Iranians Decisively Vote ‘No’ To The Entire Regime – OpEd


What Iran’s regime feared the most and tried to prevent for months finally came to pass on Friday, March 1, when its sham parliamentary elections was met with an unprecedented boycott by the Iranian people. The people of Iran dealt a severe blow to the regime’s political masquerade and once again underscored their desire to overthrow the rule of the mullahs.

In recent months, regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei had taken steps to consolidate power and solidify his regime against the inevitable waves of anti-regime protests. In the weeks leading up to the election, Khamenei personally made comments to underline the importance of the parliamentary elections. In a speech on February 28, two days before the elections, he stressed that participation in the election is a matter of “national security,” by which he means preserving his regime in power. This is also his justification for the vote-rigging and results engineering that his regime will engage in after the polls close.

The regime adopted several measures to pave the way for rigging the results, including the acceptance of identification documents that have no pictures, not stamping the documents of voters, and accepting five different types of documents for voting, and bribing people to vote.

In military bases, soldiers were forced to vote and were promised a four-day break if they cast their votes. According to the regime’s media, Moussa Kamali, the senior advisor of the training garrison of the armed forces, said, “Today, according to reports from education centers and garrisons, the presence and participation of our dear soldiers was unprecedented.” Kamali then asked soldiers to compel their families and friends to vote in the sham elections. Prisoners and workers of state-run factories were pressurized to vote.

On election day, Khamenei once again pleaded with his loyalists to vote and said, “Use this opportunity and vote on the first hours.”

On the other hand, the regime’s so-called religious authorities tried to compel the people to vote by saying that participation in the elections is a “religious duty” and not participating is a sin. But despite all these measures, the turnout was a disaster for the regime. Thousands of reports from citizen journalists and PMOI supporters across Iran show that polling stations were empty and very few people went to cast their vote.

But as before, the regime will resort to different tactics to rig the results and declare high turnouts and the results that had been determined before the voting took place. But the boycott was so widespread that the regime’s reports are being mocked by the people. Even the regime’s media could not deny the boycott.

The few foreign media that were allowed to cover the news also acknowledged the low turnout and the regime’s anxiety. “While state-controlled television broadcast images of lines of voters, others across the capital of Tehran saw largely empty polling stations,” Associated Press reported. “Meanwhile, a heavy security presence could be seen across the capital, with ordinary and anti-riot police officers visible in main squares and junctions. Some 200,000 security forces have been deployed across the country as over 59,000 polling stations opened.”

Reuters described the election as “a test of the clerical establishment’s legitimacy at a time of growing frustration over economic woes and restrictions on political and social freedoms.”

The situation has become so critical for the regime that Mohammad Bagher Farzaneh, the temporary Friday prayer leader of Mashhad, said on election day, “Brothers and sisters, if this situation continues… it will be dangerous. We are here to give people faith. If they don’t have bread, they will lose their faith.”

Indeed, the situation is very dangerous for the regime. As Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said, “No doubt, Khamenei and the Velayat-e Faqih regime will come out of this theatrics, much weaker and more fragile than ever, which will expedite their overthrow. The Iranian people’s decisive ‘No’ is indicative of burgeoning uprisings, the echoes of which have already resonated across the nation, heralding the impending downfall of the clerical regime.”

Mahin Horri

Mahin Horri writes for the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

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