What The Iranian People Want And Don’t Want – OpEd

Within the span of a week, the world saw two very contrasting picture of the Iranian people and their desires. On the one hand were the first and second round of the Iranian regime’s sham presidential elections, held on June 28 and July 5, which were met with an unprecedented boycott by the Iranian people. And on the other hand was the Free Iran 2024 World Summit, held on June 29–July 1 in France and Germany, which was welcomed by Iranians across the world and supported by politician, jurists, and activists.

What we don’t want
On June 28, at the ballot box, Iranian regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei, once again begged the people to participate in the elections, saying, “People should not hesitate to participate in the elections. The survival, strength, dignity, and reputation of the Islamic Republic in the world depend on the people’s presence.” A few days earlier, he had reiterated the connection between the elections and the future of his regime in a different way, stating, “If high participation is observed in these elections, it will bring pride to the Islamic Republic.”

However, on the election day, the Iranian people completely boycotted Khamenei’s show. From the early morning hours, reporters from Simay-e Azadi monitored polling stations and broadcasted the news of empty polling stations to the world.

On June 29, Iran Watch news website quoted Ali Rabiei, a security official and promoter of one of the candidates, as saying, “The decline in participation compared to 2021 shows that the lower and middle classes are fed up.” Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi, Minister of Housing in former president Hassan Rouhani’s tenure (2013-2021), wrote on Twitter, “Sixty percent of eligible voters did not participate in the elections. Their message was clear.”

Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, the former head of the security commission of Majlis (parliament), considered the low turnout natural and said, “The low participation level did not surprise me!”

Hesamodin Ashna, Rouhani’s advisor, said, “When for 35 years you have constantly hammered that the president is powerless, why do you expect high participation?” Even religious scholars raised their voices, noting that despite all the regime’s efforts, the people “did not accept” and rejected it.

The situation escalated to the point where the state-run Farhikhtegan newspaper by highlighting fear of the “danger” of an uprising and the “super crisis” of the regime caused by the younger generation, wrote, “I warn that intergenerational trauma, communication breakdown, public opinion inversion, the spread of criticism to indifference and even resentment in Generation Z, distrust or insufficient trust and hope, and economic problems are the super dangers facing the country; if ignored or not addressed, they will turn into super crises in the near future.”

According to reports by the network of the PMOI, 88% of eligible voters boycotted the elections and refused to cast a ballot in favor of any of the candidates. This was, in fact, a referendum on the regime in its entirety, and the people definitively voted “no” to the regime.

The regime engaged in extensive efforts to rally people to the polling stations for the second round of the elections, which was held one week later on July 5.

Khamenei, who had decided to restore his regime’s “honor” and cover up his double defeat in the second round by inflating the number of participants through fraud and figure manipulation, shamelessly began laying the groundwork at the start of the voting and claimed that this time the level of “people’s enthusiasm and interest” would be higher than before.

However, this time around, the boycott was even more humiliating, with 91% of the people refusing to vote for the regime’s candidates.

What we want
In 1979, the people of Iran knew they did not want the shah dictatorship. But they did not know what they wanted instead, and there was no national solidarity for a democratic republic based on the separation of religion and state. Ruhollah Khomeini exploited this atmosphere of ambiguity and confusion and, with backdoor deals, stole the people’s revolution.

But now, after nearly half a century of suffering and torment, this has relatively occurred: A pioneering organization and a popular resistance exist as an alternative, which has both international recognition and a clear, declared program.

An alternative that, just one day after the decisive boycott of the regime’s sham election, demonstrated 20,000 instances of the people’s desires with video messages from PMOI Resistance Units, sent from inside Iran with high risks to their safety and lives. Their unanimous message was that the people of Iran want regime change and support a democratic republic.

The presence of dozens of personalities, parliamentarians, politicians, and former leaders at the great resistance gathering in Paris demonstrated the recognition and credibility of the regime’s alternative.

The large demonstration in Berlin also revealed another positive aspect of the Iranian people’s demands.

The future of Iran
Unlike in the past, when every social change and even the greatest revolutions in Iran were hijacked and suppressed due to the lack of a competent leading body, this time the Iranian people, at the peak of their awareness and after several nationwide uprisings, know both what they want and what they don’t want.

In practice, they also have a pioneering organization consisting of thousands of professional members, with a clear and declared program that has an answer for every question and has outlined a clear vision in every field; a program for the future of Iran that dozens and hundreds of prominent political and legal figures have endorsed, including the Free Iran 2024 World Summit:

“The Iranian people are engaged in a struggle for democratic change, and we, all of us, should support them in that aim,” said David Jones, Former Minister and Member of the UK House of Commons, at Summit. “The future of Iran must be determined by the people of Iran who very clearly want a Democratic Republic, and that will only be achieved through an organized democratic resistance movement exemplified by Madam Rajavi and the NCRI.”

John Bercow, Former Speaker of the UK House of Commons, said, “The philosophy and the intended policy program of the National Council of Resistance of Iran is one of the most eloquent, articulate, and comprehensive statements of an alternative that any democrat could wish to see.”

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