For almost two weeks, the protests in Iran are continuing and the Iranian regime is facing a very real threat. The current protests and anti-government demonstrations are being compared to the ones that shook the country in 2009, but many say there is no comparison. This time the protests are even more widespread and many more people are participating.
The biggest threat to the Iranian regime is the opposition – the opposition by the people to the Iranian regime, but also the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the main member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a coalition of opposition groups.
The Iranian regime refuses to believe that the people are capable and have the will to take to the streets on such a large scale. State-media is saying that the driving force is the PMOI/MEK. On 29th December, an imam at Friday prayers in Mashhad said that the United States and the PMOI/MEK had organised the public unrest. Two days later, numerous news outlets including Fars News Agency which has links to the IRGC, Dolat-e-Bahar website which has links to the former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Daneshju News Agency, Tasnim News Agency which has links to the IRGC’s Quds Force, and Resalat daily which has links to the Supreme Leader’s faction, all blamed the PMOI/MEK for the widespread discontent in the country.
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, said in an interview with the al-Mayadeen TV network that the PMOI/MEK is behind the “Saudi scenario” and that the regime will retaliate. Dolat-e-Bahar website said that the orders for the uprising were given by the “evil triangle”- Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom. He said that the plan was implemented by the PMOI/MEK and paid for by Saudi Arabia.
On 1st January, Fox News found out that the Supreme Leader, political leaders and the head of Iran’s security forces had gathered to discuss how to deal with the protesters.
The Iranian regime is trying its best to contain the protests. It knows that the whole world is watching, so it is not taking the same brutal approach that it took in 2009. Nevertheless, there have been reports of dozens of deaths and it has been estimated that more than 1,000 people have been arrested.
The brave people of Iran are continuing their protests because they know that the situation has reached a point of no return. No amount of reform in the government is going to change the very nature of it – corrupt. The young people have no job prospects and their futures are bleak.
The international community is starting to realise this is the case too. President Donald Trump has posted a series of messages on Twitter with regards to his support for the people of Iran and he mentioned the corruption in the regime.
The US Mission to the UN also tweeted a quote by Nikki Haley: “Human rights are not the gift of governments. They are the inalienable right of the people themselves… The Iranian regime is now on notice. The world will be watching what you do.”