The regime views the opposition as a major threat to its existence, and it is completely correct. The organised opposition, the only viable one, knows the regime and the people of Iran better than any other.
Support for the MEK is widespread in Iran and during the most recent Free Iran gathering that takes place every year just outside Paris, the opposition was able to show that there was support in every single one of Iran’s provinces.
The Iranian regime has been very reluctant to admit that the opposition has any support in the country, claiming for years that it is a very insignificant group with a miniscule following in Iran. However, the strength of the MEK has become more and more evident as time goes on, and after a full year of protests, regime officials began to publicly acknowledge that its following is very significant and a danger to the survival of the regime.
The Friday prayer imam in Qom, central Iran, said last week that the MEK is the enemy and expressed his concern. Seyed Mohammad Saeedi said: “The state’s war against the [Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK)] and the global front of our enemies is an existential battle. And they want to behead us.”
Furthermore, he went on to speak about how accessible the opposition is to the people. “The enemy’s front is vast. It is not limited to the borders, such as the era of the Sacred Defense [in reference to the war between Iran and Iraq during the eighties].
This is one of the enemy’s fronts. The enemy is attempting to infiltrate through all fronts, all channels. They are everywhere, especially through new technology through devices and tools that they have, they have infiltrated into our homes, the markets, the universities, the religious centers, in cyberspace, inside the country and abroad. This enemy has spread everywhere.”
It is true that the people are able to organise themselves better with regards to protests and anti-government demonstrations. Messaging apps were widely used when the protests first broke out just over a year ago and the regime’s attempts to ban encrypted messaging services failed. In fact, you could say that it made them more determined to resist the regime.
For decades, the people of Iran have been denied human rights and those that have dared speak out against the regime have put themselves at risk for arrest, imprisonment, torture and even the death penalty.
In 1988, the Iranian regime tried to extinguish the opposition. Around 30,000 political prisoners were executed in what has become known as the 1988 massacre. The crime has gone unpunished but it has not been forgotten by the people.
If anything, the regime’s impunity has strengthened their resolve and determination.