Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, April 16, 2021—Recent days have seen recurring social protests across Iran. On Wednesday, retirees and pensioners of the Social Security Organization in Iran took to the street for the eleventh series of organized protests in 23 cities in the last three months. They chanted “We will only restore our rights by coming to the streets,” “Injustice is enough, our food table is empty,” “We will not vote anymore. We’ve heard too many lies,” and “Down with (Hassan) Rouhani.”
Iran’s terrible Covid-19 pandemic, made worse by the regime’s policies, had caused a dip in social protests in 2020. But due to dire economic conditions, the people are taking to the streets again to protest the regime’s corruption, knowing that this is the only way they can bring about change. Faced with the escalating stream protests, Iranian regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei must choose to either suppress these protests or allow them to continue. If the regime chooses to suppress protests, it risks further enraging the society, which will lead to further intense protests. This is what happened in Saravan county in Sistan and Baluchistan province after security forces opened fire and killed several fuel traders who were protesting the regime’s closure of border crossings.
If the regime allows these protests to continue, they will persist and spread to other segments of the Iranian society. And we’re seeing parallel protests by different communities in Iran. Another example are small investors who bought shares from Iran’s stock market with the encouragement and blessings of Khamenei, Rouhani, and other regime leaders. But a stock market crash caused by the government (and whose beneficiary are regime-linked entities) wiped away the investments of these investors. And since earlier this year, these investors have been regularly organizing protesters and demanding reparations by the regime. While targeting the regime’s Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi, these protesters chanted “Raisi; how couldn’t you see such a grand theft!” The answer is clear: Raisi himself is in on the thievery.
The continuation of protests shows the people are determined to get back their rights. Especially in a situation that the regime is deeply trapped in various domestic and international crises and has become weak and vulnerable.
On April, Rouhani begged, “Let’s not see ourselves as weak,” alluding that infighting in the regime’s ranks is making the total establishment weaker.
His chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, also acknowledged the regime’s duplicity is backfiring by saying, “People recognize our hypocrisy… It is better not to pierce holes in the ship on which we all sit.”
Even many state-run media acknowledge that the Iranian regime has destroyed the foundation of Iran’s economy in the last 42 years. “In the current circumstances Iran is experiencing one of its most deplorable economic conditions and there’s no prospect for conditions becoming better any soon,” wrote the daily Jahane Sanat on April 14.
This newspaper suggested that Khamenei retreats from his stubborn stance and accept the conditions of the nuclear talks in order to get sanctions relieved. “To stay safe from the consequences of the people’s protests and the uprising of the poor, we need to show a bit moderation,” Jahene Sanat wrote. But Khamenei and other regime officials acknowledge that at this point, any kind of retreat will only make the regime weaker and pave the way for even more protests.
The political, social, and economic scene of Iran is on the verge of a great historical change. During social protests, people repeat slogans of the 1979 anti-monarchy revolution in which they chanted “people join us.”
The situation is so critical that even the regime’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned on April 13: “The situation will soon escalate.” His adviser Abdolreza Davari went even further and said, “Maybe the Islamic Republic will not even reach the presidential elections in June.”