About ten days after the cyber-attack against Iran’s fuel station system, Iranian leaders are still happy that this event has been not become an event similar to the November 2019 protests after the government decided to increase the gasoline price.
That is because society is in such a situation that any pressure on their living conditions could spark new protests, and this is a reality that the regime knows all too well.
Fearing such a situation, one of the regime’s social experts advised the regime’s new president Ebrahim Raisi in the state-run daily Donya-e-Eghtesad on November 6, 2021, to learn from the bitter lessons of the November 2019 protest and try to choose “the best way to overcome the social-economic challenges” which should not be based on their “personal tastes”.
He advised Raisi that he should not be inattentive to the reality of society, especially about the views of the regime’s experts about the explosive situation of society. Because this carelessness would be “the fastest recipe for a repetition of November 2019.”
This daily warned the government that “state populism” “played a key role in the people’s frustration”, such that the people are not playing any role in the future of their country and even of their own.
From the view of the author of this article, the people’s failure to achieve their demands was the base of the recent nationwide protests, and it has created a wide gap between the people and the government so that any “state populism” will be not able to close this gap.
This situation is so critical the Gholamreza Jalali, head of the regime’s Passive Defense Organization, said that the sabotage of the country’s gas stations “should become a current of protest and riot.” He warned: “If we fall short and are not careful, it can have serious consequences.” (ISNA, November 5, 2021)
Hossein Ashtari, head of Iran’s state security forces, while expressed his happiness that the “accident disrupting the fuel card system” did not create another protest, said the “the enemy sought to repeat the events of November 2019. With the vigilance and technical support of the FATA police and with the timely presence of the officers and their deployment at the gas stations, this enemy’s conspiracy was prevented and intelligently managed.” (State-run news agency Tasnim, November 3, 2021)
This reveals that the main duty of the regime’s forces after the protests of 2009 and especially after 2019 has become repression and preventing any further protests.
That explains why the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei has appointed Ebrahim Raisi as the regime’s president, despite his notorious role in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners and given the position of the governors to many Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) officers to prevent any protests.
However, the truth is that this will not secure the regime anymore, and any small or big incident can become the base of nationwide protests, analysts say.
This is something that the regime’s officials are aware of and are warning about:
“Can’t we see that these (Mojahedin-e Khalq MEK/PMOI) are inciting young people to rebel? Is anyone ambiguous that the spread of destructive activities (of the Mojahedin) and recruitment of young people has become possible in the context of the economic crisis? If the social fault moves, even thinking about the aftermath of the earthquake is terrifying.” (State-run daily Mostaghel, November 6, 2021)