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Iran’s Massive Nationwide Protests



Posted: Sep 27, 2022 12:01 AM

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The Iranian people have risen up once again against the theocratic regime that has brought nothing but misery for over four decades. This week alone, Iran entered its second week of massive nationwide protests while Iranian-Americans showed up in huge numbers to protest Tehran’s President Ebrahim Raisi’s presence at the United Nations in New York.

All signs point to the advent of a historic sea change in Iran and it behooves the international community to respond in kind.

On September 13, a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, was violently arrested by the regime’s “Morality Patrol” for not adhering to the clerical regime’s veiling laws. After being severely beaten, she fell into a coma and lost her life three days later.

This was the spark that ignited a powder keg of huge pent up social disenchantment resulting from state suppression, violation of women’s rights, rampant poverty, spiraling living costs, a rock-bottom economy, and a palpable lack of prospects for a decent future for the growing ranks of younger generations.

The protests started in western Iran, Mahsa’s primary residence, almost immediately after the news of her death broke. By the third day, the uprising began to bleed into neighboring provinces and beyond, including the outskirts of capital Tehran. By the fourth day, Tehran itself, Rasht in the north, Khorramabad in the south, and Mashhad in the east, rose up, showcasing a striking geographical and demographic mosaic of dissent.

The lightning pace of the expansion of the uprising is perhaps the best indication yet of the general attitude toward the despised ruling clerics. In just six short days, the uprising engulfed at least 100 cities in all of Iran’s 31 provinces.

According to the New York Times, “The demonstrations have become widespread, with demands broadening to reflect ordinary Iranians’ anger over their living conditions. … With extraordinary scenes of dissent and calls to end the Islamic Republic.”

Characteristic in all these protests were: The prominent presence of women and youth, who in most cases led the charge in clashes against the regime’s suppressive forces; The unifying chants of “Death to Dictator” and “Death to Khamenei,” the regime’s embattled Supreme Leader; The bravery of protesters to push back the regime’s agents and to call for “overthrow;” Setting fire and destroying the regime’s public posters, suppressive equipment, buildings, and symbols; and the organized nature of the acts of protest.

Dozens of people are believed to have been killed so far. Thousands more are reportedly arrested. Still, the protests have not stopped. The regime’s top officials were quick to, once again, point the finger of blame at the main opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) for organizing the protests. On September 20, the regime’s parliamentary speaker, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, said in a televised speech in Majlis: “The enemy … seeks to cause chaos in the country. … Our dear people are not going to side with the Hypocrites [pejorative term for the MEK].”

Meanwhile, in New York on Wednesday, thousands of Iranian-Americans came out in force and stood across the UN headquarters to protest the presence of Raisi at the General Assembly. Known as the “Butcher of Tehran,” Raisi served as a member of the “Death Commission” in 1988, which is responsible for the massacre of at least 30,000 political prisoners.

Literally at the same time as Raisi’s goons were brutally killing Iranian protesters on the streets, Raisi used the podium afforded to him by the world body to lecture the international community about democracy and human rights.

If that is not enough for the international community to lower its head in shame, what is?

In a video message to the New York rally, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, rightly pointed out: “All governments should predicate their relations with the mullahs’ regime on the halt to executions, the suppression and killing of protesters, and the destruction of the regime’s terrorism machine and hostage-taking.”

Kira Rudik, Leader of the Voice of Ukraine Party, told the rally: “We are here to support each other as the free nations of Ukraine and Iran! People of free Iran. During these seven months, there were tough times when we didn’t know if there was hope. During these times, I told myself what Mrs. Rajavi told me: We can and we must!”

It is time for the international community to hear the cries of the Iranian people from Tehran to New York. TheIranian people and their organized opposition can and must overthrow the theocratic and misogynist regime sitting in Tehran. And that outcome will give way to a secular, democratic, and non-nuclear Iran that respects human rights and is a friend of free peoples everywhere.

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