Iran’s presidential elections in the shadow of the annual gathering of Iran’s democratic opposition

Ali Bagheri

Tehran (Brussels Morning) – The death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has led to new elections on June 28, 2024, amidst heightened tensions between the regime and the democratic opposition, NCRI. The NCRI’s major gathering in Berlin coincides with the election results announcement, emphasizing the ongoing struggle for sovereignty in Iran. Raisi’s death has intensified internal conflicts within the regime, while the international community increasingly supports the NCRI’s call for a democratic republic. The situation is critical, with growing support for sanctions and blacklisting the IRGC, reflecting the deepening crisis and hopes for a free and democratic Iran.

Following the death of Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash, the Iranian regime will hold new elections to choose a new president on 28 June 2024. While international analysts point out that the elections are unlikely to change the regime’s economic situation or foreign policy, the regime is under pressure from the democratic opposition of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Months ago, the NCRI called for a massive gathering of Iranians in Berlin, bringing together 100,000 Iranians from around the world, as well as political and human rights figures, in support of a movement that has been led by women for more than 30 years.

Iranian Regime’s Crisis Amidst Election Results and Opposition Gathering

The coincidence of the day of the announcement of the election results with the annual gathering of the Iranian Resistance on 29 June 2024 highlights, more than anything else, this historic confrontation that has been going on in Iran for more than 40 years for the right of the people to sovereignty.

Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran in February 1979, the ruling regime of the mullahs has usurped the right of sovereignty from the Iranian people and has held this right in favor of the clerical class, with the Vali Faqih at the top. On the other hand, Iran’s democratic opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), of which the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran is the central force, has been calling for the overthrow of the mullahs and the establishment of a democratic republic in Iran, emphasizing the recognition of national sovereignty. It seems that the struggle between these two forces has now reached a critical point, and the co-occurrence of these two forces in Iran on 29 June could significantly determine the course of developments in the coming months.

Although the Iranian regime, by abusing the European elections and its hostage policy, was able to bring back an international criminal named Hamid Nouri to Iran before the regime’s elections to boost the morale of its forces, Raisi’s death was such a monumental blow that it could not be overturned in any way.

Raisi’s death, known as the Butcher of Tehran for the murder of more than 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, has increased tensions and conflicts within the regime, which can be seen during the ongoing “election” debates, highlighting the split at the top of the power pyramid in Iran. On the other hand, there is an international front that loudly supports the Iranian opposition’s call for regime change in Iran. For example, more than 22 parliamentary majorities from democratic countries such as Italy, Britain, Norway, and the USA, including more than 4,000 European and American parliamentarians, have supported the ten-point plan of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the NCRI. This plan calls for the establishment of a pluralist republic based on the separation of religion and state, gender equality, the abolition of the death penalty and torture, and a non-nuclear Iran.

Moreover, the recognition of the IRGC as a terrorist organization in the US and Canada paves the way for the blacklisting of the IRGC in the UK and the European Union, which can be an irreparable loss for the regime. “This is a necessary action against the suppression and export of terrorism and warmongering, which has been delayed for four decades. This is something that should be done by the United Nations, the European Union, and the United Kingdom,” Mrs. Maryam Rajavi wrote on her X account on 19 June 2024.

Last but not least, all roads to peace regarding the regional war are coming to a dead end due to the interference of the Iranian regime and its obstacles in the path of peace. Today, there are signs that the war is spreading beyond the borders of Gaza, especially in Lebanon, where the regime has been working tirelessly to equip and train Hezbollah. Therefore, it is more important than ever to target the head of the snake in Tehran by imposing the UN Resolution 2231 sanctions and blacklisting the IRGC by the European Union.

While the regime is facing many internal and external challenges to push forward its “election,” the mass demonstration of tens of thousands of supporters of the Iranian Resistance on 29 June replicates the Iranian people’s boycott of the election show and resonates with the Iranian people’s aspirations for a free and democratic Iran. It also spreads the hope that beyond all the war and bloodshed of the Iranian regime and its policy of blackmail and hostage-taking, a free and democratic Iran is attainable, which will bring peace and equality to the region and beyond as well.

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Ali Bagheri, PhD Researcher at Thomas More University of Applied Science Activist for human rights and democracy in Iran