Where Raisi goes, protests follow

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, October 9, 2021—In the latest installment of his series of trips around Iran, regime Ebrahim Raisi visited the southern province of Bushehr on Friday and, according to the state-run media, “held discussions with different groups and segments of the society.” Raisi also held meetings with the province’s administrative council and visited different parts of the province to “examine and find solutions to the province’s problems.” Raisi was accompanied by a group of his ministers and other regime officials.

According to state media’s coverage of Raisi’s trip, the regime president met with farmers in Bushehr and promised to solve their irrigation problems. “The farmers were very happy to meet the president,” Fars News, a news outlet run by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), reported. Raisi also promised to solve housing, employment, and infrastructure problems in the province.

Like his other trips, Raisi’s latest PR stunt was marked by a lot of photo ops and “promises” to solve the people’s fundamental problems. Raisi has made so many such promises since taking office in August, that his policy is being described as “promise therapy,” which basically means that he addresses basic problems by just promising to solve them.

But beyond the flashy media coverage and the prearranged meetings with locals, the real reaction to Raisi’s trip to Bushehr was the protest rallies of the outraged people of the province who are fed up with regime officials who are only making promises without carrying them out.

A large group of people marched toward the airport where Raisi’s plane would land and chanted slogans against his policies, including “Justice is a lie,” a reference to Raisi’s promises to fight government corruption that has been negatively affecting the economy.

Similar protests were held in different parts of the province. Another group of locals held a protest rally in front of the provincial governorate office. At the same time, residents of the Tongak village held a rally in the province’s capital. Their demonstration was in reaction to recent actions by the regime’s security forces to destroy their homes. The demonstrators’ message was clear: Instead of giving fake promises to solve our housing problems, stop destroying our current homes.

Last week, Raisi made a similar trip to the province of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad, hoping to endear himself with the people of the province. But when his vehicle reached the Tang-e Sorkh region of Boyer Ahmad, the people blocked his path. The outcome was so bad that even the regime’s own media had to admit that “the people were chanting angry slogans and sometimes using profane language to voice their demands… the people were very outraged.” (Source: IRNA news agency, October 1)

The outraged response to Raisi’s provincial trips reflects two important realities in Iran’s society. First, it shows that the people of Iran utterly hate this regime and all its factions. Four decades of corruption and repression under the mullahs’ rule have brought Iran’s society to the verge of explosion. Even the regime’s violent response to nationwide uprisings, including the brutal murder of 1,500 demonstrators in November 2019, have not deterred the people and they continue to come to the streets to protests. Second, it shows that the regime’s most recent tactic to control public outrage has failed. Regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei facilitated the ascent of Raisi to presidency because he wanted the government to be run by officials who could suppress any form of dissent against the regime. Raisi himself is notoriously renowned for his role in the execution of more than 30,000 political prisoners in 1988. Yet even Raisi and his cabinet of criminals have not been able to intimidate the outraged people of Iran.

Protests have only expanded since Raisi’s presidency. And wherever he travels, protesters are there to make sure he hears the people’s desire to get rid of his regime.

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