Exiled opposition figures from Iran are negotiating to unite against the mullah regime
Exiled opposition figures from Iran are negotiating to unite against the mullah regime

Dubai: In the midst of pro-government celebrations marking the anniversary of the Islamic revolution in 1979 inside the nation, eight exiled Iranian dissidents held a discussion on Friday about how to bring the opposition together.

After a young Iranian Kurdish woman died in police custody in September after being arrested for disobeying a strict Islamic dress code for women, there was widespread unrest throughout Iran. The demonstrations represent one of the most significant threats to the Islamic Republic since the revolution.

In a video message to the prominent opposition figures gathered at Georgetown University in Washington, Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi said, "The Islamic Republic has survived because of our differences and we should put our differences aside until we come to the polling booth."

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Masih Alinejad, a US-based advocate for women's rights, stated: "We must come to consensus on principles based on the declaration of human rights, on eliminating discrimination, and on principles that every Iranian can see themselves in and that depict the end of oppression."

By the end of 2023, Alinejad hoped that a consensus on the opposition's guiding principles could be reached. Reza Pahlavi, the exiled son of the deposed Shah of Iran, responded, "You don't need to wait for an invitation to participate... This is a free bus!" when questioned as to why there was only one Kurdish leader among the eight.

Long-standing divisions within the Iranian opposition have included monarchists, republicans, leftists, and organisations representing various ethnic minorities, such as Kurds, Baluchis, and Arabs.

In the meantime, footage from state-sponsored celebrations in Iran was broadcast alongside images of fireworks and demonstrators yelling "Allahu Akbar!" (God is Greatest!) But in social media videos, many were heard yelling, "Death to the dictator!"

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A video purportedly taken in Tehran's Afsariyeh neighbourhood featured distant fireworks and shouts of "Death to the Islamic Republic" from protesters.
Similar social media videos carried anti-government chants yelled from windows and rooftops by protesters who had stayed at home in a number of cities, which Reuters was unable to independently verify.

Separately, authorities freed jailed dissident Farhad Meysami on Friday after a week of hunger strikes and warnings from his supporters that he was in danger of losing his life because of his opposition to the hijab's mandatory wear.

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The amnesty commemorating the anniversary of the revolution included the release.

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