An imprisoned Iranian human rights activist called on her compatriots to boycott the parliamentary elections scheduled for later this month to honor those killed in the anti-government protests last November, and not give the regime legitimacy.
In a letter from prison, shared by her spouse, Narges Mohammadi called for a “strong campaign” to boycott elections and respond to the regime’s “repressive and narrow-minded policies.”
The 47-year-old activist is currently serving a 16-year sentence for “political crimes.”
Mohammadi was arrested in 2014 after a meeting with former EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. She had also been imprisoned several times prior to her arrest in 2014.
Mohammadi condemned the regime’s violent crackdown on protesters in November 2019 and called on her compatriots to honor those killed during the protests by boycotting elections.
Iran introduced gasoline rationing and price hikes last November triggering protests all over the country.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei personally ordered the crackdown on protesters in November, resulting in about 1,500 deaths during less than two weeks of unrest that started on November 15, according to a report by Reuters.
The Islamic Republic fears a low turnout in the upcoming elections given the widespread November protests as well as the protests that broke out following Iran’s admission to downing the Ukrainian airliner last month.
Iranian officials, including Khamenei, have urged Iranians to vote in the elections scheduled for February 21.
“Any person who has an affinity for Iran and its security must take part in the election,” Khamenei said in a speech on Wednesday.
“One may not like me personally, but if they love Iran, they must go to the ballot box,” he added.