by Armin Baldwin
Protests that began on Tuesday afternoon in Iran this week, continued across the country. Shopkeepers, vendors, farmers, and truck drivers joined together to protest worsening economic conditions.
Following the plunge in value of the Rial by 120 percent in the last six months, store owners closed their shops and went on strike.
While the cost of living has risen in Iran, salaries have been cut. Water shortages and power outages have also hit the country.
Protesters show no fear of the regime’s repressive forces, despite heavy security presence. Instead, they are confronting them. The protesters chant that “the game is over” for both factions of the regime — the “reformists” and the “hardliners”.
In Shiraz, security forces targeted protesters with tear gas, as the protests took a violent turn. Local news reported that a young boy was injured amid the heavy handed crackdown.
Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) saluted the “brave people” of Karaj, Isfahan, and Shiraz following the protests this week. She called the religious dictatorship the source of all the miseries of the Iranian nation. “Now, the world is witnessing that despite the massive repression by the religious fascism, the Iranian people’s uprising is constantly on the rise,” she said. “It has cornered the absolute rule of the clergy and heralds the arrival of the spring of freedom to our captive country.”
Mrs. Rajavi also tweeted, “The Iranian people’s nationwide uprising is growing by the day. Hail to the peoples of Isfahan, Gohardasht of Karaj, and Shiraz.
“The time has come for rising up. The persistence of your uprising has beset the mullahs’ religious dictatorship.
“Today, the world can see that the voice of Iranians cannot be silenced despite massive repression, and their uprisings are carrying on until victory.
“These are the blazing flames of a resistance with over 100,000 martyrs, flaring up in the streets after forty years.”
The protests followed the rejection by senior Iranian officials and military commanders of US President Trump’s offer of talks.
Military officials called the proposals “worthless” and “a dream”. They said that Trump’s words contradict his actions of reimposing sanctions on Tehran.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said in a tweet, “US can only blame itself for pulling out and leaving the table…Threats, sanctions and PR stunts won’t work.”
Iranian President Rouhani condemned Trump’s repudiation of the Iran nuclear deal as “illegal”. He added Iran would not easily yield to Washington’s renewed campaign to strangle Iran’s vital oil exports.
President Trump pulled the United States out of the multilateral deal last May, declaring the agreement as one-sided in Iran’s favor. However, on Monday, he said he would be willing to meet Rouhani without preconditions to discuss how to improve relations.
According to Shahin Gobadi of the Foreign affairs Committee of the NCRI, the continuation and frequency of protests have one clear message. “The Iranian people are determined to bring about a regime change and they are not going to stop at anything short of that. The prospect for the mullahs to find a way out is becoming dimmer by the day.
“This is why the regime’s senior officials keep warning about the bleak prospects that loom on the horizon for the regime and the growing role of the resistance.
“As such, the regime’s official in charge of dealing with ‘soft warfare’ stated on August 1, that 90 percent of the strikes and calls for protests are the result of activities of the ‘counter-revolutionaries,’ ie: the Iranian resistance.”
Mr. Gobadi added, “It is time for the European countries to see the fast-moving realities in Iran and forgo any deals with the Iranian regime.
“Rather they should hold the clerical regime accountable for all its malign activities and side with the Iranian people and their aspirations.
“We would welcome any serious and tangible retreat by the mullahs because that would ultimately serve the interests of the Iranian people and the resistance units to bring down the regime and to establish democracy.
“But as the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, has said time and again the regime is incapable of any major change of policies and change of direction.
“He said explicitly on May 10, 2017, that so far as the regime is concerned a change of conduct and behavior is tantamount to a change of the regime in its entirety.”