Eric Shawn: You mentioned the nuclear issue and of course, July 20th is a deadline for the nuclear agreement. Do you think Tehran can be trusted?
Maryam Rajavi: Certainly not. The mu↑llahs are masters of deception, duplicity and charlatanism. For this reason they can in no way be trusted. You know full well that Rouhani, himself, acknowledged during the election campaign that he had deceived the West in order to continue the nuclear activities inside Iran while the West being misled that thee regime has engaged in negotiations in order to halt their nuclear program. Therefore, they cannot be trusted. Moreover, it is common knowledge that nuclear [nuclear weapons] are the guarantee for the survival of the regime. For this reason, even if they come to negotiate it has been due to international pressure and especially the chaotic situation inside the country, as it relates to the explosive state of society, or to the dire economic conditions. Thus, what is important now is that the West, the P5+1, must extract more concessions from a regime that has come to the negotiating people due of the pressure of the sanctions and the pressures brewing from within Iranian society. Regrettably, however, [the West] is not there yet.
Eric Shawn: The Security Council has demanded six times that the Iranian regime stop uranium enrichment. Yet, the interim agreement apparently permits Tehran to maintain some enrichment. Is that acceptable to you? And if not what are your concerns?
Maryam Rajavi: In my view no. I believe any such possibility left at the hands of the mullahs paves the way for them to quickly obtain what they want [nuclear weapons] at a time they so choose. For this reason, I said that it imperative that Security Council resolutions are implemented fully by the mullahs’ dictatorship. Otherwise, any concessions to the mullahs will no doubt enable them to find a way to cheat in order to secretly continue its activities to reach the nuclear bomb. Thus, this is unacceptable.
Eric Shawn: What do you think Iran is trying to do strategically? We see what is happening with prime minister al-Maliki. Is Iran trying to extend their influence through Assad in Syria and fight against us? What is your view of that?
Maryam Rajavi: You know that in reality, the Iranian regime’s strategy has been to expand in the region the spread of fundamentalism and export of terrorism in the region. And this will remain so until it remains [in power]. The reason: a dictatorial, medieval regime that lack the capacity to solve any problems inside the country. Thus, one of the regime’s strategic pillars is the export of terrorism and fundamentalism. Many regime officials have stated officially that Syria and Iraq represent the strategic depth for the regime. Therefore, the focal point of what is happening in Syria and Iraq is Tehran.
Eric Shawn: And finally, what would you like the American people to know about you? Can the U.S. government change its political strategy? And how can the average American understand what your supporters have gone through? And the people of Iran have gone through? Having the history of the United States in supporting many resistance movements. I can only think of world war II, with Nazi Germany. What can the American people do?
Maryam Rajavi: First, the Iranian people do not want religious dictatorship. Second, in Iran, there is a legitimate, widespread and organized resistance movement with a long history, which is comprised of the best children of the Iranian people. It has paid a heavy price so far to stand up to a dictatorship, to expose its fundamentalism, its terrorism, its nuclear sites, its human rights abuses and its warmongering the world over. Thus, I believe it is of paramount importance that the international community stands with the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance’s yearning to overthrow the religious dictatorship and not stand on the site of tyrants, a religious dictatorship, one which is now a threat to global peace and security. You know full well that the danger of nuclear mullahs threatens not only the region but the world as a whole. Its meddling in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon threatens the whole of the region with war and conflict, which will have dire consequences. Therefore, what the Iranian people and Resistance want is that the U.S. be at least neutral, because so far, the U.S. has stood with the dictatorship and against the legitimate demands of the Iranian people, which is the overthrow of this regime [to be replaced] by a republic based on the separation of religion and state, a government which would bring freedom and democracy, freedom of expression and freedom in every sphere for people of Iran, something which we represent. An Iran which would herald peace, friendship, compassion, mercy, love, progress, gender equality; an Iran in which all religions and all minorities would enjoy equal rights; an Iran based on international norms and law. I believe the Iranian people deserve to have such a government and, as such, they have the right to stand up to the medieval religious dictatorship. And they expect, that western countries, and you asked me, the U.S. government to support the legitimate right of the Iranian people and their resistance to overthrow the regime. They must stand with the Iranian people and not with the dictators.
Eric Shawn: Even though I said finally, if I may, one more. There have been many resistance movements through history. Some have work, others not. No one would have foreseen the Berlin wall would fall and the Soviet Union would have disappeared. Are you confident that at some point that the regime in Tehran will also fall?
Maryam Rajavi: I am confident that the mullahs’ religious dictatorship ruling Iran will not last in the 21st Century and will be overthrown. It really begs logic to expect this religious dictatorship which is the founder of terrorism and fundamentalism in the whole of the region and is seeking nuclear weapons to take international policy hostage to continue and endure. The reason is that the Iranian people reject this regime. According to official internal assessments by the regime, more than 95 percent of the Iranian people reject this regime. The mullahs are engulfed in crisis. The crisis of legitimacy, crisis of leadership [reflected in] a schism at the pinnacle of the regime, an economic crisis, the nuclear crisis and the crises in Syria and Iraq, which have frightened and shaken the regime. And in the face of it, there is a legitimate and powerful resistance with popular base which can, with the help of the Iranian people, overthrow this regime. Thus, relying on these factors, I am confident because this resistance is the harbinger of a free, prosperous, peaceful Iran; an Iran which seeks the promotion of fraternity, equality and peace in the entire region; [a resistance] which is particularly the harbinger of a bright and democratic Islam, the genuine Islam in the face of the reactionary and fundamentalist Islam. This is what the region and the Islamic world needs. Right now, the region and the world is grappling with the danger of fundamentalism and this danger is growing by the day. And its antidote is a cultural one. The Iranian Resistance is the cultural antithesis this religious and fundamentalist dictatorship whose tentacles are spreading to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the region and the horn of Africa and is challenging the international community, facing it with a crisis. For this reason, I am indeed confident that when such a resistance with such ideals, with such a platform, with the message of freedom and democracy, gender equality, a non-nuclear Iran, in the face of a religious, fundamentalist regime, exists, this regime will be overthrown and I am confident that the Iranian people will experience freedom, democracy and equality because they are worthy of it and when that day comes, the region and world will be more secure and will not have to deal with the cancer of extremism and fundamentalism incited by this regime in different form and in different places because when its fountainhead dries up, this phenomenon will cease to exist. I believe that that day is an occasion for celebration not only for the Iranian people but for the people of the region who have suffered enormously and endured great hardship, the massacres in Syria and Iraq and elsewhere. It will be a celebration for the region and for the world for being confident that global peace and security will prevail without a fundamentalist religious dictatorship that is after nuclear weapons.
As regards our Resistance and as to whether or not it will succeed, history has proven that whenever a nation is resolved and able to pay the price of its decision, it will certainly succeed. As you said, the experience is out there, including in the history of the United States, such as George Washington and the people of America who decided to stand up to colonialism to gain independence, such as Abraham Lincoln and the price he paid and the wars he waged to abolish slavery and the price the people of America paid during the time of Dr. Martin Luther King for civil rights and the struggle of the people of America for the freedom of women. These are all historical experiences and I am, therefore, confident. My experience and that of the Iranian people tell us that when a people, a nation decides to fight and pay the price for the rights it deserves, such as, democracy, freedom and equality, when it decides to fight for these and pay the price, for values which shine in history of all human societies and in the progress of human society, it will certainly achieve it and I am confident that the Iranian Resistance which seeks the proven values of advanced societies will reach its goal of a free, prosperous, democratic just and non-nuclear Iran; an Iran which would seek to herald peace, friendship, fraternity and equality in the region and the world. This is what has inspired me and members of the Resistance, despite the very difficult conditions they endure wherever they are, especially the residents of Liberty who are besieged in an extraordinary dire circumstance, but continue to make every sacrifice with love and faith for such an Iran and such a future to reach this goal.