NCRI – The president-elect of the Iranian Resistance has written a powerful piece for the Wall Street Journal explaining why the current wave of protests in Iran are completely different from the 2009 protests about the rigged re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Maryam Rajavi, the leader of Iranian opposition coalition the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), wrote: “Then, the cause was a rift within the regime. Now, the people are demanding an end to the regime.”
The current protests, which began over a sharp increase in the cost of living in late December, have turned into widespread demonstrations for the end of the corrupt clerical regime and spread far further than the 2009 protests ever did and show the international community that the Regime is on borrowed time.
Maryam Rajavi explained: “The clerical regime stands on shaky ground, and the Iranian people are unwavering in their quest to bring it down. Slogans against velayat-e faqih, or absolute clerical rule, called for a real republic and explicitly targeted the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. This dispels the myth, still harboured by some governments that Iranians distinguish between moderates and hard-liners in Tehran. It also undercuts flawed arguments depicting a stable regime.”
Millions of Iranians live in poverty but the Regime is doing nothing to help. Instead, they are spending $100 billion to prop up the Syrian Regime and support terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas instead.
The regime’s latest budget allocates over $26.8 billion to military and security affairs and the export of terrorism in addition to the $27.5 billion in military spending from institutions controlled by Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). By comparison, the healthcare budget is just $16.3 billion.
Maryam Rajavi wrote: “Weak and vulnerable, the regime spends such astronomical sums on regional meddling as part of its strategy for survival.”
The Iranian protesters have been chanting “Death to Hezbollah” and “Leave Syria, think about us instead”, proving that they oppose the Regime’s deadly destruction of the Middle East, especially at the expense of their own people.
It is also worth noting that the Regime’s corruption is widespread and well known. That is why there are no illusions of internal reform from the protesters; simply, the Regime must go.
Maryam Rajavi wrote: “This systemic economic mismanagement has its roots in the political system, and it grows worse every day. That is why the demand for regime change surfaced almost immediately. It seems to be the only conceivable outcome.”
Much bigger than 2009
Not only are the current protests much wider spread geographically, they are also much wider spread in terms of demographics. Rather than being made up of mainly middle and upper-class Iranians, these ones are made up of people from every class, ethnicity, religion, and gender.
Maryam Rajavi wrote: “The recent demonstrations span a much broader swath of the population—the middle class, the underprivileged, workers, students, women and young people. Nearly all of society has been represented on the picket line.”
The Regime has inevitably blamed anyone but themselves for the current protests. Their main target? The leading opposition group, Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK).
All Iranian officials from the very top to the lowest ranks have toed the line and blamed the MEK for inciting these protests. The Regime has not only blamed the MEK for the protests, but have also warned against any Iranians joining the MEK.
Maryam Rajavi wrote: “The torrent of statements by regime officials reflect their panic at the expansion of the nationwide uprising and the rising popularity of the MEK and the NCRI.”
It is no secret that the Iranian Regime is brutal in their suppression of the people’s protests, as they are on a daily basis with the Iranian people.
Maryam Rajavi wrote: “The IRCG has killed at least 50 people and wounded hundreds. By the end of the ninth day of protests, at least 3,000 had been arrested, according to our sources in the country. Numerous reports indicate that security forces literally knock on people’s doors and warn them against attending demonstrations. The net of suppression has been cast as wide as possible.”
The international community cannot keep silent about this. The United Nations Security Council needs to adopt punitive measures against the regime’s crimes; not just current crimes, but also in relation to the 1988 massacre in which 30,000 political prisoners were slaughtered. Their murderers have not been punished, but promoted.
Maryam Rajavi wrote: “Perhaps the final difference between the 2009 protests and the recent uprising will be that the latter succeeds in overthrowing the reviled theocracy in Iran. The people of Iran fervently hope so.”