Protests Spread to 93 Cities as Anti-regime Anger Mounts over Fuel Price Hike
Protests have spread to 93 cities across Iran in response to the regime’s decision to triple gasoline prices. Demonstrations started on Friday, November 15th in several cities and quickly gained momentum as Iranians focused their wrath on the regime in its entirety.
Protesters have destroyed 101 regime centers in locations scattered throughout the country, and regime security forces have killed at least 27 of the protesters in failed attempts to suppress the uprising.
#Iranians took to the streets on Friday to protest gasoline prices after the cost of gas tripled. Protests began to escalate on Friday afternoon, and by Friday evening they had spread to more cities#IranProtests #iranprotest #MEK #Iran pic.twitter.com/Svd7iRNYXi
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) November 18, 2019
Regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei expressed growing alarm about the protests on Sunday and blamed the uprising on the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK), saying, “On social media and other platforms they are constantly encouraging people into these protests.” He also doubled down on the regime’s decision to triple the price of gas and refused to consider the people’s demands.
Sunday, 10:00 PM CET
Late Sunday night, protesters in Karaj, west of Tehran, fought back against regime security, forcing them to retreat.
Fardis, near Karaj, west of Tehran, #Iran
Monday, November 17
Authorities have dispatched many units of security forces to install a climate of fear among the protesting locals.#IranProtestspic.twitter.com/7KSXNh0pDA
— People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) November 18, 2019
In the town of Fardis near Karaj, more than two thousand protesters seized control of the main square with the assistance of the youth, who defended the protesters against the regime’s anti-riot units and plainclothes agents. Protesters set fire to a number of the regimes administrative offices as demonstrations have intensified.
Sunday 9:30 PM CET
Protesters in Isfahan, Central Iran, set 15 regime gas stations and banks on fire. The highways from Isfahan to other major cities are closed. All schools and universities in the city are closed.
In the cities of Shiraz, Southcentral Iran, and Kazerun, protesters set fire to two regime-owned centers.
In Karaj, protesters set fire to the regime’s judiciary buildings and banks. Young people attacked police trailers, forcing security units to retreat.
In Nasimshahr, southwest of Tehran, protesters
set fire to several regime’s administrative buildings.
In the city of Kermanshah, Western Iran, clashes between security forces and protesters have intensified.
In Eslamshahr, southwest of Tehran, protesters stormed and set fire to a Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Basij base. Protesters also burned a police vehicle and trailer.
In the town of Pardis near Karaj, MEK reports indicate that serious clashes have occurred between protesters and security forces.
In Robat Karim, southwest of Tehran, locals have taken control of the city. MEK reports indicate that youth were involved in violent clashes with regime security forces. Three of the youth were reportedly injured and are being cared for by locals who have opened their homes to the brave protesters.
Sunday 6:30 PM CET:
In Tehran, protesters set fire to trash cans to block Lalehzar Street. Protesters also blocked the Niayesh Highway. In Karaj, protesters lit fires to block the Derakhti street.
Tehran University students held a rally in support of the protesters and sang anti-regime songs. Tabriz University students held their own demonstration, chanting, “Don’t be afraid, we’re all together!” and “Students, workers, unity!”
MEK reports from Gorgan, Northern Iran, indicate that barehanded protesters drove back regime security forces until they fled.
Sunday 4:30 PM CET
In Shiraz, several areas of the city have been effectively taken over by the protesters. The protesters continue to block roads with burning tires and rally in the streets.
In Shahriar, west of Tehran, protesters chanted, “Mullahs must get lost!”
In Andimeshk, Southwest Iran, protesters held demonstrations and blocked roads, according to reports.
Sunday 3:30 PM CET:
In Eslamshahr, a large group of people took control over several streets.
In Shahria, protesters defied anti-riot units and continued their demonstration in Vali Asr Street, chanting, “No fear! We’re all together!” Police opened fire on the protesters. The demonstrators continued their protest and threw stones back at the police.
In Shiraz, protesters chanted “Down with Khamenei!” They blocked the Tehran-Saveh road heading out to the southwest areas of the city.
In Sanandaj, Western Iran, students held a demonstration, chanting, “Down with high prices!”
In Tehran, bazaar merchants closed their shops and launched a strike in solidarity with the gasoline protests.
In the city of Gachsaran, Southwest Iran, youth held a demonstration and marched to the city’s downtown. A large trash can was lit on fire near a gas station. All banks and administration buildings are closed.
Reaction from the Regime and State-run Media
The Iranian regime’s Majlis (parliament) responded to Khamenei’s statement on Sunday morning with their own full-throated support of the fuel price increase.
“The plan to ration fuel has been adopted by the Supreme National Security Council, approved by the heads of the three administrative branches and [Khamenei]. The Majlis supports this decision,” said Assadollah Abbasi, spokesperson of the Majlis’s Board of Executives.
The state-run ILNA news announced that the Internet was being shut down due to the protests. They cited unnamed “informed sources in their report,” writing, “Recent insecurity and unrest have resulted in the Security Council deciding to shut down access to the Internet.”
Three mobile phone providers have also cut off access to the Internet.
“Iran is now in the midst of a near-total national internet shutdown; real-time network data show connectivity at 7% of ordinary levels after twelve hours of progressive network disconnections as public protests continue,” wrote Netblocks.org.
Response from U.S. Officials
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated that the Iranian people have the support of the United States in their protests against the clerical regime.
“As I said to the people of Iran almost a year and a half ago: The United States is with you,” he said.
U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) added him for the protesters, saying, “The Iranian people are tired of the regime ignoring their basic needs while funneling vast sums to terrorists throughout the Middle East. We must stand with the brave protesters demanding accountability from the ayatollahs.”
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus responded to the shutdown of the Internet by the Iranian regime with condemnation, tweeting, “The U.S. stands with the long-suffering Iranian people as they protest the latest injustice by the corrupt regime in power. We condemn the attempted shutdown of the internet. Let them speak!”
Richard Grenell, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, called for the U.S. and E.U. to take action to support the protesters by providing Internet access to the Iranian people.