According to the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), the Iranian regime has executed at least 11 prisoners in various provinces in the past week. Following Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s remarks banning the officials from purchasing American, British, and French Covid-19 vaccines, the regime faces a new wave of hatred and distrust from the population.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei deprives the Iranian people of #CovidVaccine, posing more lives at risk.
"The import of U.S. or British vaccine into Iran is forbidden"—Khamenei
According to @Mojahedineng, #COVID19 has claimed nearly 200,000 citizens' lives, millions more are at risk. pic.twitter.com/hzI1PHNdxt
— IranNewsUpdate (@IranNewsUpdate1) January 8, 2021
In this respect, the regime has intensified oppressive measures, including the implementation of death penalties, to quell possible protests before they begin. Observers compare Khamenei’s recent decision on barring the vaccine with his decision to raise gas prices which triggered major protests in mid-November 2019.
In November 2019, just a few hours after the government announced a roughly 200-percent increase in fuel prices, hundreds of thousands of fed-up citizens took to the streets in more than 190 cities. They vented their anger at the regime’s plundering plan and demanded officials revoke it.
In response, in his November 17, 2019 lecture, Khamenei blatantly ordered oppressive forces, including the State Security Forces (SSF), the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and its subsidiaries, and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) to do whatever it takes to end the nationwide protest.
During the bloody crackdown on defenseless protesters, the regime killed at least 1,500 protesters, injured around 8,000 citizens and bystanders, and captured and tortured more than 12,000 demonstrators, according to dissidents.
However, in just two days, fed-up citizens put on display the mullahs’ weakness and their bleak fate. Since then, authorities frequently warn each other over a new round of protests, which may lead to the end of the religious dictatorship in Iran.
In this respect, Khamenei’s recent comments fueled Iranians’ anger against the entire regime, particularly when the regime’s final decisionmaker clearly announced his intention to drive more citizens to death. In such circumstances, the Supreme Leader feels society’s disappointment on the one hand, and its readiness for upheaval on the other hand.
Therefore, in advance, he issued an order for suppression to prevent any spark of the objection, opponents say. Given the regime’s weak state and the society’s volatile condition, authorities are deeply concerned by any movement and suppress any movement with violence.
They also advertise the execution of defenseless prisoners to boast their cruelty to society. However, they simultaneously send this message to the people that they are in their weakest ever condition. Evidence shows that Iranian citizens have grasped the regime’s weakness, and recent protests underline this reality.
Victor Hugo said, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” It seems the religious dictatorship ruling Iran has yet to grasp the meaning of it.