OPINION: I am the 15th Signatory

The signatories. Source: Kayhan London

By Potkin Azarmehr

It all started when 14 civil society activists inside Iran signed a daring public letter on June 12 demanding the resignation of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.

The signatories listed the country’s economic failures, as well as social and political challenges and demanded the resignation of Ayatollah Khamenei as Iran’s absolute leader, and therefore responsible for all the major decisions taken in the last three decades.

The letter cites the “decline of natural and human resources;” “systematic and irresponsible tyranny;” ”destruction of the culture, civilization and wealth of the country;” and a “lack of free elections,” as some of the direct consequences of Ayatollah Khamenei’s leadership.

The 14 brave souls in Iran who signed this public letter must have known what was coming to them and must have knowingly accepted the looming clampdown against them.

Shortly after publishing the letter, the signatories were sent threatening messages, some were physically attacked in their homes and in the streets, and at least seven have been arrested.

What the signatories may not have foreseen however, is the explosion of support for them amongst the ordinary people inside Iran who have been posting their own videos, expressing their support for the signatories by saying “I am the 15th signatory”.

Hundreds of recorded videos have been sent by ordinary Iranians to Manoto TV alone, a Persian speaking television station broadcasting from its studios in London to its viewers in Iran. Some of these videos can be seen on this instagram page: Iranvoices2019

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In the video below, this woman says:

“I am an Iranian and I am the 15th signatory, and I hate this regime. I especially despise these mullahs, these thieves and conmen who are more concerned about helping other countries and not worried about the people of Iran”.

In a country where the slightest public criticism of the Supreme Leader can lead to arrest and imprisonment for many years, such courage is truly admirable.

Of course, the Supreme Leader will not resign as a result of the letter, but the signatories’ fearlessness and selflessness have given them the legitimacy required for leading the transition period in the aftermath of the downfall of the Islamic Republic.