For more than two years before the first domestic cases of Covid-19 were registered, now the death count has reached a figure that exceeds 235.100, according to official sources. In addition to this, the country had been the ground of more or less continuous unrest led by activist groups that openly advocate for the overthrow of the Mullahs.
The first of such protests started in December 2017 and went on to extend over 100 towns and cities throughout most of the following month.
In a speech in January 2018, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei acknowledged that the leading pro-democracy opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran) had “planned for months” to support the uprising.
Brutal repressive measures were taken, dozens of protesters were killed and thousands of activists known and suspected were ruthlessly arrested.
These protests helped keep the slogans in mainstream circulation from the previous uprising. In November 2019, it was announced that the petrol rate increased, and as result, this became the subject of revived moral outrage among individuals who have already experienced deep and widespread poverty.
The announcement of the petrol price rise was a clear sign of the regime’s disregard for its citizens and their essential needs and so citizens of nearly 200 cities and towns took the streets once again to demand the existing government to be removed in its entirety.
Official records and reports of eyewitnesses were recorded in the protest headlines by the National Resistance Council of Iran (NCRI) and determined that over 1,500 peaceful activists were killed in mass firefights across the nation.
The same results showed that at the time of the rebellion at least 12,000 arrests were performed, making sure that the death toll would increase as the activists were tortured, medically treated refused, and tried for vaguely-defined capital offenses.
The Iranian people seemed to have sent the message in the last of its two-year series of uprisings that no government repression can stop the escalation in their pursuit of change. The only thing that could partially cease them turned out to be a global pandemic.
This is likely to have been in mind by Supreme Leader Khamenei when he delivered a message that underpinned the severity of the coronavirus outbreak but also declared the crisis as a “blessing” for the Iranian regime.
And in view of the recent demonstrations, including the mass uprisings in the province of Sistan and Baluchistan, where the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) shot fuel carriers, the nation seems increasingly prepared for the re-emergence of the unrest of past years very soon after Nowruz.
Maryam Rajaví, President-elect of NCRI, described recent protests as evidence of an online event marked by messages of support from US senators. “the fire of the uprisings has arisen from the ashes of the Coronavirus.”
Needless to say, it left the Iranian people with even more reasons at the end of the Persian calendar year to force the theocratic dictatorship to be overthrown.