MEK: Free Iran World Summit 2021
The Iranian Resistance will conduct its annual assembly of Iranian ex-pats and other supporters of regime change in Iran the following month. The message of the meeting may become even more relevant in the aftermath of the regime’s manipulated presidential election, which many analysts believe will be boycotted by a significant portion of the Iranian public.
Resistance Units promoting the boycott
Inside Iran, “Resistance Units” associated with the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran) are now promoting the boycott through public messages and organized protest. Similar activist groups assisted in the organization of a boycott of the legislative elections in February of last year, which resulted in the lowest voter turnout in the regime’s 40-year history. This served to underline the public’s commitment to the regime-change message, which had previously been demonstrated through a series of nationwide uprisings.
The MEK main driver behind the 2018 uprising
Because of the similarities between those uprisings and the current boycott effort, some Iranian authorities and state media sources have warned that low voter participation could be a precedent to greater turmoil.
After attempting to exterminate the MEK with a massacre of political prisoners in the summer of 1988, Iranian authorities have claimed that the organization has no popular support and lacks a high-level organizational structure. However, once the MEK is recognized as the main driver behind the 2018 uprising, it became evident than ever that the mullahs’ grasp on power was under threat.
The MEK’s worldwide support
Tehran attempted to compensate for new evidence of its own weakness by targeting the MEK’s worldwide support network less than six months after the uprising ended. A plot to plant explosives at that year’s NCRI gathering near Paris was foiled by European authorities in June 2018.
Western appeasement policy
Unfortunately, actual Western policymakers have taken an appeasing approach, frequently supporting the notion that “reformist” officials in the Islamic Republic could promote big changes, to the benefit of both Western and Iranian interests.
However, no reformist electoral successes have been recorded, especially not by the regime’s President Rouhani, whose eight-year presidency coincided with an expansion in Iran’s foreign paramilitary activity, execution rate, and the crackdown on political dissidents.
November 2019 uprising
Rouhani’s reformist credibility was exposed in November 2019, when he did not raise a finger to stop or say anything in protest of the systematic murder of 1,500 people who took part in that month’s countrywide movement.
The follow-up to the January 2018 protest movement was much more geographically and socially varied than its predecessor, and the dictatorship responded by working together to crush it as quickly as possible.
A wake-up call to Western officials
The imminent boycott should serve as a wake-up call to Western officials who believe there are significant distinctions between a “hard-line” and “reformist” faction within the Iranian government.
They will pave the way for Iran’s democratic future to become much more open, with much more clarity about the role of Western policies, during the NCRI’s international rally for Iran Freedom in July, by supporting Iranians in their way to overthrow the Iranian regime.