On Tuesday, February 16, citizens in Iran staged at least four rallies and protests in two provinces, seeking their inherent rights. In Fars province, residents of the Cheshmeh Ghorogh area protested the regime’s attack on their homes and destroying them. Also, teachers rallied in front of Shiraz’s Education Department, venting their anger over the department’s refusal to pay their wage for holding additional classes.

In Tehran, families of Sina hospital’s victims rallied in front of the Health Ministry, protesting the judiciary for failing to bring those responsible for the explosion to justice.

Furthermore, customers of Azvico automaking company rallied in front of the Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Trade, protesting the regime’s ignorance of the company’s fraud. The company had registered 5,000 appeals for 5,000 MG360 and received the total prices. However, it has yet to deliver the pre-purchased cars, and the fate of people’s money is unclear.

Rally of Locals—Iranians continue protests on February 16
Rally of Locals—Iranians continue protests on February 16

Rally of Locals

Fars province—residents of the Cheshmeh Ghorogh area in  Ziba district, a suburb of Shiraz city, held a rally in front of Shiraz Governorate. They protested officials’ oppressive actions, including the destruction of people’s homes.

“These are residents of Chashmeh Ghorogh of Ziba district in 30km of Shiraz. Security forces raided people’s homes at 4:00 am and destroyed homes while people were residing there. The homes were not established on farms, illegal lands, or the river vicinity. [Officials] had previously delivered gas, power, and running water to these homes,” said a protester.

Rally of Teachers—Iranians continue protests on February 16
Rally of Teachers—Iranians continue protests on February 16

Rally of Teachers

Fars province—a group of retirees and teachers held a rally in front of the Education Department of Shiraz city. They had held surplus classes. However, the department refuses to pay their salaries.

“Today, teachers who had held additional classes from February 2020 to February 2021 have gathered here in front of the Education Department, seeking their wages. However, the department has yet to respond to teachers’ demands,” said a protester.

Rally of Sina Hospital Victims’ Families—Iranians continue protests on February 16
Rally of Sina Hospital Victims’ Families—Iranians continue protests on February 16

Rally of Sina Hospital Victims’ Families

Tehran province—families of victims of Sina hospital’s June 30, 2020 explosion held a rally in front of the Health Ministry. They protested officials for issuing light sentences for those who were responsible for the incident.

In the explosion, 19 innocent people, including physicians, nurses, healthcare workers, and patients, were killed, and more were injured. However, while Iran’s judiciary easily and hastily sentences political and human rights activists to harsh punishments, it has issued light sentences for those responsible for the incident.

Rally of Azvico Company’s Customers—Iranians continue protests on February 16
Rally of Azvico Company’s Customers—Iranians continue protests on February 16

Rally of Azvico Company’s Customers

Tehran province—creditors of Eastern Azarbaijan-based Azvico automaking company held a rally in front of the Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Trade. “Who had issued sale license for Azvico?” and “Death to [CEO Nasser] Naghdi and his ilk,” chanted protesters.

“How long would the Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Trade like to support Azvico’s fraud?” customers had written on their banners.

“I spoke with officials. Maybe the Minister is not aware of this issue. In 2019, [Deputy Minister Abbas] Tabesh urged us to give him a six-month window. However, this is an obvious fraud. I am chemically injured [from the eight-year Iran-Iraq war]. I cannot breathe. [During the Iran-Iraq war,] I fought for nine months. Now, I traveled 1,000 km to arrive here… Why does no one respond to us?” said a protester.

“Help these impoverished and needy people. One day, I sacrificed my life for this country but survived. Now, I sacrifice my life here so that others may obtain their demands,” the protester said, adding, “We must dry the root of this injustice in the same Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Trade.”

“Death to the economic criminal,” the crowd followed his remarks and announced their support and solidarity with him.

At the end of his remarks, his chemically injured health condition worsened, and he fainted. An ambulance came and transferred him to a hospital.

Notably, high-ranking commanders of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), including the IRGC coordinator Mohammad Reza Naghdi, are among the Azvico company’s shareholders.

Previously, the Azvico company was accused of receiving more than $200 million from the government’s fund and not returning it. Furthermore, the company had falsely sold MG360 automobiles to around 5,000 customers. The company has yet to deliver registered automobiles to customers despite receiving a massive amount of money.

However, the judiciary did not follow up on this flagrant fraud. According to activists, several IRGC commanders and MPs are behind the case. For instance, Naghdi’s influence led the government not to pursue the return of the $200 million. Another IRGC commander Seyed Fateh Fathi, the brother of former MP from Khoy city Seyed Taghi Fathi, is another Azvico shareholder.

Naghdi and Kabiri have close ties with Reza Rahmani, former Minister of Industry, Mine, and Trade, and deputy minister Abbas Tabesh. In the 2017 Presidential election, Kabiri funded Ebrahim Raisi’s election campaign.

Raisi is one of the closest figures to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. He is known as the death judge for his role in the extrajudicial executions of thousands of political prisoners in the summer of 1988. For years, Raisi was the chief of Astan-e Quds Razavi, the largest endowment organization in the Islamic world. Raisi was later appointed as judiciary chief by Khamenei. He ignored prosecuting Azvico’s corruption and fraud in return for Kabiri’s lavish expenses.

Iranians Continue Protests; at Least Six Rallies and Strikes on February 15