Iran’s ‘election’: More of a referendum on brutal ruling regime

By Hamid Enayat

Following the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a May 19 helicopter accident, Iran’s ruling regime held early elections last Friday. Iran’s ailing 85-year-old Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei intended to also resolve the issue of his succession within the regime through these early elections.

While the stand-up comedy election seems to ultimately make Saeed Jalili, a former Revolutionary Guard general close to Khamenei, perform well, the record-low turnout in fact turned the whole show into a referendum in which the people of Iran, by boycotting the election, rejected the regime in its entirety. In their own way, they voted for a change towards a democratic and secular republic.

Hundreds of resistance units across Iran monitored over 14,000 polling stations until midnight, clearly showing that 88% of the Iranian people boycotted the elections. This is notable as voting is compulsory for soldiers, prisoners, and others. Therefore, in the voting processes of the Iranian regime, in some cities or districts there are often more blank votes than any other kind.

Referendum for the umpteenth time

The Iranian people had previously expressed their choice for regime change in several cases.
If one had not witnessed the will of the Iranian people in their November 2019 uprising, during which, according to Reuters, at least 1,500 young people were shot dead on direct orders from Khamenei while struggling for their freedom, and if one had not seen the popular uprising in 2022 that Ali Khamenei could only temporarily suppress through unparalleled killings and tortures, these elections once again showcased the voice of the Iranian people.

The same choice was echoed by tens of thousands of Iranians in Berlin, rallying the day after Iran’s presidential elections, to amplify the loud voice of the Iranian people in Europe calling for change.

Pence and Pompeo show support for regime change in Iran

Simultaneously with the huge demonstration in Berlin, the annual Iranian Resistance gathering was held in Paris under strict security measures. The gathering, opened by the leader of the Iranian Resistance, Maryam Rajavi, was attended by former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, among other American figures.

In his speech addressing Iranians in Germany and participants in Paris, Pence stated, “Whoever becomes the new president of Iran will inherit a weaker, less stable regime that is more susceptible to collapse. However, the regime will not collapse on its own. For this reason, only a tried, organized and proven resistance can bring about sustainable change. A movement that can inspire people to act, has a history of standing up against the regime, and does not compromise. A movement that is ready to make sacrifices, to pay the necessary price for freedom. The good news is that this movement exists. It is the National Council of Resistance of Iran. The truth is the mullahs fear nothing more than the NCRI.”

Pompeo likewise emphasized the existence of an alternative that could solve the Middle East issue: “They tell us there is no alternative to the current regime. But every week, in hundreds of cities and towns across Iran, we witness the activities of resistance units showing that there is an alternative. The People’s Mojahedin Organization-MEK (the main force of the NCRI) offers a solution for many of the problems, not only in Iran but also for the entire Middle East. There is an alternative.”

Time to stop the policy of appeasement

Contrary to the Iranian people’s desire, the Biden administration and Western governments persist in their policy of appeasement towards the dying regime. In the United States, decisions were made to deposit over $100 billion of Iranian assets into the regime’s treasury, facilitating the sale of oil to finance the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its proxy forces, and to support their warmongering.

In Belgium, under public pressure due to a Belgian citizen being taken hostage in Iran, the government last year handed over a diplomat who had been convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 20 years in prison for carrying a bomb capable of killing hundreds at an opposition meeting in Paris in 2018.

In Sweden, although a court decisively sentenced an executioner involved in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran in 1988 to life imprisonment, last month the government handed him over to the clerical regime to be welcomed in Tehran on a red carpet with a garland around his neck. Again, the policy of taking a Swedish diplomat hostage in Iran worked.

In her opening speech at the Resistance conference, Maryam Rajavi warned the governments that continue to appease the Iranian regime: “You have helped this regime come close to acquiring a nuclear bomb, paved the way for Khamenei’s warmongering in the region, and emboldened the clerics to the extent that it caused protests in Ukraine. For years, your media have propagated the lie that religious fascism has no alternative and that we must settle for it. Yet, maintaining this dying regime and preventing its inevitable collapse is impossible.”

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