- Published: Tuesday, 20 February 2018
By INU Staff
INU - Cities across Iran once again experienced anti-government protests on the evening of February 1st. Clashes between young people and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) were reported in at least 14 cities, in an echo of the nationwide protests that have shaken Iran since 28 December 2017.
Despite widespread repression, mass arrests, and suspicious deaths of detainees, the uprising remains active. What was especially significant is that the demonstrations occurred during celebrations for the thirty-ninth anniversary of the 1979 revolution, a time when security forces were on full alert.
According to an article by Struan Stevenson, formerly a Conservative Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Scotland, and currently President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq and President of the Friends of Free Iran Intergroup, there are three confessions by senior officials of the Iranian regime that clearly demonstrate that the regime has entered its final stage.
Stevenson calls Fear of suffering the same fate as the Shah’s dictatorship — “The first confession.”
He explains that just before the February 1st uprising, on January 31st, President Hassan Rouhani warned that the regime might suffer the same fate as the Shah's regime, should it fail to listen to the voice of the people.
Rouhani is viewed as a ‘moderate’ in the West, but conversely, he is responsible for imposing the forced wearing of the hijab, and was a member of the Majlis who called for opponents of the regime to be hanged in public during Friday prayers to have a greater deterrent effect on the people, according to Stevenson.
Stevenson says Fear of the people’s deep anger against the regime — is the “The second confession.”
Regarding the uprising in Iran, Senior mullah Ahmad Khatami, vice chairman of the Assembly of Experts and Friday Prayer Imam of Tehran, has said, "Do not think that the (risk of) overthrow is over. No, the enemies will not give up thinking about the overthrow even for a moment. We must be alert…. You saw the rioters attack some seminaries, worse than the Shah's regime attack on ‘Faizia’ seminary.”
At the Friday prayer in Hamadan two weeks ago, Ghias al-Din Taha Mohammadi, said that during the uprising, "about 60 offices of the Friday Prayer Imams were attacked." The Friday Prayer Imams are representatives of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and are appointed by him. Many crimes, robberies, moral and financial corruptions are connected to the Friday Prayer Imams and their offices. Attesting to this, on January 17th, Mullah Dorri Najaf Abadi, Friday Prayer Imam of Arak and another member of the Board of Directors of the Assembly of Experts and former minister of intelligence, said, ”Our house was attacked and I was at home. In recent events, the age of the protesters was very low. The people who attacked our home, although they had covered their faces, were under 30 years of age and even under the age of 18.”
Lastly, Stevenson points out that Admitting the role of the main opposition, PMOI, in the uprising is — “The third confession.”
Following the initial protests in Mashhad on December 28th, theFriday Prayer Imam of that city said, “Why have you come to the streets after a call by the PMOI whose leader is a woman?” A counter-demonstration staged by the regime, where a slogan was repeated, “Supporters of the Green Movement are supporters of Rajavi.”
According to the news agency AFP, that same day, President Rouhani, asked French President Emmanuel Macron in a phone call, to take action against the PMOI. He allegedly told Macron, "We criticize the fact that a terrorist group has a base in France and acts against the Iranian people... and we await action from the French government against this terrorist group,” in reference to the exiled Iranian opposition who are based in Paris and called the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (PMOI).
The response from an Elysée Palace Spokesperson was that all political refugees are welcome in France and will be provided security by France.
Supreme Leader Khamenei, has identified the leading Iranian opposition ‘the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI or MEK)’ as a main contributing factor. "They were prepared months ago. The media of the PMOI admitted to this. They said, recently, that they were in contact with Americans some months ago, to carry out U.S. orders, to organize riots, meet with this or that person, find individuals inside the country to help them fan out to the people. And that it was they who initiated this.” The PMOI is popular inside Iran, appealing to the younger generation, women, and many ordinary Iranians.
Khamenei described it as part of a "triangle of enemies" that had planned, financed, and carried out the latest uprising, and blamed the US, Zionism and Saudi Arabia as foreign stimulators of the uprising. Further, he declared that those arrested who are linked to the PMOI would be severely punished.
Brig. Gen. Rasoul Sanai Rad, IRGC deputy commander, said on January 27th, "The leader and provocateurs of the protests in Tuyserkan are from the PMOI who have come from other cities to not be identified ... A number of women were arrested who are middle-aged; in the 1980s, those who led the street protests of the PMOI were mostly women, and now the women were the main cause of the provocation and the starter. For example, four of these women dragged Ilam into chaos... those who were from Karaj were arrested in Kermanshah, or those who were from Bandar Abbas were arrested in Shiraz; these were the PMOI who showed up in the cities in an organized manner and directed the slogans.”
These remarks are indicative of the regime’s deepening concern of the growing role of the PMOI, who believe that the only solution for Iran’s problems is regime change. And in an assertion of this belief, Stevenson writes, “These three significant confessions by senior Iranian officials, for the first time, simultaneously and in such a scale, clearly represent the final phase of this theocratic dictatorship.”