The Resolution was submitted just weeks after popular protests started after the regime announced that petrol prices would be significantly raised. However, the protests shifted very quickly from economic grievances to widespread calls for regime change.
The situation turned violent very quickly, with the regime’s security forces firing at protesters. There have been more than a thousand deaths already, more than 4,000 injured and more than 12,000 protesters have been arrested.
The Resolution provides a background to the current uprising, stating that the protests are the “most significant” since those of 2009.
The Resolution also raises the issue of the near-total internet shutdown that the regime implemented. This has meant that the people of Iran have been unable to freely communicate and unable to access news. One of the regime’s main reasons for this internet shutdown has been to stop the spread of information as the images and videos of the regime’s violence could be very damaging, especially at a time when the regime is under pressure from parts of the international community.
— IranNewsUpdate (@IranNewsUpdate1) November 18, 2019
The Iranian regime has cracked down hard on the protesters, with senior officials not hiding the strategy of force that was decided early on. The country’s interior minister – Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli – said on Saturday 16th November, the day after the protests started, that the regime would not be tolerating public gatherings, nor would it be showing “self-control” towards the protesters.
The following day, the country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, described the protesters as “villains” and said that domestic insurgents and foreign enemies were working behind the scenes. He called on the security forces in the country to carry out their duties to end the protests.
One day later, on 18th November, the notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were sent to Mahshahr city. Their response to the protesters there resulted in around a hundred deaths.
The people of Iran have been calling for regime change because they want human rights, freedom, and democracy. They want to stop being repressed by the regime and they want equality. Foreign governments have told the people of Iran to be patient because there were signs that the government would become more moderate. This was the case when current President Hassan Rouhani took office, but all these years later it is very clear that there is no hint of moderation.
Resolutions like the one presented to US Congress by Representative Theodore E. Deutch are positive steps in the right direction. The regime has been carrying out crimes against humanity and it seems inconceivable that the international community, especially countries in the West, can turn a blind eye to the situation.