstacles, amidst the complexities and darkness, he opened the path for a democratic revolution and laid the foundation for its victory—a path that will undoubtedly lead to its triumphant and glorious conclusion.
Today, the tide is turning against the regime and its allies. The clerics have no escape from the inevitable overthrow by the army of uprising and the grand army of the Iranian people’s freedom. The democratic revolution of the people of Iran will triumph.”
The grand rally in Brussels featured a diverse range of speakers. The following is a selection of their speeches:
Irish Senator Gerry Horkan
“On the first anniversary of the popular uprising in Iran, to send a clear message of support to the brave Iranian people and to amplify their demands, down with the dictator, down with either the Shah or the Supreme Leader.
This is all about democracy, we are not looking to replace one dictatorship with another, we are supporting the ten-point plan of Madame Rajavi for a democratic, peaceful, prosperous, secular Iran. And we have a clear message to the murderous leaders in Tehran that your only option is to accept your fate and bow to the will of the Iranian people.
The people of Iran have every reason to be optimistic and hopeful of the future because they have the necessary means to successfully overcome the theocratic regime and establish a free, democratic, and secular Iran. They have an expanding network of Resistance Units that organize and spread the protests, a bastion of resistance and hope in Ashraf 3, which I have visited. A strong, experienced coalition of democratic opposition and personalities in the NCRI, mirrors both the Iranian society and its popular aspirations for freedom and democracy.
We have a democratic alternative summarized in the Ten-Point Plan of the NCRI President-Elect Madame Rajavi and her inspiring leadership, which is respected by the courageous women of Iran, leading both the resistance movement for decades and the unfolding uprising in Iran.
With young people and women to the fore, and much political support right across the world, as was exemplified at our earlier conference today, with people from North America, from South America, from all over Europe and many other parts of the world, there is huge support politically for a democratic, peaceful, free Iran.
So, to EU leaders, EU member state governments, and the European Parliament, we ask and we say that you cannot ignore nor alter these facts, that there is an organized Iranian opposition of the people, by the people, and for the people. You must end appeasement with the brutal regime in Iran, which we must remember is supporting everyday Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, with many, many Iranian drones being supplied to the evil, illegal regime, or to the Russian regime, being used against the Ukrainian people in their illegal invasion of Ukraine.
We must end the prevailing immunity to the use of UN mechanisms and universal jurisdictions and recognize the NCRI, the Iranian people’s viable democratic alternative, and endorse Madam Rajavi’s 10-point democratic platform for the future of Iran, where the people of Iran will be able to choose their own governments that they want to vote for.
To the EU leaders and European heads of state who will attend the General Assembly debate in New York next week at the UN, we ask that you join the people of Iran in rejecting and boycotting Iran’s current President, Ebrahim Raisi, the Butcher of Tehran, and greet him at the UN by referring his case to the UN Security Council for prosecution in the International Tribunal for his involvement with the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners and violent crackdown on protesters in both 2019 and again since last year.
We also ask the EU and its member states to stop rewarding the regime’s hostage-taking diplomacy and designate the IRGC, the Supreme Leader’s private army of terrorism and oppression, as a terrorist organization. The regime is weaker than ever, desperate, and will never be able to silence the Iranian people nor restrict or eliminate the organized resistance.
The growing dissent, as exemplified here by yourselves, and crises facing the regime that sparked the recent uprising persist. The mullahs cannot stop the inevitable democratic revolution in Iran through executions. That is the lesson of history and the promise of the Iranian Resistance.
We never know when a regime will fall, but we didn’t know when the Berlin Wall would fall and it fell, we didn’t know when the Shah would fall and he fell, and we hopefully will sooner rather than later see this regime fall.
A free and democratic republic in Iran is very much within reach. The Iranian people and the NCRI’s cause are just and will prevail. We look forward to a free, secular, democratic, peaceful, prosperous Iran in the very near future. I want to thank you all very much for being here today and for the NCRI for all it does.”
Former MEP Struan Stevenson
My sisters and brothers, today we are here because one year ago Masa Amini was murdered by the morality police. We are here for Mahsa Amini. Her name will go down in history. She will never be forgotten.
You know the mullahs, since the insurrection that began a year ago, they have killed 750 people. They’ve jailed over 30,000 and they think that by doing that they will stop us. They can think again, we will never be stopped.
The uprising has been led by women, brave, courageous women who have joined the PMOI Resistance Units. They have torched IRGC and Basij command posts. They have defaced posters of Khamenei. They have put graffiti on the walls. They have displayed posters of Madam Rajavi and Masoud Rajavi and they will not be beaten. They have hacked into the international networks of state television and shown pictures of Mrs. Rajavi at the PMOI.
This is the courage of the women who are leading this uprising. And of course, in the usual way, the regime has resorted to arrest, torture, and executions. They have executed 600 people in the last year. How can you have conversations in the West with a regime that has hanged 600 people in the past year?
A regime that finances war and terror across the Middle East, it backs Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Hezbollah, the militias in Iraq, and Hamas. This regime backs terror in the Middle East and internationally.
And that’s why tens of thousands of women, tens of thousands, took to the streets, joining with their brothers, their fathers, in the international uprising. Students, nurses, teachers, factory workers, and pensioners, crying down with the dictator, whether it be the Shah or the mullahs.
These courageous PMOI, they demand an end to corruption, an end to discrimination, an end to repression, an end to the military adventurism of the mullahs’ regime. Because women have been treated as second-class citizens in Iran. They have had brutal attacks for the crime of mal-veiling. They have had acid thrown in their face, they have had stabbings. They have been arrested, sometimes teenage girls, and students arrested for dancing or singing and posting the videos on social media. Sometimes, they have been arrested for attending end-of-term parties at university.
This is what gender equality apparently looks like in Iran today. That’s why women have had enough. That’s why women are at the forefront of this uprising.
You know, when Ruhollah Khamenei hijacked the revolution in 1979, one of the first things he did, he announced that equality between men and women is in fundamental violation of some of the most crucial rulings of Islam, and is in defiance of some of the exploitation and is in defiance of some of the explicit commandments of the Quran.
That, my sisters and brothers, is a wicked deception. That is a lie. He used that deception to abolish family protection laws. He did away with female judges. Only a tiny minority of members of the majlis are women.
And that’s why now the mullahs are so scared of the PMOI. They’re so scared of the women who are leading the PMOI because they see the PMOI as the main threat to their existence. The PMOI will overthrow this regime. And the mullahs say, if we see or identify anyone from the PMOI, they will be arrested, tortured, and possibly executed.
Well, I have a message today for the mullahs. I am PMOI! You are PMOI! We are all PMOI!
It is time now for the West to stand up beside the people of Iran, beside the courageous women and men. We are calling today for the PMOI and the Resistance Units to rise up again, and overthrow this regime. Victory is within sight.
The West must blacklist the IRGC. They must be named as a terrorist organization. Blacklist the IRGC. They must be named as a terrorist organization. And Khamenei and Raisi must be brought before the international courts in The Hague and charged with crimes against humanity and human rights abuse.
We will see them in prison. Sisters and brothers, the mullahs’ days are numbered. The turbaned tyrant’s days are coming to an end. We will all march together for freedom, in Tehran. Victory and long live Rajavi!
Mehdi Same, Chair of the NCRI Industrial Committee, Spokesperson of the Organization of Iranian People’s Fadaian Guerrillas
The revolutionary movement has entered a new stage. The Iranian regime and all its factions are at the heart of the problems of the Iranian people. It is the main source of the miseries of the people. Society has risen for fundamental change.
The people’s outrage against the criminal rulers shows that the revolutionary conditions persist. This is the continuation of the 2017 and 2019 uprisings. These two uprisings, which brought up the hatred of the people toward the regime, have changed the regime’s fate.
This is the end of any kind of solution within the regime.
Also, the actions of Reza Pahlavi have only served the regime. His goal has never been to change the regime.
Elham Zandi, Iranian Activist
After last year’s uprising, opportunists suddenly made their appearance. Their goal was to sow division and to divert the revolution of the people. Their goal is to create another shah vis-à-vis the Iranian Resistance.
Our slogan is “Down with the oppressor, whether the shah or the mullahs.” Our slogan has long been “no to forced hijab, no to forced religion, no to forced rulers.”
With the leadership of Massoud Rajavi and Maryam Rajavi, and with the Resistance Units, we will never back down from our fight against the mullahs’ regime. We will fight and we will take back Iran.
Nader Eslami, Iranian Activist
While the regime has become considerably weaker than before, we have faith that with the PMOI, we have everything we need to overthrow the regime.
We have a leadership that has foiled the plots of the regime to divert the revolution. We have the Resistance Units that are keeping the flame of resistance alight.
This regime must be overthrown. The people of Iran have no other solution. We echo the voice of our compatriots inside Iran, who are shouting, “Down with the oppressor, be it the Shah or the mullahs!”
Senator Pierre Galand, President of the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) in Europe
I support the heroic struggle of the Iranian people. A year after the uprising, it is clear that the regime has no way out of its crises. The social and economic conditions are more explosive than ever.
The investments of Western states in this regime are doomed to fail. The EU’s engagement with a regime that holds the record for executions and torture is in no way justified.
The uprising spread to more than 280 cities. The slogans included “Death to Khamenei” and “Death to the oppressor, be it the Shah or the mullahs.”
I have been in touch with numerous freedom movements. But I can say that the PMOI is the only movement that despite the regime’s oppression and the obstructions of the West has not only been able to maintain itself but has also expanded its ranks within Iran’s youth. The regime has confirmed this.
I also want to highlight the remarkable leadership of Maryam Rajavi, her vision for a democratic Iran, and her efforts in support of human rights. The struggle for freedom in Iran is a fight for justice, for human rights across the world.
By standing with you and the people of Iran, we send a message for a more just world. I thank you for your tenacity and resistance against this regime. Your determination is admirable.
Aziz Paknejad, Member of the NCRI
Last year, the world saw the sacrifices of the youth, society, and especially the women of Iran. Their display of courage is rooted in a century of struggles by the women of Iran.
The killing of people by the security forces is not only a disgrace for the regime but also for its covert and overt supporters.
Thanks to the nationwide activities of the Resistance Units, the flame of resistance remained alit in Iran and created the grounds for more uprisings. The regime has shown its desperation in the face of the Resistance and is seeking help from its allies.
The plots of the enemy were foiled, and the struggle continues thanks to your efforts and the heroic efforts of the Resistance Units.
Their latest ploy was to promote fake alternatives abroad to suppress the NCRI, the main alternative. They spent huge sums and used their media to deviate the revolution from its main goals. Some movements and personalities joined this sentiment. This work was symbolized by the promotion of the son of the Shah and celebrities who have been sent abroad with the facilities of the regime. They served the regime through their activities.
But they failed as is evident in the continuation of the flames of the uprising.
The collective efforts of you, the supporters of the Resistance, have helped people understand the truth of the regime’s plots. We will continue as strong and determined as ever.
Rasmus Hansson, Member of the Norwegian Parliament
The Norwegian people wholeheartedly support your struggle. Regimes that do not support the rights of their people will not respect other countries. Dictatorships are threats to all nations. Your struggle is ours.
Many world leaders will no longer remain silent toward the Iranian regime. The majority of the Norwegian parliament clearly supports your fight for a democratic Iran. This support is a response to the credibility of the NCRI. It is also a response to NCRI’s role in exposing the regime’s nuclear program and its efforts to expose the regime’s terrorism.
As a parliamentarian from a peaceful country, I’m grateful and deeply impressed by Iranians fighting for freedom.
The democratic resistance in Iran has endured four decades of suppression. You are fighting a religious dictatorship that uses hostage-taking and tramples human rights.
History reminds us that resistance movements like yours, which stand firm and maintain their integrity against extreme suppression, can change history.
I am convinced that Maryam Rajavi’s Ten-Point Plan is a constructive plan for the future of Iran. It implements human rights for all.
Your unwavering dedication to a free Iran inspires everyone. We stand with you and will urge our own countries to be much tougher toward the Iranian regime and to recognize you and your movement as the right bearers of the future of Iran. Your future is everybody’s future.
Former MEP Paolo Casaca, Executive Director of SADF
I do not know more courageous people than the Iranian people. When we see these women, young ladies, and boys standing up against the regime, and showing how brave they are, I think everyone in this world has to rejoice.
We mourn the victims of this evil regime. But I think that the message we got here today from so many of you, by the women, and by the youth is that there is no way that the Iranian people will ever accept this evil regime. The people who are in these governments think they can negotiate their interests with the regime and forget the people. They are wrong and they are betting on the wrong side of history. The people will oust the mullahs because you are the most courageous and determined people I’ve known in my life.
I’m honored to be with you and to be part of your struggle. The youth of Iran will spell the end of the regime. I am absolutely certain. We shall continue and go all the time against these mullahs. We shall prevail.
This forceful assembly saw compatriots marching in unified formations along the central thoroughfares of Brussels. Their impassioned slogans underscored their solidarity with fellow Iranians at home engaged in the struggle for freedom, manifesting the resolute will of the Iranian people to dismantle the oppressive mullahs’ regime.