One year after the Women, Life, Freedom uprising sent shockwaves through the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iranians Shift from Reform to Regime Change. The authorities appear to have succeeded in smothering the movement, at least on the surface. Dissidents, both inside and outside prison walls, have been silenced. As the regime intensified its crackdown around the anniversary of Mahsa Jina Amini’s tragic death, after she was taken into custody.
“It has taken some 15 years to come to the conclusion that this current state of affairs is incapable of reform,” noted influential thinker Majid Tavakoli shared with CBC News.
Tavakoli’s impending imprisonment stands as a testament to the regime’s partial success in stifling the post-Amini movement. “The goal is to eliminate me,” Tavakoli declared. They aware that he faces incarceration in Tehran’s Evin prison in just two weeks. He has been a vocal critic of the Islamic Republic, using social media to analyze the regime’s political structure. And criticize its lack of political freedoms and human rights record. Having already spent seven years behind bars, he now faces an additional five years for spreading “propaganda against the state.”
Tavakoli contends that neither Western countries nor the opposition have capitalized on this pivotal moment to support Iranians. “Bringing about political change is not the task of the people inside Iran but that of a political force based outside of Iran,” he asserted.
The future of the Islamic Republic
Yet, beneath the stifled dissent, a seismic cultural and political shift has taken root within Iran . A collective yearning for complete regime change, rather than the mere reform of the Islamic Republic. Tavakoli has long championed this perspective.
In 2009, amid widespread support for purported reformist presidential candidates, Tavakoli stood out by directly criticizing Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Today, he believes that society has finally reached a consensus, dismissing the possibility of reform within this autocratic theocracy as untenable. “No issues were solved, society was disappointed, society little by little moved from a situation it could not tolerate to an all-encompassing anger.”
This shift in public sentiment is also reflected in the evolving protest slogans within Iran. The transition from “Where is my vote?” in the wake of the highly disputed 2009 presidential election to today’s “We don’t want the Islamic Republic” underscores the profound change in public sentiment. Even Iran’s former reformist presidential candidate has characterized the current political system as “unsustainable.”
As Iran undergoes this profound transformation in public sentiment, the future of the Islamic Republic hangs in the balance. With an increasing number of Iranians seeking not just reform but a complete overhaul of the system.