Mohammad Sadat Khansari
Since the 1979 revolution, the people of Iran have been victims of the illegitimate leadership that has been destroying the country and its reputation.
The Iranian people were hopeful that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini would deliver on his promises. But it was not to be. The people have remained hopeful over the years but it was all for nothing. They have been subjected to suppression and oppression and it has become clear that the people will never be put first.
Ayatollah Khomeini wanted absolute control. And he took it. Hundreds of thousands of Revolutionary Guards and police militias were tasked with domestic oppression while the people were wishing for freedom – not just individual freedom, but religious freedom too.
When Khomeini took power, he had widespread support from outside the country, in particular from the United States.
But a reign of terror ensued with Islamic rules that belong in another era.
What came next has been described as a cultural revolution. Up to the end of 1983, hundreds of academics were ousted and a cleansing process was carried out. Political figures, academics and clerics soon began to figure out where they stood.
Khomeini directly ordered repression and oppression and in 1988 he ordered the execution of political prisoners. His orders were carried out and more than 30,000 political prisoners were killed during what has become known as the 1988 massacre. A crime against humanity and an abomination for which those responsible have still not been held accountable.
Nothing changed when Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took power and the people continued to suffer. Over the years, many Iranians have been forced to leave everything behind and forge a new life in another country. But most have been left behind to deal with the consequences of clerical rule.
Ethnic and religious minorities continue to deal with being treated unfairly and unequally and women are still unable to enjoy the same rights as men. People daring to express dissent put themselves at risk of arrest, imprisonment, torture and even execution.
The people are determined, now more than ever, to regain their freedom. They know that they will never see freedom for as long as the mullahs have power and they have been calling for regime change. We are now hearing the people of Iran chant anti-regime slogans that very few would ever have dared uttered out loud for fear of the consequences.
The brave people are ensuring that their voices are heard and they have been keeping up the momentum with the widespread protests that have been sweeping across the country since the end of last year. The clerical regime is in a desperate situation and high officials are even starting to admit the fact that the current leadership is in grave danger.
Despite crackdown after crackdown, the people are aware that they are the force behind future regime change. However, the people need the backing of the international community and pressure must be applied where it is due.