By Armin Baldwin
It has been a year since the mass protests erupted in Iran, shaking the regime to its core and showing the world that the situation in the country is critical.
The country’s leadership is probably very relieved that it is still standing after the events of the past 12 months. Its relief is palpable as Iranian officials are speaking out in celebration but they have been warned by the Supreme Leader that they should be a little more cautious.
Since this time last year, there have been protests all over the country every day. The people have been relentless and all sectors of society have voiced their discontent.
The regime leaders and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei did not expect the protests to continue for such a long time – they were convinced that the protests and anti-government demonstrations were going to fizzle out.
The protests evolved over the course of the year too. People started off protesting about the economic situation, calling on the regime to act and react to the crisis. They then moved on to political issues and the protests spread the whole way across the country.
Predictably, the regime cracked down on the already heavily suppressed and oppressed people. However, this has not dissuaded the people from taking to the streets. In fact, it has just made their resolve stronger and their calls for regime change louder.
The main opposition to the Iranian regime, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has been supporting the people in their quest for freedom for decades. It has estimated that around 8,000 protesters were arrested and that more than 50 were killed by security agents.
There were a number of deaths that occurred in police custody and the regime has dismissed the deaths as suicide. However, families have painted a very different picture and it is apparent that the security forces were responsible for these killings.
Many have described the latest protests as the new Arab Spring. The people know that the regime is entirely unable to remedy the situation despite its claims otherwise.
In the past few days, several prominent members of the country’s leadership have admitted that the future is uncertain and acknowledged that the status quo may change very soon. The Supreme Leader warned that the enemy has plans for this year.
The people of Iran know that the future lays in their hands. If they bow down to the regime’s suppression and if they lose momentum they will be playing into the regime’s hands. Freedom, democracy and human rights can never be enjoyed as it stands. The regime is incapable of reform despite what many foreign leaders have claimed.
Truckers have been prominent on the protesting front and they are currently continuing the movement. Towards the end of last year, there were hundreds of truck drivers that were arrested for participating in strikes, for encouraging others to join in and for blocking roads.
It is the time for change and the people are the driving force behind it all. The regime will not last for much longer.