To make the transition to a democratic state, not only should the reformists and moderates get the upper hand in the government, but democratic groups in the society must also be strengthened, so that the coalition of the two groups can push back against the hard-liners. The Iranian people are well aware that military attacks on Iran under the guise of “humanitarian intervention” will create another Iraq, Syria or Libya. As the elections demonstrated, Iranians in the diaspora who want regime change through military intervention have no influence or social base in Iran. Not only was their call for boycotting the elections rejected by Iranians living in Iran, but the percentage of the eligible voters who cast their votes actually increased relative to the Majles elections of 2012. Iranian society is also not in a revolutionary mood. That leaves peaceful changes from within as the only viable way of achieving democracy.
Iran, the land of one of the oldest human civilizations, needs a democratic system that respects the human rights of its citizens, not regime change that will destroy it.
Akbar Ganji is an Iranian investigative journalist and dissident. He was imprisoned in Tehran from 2000 to 2006, and his writings are currently banned in Iran. This article was translated by Ali N. Babaei.
Image: Wikimedia Commons/Hamed Malekpour