By Atousa Pilger
At the beginning of the new school year, many people in Iran are renewing their calls for regime change, in particular, young Iranians who are determined to see great change in their country. They are reminding the people, and the regime, that schools and educations centers can act as places of defiance where people can promote freedom.
There have also been a number of incidences in the past few days in which young people, supporters of mujahedin-e Khalq/MEK in Iran have been burning pictures of the Supreme Leader and the symbols of the notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its Bassij Forces. This happened in more than a dozen cities across the country including in Tehran, the country’s capital.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), sent a message of support to the people of Iran on the occasion of the new academic year. She emphasized that there are more than 17 million students that will be attending school or university this year that they are “a big army of knowledge and awareness” and pointed to incidences in history where students have been able to “fight medieval dictatorships”.
She called on the people of Iran to “hold on firmly to our dreams of freedom, making them stronger every day” and reassured them that they will one day be realized. Mrs. Rajavi reminded the new generation of students that they are “continuing the path of a generation of heroic youths in Iran who fought audaciously on September 27, 1981, on the central streets of Tehran”.
Speaking about the crackdown on dissent by the regime, the leader of the Resistance movement hailed the teachers that bravely held strikes and protests last year. She slammed the regime’s “ruthless repression”, explaining that “ the mullahs seek to preserve their decadent rule vis-à-vis the burning desire of the people of Iran for change, blocking the country’s economic and social progress and causing horrendous damages in every humanitarian, cultural, educational, medical, environmental and economic realm”.
With regards to the consequences of the regime’s repressive policies, Mrs. Rajavi highlighted that the number of child workers in the country has now exceeded 7 million. These children are forced to work under the most horrific circumstances and are being denied access to education. “Iranian children are the hungriest, the most innocent and the most oppressed sector of Iranian society. Their conditions are tantamount to organized crime by the mullahs’ religious dictatorship.”
Another major issue is addiction and suicide. The number of high-school students that are addicted to narcotics has doubled in less than a decade. Instead of tackling this despicable social issue, the Iranian regime has done nothing but make “drugs the cheapest and easiest available item for them”.
Mrs. Rajavi said that young people must continue with their resistance in order to change this reality for the people. “With such hope and conviction, Iranian students, teachers and professors are rising up to build a free Iran for tomorrow, to establish a society based on freedom, democracy, equality, and separation of religion and state, and to set up a democratic educational regime.”