Regime’s Suppression of Flood Protests Points to Fear of Widespread Rebellion
Protests have broken out in flood-stricken areas across Iran in response to the regime’s failure to provide assistance to its people during and after the deadly floods that affected 25 out of 31 of the nation’s provinces. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the MEK have reported on protests in Ahvaz and Poldokhtar.
No Help from the Regime
The catastrophic floods washed through Iran over a sixteen-day period ending earlier this month, leaving a path of death and destruction in their wake. After the first wave of floods, people were left stranded on rooftops waiting for help that never came. As the second wave of floods approached, the regime refused to issue evacuations or create flood barriers. Before the third round of floods, regime officials called for evacuations, but people in affected areas were not told where or how to evacuate. Many residents of areas hit in the final wave of flooding were forced to flee to neighboring hilltops. Regime officials later blamed them for not evacuating to non-existing “safe areas.”
#IranProtests Explosion of popular anger
another video of massive demos #Ahvaz. Ahwazin demos in protest against the policies of the regime.#IranFloods #Iran #رشتو#سپاه_عامل_سیل #خامنهای_عامل_ویرانیhttps://t.co/taqtp2Mzsw pic.twitter.com/YUndUas0FI
— Mina (@Minajabbarian) April 15, 2019
The people of Iran did their best to survive the floods and their aftermath without the assistance of the government. Residents of hard-hit areas created flood barriers by filling bags with sand and rice and sleeping on top of them. Iranian Arab women baked bread for people in need of food, and Iranian children trekked for hours through the mountains to deliver food and supplies to residents in villages where roads were completely blocked by floodwaters.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI, reiterated that the regime must make the facilities and equipment of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) available to the Iranian people to assist them in their time of need.
The regime has ignored these requests and has done little to address the needs of the people in recovering from the floods. Officials who made appearances for photo ops in heavily damaged areas after the floods were met by angry protesters who demanded that they provide assistance or go home. Public outrage grew against the IRGC for its abandonment of flood victims.
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) April 16, 2019
The regime responded to these calls for help by sending security forces to prevent protests and demonstrations. People who lost their homes and are still waiting for tents to sleep in have been greeted with armed military forces instead of housing or food. Meanwhile, the regime has refused to allow citizens to provide assistance to each other and has arrested a number of aid workers for helping those in need.
Protests in Flood-Stricken Areas
The Iranian regime’s attempts to suppress protests in order to protect itself from rebellion have backfired. Anger over the regime’s callous disregard for the welfare of its own people has led to a swell of protests. Outside of Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, residents were heard protesting the presence of IRGC commander Mohammad Reza Naghdi. They chanted, “Get out! Ahvaz will remain free!”
— MEKIran (@MEK_Iran) April 14, 2019
Last week, a protest took place in western Ahvaz. Residents in the flood-ravaged area criticized the regime for its failure to construct flood barriers and evacuate marshes before the floods.
The regime has expressed concern that the current protests will lead to a widespread rebellion. The mullahs have been unable to suppress anti-regime protests since the nationwide uprisings in late 2017, and the MEK has grown in influence inside Iran since then. Under the MEK’s leadership, the Iranian Resistance has become larger and more organized, and the threat of regime change has become very real to the mullahs. Decades of oppression and snowballing economic crises have led to growing dissatisfaction with the ruling regime. The government’s colossal failure to provide basic aid to its citizens or show a modicum of compassion after the recent catastrophic floods could easily be the final straw for the Iranian people.