Historic Boycott Mirrors Iranians’ Determination for Regime Change

BEHIND THE IRAN HEADLINES Series, March 7, 2024, Alireza Jafarzadeh, NCRI-US Deputy Director

The clerical regime long touted the electoral farce staged on March 1 in Iran as a crucial step to reviving its shattered legitimacy, both domestically and internationally, following the 2022 uprising. The world had vividly seen the regime’s lack of legitimacy during the nationwide calls for regime change and the establishment of a democratic republic in the course of successive uprisings, particularly since 2017.

In a desperate bid, the regime resorted to extensive propaganda campaigns engineered almost a year ago and directed by its Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. It also opted for blatant rigging tactics to inflate voter turnout on voting day. Khamenei implored citizens to participate, framing high electoral engagement as a cornerstone of the regime’s national security.

The regime’s security apparatus, including the IRGC, Basij, and the Ministry of Intelligence, spared no effort in coercing compliance. Under Khamenei’s directives, the Ministry of Interior, led by Ahmad Vahidi, a former commander of the Quds Force, engaged in widespread electoral manipulation, including vote rigging and the relaxation of voter identification requirements. Yet, the regime’s pleas and threats fell on deaf ears.

The Iranian Resistance, spearheaded by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), which had long advocated for a comprehensive boycott, mobilized its Resistance Units across the nation to promote this cause. The MEK reported that, based on its continuous on-the-ground monitoring of 1,941 polling stations nationwide, the turnout was barely over 8% of the eligible voters.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance Iran, hailed the historic boycott as a testament to the Iranian people’s unwavering determination to defy tyranny. She stressed that the Iranian people’s resounding “No” signals the dawn of a new era of resistance. Indeed, a free Iran is imminent.

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