The most significant anti-regime protest since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 took place in November of last year. The protests took place after the regime increased petrol prices by three times the rate at the time. This was the last straw for Iranians so they took to the streets to protest.
Iranian regime Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, wasn’t going to tolerate this action so it instructed the regime’s forces to quell the protest. This led to the gunning down of 1,500 civilians in less than a week, according to statistics sourced by the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran). Reuters confirmed in a special report on December 23, 2019, about the deadly crackdown on November nationwide protests in Iran the death toll of 1500 that was announced by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran) on December 15, 2019.
This was a protest that involved both women and young people. The Iranian regime and the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) showed no sympathy at all for the hardship caused by the price hikes.
Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK Iran/PMOI) said yesterday that there have been at least 1500 killed in #IranProtests in #Iran which began on 15 November 2019. #MEK Iran also released the names of 504 slain protesters.https://t.co/m9jsCDZTWC@USAdarFarsi #StopIranBloodshed pic.twitter.com/GwEFjWgYB6
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) December 16, 2019
Significant women’s presence in the uprising
Going back to the 1979 revolution women had the most to lose and now they are standing up and playing leading roles in today’s protests. The Fars news agency, an outlet connected to the IRGC, noted that there were many women spanning the 30 to 35-year-olds who were seen to take leadership roles in the protests. They played leading roles in attacking the female Basij bases and motivating the youth.
Regime officials and the IRGC readily admitted that the protests were organized. Mohammad Taghi Shahcheraghi, the IRGC commander in the city of Qom, central Iran, was prepared to say the following about the (PMOI / MEK Iran). “The role of the (PMOI / MEK Iran) in recent events in the country was very bold in the way that they caused widespread destruction through their management and influence in some cities.” Seyed Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, the former spokesperson of the Majlis Security Commission, said exactly the same.
Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook: “The @Reuters report on the massacre ordered by @khamenei_ir underscores the urgency for the international community to punish the perpetrators and isolate the regime for the murder of 1,500 Iranian citizens.” https://t.co/TpUncLjDcv
— Department of State (@StateDept) December 23, 2019
Widespread November 2019 protests
The protests in November 2019 were widespread and included more than 190 cities. The first day saw 28 provinces with 100 cities and towns taking part in the nationwide protests. The IRGC political deputy Yadollah Javan said he hadn’t seen this number of people protesting since 1979. An IRGC Basij commander, Salar Abnoush, said that the November 2019 protests were like a world war.
Crackdowns because the regime was afraid of defeat
The regime was so afraid of losing its grip on Iran it decided to crack down on the protests, which led to the deaths of women, young people, and students. This has led to the regime being hated more and more so that this uprising was not just a one-off event but the start of more.
The next major protest took place in Tehran in January after Iranian authorities had admitted to shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane on January 8th. The slogans that could be heard in the crowd included: “1500 people of us were killed in November,” and “Down with Khamenei!”
Other slogans which were heard included:
- “Down with dictators, be it the Shah or the Supreme Leader,”
- “No to the mullah and no to the Shah,”
- “No to the crown and no to the turban (referring to the mullahs).”
These slogans were expressions of the feelings of the Iranian people who were now seeking freedom and democracy after 41 years of torture, brutal repression, and execution. They are now indicating that they no longer want the mullahs or the return of a Shah.
In fact, the Supreme Leader’s time is now almost up, as he is no longer able to solve the political, social, and economic crises that are affecting the country. The Iranian people are close to overthrowing the regime.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei spoke to the young men about the PMOI #MEK #Iran and his concerns about the opposition group. He warned that the regime needs to be “careful about the enemy recruiting members of our young society”.https://t.co/Ez238fMSxZ#Iranian @USAdarFarsi pic.twitter.com/gUpnkHwzAZ
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) May 20, 2020