The current leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran are celebrating thirty-seven years of oppression in my country by sponsoring celebrations in schools and airing fabricated stories on Iranian history. Meanwhile, scholars and historians view the establishment of the Islamic Republic as the darkest moment in Iran's rich, long history. Thirty-seven years ago, the forward progress of the nation ceased, and Iranians began living under tyranny, oppression, and shocking human rights violations that have sadly been the norm for thirty-seven years.
Thirty-seven years have passed since the Islamists seized on the popular uprising and the established the Islamic Republic in our country. These ideologues cleansed the nation of any progressive thinkers and opposition, ushering in a tumultuous, bloody period. They possess a shocking inability to manage the functions of state, and the list of failures is long: the country's environment has been systematically destroyed; political corruption, bribery, substance abuse, prostitution, economic injustice, youth crimes are rampant; and suppression of women, irreverence for military veterans and heroes, arbitrary imprisonment, humiliation, torture and execution have been the norm. In addition, millions of Iranian citizens have been rendered homeless while others have been displaced abroad.
The Islamic Republic's record in international relations is just as bad. In the name of religion and the struggle against western imperialism, the Islamic Republic raised its flag in Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Yemen, and has destabilized the region.
The popular uprising of 2009 gave the world ample evidence that Iranian citizens feel that the Islamic Republic of Iran is not an acceptable and legitimate form of government. The government managed to stay in power with brutal oppression and efforts masquerading as government reform.
History has repeatedly proven that unity, nationalism, and aspirations for change can overcome even the harshest of regimes, as evidenced by countries such as India, South Africa, Serbia, Ukraine, the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary and Chile. So, too, will the totalitarian regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran come to an end by the will of the people.
Currently, it is in our best interests to abstain from participating in any of the Islamic Republic's elections so as to not legitimize their government. Let us not forget, not voting is a powerful vote against the Islamic Republic. Not voting will show the entire world that we are saying 'no' to the whole entity of the Islamic Republic's regime.
We can liberate ourselves from the oppression and build the government and society we want in Iran. With unified national aspirations built upon our national will and our shared, long Persian identity, we will achieve what is necessary and worthy of the great Iranian nation.