It will soon be the one-year anniversary of the most significant uprising in Iran since the 1980s. On 15 November 2019 many thousands of Iranian citizens gathered across roughly 200 cities and towns, following the announcement that the regime was to dramatically raise gasoline prices. The nationwide uprising was initiated over the people’s economic concerns, however, the protests also focused on general anti-regime messages. They also demonstrated significant support for Iran’s democratic resistance movement, The National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI), and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran).
The #Iranian regime is extremely concerned about the possibility of another nationwide uprising. The people of Iran are so angry with the country’s leadership for a whole host of reasons. https://t.co/YnwMh66hsR#Iran #MEK #COVID19 @USAdarFarsi pic.twitter.com/480xs8ORYc
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) May 18, 2020
Less than two years before, another uprising had taken place in Iran in 2018. Iranian people from approximately 150 localities joined in protest against the regime, including residents of poor rural towns, who are often portrayed by the regime as being great supporters of their theocratic rule.
The (PMOI / MEK Iran) also played an important role in the 2018 uprising. The regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei admitted that the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran) had “planned for months” to aid in the organization of the uprising.
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) May 21, 2020
The level of support that the (PMOI / MEK Iran) received from the Iranian people shows that the regime is wrong in insisting the (PMOI / MEK Iran) has no validity as a resistance movement. In fact, the regime spreads this message out of fear of the challenge the (PMOI / MEK Iran) poses to their power.
During the 2019 protests, activists affirmed their support for the resistance movement and their desire for regime change. They chanted and created banners with such slogans as: “Death to the dictator,” “Clerics must get lost,” and “The supreme leader lives like a God. We, the people live like beggars.”
The youth of Iran are ready for change and are increasingly gravitating toward the one movement that has consistently remained true to the goal of freedom and democracy in #Iran. #MEK #IranProtests https://t.co/raVCJMRKdz
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) September 13, 2020
The regime met the uprising with violence and suppressive force. The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and other agents of the regime opened fire on protestors, shooting them from rooftops, helicopters, and at close-range with machine guns. At least 1,500 citizens were killed during the uprisings, but the number could be much higher, as the government attempted to hide the casualties by taking their bodies and threatening the victims’ families to remain silent.
This is what’s been happening in Iran during the near-total internet shutdown. Security forces have shot and killed at least 106 people with complete impunity in nationwide protests. This is what they don’t want the rest of the world to see https://t.co/tV9MNsmSR4 #IranProtests pic.twitter.com/RcVTeC5OId
— Amnesty Iran (@AmnestyIran) November 21, 2019
In an attempt to stop the Iranian people from spreading international awareness of their heinous actions, they also enforced a nationwide internet shutdown, with the blackout lasting for six days.
Digital experts say nothing to date equals Iran’s internet shutdown in logistical complexity. Seems that #Iranian authorities don’t want us to see how they are shooting unarmed protesters from rooftops of government buildings like this one. pic.twitter.com/ADWKkDrLuz
— Amnesty International (@amnesty) November 22, 2019
On top of the senseless killing of many peaceful protestors, thousands of innocent civilians have since been imprisoned for participating in the uprising. Their treatment while in jail has been a clear violation of human rights and even led to execution in some cases. This included the execution of Navid Afkari, an Iranian wrestling champion, who took part in the 2018 uprisings. There was an international outcry against his death sentence, including from the US President Donald Trump, however, the regime was determined to make an example out of him and would not halt the execution.
The execution of #NavidAfkari will only fuel the flames of the Iranian people’s fury and will send the mullahs’ rule to the dustbin of history.
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) September 12, 2020
The 2019 uprisings demonstrated that the Iranian people will not tolerate the suppression and suffering that they face from the clerical regime. The protests further show that support for the (PMOI / MEK Iran) and National Council of Resistance of Iran is growing rapidly. The regime’s extreme measures against Iranian citizens during the protests were acts of fear that their power is diminishing and the resistance movement is growing stronger. The international community must also support the people of Iran in their struggle for democratic freedom and human rights.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi is the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI): The execution of NavidAfkari will only fuel the flames of the Iranian people’s fury and will send the mullahs’ rule to the dustbin of history.