Iran Protests in Kazerun

An Interview with Hanif Jazayeri: The Iranian People Have Spoken Loud and Clear

Recent Protests Mark a New Era for Iran’s Opposition

Recent Protests Mark a New Era for Iran’s Opposition

On the 6th of August, as US sanctions affecting the purchase of dollars, metals, and car and plane parts were re-imposed on Iran, an interview with Hanif Jazayeri was broadcast across major American cities. Listeners in Las Vegas, Baltimore, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Raleigh, and Pittsburgh could tune in to hear the Iranian news editor discuss the latest wave of economic sanctions and their effect on the already unstable clerical regime.

The United States announced its latest wave of sanctions, which will target the Iranian oil industry, the backbone of the Iranian economy; however, the EU and Russia have already voiced their opposition to the sanctions. They announced they would prefer to salvage the crumbling JCPOA agreement.

A New Breed of Protest

Hanif opened the interview by fielding a question on the changing nature of the Iranian protest movement. He said, “the Iranian people have spoken loud and clear”, “they are blaming the regime for their economic hardship”. In the wake of the JCPOA, the Iranian regime unlocked billions of dollars in aid packages, but the people saw none of the benefits.

“They have noticed this,” said Hanif, “and that is actually because all the money has been spent in Syria, to prop up the dictator there, to fund terrorist groups in the region, for the domestic suppression apparatus of the regime, and the rest of it has lined the pockets of the mullahs and their families.”

Following this blatant abuse of power and mismanagement of resources, the Iranian people have taken to the streets in their thousands to express their frustration at the mullahs’ regime. The people want an end to the regime.

The International Community

Hanif went on to mention the Iranian opposition leader, Maryam Rajavi’s appeal to the international community to impose sanctions on Iran’s oil industry and exclude the current regime from the international banking system. Only the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is benefitting from oil exports at present.

Hanif Jazayeri has played an active role himself in drumming up international support for the Iranian protest movement. He has been collecting footage from protestors in Iran and publishing them across social media to raise international awareness for the struggle of the Iranian people.

However, many within the international community have expressed reluctance and hesitation at the idea of reintroducing sanctions. A common argument against Maryam Rajavi’s proposal of sanctioning the Iranian oil industry is that it would further hurt the already struggling Iranian population.

Hanif attempted to dispel this common misconception. He cited the slogans adopted among the protestors which state, “our enemy is right here, they are lying when they say it is America”.

The people of Iran have suffered under the Iranian regime both when economic sanctions have been imposed, and after the sanctions were lifted. They saw no benefit from the lifting of the sanctions, their standard of living did not improve. Therefore, the lifting of the sanctions empowered the regime. It gave the Iranian regime more money to spend on suppressing the people.

Will Sanctions Empower Hardliners?

In response to Hanif’s argument, the interviewer countered that economic sanctions could empower the hardliners within Iran. They could be interpreted as “economic bullying” and allow the more extreme elements in Rouhani’s regime to portray Iran as a victim and being unfairly punished by the American government.

In reality, there are not hardliners and moderates within the Iranian regime. They are all hardliners. Rouhani himself has threatened to disrupt passage through the Strait of Hormuz if oil sanctions are imposed on Iran. His regime continues to arrest and execute political dissidents. There are no “hardliners” and “moderates”, only the regime in all its brutality.

Again, Hanif pointed to the slogans of the protestors to illustrate the point. The demonstrations across Iran have featured slogans stating, “no to hardliners, no to moderates”.

More than half of the country is in poverty and has been so for nearly forty years. For Iranians, the situation deteriorated after the sanctions were lifted. The regime received a financial windfall, which only gave them more resources to use in their routine abuse and repression of the Iranian people. “In the last two years, for example, the economic situation has spiraled downwards”, said Hanif.

Finally, Hanif Jazayeri saluted the brave protestors turning out across Iran, risking imprisonment and death in their determination to make their voices heard.

Staff Writer

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