Iranian Regime Stages Failed Anti-Demonstrations on Anniversary of 2009 Uprising
December marked the anniversary of the 2009 “Ashura uprising” in Iran. On Sunday, the regime, in an attempt to prevent a repeat of the anti-regime demonstrations that led to violent clashes between regime security forces and the thousands of Iranians from cities and towns across the country who had taken to the streets in protest, staged their own “anti-demonstrations.”
"All across Iran, the people are rightly blaming the regime for their economic, social and political grieving and are increasingly calling for the overthrow of the regime."#Iran#IranRegimeChangehttps://t.co/jSfAmOLoTq
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) January 1, 2019
The government-organized event was sparsely attended, despite widespread prior advertising for the demonstration. Most of the attendees were IRGC agents, Basij Forces, or other agents of the regime, and many were school children who had been obliged to participate in the event.
Fear of the MEK
High-ranking officials within the regime made a number of comments on the anniversary of the 2009 uprisings that point to their fear of the current protests taking place across the country. Their remarks also show their concern about the role of the MEK and the Iranian Opposition in the protest movement.
In his comments on the Ashura uprising, Ali Larijani, the Speaker of the Iranian regime’s parliament, warned, “Opportunists and anti-revolutionaries want to take advantage of the political turmoil inside the country. The opponents of the revolution are seeking an opportunity to cause damage to the revolution.”
In a session of parliament, regime MP Naser Mousavi Larijani said, “The 2009 sedition pursued the aims of the PMOI/MEK to destroy our system.”
MEK’s Pivotal Role
In Shahr-e Kord, Abdollah Ganji, one of the directors of the IRGC-owned Fars News Agency, said, “The PMOI/MEK members who were relocated from Iraq to Albania are creating content for social media networks [in Iran].” Ganji also noted that the MEK has had a pivotal role in publishing news about labor strikes and protests and in disclosing the details of the lavish lifestyles of Iranian officials and their children abroad, which is a stark contrast to the extreme poverty that has become the everyday reality of the lives of millions of Iranians.
Next Year’s Protests
Another regime MP, Jahanbakhsh Mohebinia, commented about the regime’s fear of protests in the next year. “The government and judiciary should not paint an eventful picture of the year to come,” he said. “The current Persian year has not yet ended and we’re already talking about what troubles we’ll be facing next year.”
In Qom, Ahmad Khatami, member of the presidency council of the Assembly of Experts, said, “The people of Tehran saw eight months of strife. They saw that [MEK] causes strife on every national celebration. On every national and religious celebration, they undermine the security of the people.”
A number of officials within the regime blamed the MEK for the Ashura uprising when it occurred. One of those officials was Ahmad Alamolhoda, a senior cleric and a regular speaker at Tehran’s Friday prayers. After the uprising, he said, “The rioters of Ashura  were chanting the slogans of the [MEK], so they were the assistants of the [MEK]. The [MEK] commanded the movements on Ashura day.”
The regime is correct to fear the upcoming year of protests. The calls for regime change have grown over the past year as the protests in Iran have grown and spread to include people from all sectors of society. The people are ready for change, and the current regime has proven that it is beyond reform.