Guest post by Kamran Ashtary
Kamran Ashtary is an Iranian living abroad. He is one of the founders of voteforiran.com, a website urging Iranian expats to vote in the country’s June 12 presidential election.
In less than ten days, millions of Iranians will go to the polls to participate in what might be the most important election since the revolution 30 years ago. I want to vote because I believe that it is a fundamental right to use every democratic tool we have to try to influence change in our beloved land. This is especially true even when the options are not our dream options. The government of President Ahmadinejad has created a situation, nationally and internationally, that can easily get out of control and have disastrous effects for the country and the people we love.
I don’t believe in these people and do not think any of the candidates
can solve the enormous challenges we face, but I am still voting. During the past 30 years, our rights as Iranian citizens have been constantly under attack. This has been true despite many promises of protection and invitations to engage in the building of our society.
I am voting with the hope that not only the hardline government will
change, but that we will build a more democratic society where women’s rights, a free press, free speech and human rights are not a dream. The last four years proved our rights can be in more danger than we could even imagine.
Being part of this initiative was unthinkable for me just four years ago. Four years of the rightwing Ahmadinejad has put Iran on a downward path. I believe that Iranian expats should play a more constructive role and not keep waiting for some magical transformation of power.
Let’s make a change. Let’s vote.