Two years after November 2019, Iran’s society has yet to forget the bloody crackdown on hundreds of thousands of protesters in around 200 cities across the country. At the time, Iranian citizens flooded onto the streets protesting gas price hikes by the government.
In response, authorities used extreme lethal force, killing at least 1,500 demonstrators, injuring 8,000 citizens, and arbitrarily arrested more than 12,000 protesters and bystanders. However, these days and amid the Presidential campaigns, Judiciary Chief and the Supreme Leader’s favorite candidate Ebrahim Raisi and outgoing President Hassan Rouhani blame each other for increasing the fuel prices.
Raisi: Rouhani Is Responsible for Increasing Gas Prices
In a televised debate, Raisi spoke about the gas price hikes in mid-November 2019, laying the blame on the Rouhani administration. “The part that [the administration] just mentioned where the gasoline income must be spent on in the meeting of three power branches’ heads. To know who the culprit was, there are the Supreme National Security Council’s report and high-ranking officials,” Raisi said on June 12.
Furthermore, he claimed that the administration had already prepared the plan, and he had been informed about the details only three-four days before its implementation. Raisi also accused Rouhani’s administration of inattention toward his warnings.
He directly introduced Rouhani as the events’ culprit who applied a shock to the society with the inappropriate implementation of the plan. Raisi also claimed that he had objected to the time of implementation, and he believed that the administration should have informed and insinuated citizens in advance of the price hike.
Rouhani’s Response to Raisi
Following the debate, Rouhani vehemently responded to Raisi’s remarks. In this respect, the administration issued an official statement, announcing that the decision for increasing gas prices was to make by the heads of all three power branches.
“Following the multiple raising of the government’s decision for reforming the price of energy carriers in November 2019 in election debates and unfair accusation against the administration, we inform the noble nation of Iran that:
“As it had already been announced time and again, the issue of reforming the gasoline price was discussed in multiple meetings of the heads of power branches since it was a major national and governmental decision. After comprehensive talks about its all dimensions and effects, a consensus was obtained, and the heads of three branches of powers signed the plan and sent it to the Supreme Leader,” Rouhani’s administration declared on June 13.
The Entire Islamic Republic Was Responsible
As the power struggle intensifies, Iranian authorities try to evade responsibility for themselves and lay the blame on their rivals. However, such political rivalries would never revive those innocent people who were killed on the tarmac or in prisons.
Today, Iranian citizens, particularly the families of the November 2019 protests’ victims, plainly declare their hatred over the entire Islamic Republic regime in Iran. Not only did they announce and call on citizens to carry out a nationwide boycott of the Presidential election, but they have stepped further, chanting, “Our vote is regime change.”
This is a significant stage in the people’s struggle for freedom, civil rights, justice, and equality, dissidents believe. On the other hand, the government can no longer use suppression, particularly amidst the Presidential campaign, against mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters, who have lost their loved ones.
Nevertheless, the mass killing of 1,500 innocent people in November 2019 was not the government’s lone crime. It is just a clue for the people to mention the theocracy’s terrible crimes since extrajudicial arrests, torture, and executions in the 1980s, especially in the summer of 1988, chain murders in the 1990s, and crackdowns on regional protests in the cities of Qazvin, Mashhad, Shiraz, Arak, Zahedan, Tabriz, and Islamshahr.
Add to that the suppression of student protests in 1999, and nationwide protests in June 2009, December 2017, August 2018, November 2019, and January 2020. Both Rouhani and Raisi played a crucial role in the abovementioned crimes leading to thousands of victims, injuries, and detainees.
“We will neither forget, nor forgive,” families of victims unitedly say in videos circulated on social media.