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Iranian opposition leader expresses confidence about regime change ahead of New Year

On Thursday, Maryam Rajavi, the leader of Iran’s opposition, released a statement to celebrate the New Year. She stated that “2023 is a year of freedom for Iranian citizens, peace, and friendship for all people of the world.”

This statement coincides closely with Iran’s 100 th day in continuous, nationwide unrest. It was caused by the murder of Mahsa, an Iranian Kurdish girl, at the hands Tehran’s “morality cops”. She was beaten while she was being transported to a rehabilitation center. She then fell into a coma, and she was taken to the hospital where she died three days later.

Protests against the killing started immediately after her funeral in Saqqez. They quickly spread to other areas in all 31 Iranian provinces. The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, a pro-democracy group, has been following the uprising’s progress and determined that it now covers more than 300 cities.

The MEK also has been gathering information from Iran’s extensive domestic network regarding the crackdown on dissent by the regime over the past 100 day. The MEK has identified more that 750 cases of protesters being shot at or beaten by security forces, including the Basij militia (an entity controlled by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps).


The Iranian opposition and its supporters have reaffirmed their long-standing demands for Western powers to take action, including to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. In 2018, the US State Department made this designation. The United Kingdom and European Union had discussed the possibility of following suit but have not yet done so. The MEK supported a wider sanctions regime against Iranian terrorists and other human rights violators and has called for similar prohibition of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

Mrs. Rajavi’s New Year message alluded at the possibility of renewed discussion about these proposals when she suggested that 2023 could “be the year of expanding international solidarity for the Iranian people’s uprising”. However, she only asked that the West express this solidarity by acknowledging the legitimate struggle of the Iranian people to overthrow their mullahs’ government.

Although the initial focus was on Mahsa Amini’s death and forced veiling laws, the ongoing uprising is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest challenges ever to the ruling system. It also represents popular demands for regime changes. Slogans such as “death of the oppressor, regardless of whether the shah is the supreme leader,” highlight that the people are aiming to create a new democratic form government.


The National Council of Resistance of Iran is the framework for a new government. It is a coalition led MEK, which has appointed Maryam Rajavi as the transitional president after the overthrow of the mullahs. In turn, she has promoted a 10-point plan to Iran’s future that sets the stage for free, fair elections, the separation of religion and the state, as well as equal protection for women and minorities before the law.

Thursday’s message expressed the hope of Iranian opposition activists that they would have the opportunity to implement Rajavi’s plan in 2015, after the regime’s attempts to suppress dissent in the absence of international support for their pro-democracy movement.

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