“Inshallah (God willing), you thieves, white-collar bureaucrats, white-collar crooks, you dastards of Iran’s history, you will be overthrown!”
These are the words an Iranian teacher chanted during a protest in Shiraz on January 14. The response from his fellow colleagues were enthusiastic shouts of “Inshallah, Inshallah.”
During this latest large-scale uprising, the protests spread nationwide across 116 cities in 30 provinces. The unrest was clearly aimed at the Iranian regime, with protesters chanting slogans such as, “the government is betraying, the parliament is supporting.” They also echoed calls for the rest of society to join them in their demonstrations, shouting “Rise up to end discrimination!”
The uprising overcame the systemic effort to suppress and suffocate dissent, with many of the teachers shouting “The imprisoned teacher must be released,” a common theme across the recent protests. According to Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council Resistance of Iran (NCRI), “By persisting on their rights, the teachers taught the lesson of resistance against oppression and tyranny.”
This is the third nationwide protest the teachers have organized within the last two months. The protests on December 13, December 23, and January 13 have become deeper and more radical in terms of demands and slogans and clearly point to a change in the balance of power between the people and the regime.
It shows that the regime’s efforts to repress, intimidate and terrorize can no longer silence this rebellious society. Even the appointment of the former Judiciary Chief, with thousands of executions on his resume, to the presidency, and 245 executions in the last five months, equal to the total number of executions in the previous year, have failed to intimidate and silence the Iranian people.
Only a few years ago, a protest organized by teachers had barely a few dozen people in attendance. In Tehran, they gathered in front of the regime’s parliament before the regime’s security forces attacked them with batons and tear gas, in a bid to prevent the gathering from taking shape, but to no avail. These days, the power of sharing information across social media is bringing people together from far and wide with great force. Despite the full mobilization of the regime’s repressive forces to thwart the unrest, these recent nationwide protests have proven that the Iranian people cannot, and will not, be silenced.
Has the regime changed its approach? Not whatsoever. In fact, the regime has closed ranks and reshaped the entire political hierarchy to make sure no one is misunderstanding the Supreme Leader’s resolve to stick to power. But what has changed is the balance of power between the people and the clerical regime.
On the one hand, the regime is becoming weaker, more fragile, and more vulnerable whilst dealing with super-crises and the inability to resolve them. On the other hand, the accumulation of hatred and anger in the society against the regime is increasing every day, and at the same time, the resistance units and their courageous activities, motivate and encourage a defiant nation to rise up.
The message of the nationwide uprising of teachers to the people of Iran was, “It is time to stand up.” The protests on January 13 are yet another link in the chain of uprisings that have been raging continuously since March 2021 with intervals between each uprising narrowing. This process testifies to the “revolutionary circumstances” of Iranian society, which speaks a great deal about significant and fundamental changes looming on the horizon.