Posts Tagged ‘Iran Protests’

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras,Iran Diplomat Terrorist,Iran Protests,Iran Terrorism,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,MEK Support,Mujahedin-e Khalq,NCRI,PMOI

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras

Former Vice-President of European Parliament Urges the West to Take Stronger Action Against the Iranian Regime

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, former vice president of the European Parliament and the president of the International Committee In Search of Justice (ISJ)

Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the former Vice-President of the European Parliament, wrote an op-ed for Eurasia Review on the need for international sanctions against Iran.

Vidal-Quadras outlined the European Union’s recent decision to impose sanctions against the Iranian Intelligence Ministry (MOIS) after it plotted an assassination attempt against an Iranian dissident living in Copenhagen.

He also charted the string of terror plots that have emerged from the MOIS over the last 12 months, including a failed attempt to detonate a car bomb at an event in Paris, and the arrest of two Iranian operatives that planned to attack a compound in Albania where 3,000 members of the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) live.

Following the attempted terror attacks, France expelled several diplomats and froze MOIS assets. An Iranian diplomat believed to be the mastermind behind the foiled plot, Assadollah Assadi, is awaiting prosecution in Belgium.

The French Government Seizes Iranian Assets Over This Summer’s Foiled Terror Attack

The resulting investigation launched by French authorities found that senior members of the Iranian leadership were behind the Paris plot. It found that the Iranian regime’s diplomatic infrastructure, including European embassies and consulate buildings, had been involved in the planning process and harbored terrorists who would carry out the attacks.

Vidal-Quadras quotes a Belgian judiciary official who told reporters,

“nearly all Iranian diplomats in Europe are in fact members of the Iranian secret service.”

A Move Welcomed by the Iranian Opposition

Following the EU’s announcement on Tuesday that it would be imposing sanctions against the MOIS, “the NCRI quickly released a statement calling for further action,” Vidal-Quadras writes.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran, or NCRI, is the umbrella group of the MEK and, along with its leader, president-elect Maryam Rajavi, is one of the most outspoken critics of the Iranian regime.

Its statement in response to the EU sanctions read,

“it is time for the EU to adopt a firm policy towards the mullah’s regime by expelling all of its mercenaries and agents from Europe.”

https://twitter.com/amsafavi/status/1085116260680126464

The First Step Towards Meaningful Action

Vidal-Quadras echoed the words of the MEK and the Iranian opposition. He called the sanctions, “a positive sign,” and, “a symbol of an ongoing trend toward greater recognition of the Iranian threat.”

However, Vidal-Quadras acknowledged that “that trend is still proceeding at too slow a pace. Meanwhile, the danger is growing much more quickly.” He cited the presence of further terrorist plots targeting Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and Germany that were disrupted in 2018. He said, “Europe cannot count on its luck holding out over the long term, especially if lawmakers fail to take measures that will truly disrupt the regime’s terrorist infrastructure.”

The terror attacks have been targeted against the MEK and the Iranian resistance movement. As domestic protests increase in volume and intensity, the Iranian regime is lashing out at the MEK abroad. As a result, Vidal-Quadras says,

“the clerical regime is desperate to undermine any and all networks of support for domestic activism.”

“Under these circumstances,” Vidal-Quadras continued, “Iranian expatriate communities in every corner of the world are potential targets, and their host countries are in severe danger of suffering collateral damage alongside the dire insult of having their autonomy violated by terrorists dispatched by the Iranian government.”

It is in this context that Vidal-Quadras calls for “the expulsion of Iranian diplomats, the implementation of stronger sanctions, and other such firm policies.” He argues, these measures, “will not only help defend the Western world against Iran-backed terrorism, but it will also help the Iranian people to even more strongly assert their demands for civic freedoms and democratic governance.”

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Maryam Rajavi visits the European Parliamen

Former European Minister of Poland Calls on International Community to Support MEK in Op-Ed

Maryam Rajavi visits the European Parliamen

European Lawmakers led by , Ryszard Czarnecki the then Vice President of the European Parliament receive Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian Opposition for a meeting on the occasion of the Human Rights Day in the European Parliament-06 December 2017

On Tuesday, January 15th, a former European Minister of Poland and sitting Member of the European Parliament, Ryszard Czarnecki, penned an op-ed for International Policy Digest. The piece, entitled ‘Western Leaders Must Join Iranian Activists in Recognizing Their Movement’s Potential’, calls on governments around the world to lend their support to the only viable democratic alternative in Iran, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), led by Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the Iranian opposition, which the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) is the principal member to.

A Mobilised Population

Czarnecki praised the work of the Iranian resistance units operating inside Iran to promote the Iranian resistance movement. They have worked tirelessly, “placing posters in public places throughout Tehran and other cities, identifying martyrs by name and reiterating the slogans associated with their cause.”

The President-elect Maryam Rajavi was acutely aware of the capabilities of the resistance cells in Iran. Last year, she predicted a “year full of uprisings.” 2018 lived up to her predictions.

In 2018, there were a total of 9,596 individual protests, affecting all 31 of Iran’s provinces and more than 142 towns and cities.

MEK-Iran: Our Iran Released Summary of 2018 Protest Movement

As Maryam Rajavi predicted, 2018 was a pivotal moment for the Iranian opposition movement. For the first time, the mullahs seemed to acknowledge that the MEK was behind the surge in opposition protests. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei blamed the MEK for the surge in street protests and pointed the finger at their shrewd use of social media to organise protests and connect their supporters as the source of their influence.

Iran State Media Acknowledges MEK Can Topple Regime

This represented a break from the regime’s traditional propaganda narrative which had maintained that the MEK was a fringe movement, with little to no support within Iran, “and incapable of affecting change on a large scale,” Czarnecki writes.

2019 is unlikely to provide the mullahs with any respite. In the opening days of the year, bank customers, municipal workers, and car buyers took to the streets to protest. The regime’s failure to address the economic crisis and its “chronic inattention to public welfare,” means that the conditions that gave rise to the protests in 2018 are still very much present in the Iranian landscape in 2019.

However, Czarnecki writes, “what is much less clear is whether the international community will prove similarly responsive.”

The Iranian Regime is a Threat to Western Democracy

The Iranian regime’s policies do not play out in a bubble and are not limited to Iran. The mullahs desire to influence regional politics make the clerical regime a threat to Western democracies and their national security interest.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is active across the Middle East, including in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. The mullahs have also been accused of funnelling money and weapons to militia groups across the region.

Czarnecki predicts, “the footprint of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will deepen all across the Middle East, and can affect the situation in the West, where foreign supporters of the PMOI (MEK) were targeted several times over the past year.”

Czarnecki is referring to the high-profile terrorist attacks that Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) planned in Paris, Albania, and the US, and the assassination plots that unfolded in the Netherlands and Denmark.

The regime has demonstrated that its actions are not limited to Iran, but place citizens from across the West at risk.

“The situation demands international attention, particularly in the form of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation aimed at limiting the regime’s ability to project force beyond its borders and to crack down on dissent inside them,” Czarnecki writes.

The work of the MEK’s resistance units offers an opportunity for international opponents to the Iranian regime to facilitate meaningful change in Iran. While the protest movement is expanding, the Iranian regime is in a vulnerable position. Should the MEK receive “earnest and sustained support from the international community,” Czarnecki writes, “it may soon be able to achieve the long-sought goal of regime change.”

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MEK Rally in London

Friday Prayer Leaders Express Fear of MEK in Dire Warnings about Protests

MEK Rally in London

Supporters of MEK, during a rally in London in support of the uprisings in Iran.

The clerical regime in Iran uses a variety of tactics to spread propaganda amongst the people. One of its most insidious methods is the use of Friday prayer leaders. Each week, these men use the guise of religion to promulgate the talking points of the mullahs.

As it has become clear that the protests that have been taking place across the country for over a year are not going to stop because of the regime’s efforts to intimidate and suppress the people, Friday prayer leaders have stepped up their warnings about the MEK and its role in the ongoing efforts to bring back democracy in Iran. In the process, the leaders have exposed the regime’s fear of the popular uprising and its potential to topple the theocratic regime.

MEK Network: Fact Sheet on Protest Suppression

“Plans of the Enemy”

Over the past few weeks, this phenomenon has been particularly pronounced. Friday prayer leaders have referred to the “plans of the enemy” and “uprisings by the disenchanted population” against the Iranian regime.

Mohammad Taghi Keramati, Golpaygan’s Friday prayer leader described an enemy who wants to “destroy the roots of the establishment.” Despite these ominous words, he said that officials should not be afraid and lose their resolve in the face of this enemy.

Ghorbanali Dori Najafabadi, Arak’s Friday prayer leader, named the MEK as the enemy of the Iranian regime in his sermon and said that the regime must “resist against the enemy with vigilance and awareness.”

Mohammad Reza Naseri, Yazd’s Friday prayer leader, said in his sermon that regime officials should be cautious about believing rumors. “The enemy intends to cause mistrust in officials and the goals of the revolution through rumors,” he warned in a sermon that was streamed on social media.

Fear of the MEK

Some prayer leaders sought to hide their anxiety about the upheaval taking place around the country by expressing relief that the Islamic Republic still stands.

Hormozgan’s Friday prayer leader, Gholamali Naeem Abadi, said, “As we approach the 40th anniversary of the Revolution, all the enemies who prayed for the destruction of the establishment have themselves been destroyed.” (It is worth noting that the MEK has not, in fact, been destroyed, and the regime and all of its officials and prayer leaders are abundantly aware of this, as are the Iranian people.)

Yusef Ghassemi, Kangan’s Friday prayer leader was less celebratory. “As Iran puts the 40th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution behind, the enemies are trying to push protests toward strife by assembling working groups,” he said.

MEK Resistance Units Are Organizing a Revolution

Villainizing the MEK Abroad

Yet another common thread among Friday prayer leaders’ sermons has been a fixation with the MEK’s activities abroad. Mohammad Ali Ale Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday prayer leader, said that the MEK is “a group that has disagreed with the principles of the Islamic Republic for four decades and is seeking its collapse.” He described the MEK’s activities in Europe as a cause for concern and demanded that the European Union “respond to the Iranian people about harboring [MEK members].”

 

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Protest by workers in Abadan

Municipal Workers, Bank Customers, and Vehicle Buyers All Protest As 2019 Begins Exactly As 2018 Finished

Protest by workers in Abadan

Protest by municipality workers over their unpaid wages

Customers that had purchased vehicles from Bahman Khodro gathered outside the company’s headquarters in Tehran on Sunday, January 13th, reports by the MEK network said. They had all handed over their money, but none had yet received their purchased vehicles.

Bahman Khodro is a subsidiary company of the Bahman Group, a company joined-owned by a number of Iranian investment companies with close ties to the ruling regime. One of the Bahman Group’s largest shareholders, Mehr-e Eqtesad Financial is an investment arm of the Mehr Eqtesad Bank which was recently on the receiving end of US sanctions over its involvement in financing the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Quds Force terrorist plots.

Another Bahman Group shareholder, Ghadir Investment Company, was also sanctioned due to its close financial relationship with the Iranian regime.

The Start of a 2019 Protest Wave

As angry customers protested in Tehran, simultaneous protests erupted in Shadegan and Abadan. In Shadegan, Khuzestan province, municipal workers gathered to protest their unpaid wages. Many of the city’s workers have not received a paycheck in more than eight months and have had to seek alternative means of employment to ensure their family’s survival.

In Abadan, also in Khuzestan province, municipal workers also gathered to protest their unpaid wages. The workers of Abadan have reportedly now gone three months without receiving a paycheck.

Elsewhere, in Yasuj, customers of the Bank-e Ayandeh (Future Bank) gathered outside the bank’s Yasuj branch demanding their deposits. There have been increasing reports that the bank has gone bankrupt, which led to protests outside branches across the country as panicked investors demanded their money.

Although the Iranian Central Bank has denied Bank-e Ayandeh’s bankruptcy via state-run media outlets, this has done little to ease public concerns.

Customers remember the events of 2017 that led to thousands of Iranian investors and bank customers losing their deposits after state-backed financial institutions engaged in fraudulent behavior to trick the public out of money.

As customers fear of losing their savings once more, calls for Bank-e Ayandeh to return customer deposits are increasing.

Whether or not the Iranian public will receive their funds remains to be seen. But the protests sweeping across Iran once more are indicative of the surging influence of the Iranian opposition heading into 2019.

Protests among the Iranian public are showing no sign of letting up as the Iranian regime continues to weaken. Many in the opposition movement are predicting 2019 will be a pivotal year for the Iranian resistance. All indications so far support this conclusion.

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Protest by looted families in Iran

More Protests in Iran over Financial Corruption

Protest by looted families in Iran

Iran Protests continue in various cities across Iran, over regime-backed fraud

Looted customers held protests this weekend in Tehran and Mashhad to demand the return of their savings, MEK sources report from inside Iran. The protests are the most recent in a series of protests by customers in cities across Iran who have had their savings stolen from them.

Customers of the Caspian Credit Institution gathered in Tehran on Sunday to demand that the regime’s parliament hold the credit firm accountable for the illegal Ponzi scheme that robbed millions of Iranians of their savings and investments.

Badr Tous Clients Protest

On Saturday in Mashhad, clients of Badr Tous, one of the financial institutions which merged with Caspian before it declared bankruptcy, protested in front of the governorate in Khorasan Province.

The protesters addressed officials at the Caspian Credit Firm and the Iranian regime when they chanted, “Is this the Central Bank, or the center of thieves?”

“Caspian has committed theft, the government has supported it!”

The protesters were clear in stating that the regime was complicit in the looting of their savings. They also vowed to continue to protest until their money is returned. Credit firm clients have protested off and on for well over a year now, so their threats carry weight.

Bankruptcy and Looted Accounts

In 2017, Caspian and four other credit institutions declared bankruptcy, emptying billions of dollars of money from its investors’ accounts. The credit institutions, which were closely tied to regime officials, had received permits from regime ministries to take investor money and were widely trusted by the Iranian people. Three years prior to their collapse, the credit institutions began collecting investments from Iranians, promising high rates of return. Many people deposited their life savings into the credit institutions, believing that they would be safe there. After the collapse of the credit firms, the customers found their accounts were empty. Protests have been taking place since then. The MEK has reported on the ongoing protests as they have occurred.

MEK Network- Iran: Looted Credit Institution Customers Protest

Sekeh Samen Clients Protest

Also on Saturday, customers of the website Sekeh Samen gathered in front of the headquarters of the Gold and Jewelry Union in Tehran to protest the union’s corrupt practices. The union was one of the primary supporters of the website. Protesters entered the union building and chanted slogans as part of their demonstration.

Sakeh Samen was launched in 2016 as an online marketplace for buyers and sellers of precious metal coins and gold products. The site claimed to provide 24-hour services worldwide. However, in August of 2018, the website suddenly took down its online trade section, supposedly for maintenance. The Gold and Jewelry Union, which is responsible for regulating the trade of precious metals, then ordered the closure of Sekeh Samen altogether. Thousands of online traders were left with emptied accounts and no way to collect on their debts.

The Gold and Jewelry Union claimed that Sakeh Samen did not have a work permit, but the union had actively promoted the site on its online portals and in its facilities. The site’s inexplicable closure has triggered another series of protests against the regime’s financial corruption and mismanagement.

The MEK supports the protests against the regime and its corrupt economic policies. The mullahs’ mismanagement of the Iranian people’s wealth affects people from all walks of life, and it will only get worse until the regime is toppled and Iran is free.
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Regime Insider Says Protests Are Unlikely to Stop

Hessamoddin Ashna, Hassan Rouhani's advisor

Hessamoddin Ashna, one of Hassan Rouhani’s advisors, reveals regime’s fear of the continued Iran Protests

Speaking to the state-run ISNA news agency, Hesamodin Ashna, an advisor to Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani, conceded that the domestic protests that have racked Iran for the last 12 months were unlikely to stop.

The regime insider told viewers that the cause of the protests had not been resolved. The issues in the Iranian economy were still present. Therefore, it was unlikely the protests would abate.

He said that the economic conditions that had prompted widespread protesting across Iran in the 1990s existed in Iran today. Only this time around, he conceded, the protests had “much more depth” than protests of the past.

A Look at the 1990s Protest Movement

In the 1990s, the Iranian cities of Mashhad, Qazvin, and Islamshahr were affected by large-scale protests. In response, the regime imprisoned, tortured, and executed a large number of protestors.

Several regime officials have expressed concerns that the conditions that led to these widespread protests were present in the Iranian political and economic landscape of today.

Iranian regime’s Interior Minister Alireza Rahmani Fazli, said last March that the conditions within Iran were such that just “a spark would flare” the protests.

In the interview with ISNA, Ashna said that the protests that took place across the country last year had the explicit goal of overthrowing the government. He said, “some people thought that the government could be weakened without weakening the state, but experience from the December 2017 protests showed that the weakening of the government and the state were one path.”

“If there was a plan for these protests,” he continued,” it was to bring down the state and if there was none, the state could still have collapsed.”

For the mullahs, the Iranian government is the political institution headed by Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet. However, the state is considered to be the political system itself, characterized by the Islamic Jurist (or Vilayat-e-Faqih). The head of the state is the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the authoritarian who makes the bulk of the decisions in Iranian society.

A Red Line

While the Iranian regime has not been able to prevent the protests, criticism of the state and the Supreme Leader is a red line.

If 2018 saw a Wave of Protests, 2019 Will see a Tsunami

In this context, the 2018 protests that saw protestors chant, “Death to Khamenei!” will have been a particular source of discomfort for the mullahs and the clerical regime.

Another cause for concern was the breadth of the protest movement. The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the largest and most influential opposition group, was able to mobilize a significant portion of the Iranian population, including from demographics traditionally seen as the regime’s support base.

The spontaneous protests continued in Iran all through the year 2018 across Iran

The Security Deputy of the Minister of the Interior, Hussein Zolfaghari, expressed his concern and acknowledged that the opposition protests had “crossed all the country’s political factions.”

The widespread disapproval of the government and the state has led many in Iran to adopt the position that the only way to cure Iran and resolve the public’s political grievances is through regime change.

Instead, the regime has adopted a more violent approach to curbing the spread of discontent. In the December 2017 protests, which engulfed all of Iran’s 31 provinces and spread to 142 towns and cities across the country, the regime’s security forces slaughtered 25 protestors. Ten further protestors died in regime custody after the protests in suspicious circumstances.

At least, 8,000 protestors were imprisoned during the period of nationwide unrest, based on the reports from MEK sources inside Iran.

As Ashna states, the circumstances that led to the nationwide uprising are still present. Therefore, there is nothing stopping protests of a similar scale to emerge in 2019. In fact, given the continued deterioration of the Iranian economy, the rising inflation, and the plummeting purchasing power of the Iranian rial, 2019 is likely to be a year of even more protests and instability.

The mullahs’ days are numbered. They know it. The MEK knows it. And the Iranian public knows it.

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Khamenei, speaking among regime supporters in Qom.

Regime Leadership Express Concerns Over the Rising Popularity of the MEK on Social Media

Khamenei, speaking among regime supporters in Qom.

Khamenei’s speech in the religious city of Qom. Khamenei warned against MEK’s influence within the clergies in Qom

On Wednesday, January 9th, the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei delivered a speech in Qom. In his speech, he expressed concern over the rising influence of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and the opposition group’s ability to mobilize the Iranian opposition and organize street protests across the country.

He said, “the arrogant are inviting the people to confront the system. It’s necessary that the people stand up in front of this publicly and move against it. The youth must transform cyberspace into a tool against the enemy.”

He went on to reference a recent speech by Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton when Bolton addressed the MEK in Albania during an event marked to celebrate Persian New Year.

Khamenei said, “a while ago, not far from here, an American politician said to a crowd of thugs and terrorists he hopes and wishes to celebrate Christmas in 2019 in Tehran.”

A Regime Under Pressure

Khamenei’s remarks illustrate the extent to which the regime finds itself under intense scrutiny at home. The MEK’s strength is growing as 2018 saw a wave of protests wash across Iran. Fearing for their future in power, the mullahs have lined up to attack the MEK and their supporters.

Iran State Media Acknowledges MEK Can Topple Regime

The clerical regime has increased its attempts to limit internet freedoms and counter the MEK’s influence in the digital sphere. Following protest over a contested election that broke out in 2009, the Iranian regime severely limited access to social media websites including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Then, following a fresh round of nationwide unrest at the beginning of 2018, the regime blocked Telegram, a popular instant messaging app with more than 40 million users in Iran.

There have also been recent plans to block Instagram and replace it with a regime-created Iranian replacement which allows regime agents to spy on users and control the content available.

On Wednesday, the Iranian regime’s general prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said, “if we don’t manage cyberspace in the country, our situation will grow worse every day.”

Other members of the regime have also expressed concerns. Abdollah Ganji, a director of the state-run Fars News Agency, said at the tail end of 2018, “the MEK members who were relocated from Iraq to Albania are creating content for social media networks.”

The MEK has published the results of several investigations on their social media channels, including in-depth investigative pieces on the lavish lifestyles of the mullahs and their misuse of public funds.

In exchange for their efforts, the MEK has had to face stinging barbs from regime leaders on an almost daily basis. On the same day, Khamenei addressed the people at Qom, Ahmad Khatami, a member of the Assembly of Experts council, accused the MEK of undermining “the security of the people.”

Despite their repressive measures, the regime has been unable to quash domestic unrest and prevent the public from mobilizing in protest. Protests have spread across Iran like wildfire, and the mullahs are scrambling to avoid being caught up in the blaze.

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Iran's security forces suppressing the peaceful protests in Iran

MEK-Iran: Our Iran Released Summary of 2018 Protest Movement

IRGC Basij forces cracking down on Iran protesters

Archive Photo- The Iranian regime security forces attack protesters during a demonstration – January 2018

Our Iran released their annual report on the Iranian opposition movement in Iran. The report chronicled the 9,596 protests that took place in Iran’s 31 provinces between December 2017 to December 2018, mainly reported by the MEK sources inside Iran.

Common Themes

The Our Iran report noted that in the time period, the protests followed similar patterns that characterized the nature of the movement. Each time, people’s protests began “with guild claims [then] quickly turned into political demands and slogans against the entire sovereignty.”

Iran Protests Continue

Secondly, in each instance, the solidarity the Iranian public expressed with the protestors of each strike, protest, and the march was astounding. No matter whether it was striking truck drivers, merchants, steelworkers, teachers, students, sugar cane workers, pensioners, or investors, the Iranian public, particularly Iran’s youth, and women, turned out in support of the protesting workers.

They shouted slogans like “don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, we are all together”, showing their support for the striking population.

The internet also played a vital role in the 2018 protest movement. The Iranian opposition and the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) used the web and social media to coordinate protests and mobilize the Iranian public.

Through these tools, the MEK was able to get all demographics and classes of Iranian society to join their cause, from urban elites and middle classes to working-class factory workers, and rural farmers. The 2018 protests saw every strand of Iranian society represented in the faces of those in the streets carrying signs and shouting slogans.

A Timeline of Iran’s 2018 Protest Movement

The protest movement was ignited by a nationwide protest movement at the end of December 2017 and the beginning of January 2018.

Infographic on Iran protests during 2018

Credit to Iran News Wire: 2018 Iran protests at a glance

Very quickly, protests erupted across 142 cities and towns in all 31 of Iran’s provinces. In Mashhad, 10,000 people turned out in front of the city’s municipal building. Similar sights were suddenly commonplace across Iran.

As a result, January saw 643 protests, and this momentum was carried into February, which saw 596 protests.

However, the movement peaked later in the year. In October, Our Iran recorded 1,533 distinct protests that broke out in Iran, up from 1,367 in September.

This was largely due to Iran’s striking truck drivers, who turned out for their third round of strikes in September. The logistics sector and Iranian truck drivers went on strike once more, spread across 323 cities.

In 2018, striking truck drivers were behind the most protests. In total, truck drivers held 3,868 protests, slightly more than the country’s workers which held 1,933 protests. Teachers and retirees were next, holding 683 protests.

All in all, there were a total of 26 different protests a day across the country. The mullahs and the Supreme Leader Khamenei are under intense pressure.

The Regime Response

These protests have showed made one thing abundantly clear; the Iranian regime is weaker than it has ever been. It has exposed itself as utterly unequipped to deal with the scale of the Iranian opposition movement.

They have not succeeded in ending the uprisings. If anything, their heavy-handed, repressive response have only made the public angrier and more determined to overthrow their oppressors.

https://mek-iran.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/A-political-scientists-view-on-the-Iran-protests-750-e1536427588296.jpg

The clerical regime has threatened the strikers, brought in plainclothes security agents to control protestors, made false promises, attempted to play protestors off against each other, then alluded to execution for those involved.

They abducted protestors in the middle of the night, tortured people in regime custody, and others were killed by anti-insurgency forces at the scene of the protests.

These brave protestors will not have died in vain. 2019 will be pivotal to the protest movement and the fight to usher in a new era of Iranian democracy. If 2018 is anything to go by, it will be a monumental victory for the MEK and the Iranian public.

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Ahvaz Protests,Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Factory workers strike,Human Rights,Iran human rights,Iran Protests,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),NCRI,PMOI

The University of Azad Bus crash that resulted in ten students getting killed.

December’s Human Rights Report: Escalating Brutality and Crackdowns

The University of Azad Bus crash that resulted in ten students getting killed.

The University of Azad Bus incident that resulted in ten university students getting killed, and sparked large protests by students against the regime’s mismanagement and carelessness

On Monday, Iran Human Rights Monitor released its December report on human rights conditions in Iran. December was a brutal month in Iran due to the regime’s crackdown on political protests and strikes. In addition, the regime’s crumbling economy manifested on the deaths of several students this month.

Student Deaths

According to state-run media, four young girls died in a fire at an all-girls preschool and elementary school in Zahedan on December 18th. A fourth girl died later in a hospital from her injuries.

Several days later, a bus accident killed ten students from Azad University’s Science and Research Center in Tehran and injured 28 more. The bus swerved off of a mountainous road, crashing into a cement barrier. University students blame the accident on the school’s aging fleet of buses.

Tehran Students Demand Accountability for Bus Crash in Third Day of Protests

Regime officials have been faulted for allowing the unsafe conditions which led to both deadly incidents.

Executions

The Human Rights Monitor Report lists 23 executions during the month of December. Those executions include:

  • 3 public executions in Shiraz;
  • a mass execution of 12 prisoners in Kerman;
  • the hanging execution of a 25-year-old woman. She is the 86th woman to be executed during Rouhani’s presidency.

The Iranian Supreme Court upheld the sentence of a juvenile offender who was sentenced to death at the age of 14.

Freedom of Speech and Assembly

An increase in protest activity in the month of December led to a crackdown on political activism by the Iranian regime. The MEK reported on a number of arrests of protesting steelworkers and factory workers in the province of Ahvaz in December. The workers were striking in protest of months of unpaid wages.

Further Arrests Follow the Second Night of Raids in Ahvaz

Security forces arrested at least 41 striking workers from the Ahvaz National Steel Group in a series of midnight raids on the workers’ houses. Workers were violently dragged from their homes, according to Iran’s Free Labor Union (FLU).

35 of the workers were later released, but seven remain in custody in Sheyban prison in Ahvaz.

Ali Nejati, a labor activist for the Haft Tappeh sugarcane workers, was violently arrested and beaten for “disrupting public order” and “spreading propaganda” against the Iranian government after participating in the sugarcane factory workers’ strikes. Nejati suffers from a heart condition.

Torture, Inhumane, and Degrading Punishment

The Human Rights Monitor Report listed several instances of cruel punishments by the Iranian regime. Fifteen workers from the Ilam Petrochemical Plant were sentenced to prison terms and lashes for “disrupting public order and peace” after participating in a sit-in outside of the factory. The workers were protesting the factory’s refusal to hire local workers and the layoffs of eleven experienced workers from the plant.

Poet, satirist and Telegram channel administrator Mohammad Hossein Sodagar was publicly flogged after being convicted of “dissemination of false information.” He received 74 lashes.

According to the state-run IRIB news agency, another unnamed man was publicly flogged in Zeberkhan District after being convicted of drug charges.

Inhumane Treatment of Prisoners

According to the Human Rights Monitor report, political activist Vahid Sayadi Nasiri died in prison after a 60-day hunger strike. Nasiri had been imprisoned repeatedly due to his social media posts and charged with “insulting the supreme leader” and “propaganda against the state.”

He began his hunger strike in October in protest of the conditions at the prison and his lack of access to a lawyer. He also said that he was being held along with ordinary criminals, which is a violation of his rights as a political prisoner. Nasiri was taken to the hospital before his death, according to reports.

Denial of Medical Treatment

Political prisoner Saeed Shirzad is being denied needed medical care, according to the Human Rights Monitor Report, and may lose a kidney as a result. Doctors at Rajaee Shahr Prison, where he has been held for the past three years, say that one of his kidneys has shrunk and the other has developed a cyst. His requests for hospitalization have thus far been denied.

Lack of Due Process

The regime’s Appeals Court upheld the conviction against Mohammad Habibi, a member of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA) for “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state” and “disturbing public order,” according to the Human Rights Monitor.

Habibi will have to serve at least 7.5 years of his 10.5-year sentence. He was also sentenced to 74 lashes and two years’ abstinence from political and social activities and was prohibited from leaving the country for two years.
Gonabadi Dervish lawyer Mostafa Daneshjoo was sentenced to eight years in prison for “assembly and collusion to act against national security, disturbing public opinion, and spreading propaganda against the system.”

Indefinite solitary confinement

Iran Human Rights Monitor received information that guards at Zahedan Central Prison in Iran’s Baluchistan Province broke the legs of political prisoner Arzhang Davoudi. The guards reportedly threw him down a staircase while torturing him, breaking his legs.

Doctors have said the 65-year-old prisoner will not be able to walk again.

Freedom of Religion and Belief

Baha’is

Yekta Fahandej Sa’di was given an 11 year 9-month sentence for practicing her Baha’i religious beliefs by a preliminary court in the city of Shiraz. She was convicted on charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” and “propaganda against the state.”

Baha’i faith member Ali Ahmadi was arrested for the third time. Ahmadi was charged with “propaganda against the state” for having a holy book in his home. He is currently being held in solitary confinement at the Kachouie Detention Center in Sari.

Christians

According to the Human Rights Monitor, Christians in Iran faced a severe crackdown around the Christmas holiday. 114 Christians were arrested in December, many of whom had converted from Islam.

According to Open Doors UK, those who were arrested had to report a history of their Christian activities and cut ties with Christian groups.

Persecution of Ethnic Minorities

Arabs

According to the Human Rights Monitor, regime authorities arrested at least twelve Ahwazi Arabs in Khuzestan Province in December. Most of the detainees were not allowed legal representation or allowed to contact their families.

Baluchis

At least three Baluchis were killed while smuggling gas and oil in Sistan-Baluchistan Province. High unemployment in the province has forced many people to smuggle gas in order to get by.

Kurds

According to the Human Rights Monitor report, more than 20 Kurds were arrested in Kurdistan in December. Kurdish human rights activists report that some of those who were arrested for cooperating with Kurdish opposition parties were taken to the Revolutionary Guard’s al-Mahdi barracks detention center.

 

Security forces killed at least five porters through direct fire and wounded another 13.

Gender Discrimination

A bill to increase the marriage age in Iran was rejected in Parliament. The bill would have banned marriages for girls under the age of 13 and for boys under the age of 16. Girls between the ages of 13 and 16 would need parental and judicial consent to marry. The bill fail due to “religious and social deficiencies,” according to Allahyar Malekshahi, Chair of the Judicial and Legal Committee of the regime’s parliament.

Human Rights Attorneys

The Human Rights Monitor report listed a number of arrests and convictions of human rights lawyers in Iran during the month of December.

Human rights lawyers Qasem Sholehsadi and Arash Keykhosravi were sentenced to six years in prison after being arrested at a gathering in front of the regime’s parliament in August, according to the ISNA news agency.

Human rights lawyer Mohammad Najafi, who is currently serving a three-year sentence for exposing torture in Iran’s prisons, was sentenced to an additional 13 years for an additional two charges.

Human rights lawyer Amir Salar Davoudi has been detained by regime authorities since November 20th in Evin Prison and denied access to his attorney. His attorney believes that the charges against him are “propaganda against the state” and “insulting the Supreme Leader.” He may also be charged with “assembly and collusion to act against national security.”

The MEK and Iranian Opposition have made repeated calls for the international community to take action against the theocratic regime to end its brutal human rights violations. It is clear that these atrocities will not stop until the regime is toppled and Iran is free.

Staff Writer

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Ahvaz Steel Workers continue their protests in the its 2nd month

The MEK’s Resistance Units are Breathing New Life into Iran’s Opposition Movement

Ahvaz Steel Workers continue their protests in the its 2nd month

Archive Photo-The second week of protest by Ahvaz Steelworkers against the repressive regime.

On Sunday, January 6th, Hassan Mahmoudi penned a piece for tsarism exploring the leaders of the Iranian protest movement. The piece, entitled ‘Who is Leading and Organizing the Iranian Strikes’, looked at the escalating protest movement in Iran and the driving forces behind the expanding opposition movement.

Mahmoudi began, “over the past 12 months, a single week hasn’t passed where some sort of protest and demonstration has not taken place somewhere in the country.”

He describes how dissent and public fury has seeped across Iranian industries, bringing truckers, market stall owners, teachers, sugar workers, steelworkers, and farmers into the streets in protest. “Virtually every Iranian group and community has expressed its discontent with the current political structure,” Mahmoudi says.

Their grievances have been wide-ranging, but several themes have reared their heads in the Iranian workforce time and time again; corruption, economic mismanagement, unpaid wages, inflation, and reduced Iranian purchasing power.

In typical regime fashion, the mullahs have responded to the growing protests with violence and repression. Most recently, Esmail Bakshi, one of the labor activists arrested in Shush during the strikes carried out by the Haft Tappeh sugarcane workforce, endured extensive physical and psychological torture in regime custody. His injuries were so severe he had to be transferred to hospital.

At a protest among farmers in Isfahan on January 2nd, regime agents used tear gas and fired live rounds in the air in an attempt to disperse the crowds, and earlier in the year, when Iran’s truck drivers were striking, the regime threatened them with imprisonment and even execution.

The Organizing Force Behind Iran’s Protest Movement

While many regime officials still dismiss the protest organizers as “opportunists and anti-revolutionaries who want to take advantage of political turmoil inside the country,” there has been an increasing acceptance among the regime’s leadership of the reality that the Iranian opposition is a well-organized political force.

Members of Parliament like Naser Mousavi Larijani are beginning to point the finger at the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI / MEK), and the group is increasingly receiving coverage from the Iranian state-run media outlets.

The MEK has been relentless in their organization of protests. They publish details of protests through their social media outlets and have been putting up posters across the country.

MEK Resistance Units Are Organizing a Revolution

The group has an abundance of resistance units, from Tehran to Mashhad, Kermanshah, and Ahvaz. Many draw attention to the opulence that the regime leadership enjoys while much of the Iranian population struggles to put food on the table.

Mahmoudi quoted the prominent Iranian political scientist Dr. Behrouz Puyan in his article. Puyan said, “with conditions inside Iran and abroad changing dramatically, the MEK implemented its new strategy of launching resistance units,” he added, “by organizing and leading the Iranian uprising in an effective manner, resistance units are injecting a new life in the society and protestors on the streets.”

Staff Writer

 

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