By Shahriar Kia
The one-year anniversary of the anti-regime uprising that erupted in Iran in December 2017 has just passed. Today, the movement is unified, and now includes virtually all sectors of Iranian society. The anti-government movement consists of truck drivers, factory workers, farmers, teachers, and many others, who once feared raising their voices in opposition. Now ordinary Iranians are standing together in solidarity to demand regime change.
The regime’s economic policies have sent the country into hyper-inflation and high unemployment. Leadership has been accused of corruption, and repression. The Iranian people believe that the regime does not have a plan to deal with the situation. Instead, dissent is repressed, and dissidents are threatened with mass arrests and killings. As well, internet access to social media that spread word of protest actions can be shut down to contain the demonstrators.
The regime has a history over the past four decades of labeling dissidents and legitimate protesters as terrorists. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has pointed at the leading opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran ( PMOI/MEK ), who are well known for their organizational and leadership capabilities.
In fact, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is so concerned that he phoned his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, to demand action against MEK in France — a demand that Macron declined.
Tehran has also been accused of sponsoring terrorist activity abroad. Terrorist plots in Western countries were uncovered during the past year:
A bomb plot against an opposition rally outside Paris where tens of thousands were in attendance, American officials among them. An Iranian diplomat at the embassy in Vienna was arrested in Germany for his involvement, and extradited to Belgium to face trial.
Within the U.S., Americans linked to the parliament-in-exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran ( NCRI ), and MEK were targeted in August of this year, when two men identified as agents of Iran were arrested and charged with spying for Tehran.
Terror attacks abroad highlight the repression the Iranian people experience at home.
Throughout Iran, ordinary citizens are demanding change. They want democracy, like that espoused by the opposition — the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) coalition — the way forward toward a democratic Iran. The pivotal force behind the NCRI is the PMOI/MEK, and together they form an organized movement inside Iran that has strong international support.
The NCRI is led by Maryam Rajavi, and is already a viable alternative to the current government in Iran. The NCRI has declared a 10-point Plan for the future of Iran. The NCRI has 37 years of experience and dedication, and has proven itself as being able to achieve democracy and create a free, modern society. The MEK is the guiding hand behind the anti-regime movement in Iran, and is represented by the NCRI abroad. It is ready for the Iranian people, who will no longer tolerate a regime built on suppression and terror.
Now it is time for the U.S. Congress and administration to hold the regime responsible for their acts and human rights abuses, and to support the Iranian people’s efforts toward freedom.