Maryam Rajavi, born in 1953 to an upper-middleclass Iranian family, joined MEK as a student in Tehran in the early 1970s. After relocating with the group to Paris in 1981, she was elected its joint leader. Rajavi is also the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), since 1993.
In 1993, during its plenary session, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a coalition whose members include a number of Iranian opposition organizations and prominent personalities, elected Maryam Rajavi as the President-elect for the period of transitioning power to the Iranian people.
The NCRI acts as a parliament-in-exile and a legislative assembly
As the President-elect of the NCRI, Maryam Rajavi has mounted an extraordinary political, social, cultural and ideological challenge to the ruling mullahs in Iran. Under her leadership, women have risen to hold key positions in the Iranian Resistance. Over half of NCRI members are women. They occupy various political, diplomatic, social and cultural positions in the Resistance.
Maryam Rajavi has made numerous speeches regarding the real message of Islam, which revolves around tolerance and democracy, in direct contradiction of the reactionary and fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. She believes that one of the most important differentiators between these two entirely contradictory views of Islam focuses on attitudes toward the status of women. Among her published works are: “Islam, Women, and Equality,” “Women, the Force for Change,” and “Women against Fundamentalism.”
Today, in the eyes of the Iranian people, Maryam Rajavi is the pioneer of the struggle for democratic change in Iran. In recent years, she has led a global movement comprised of some of the most celebrated political and social personalities, including former U.S. government officials and secretaries in the political and military arenas, as well as political personalities and parliamentarians from the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia. This international movement has attained significant victories in support of regime change and establishment of freedom and democracy in Iran through its support and recognition of the Iranian Resistance and the organized opposition in Camps Ashraf and Liberty. The movement has gained international credibility and legitimacy.