Iranians Continue Protests, Alarming Regime Officials
Protests have resumed in cities across Iran, as widespread dissatisfaction about the regime’s corruption deepens, and fear of the coronavirus is outweighed by simmering resentment over economic and social issues.
On Sunday, June 14, investors from regime-backed credit firms rallied outside the Central Bank in Tehran to demand the return of their savings. The protesters’ investments were devalued as a result of a new exchange rate negotiated between the Central Bank and businesses, many of which are controlled by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). The protesters cite “inefficiency and embezzlement” within the NIMA [Consolidated System of Forex Transactions] as the cause of their losses.
This protest marks the latest grievance by investors in the regime’s credit firms. Other investors are still demanding the return of their savings after regime-backed credit firms declared bankruptcy and refused to return investors’ savings.
MEK sources inside Iran report that anti-riot forces were deployed to the rally to prevent the protest from spreading.
Boat Owners and Sailors
In Dayyer, Bushehr Province, dhow owners, and sailors gathered at the port where their boats were being held to protest restrictions against unloading their goods and leaving the port. Protesters held a sign that read, “We want nothing but the right to work and provide food for our families.”
Kindergarten teachers and part-time teachers traveled from provinces across Iran to protest in front of the Ministry of Education building in Tehran. The teachers said that they have been left in limbo and demanded answers about their job status. The protesters held signs showing the provinces they had traveled from to be at the rally, according to MEK sources.
In Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, municipal workers gathered outside the Karun Municipality to demand payment of their delayed wages and pensions from the contractor who employs them.
Angry vehicle buyers gathered outside of the Ministry of Industries, Mining, and Trade in Tehran to protest a decision in favor of the Azvico company. The protesters pre-purchased Azvico MG360 vehicles, but the cars were never delivered. Protesters say that 5,000 families were swindled by the company, which reports indicate resulted in $200 million being routed out of Iran.
Regime officials have expressed concern about how the public will respond in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. On Saturday, June 13, Mohammad Reza Mahboub-Far, a member of the National COVID-19 Task Force, worried that the regime’s mismanagement of the crisis could lead to another uprising.
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) June 15, 2020
In an interview with the state-run Jahan-e San’at daily, he said: “The country’s economic and financial conditions during the novel coronavirus era are showing a social impact inside our society. Honor killings and a series of suicides across the country are just a small portion of COVID-19’s social consequences.”
Mahboub-Far then enumerated some of the specific factors that could lead to unrest. “Elements such as a rise in the number of coronavirus cases, an increase in the death toll, a return of previous restrictions and limitations, mismanagement in the country’s economic apparatus, an increase in systematic financial and economic corruption in government entities, a decrease in currency value and as a result an uncontrollable increase in the prices of basic goods, an increase in housing prices, all in all significantly decrease the country’s social tolerance,” he explained.
June 14 – Tehran, #Iran
Investors rallying outside the Central Bank demanding their stolen money returned from the regime's credit firms.
Authorities responded by dispatching anti-riot units to the scene. pic.twitter.com/u9Zji8iZwD
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) June 14, 2020
“Most of these issues can soon lead to protests similar to those of 2017 and 2019 and expand across the country in a far more violent nature. If there were four provinces in utterly poor economic conditions back in early 2019, this time around nearly the entire country will be facing financial and economic crises,” Mahboub-Far warned.