Posts Tagged ‘MEK Support’

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NCRI Releases Statement Calling for Release of Political Prisoners

Excerpts from the leader of the Iranian opposition, president-elect Maryam Rajavi asking the human rights organizations to take immediate action to save the lives of the political prisoners, recently arrested during Iran Protests

On Friday, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) released a statement concerning the arrests of eleven people for supporting MEK following the regime’s recent crackdown on protests and political dissent within the country.

According to the statement, the crackdown is the most recent desperate attempt by the mullahs to quell the rising outrage in the country due to the dire state of the economy, the regime’s bungled response to the catastrophic floods last month, and the growing influence of MEK Resistance Units, resistance councils, and the nation’s rebellious in organizing protests. These fears have been intensified by the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization and the strengthening of U.S. oil sanctions in the past months.

 

Regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has taken a number of hardline measures to try to prevent the overthrow of the clerical regime. In March, Khamenei appointed notorious Death Committee member Ebrahim Raisi to the position of Judiciary Chief. Raisi was personally responsible for sending thousands of MEK supporters to their executions during the 1988 Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners. Khamenei then appointed Salami, Fadavi, and Naghdi as Commander, Deputy Commander, and Coordinator of the IRGC. All three men are known for their cruelty, according to the NCRI statement.

 

The regime has now launched a new wave of suppressive measures to prevent the spread of popular uprisings. Hashd al-Shabi forces were transferred from Iraq to flood-stricken areas in Iran, where victims of the disaster are protesting the lack of government aid. Last week, the regime announced the widespread launch of the Razavion, which it has described as “neighborhood-based security patrols.” Security forces have stepped up arrests of political dissidents, particularly MEK supporters.

Arrests of MEK Activists

 

The NCRI obtained the names of eleven people that have been arrested in late April 2019, for supporting MEK:

 

  • Nematollah Hakimi Kiasarai, 46, Tehran
  • Salar Eskandarzadeh, 29, Tehran
  • Hamid Reza Haddadi, 36, Kermanshah
  • Dariush Hosseini, 65, Mahshahr
  • Mohammad Khatibnia, 28, Khorramabad
  • Reza Nabavi, 24, Semnan
  • Mohsen Hosseini, 23, along with his two brothers, Neyshabur
  • Mahmoud Salami, 25, Neyshabur
  • Shokouh Majd, 55, Neyshabur

 

 

On April 23rd, the MEK released a list of 28 people who were arrested prior to that date for the similar charges.

 

On April 19, 2019, Mullah Alavi, the regime’s Minister of Intelligence, said in a speech that 116 teams associated with the MEK had been arrested over the past Iranian calendar year. On April 24th, the Director General of Intelligence in East Azarbaijan Province followed that statement with his own numbers, reporting 60 arrests and 50 additional encounters with MEK supporters over the past year.

 

These numbers do not take into account arrests made by the regime’s other suppressive organs, including the IRGC and local law enforcement. Actual arrest numbers are much higher.

Statement by Maryam Rajavi

Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI, once again called on the United Nations Secretary-General, High Commissioner and Human Rights Council, as well as international human rights organizations,  to take urgent action to secure the release of imprisoned people. She also called for the appointment of delegations to visit the regime’s prisons in order to meet with political prisoners. Mrs. Rajavi stresses that political prisoners in Iran are subject to torture and execution.

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A session of the Iranian regime's parliament

MEK – Iran: Iranian Regime MP Warns Regime Officials the Status Quo is Untenable

A session of the Iranian regime's parliament

Iranian regime’s parliament building in Tehran

An Iranian MP has admitted that the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) is playing a central role in the rising tide of public dissent. Elias Hazrati took the podium in the regime’s Majlis (parliament) on Tuesday, May 14. He took the opportunity to shed some light on the crisis the Iranian regime currently finds itself in.

“The system is facing the toughest sanctions’ regime and the most condense economic blockade the country has faced during the past decade,” he said. He warned the regime officials in attendance that unless they took steps to modify the status quo, the regime would lose the Iranian public’s trust [read support among those very few percentages loyal to the regime].

The Middle of a Psychological War

“We are in the middle of a horrific psychological war. The war has begun. The aim is to destroy the people’s trust in the state,” Hazrati said, referring to the MEK’s repeated opposition to the Iranian regime’s repressive policies.

Hazrati went on to explicitly mention the MEK as a source of his escalating fear for the future of the regime’s survival.

“The enemy is using all its assets to discredit the state. With fake news and exaggeration tactics, 1,200 PMOI/MEK members are sitting and planning against [paramilitary] Hezbollah [militants], against both the reformists and principalists, the defenders of the state and the extremists and the fanatics. And inside the system, we are promoting this great war without doing anything to counter it,” he mused.

The Regime Has No Understanding of the Challenges Iranians Face

Hazrati’s warnings were clear to the regime; maintaining the status quo is not a viable option. As the Iranian economy continues to freefall and the purchasing power of ordinary Iranians plummets, the Iranian public is losing patience.

The people see a regime that is mismanaging Iranian finances, funneling money abroad to the militia and terrorist groups around the region. They see a regime ignoring their demands to end corruption and embezzlement. While they get poorer, the mullahs get richer, lining their pockets at the expense of the Iranian economy.

“You will realize the gravity of the situation when the people are smashed under the wheels of the problems,” Hazrati continued. “We don’t have any understanding of the fact that people are being smashed under the wheels of high costs of living, inflation, unemployment, and there is chaos overwhelming the Bazaar and the economy, while we are engaged in our own infightings and pay no attention to the outside reality.”

Hazrati is correct to be worried. The status quo is not tenable and a rising tide of public opposition will bring about regime change and restore democracy to Tehran.

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MEK Iran: Tehran’s Student Protest the Regime’s Repressive Policies

University of Tehran- Protesters object new restrictive measures against female students.

On Monday, April 13, students at Tehran university held a rally in opposition at the Iranian regime over the repressive restrictions in place on female students’ clothing on campus. A video clip of the students’ rally was shared across social media by the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

The University of Tehran enforces new restrictive forced hijab regulations. Female students have to wear the hijab and cannot make their own decisions regarding freedom of clothing. They chanted, “college students would rather die than live in shame,” and held signs reading: ““Freedom of choice is our right.”

A Nationwide Suppressive Force

The student protests come just days after the regime announced that it would launch a new police force to tackle political dissent and expression.

Last Wednesday, the regime’s chief of police, Hossein Ashtari, announced the assembly of the Razavion Patrol. The patrol is an extension of the Basij patrols that have taken place since the nationwide uprising in early 2018. The Basij forces regularly set up checkpoints in areas where there are more protests and harass suspected dissidents (i.e. supporters of the MEK).

The Razavion Patrol will undertake similar activities but are expected to have more funds and resources than their Basij counterparts.

Gholam-Hossein Gheibparvar, a commander in the Basij forces had alluded to the crackdown last September. He revealed, “we have begun a series of plans to upgrade the IRGC Basij… we believe our patrols are more effective than checkpoints. More recently, these Basij patrols have been dubbed as the Razavion network.”

The network was partially rolled out in November, with patrols beginning in Bukan and Yazd, as well as in Alborz Province. However, it wasn’t a nationwide scheme until now.

Growing Concerns

The Iranian regime is increasing pressure on protestors. The most recent student protest will have only increased regime fears that the political opposition is drawing increased support from the Iranian population.

2019 has seen regime officials become increasingly worried about the rising popularity of the MEK, the largest and most organized opposition group. Javad Javeed-Nia, the regime’s Deputy Prosecutor General in Cyberspace Affairs, said : “Considering the fact that our enemies [the MEK] have established cyber armies against the [mullahs’ regime], those who care about our state must launch a media campaign against the enemy, identify the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, and place forward an adequate analysis.”

The state-run Tehran Press News Agency also expressed concerns over the MEK’s use of the instant messaging app, Telegram.

The students’ rally must be seen in the context of a regime rapidly losing its grip on power in the face of mounting political dissent. The Iranian public, like Tehran’s youth, will not stand idly by while the regime embarks on a campaign of violence and repression.

The mullahs are scared. They are right to be. The tide of change is coming.

Staff writer

 

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Regime Insiders Express Fear Over the MEK’s Rising Online Popularity

Ibrahim Golfam, head of regimes propaganda in the Army during a press conference.

Elements within the Iranian regime have publicly expressed fear at the Iranian opposition’s swelling popularity across social media. The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), the largest and best-supported Iranian opposition group, have been attracting swathes of the Iranian youth to its social media campaigns.

Feeling the Pressure

So much so, that the Cultural Deputy of Iranian regime’s Armed Forces Department Ibrahim Golfam aired his concerns over the group’s rising online influence. “The [PMOI/MEK], stationed in the capital of a European country, are day and night busy creating an atmosphere against the Islamic Republic in Twitter, Instagram, and Telegram,” he complained.

Speaking to journalists in Yasuj, Southern Iran, Golfam described the ongoing war for the hearts and minds of the Iranian public. He said a “battle formation” was “needed in the fields of economics, culture and soft war.”

Golfam’s comments were echoed by the regime’s Friday prayer Imam in Shiraz. Lotfollah Dezhkam, during a sermon, complained about the MEK’s social media presence. “There are some behaviors seen on the internet that need our attention. It is not right for anyone to say anything they wish,” he said. He expressed his opinion that the regime should more closely monitor the Iranian opposition’s online presence and censor Iranians’ access to their posts.

“This is a direction that needs to be taken by FATA (Iran’s internet police) and finally the judiciary. Both of these entities need to be involved and there need to be some control mechanisms from our part,” he said.

Dezhkam also vented about the closure of the social media accounts belonging to senior members of the Iranian regime’s leadership. “They make a fuss and brouhaha about providing an open atmosphere! Free! Anyone is able to say anything they wish! You do know that they erase even one sentence that is expressed by us,” he complained, adding, “why do they not allow people to hear what they have to say? Those who close these accounts are cowards!”

MEK Has “Inflicted Severe Blows” with Social Media, Say Regime Experts

The Regime’s Demonization Campaign

Twitter and other social media accounts have taken a stronger stance against the Iranian regime in recent months. The MEK revealed last year that the Iranian regime uses an extensive social media campaign to vilify and demonize the Iranian opposition.

In 2018, Twitter removed more than 750 accounts affiliated to the Iranian regime. Many accounts posed as foreign journalists and shared anti-MEK propaganda in an attempt to turn public opinion against the opposition group. Following this incident, Twitter and other social media platforms have scrutinized regime-affiliated accounts.

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Censorship in Iran

The Mullahs Want to Censor the Internet—Except When They Are the Ones Being Censored

Censorship in Iran

Internet access is filtered in Iran under the ruling religious dictatorship.

The unrestricted use of the Internet and social media has become a serious issue for the mullahs’ regime. The availability of encrypted messaging applications has given the Iranian people the ability to bypass regime filtering to share news and information.

As the Iranian people continue to lose faith in state-run media, they increasingly turn to the Internet and social media sources for information. Over the past year, the MEK has successfully used social media to organize protests and spread information about the regime’s corruption. This has helped foster the growth of the protest movement within Iran and has caused panic among the mullahs, who fear widespread rebellion and the ultimate overthrow of the ruling regime.

Regime Friday prayer imams, who are considered the mouthpieces of the mullahs, repeat the Supreme Leader’s rhetoric to people across the country in their sermons each week. Through these sermons, it is possible to see the regime’s current fears and insecurities.

Last week, Lotfollah Dejkam, the Friday prayer imam in Shiraz, Fars Province, complained about Internet access in a confusing and contradictory sermon.

The Internet Must Be Censored

 

Dejkam first argued that the Internet must be censored in order to prevent people from freely exchanging information, saying, “On the Internet, there is conduct that must be observed carefully. It is not right to allow people to say and do whatever they want on the Internet.

The imam went on to echo the regime’s position that the FATA (the regime’s Internet police) and other repressive authorities should step up their efforts to prevent the free flow of information.

“It is an area in which both FATA units and the judiciary can get involved in. There should undoubtedly be some kind of control by the authorities,” Dejkam said.

The Internet Must Be Free

In the same sermon, Dejkam complained that Google and Instagram had removed or blocked accounts belonging to regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) leaders, arguing that regime leaders should be free to speak online without fear of censorship.

“They were talking so much about the internet being free! It is free! People can say whatever they want. But they block even one sentence from us, against the leader [Khamenei, whose Instagram account was briefly suspended] and others [IRGC commanders whose Instagram accounts were blocked]. Let them be heard. Those who close down these accounts are cowards,” Dejkam said indignantly.

He went on to threaten the international social media giants, saying, “they cannot achieve anything through silencing us.”

Dejkam and the regime’s leadership would do well to take heed of these words. The Iranian people will not be silenced. The regime’s attempts to censor online communication have failed and will continue to fail. The MEK has provided an alternative to state-run propaganda and has given Iranians a place to share their outrage about the regime’s corruption and to organize for regime change.

Regime Reacts to Implications of IRGC Terrorist Listing with Growing Alarm and Confusion

Meanwhile, social media platforms such as Facebook are removing the accounts of IRGC leaders in the wake of the designation of the Revolutionary Guards as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Facebook, which owns Instagram, has one billion members and is one of the largest corporations in the world. The regime’s threats to both its own people and to social media platforms are hollow and desperate.

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Regime Leaders Powerless as Iranian People Turn to MEK and Social Media for News

Regime officials have recently expressed increasing concern about the MEK’s use of the Internet and social media to report accurate news of events within Iran and to expose the regime’s corruption and incompetence.

Reporting during the Floods

These fears have intensified in the wake of the destructive floods that caused severe damage across the country. Recently, the head of the FATA (the regime’s police division that handles Internet censorship) in Isfahan complained about the MEK’s reporting during the floods. He was most upset that the MEK had exposed the regime’s role in worsening the severity of the floods and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp’s (IRGC) incompetent response to the disaster.

He said, “Most of the news on the recent floods were published by the PMOI/MEK on the internet. The cyber war is the front line of today’s wars… Most of the news about the recent floods were published on social media by this group…”

Public confidence in state-run media has plummeted since the rise of social media has made it possible for Iranians to access information other than regime propaganda. During the floods last month, official regime reports downplayed the severity of the disaster even as people in 25 out of 31 provinces saw significant damage from the floods. Officials gave false numbers of casualties and damages and made claims of recovery efforts that had not taken place. People turned to social media for truthful reporting of the floods. The regime’s judiciary responded to the public’s loss of confidence by threatening those who published information about the floods. A number of Internet activists were subsequently arrested.

An “Overt and Covert Role”

The regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security is taking measures to address the MEK’s growing influence in shaping the flow of information going in and out of Iran. The MOIS announced that it held an event in Mashhad to evaluate the “overt and covert role” of the MEK in social media platforms.

“Gathering Information”

 

Regime leaders, who for years claimed that the MEK had little influence within Iran, are now openly expressing their fears about the MEK’s ability to expose the regime’s corrupt and illegal acts through their powerful connections within the country and their growing online presence.

Regime Expresses Fear that MEK Will Overthrow Regime through Online Activism

Former IRGC member and current regime faction head Kan’ani Moghadam expressed his concerns about the MEK’s ability to uncover regime plots.

“They have infiltrated our apparatus inside the country, becoming very capable in gathering information,” he said. “The PMOI/MEK is monitoring all of our activities.”

“Spreading Disappointing News”

On Sunday, a member of Majlis (the regime’s parliament) voiced his concern that the MEK is effectively countering state propaganda and changing public opinion about the regime. The regime relies on propaganda to prevent widespread rebellion, so this is troubling news for those in power.

“Around 15 percent of the [Iranian regime dissidents] and the PMOI/MEK inside the country are active on social media,” he said. “They are spreading disappointing news about the Revolution and the state to influence public opinion.”

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Workers arrested ahead of May Day

Regime Arrests 12 Union Members Ahead of May Day

Workers arrested ahead of May Day

Photo Credit to Iran Human Rights Monitor: Union activists arrested ahead of the International Worker’s day for planning to organize an event on May day.

On Friday, April 26, the Iranian regime carried out the arrests of twelve members of the Free Workers Trade Union of Iran. The arrests were carried out just days ahead of the international Labor Day on May 1.

The twelve members of the Free Workers Trade Union of Iran had gathered in Jahan Nama park. They were making arrangements for the May Day celebrations in Tehran. Suddenly, the regime’s security forces descended on the park. They took the twelve into regime custody and quickly transported them to an undisclosed location.

Arbitrary Arrests

Many of the twelve were released later that day. However, four remained in regime custody and were promptly moved to Raja’I Shahr Prison of Karaj. Their names are Ms. Parvin Mohammadi, Haleh Safarzadeh, Valeh Zamani and Alireza Saqafi.

The twelve faced arrest due to their violation of Iranian labor law. The law in Iran does not allow workers to create labor unions that operate independently of government-sanctioned groups, including the Islamic Labor Council.

The Iranian authorities, including the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), have often harassed Iranian workers demonstrating unpaid wages and poor working conditions.

When steelworkers in Ahvaz went on strike late last year, the regime arbitrarily arrested demonstrating workers and subjected them to torture. The Iranian regime has a long history of arresting, torturing, convicting and sentencing active trade union members in Tehran and across Iran.

Since the nationwide protests that engulfed Iranian towns and cities in late 2017 and 2018, the brave Iranian public has risen up and protested the regime’s violence and human rights abuses every month. The regime has responded by mobilizing its repressive organs. In 2018 alone, the regime’s forces arrested more than 1,865.

2019 Will See More Protests and More Arrests

The situation shows no sign of change. The population is more determined now to overthrow the yoke of the repressive Iranian regime.

As the economic crisis deepens, over 80% of Iranians now live below the poverty line. This most recent incident involving the arrest of the twelve members of the Free Workers Trade Union of Iran demonstrates that the regime is increasing its repressive response ahead of Labor Day.

The regime is in crisis. The mullahs know that they are operating on borrowed time and it is only a matter of time before the Iranian public rises up and restores democracy to Iran. The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), the largest and most supported Iranian opposition group, and its resistance units are working tirelessly to oppose the regime’s arbitrary arrests, torture, and human rights abuses. They will ensure the regime is held to account and give the Iranian people a voice.

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FCDI statement

French Committee for a Democratic Iran Calls for IRGC and MOIS Terror Listing

FCDI statement

French Committee for a Democratic Iran (FCDI) recently issued a statement calling for IRGC and MOIS blacklisting in Europe.

The French Committee for a Democratic Iran (FCDI) has urged the European Union (EU) to join the United States government in designating the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization. They also urged the EU to go one step further and include the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) on their terror blacklist.

The Regime’s Pillars of Repression

The Iranian regime uses the IRGC as a repressive organ. Its agents stifle public dissent. Following the nationwide uprisings in 2018, in which protests spread rapidly across Iran’s 31 provinces, the IRGC was instrumental in crushing dissent. It arrested thousands of protestors, more than 14 of which died in IRGC custody after being subjected to torture.

By including the IRGC on the EU’s terror blacklist, it would severely limit the organization’s ability to raise funds. The IRGC controls more than 90% of the Iranian economy. Its inclusion on a terror blacklist would essentially put any international company or government trading with its shell companies in violation of terror financing laws.

The FCDI also wants to see the MOIS added to the EU’s list of terror organizations. There is strong ground for it to do so. The MOIS has been responsible for the Iranian regime’s surge of state-sponsored terror attacks in 2018.

The MOIS planned terror attacks in the US, France, and Albania. On one occasion, an MOIS agent posing as a diplomat at the regime’s embassy in Vienna provided a Belgian-Iranian couple with homemade explosives and instructed them to detonate a bomb at the annual Grand Gathering of the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) in Paris.

The plot was thwarted by Belgian officials; however, the regime put more than 100,000 lives at risk, including that of President Trump’s personal lawyer and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who was in attendance.

The Regime Poses a Threat to the Region and Beyond

In a statement, the FCDI reiterated the threat the IRGC poses to the Middle East region and beyond. It reminded the EU that the IRGC proxies are active in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, destabilizing peace and contributing to the deaths of civilians and international forces.

“Tehran also sacrifices the Iranian people’s legitimate needs for the sake of providing the heavy expenses of expanding its nuclear apparatus and fueling its destructive foreign adventurism,” it added. “This regime is oppressing the Iranian people’s most basic necessities and is deaf to the younger generation’s freedom-loving demands.”

However, the FCDI added that the Iranian people have a beacon of hope. The MEK is active across the country. Its resistance units work tirelessly to oppose the regime’s violence and brutality and bring democracy to Tehran.

The FCDI concluded by calling on all democratic nations to offer their support to the alternative to the Iranian dictatorship, the NCRI, and its President-elect Maryam Rajavi.

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Struan Stevenson speaking at the Geneva conference on the situation of human rights in Iran

Former MEP Urges the US to Increase Pressure on the Iranian Regime

Struan Stevenson speaking at the Geneva conference on the situation of human rights in Iran

Archive photo: Struan Stevenson, former MEP, and coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change (CiC), speaking at the Geneva Conference on the situation of human rights in Iran-March 7, 2019

The former member of the European Parliament Struan Stevenson published an op-ed for UPI on Thursday, April 25. He used the opportunity to urge the US government to maintain its application of financial pressure on the Iranian regime and end its reign of violence and tyranny.

Stevenson called President Trump’s decision to end waivers for Turkey, Iraq, India, Japan, and China that permitted them to continue purchasing Iranian oil “the final nail” in “the mullahs’ coffin.” For Stevenson, this was a necessary move to slash Iranian oil exports closer to “zero” goal.

He also welcomed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement of the US’s inclusion of the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) on the US terror blacklist. Stevenson predicted that the move would drastically restrict the funds available to the Iranian regime.

“The IRGC controls almost 90 percent of the Iranian economy, so it will be virtually impossible for anyone to trade with Iran without breaching US sanctions or facing severe penalties for dealing with a listed terrorist organization,” he writes.

The Next Step

Stevenson outlines the next step for President Donald Trump. This would be the addition of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) on the same foreign terrorist organization (FTO) blacklist.

“In June last year, a trained MOIS agent posing as an Iranian diplomat from its embassy in Vienna was arrested by German police and charged with handling a bomb to two other MOIS agents, instructing them to detonate it at a peaceful opposition rally in Paris,” he wrote.

The trained MOIS agent was Assadollah Assadi. He was working out of the Iranian regime’s embassy in Vienna.

Then, in December, the Albanian prime minister announced the expulsion of the Iranian ambassador and his first secretary. Edi Rama told his Albanian people that the pair posed a risk to the country’s national security. “Once again, these so-called diplomats were revealed as trained MOIS agents who had been plotting bomb attacks and assassinations of opponents of the regime in Albania,” Stevenson writes.

Freeing the Iranian People from the Shackles of the Regime

The Iranian public welcomed the IRGC listing with earnest. They are organizing protests against the mullahs and their bloody regime on a daily basis. This week, teachers and construction workers marched in Iran’s streets, next week it could be truck drivers, students, pensioners, farmers, investors, or any other segment of Iran’s repressed population.

“Iranians are sick to death of the repression and brutality they have been forced to suffer for four decades under the medieval fascist dictatorship,” Stevenson claims. At the heart of their grievances is the regime’s decision to spend Iranian funds on proxy wars and militia groups in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon. At protests, chants of “forget Syria, forget Hezbollah, what about us?” ring out.

The mullahs use the IRGC as a tool of repression. They send the IRGC to crush protests and arrest dissidents. Following the nationwide uprisings orchestrated by the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) in early 2018, the regime arrested thousands of protestors. At least 14 died in regime custody under conditions of torture.

The most recent protests have focused on the regime’s inaction in the wake of recent flooding. Protestors denounced the regime’s inaction after flooding left at least 250 dead and many more without access to food and water. Instead of making the IRGC’s resources available to the rescue effort, including boats, helicopters, and shelter, the regime deployed mercenaries to keep civil order and prevent protests. Meanwhile, the Iranian people suffered.

“Some 80 million Iranians have lost their fear,” Stevenson writes, “They long for the freedom, justice, human rights, women’s rights, an end to the death penalty, an end to the nuclear threat and the restoration of a secular democracy that is being offered by the main and best-organized resistance movement, the Mojahedin e-Khalq (MEK).”

Resistance units across Iran are capturing the national sentiment, organizing protests, opposing regime violence and human rights abuses, and proudly displaying posters of the Iranian opposition’s President-elect Maryam Rajavi.

Stevenson concludes, “The Iranian population now recognizes that they have support in the West. They know that the U.S. administration will continue to turn the screw until this evil regime is replaced and peace and stability in the Middle East and worldwide can be restored.”

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Teacher's protest in Iran

MEK, Iran: Teachers and Construction Workers Protest Unpaid Salaries and Widespread Unemployment

Teacher's protest in Iran

Teacher’s and retired teachers protest in front of the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Education asking for their unpaid wages to be paid.

On Wednesday, April 24, teachers in Tehran turned out to protest their unpaid salaries and appalling living and working conditions. In a protest outside the Iranian Education Ministry’s buildings in Tehran, protestors chanted, “we want our reward and it’s our legal right”.

Simultaneously, in Baneh, in western Iran, construction workers took to the streets to protest rising insurance premiums and rampant unemployment.

An Economic Tragedy

Protests like these have been widespread in recent months. The endemic corruption and the Iranian regime’s mismanagement of the economy have created an economic crisis.

Inflation at the end of 2018 was up by 34.9% on the previous year’s levels. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expected inflation to increase to 40% in 2019. There have been reports of families selling organs to keep food on the table and make ends meet.

Unemployment has also been rising and is expected to increase by a further 13 or 14% in 2019.

In the face of this economic hardship, the regime has done nothing to ease Iranians’ financial burdens. Instead of introducing policies to ease the hardship, it has plundered Iranian assets. Corruption and high import tariffs and tolls are further squeezing Iranian finances and increasing poverty.

Regime Manipulation

To avoid paying public workers a higher salary, the Iranian regime has manipulated poverty figures. The poverty line, under which Iranians were considered to be living in poverty, still sits at 3 million Tomans, despite rampant inflation.

The regime, in an attempt to keep wages low and manipulate poverty figures, has not changed the official poverty line. The equivalent poverty line in today’s terms, after accounting for inflation, would be applied to salaries of less than 6 million Tomans. The regime is unwilling to amend its definition as it would have to increase public sector pay.

“Before this, I received 2.7 million Tomans since I had two children but in the new contract, my salary was reduced to 1.5 million Tomans,” a worker from Nishapur said.

A Rising Protest Movement

While the regime buries its head in the sand and the economic crisis worsens, the opposition movement is growing stronger. Protests organized by the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) have swept across the country and spread to all sectors of Iranian society.

This week, it was teachers and construction workers. Next week it could be pensioners, students, factory workers, farmers, truck drivers and taxi drivers taking to the street. Nobody is exempt from the grip of poverty.

In the final weeks of 2018, there were protests almost every day from workers demanding unpaid salaries and protesting appalling working and living conditions.

The status quo cannot continue. The Iranian people must make their voices heard and say enough is enough.

Staff writer

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