In Iran, the national currency is devaluated; the stock market has lost its value; gold prices have increased; the oil price has decreased; inflation has broken the people’s back; unemployment adds salt to families’ injuries; producing sector is shut down… poverty engulfed the country; rich individuals are getting richer; the coronavirus has knocked out citizens; officials’ children (Aghazadeh) take the national asset to Canada to hold Muharram mourning ceremonies.
Simultaneously, Iran’s sick economy faces deadly socioeconomic shocks and must deal with enormous domestic and foreign obstacles. Iranian authorities await the U.S. presidential election. They dream of returning to the golden years of Western appeasement policies, which let them obtain and spend billions of dollars on their adventurist policies inside Iran and abroad.
However, they frequently sounded alarms about disappointed society and upcoming protests. “Should the current situation be interpreted as a stalemate that would be resolved with harsh means and methods? Or can we remain optimistic and hopeful about an improvement in the future? In this context, protesting movements in late 2017-early 2018 and November 2019 and incompatible deals with them are not good signs,” wrote Eghtesad-e Saramad daily on August 31.
In this respect, high-ranking officials feel that their happiness would not last long even if their sought candidate wins the election. Because the ayatollahs’ main enemy is in Tehran and hundreds of cities, who are numbering the days to release their ire against the entire ruling system as they showed in November 2019.
In such circumstances, the authorities try to rein in the protesting society by raising the magnitude of suppression. In recent weeks, the judiciary has issued tens of death sentences against political prisoners, prisoners of conscience, members of ethnic and religious minorities, and particularly detained protesters.
On August 5, the government executed Mostafa Salehi, who was detained during the August 2018 protests. Based on enforced confessions, the judge sentenced him to the death penalty, and he was immediately hanged in the Isfahan Central Prison. In addition to killing Mostafa, judicial officials threatened his widow and orphan children to confiscate their house and properties. Security forces had previously seized their belongings and Mostafa’s spares.
Furthermore, on September 12, authorities hanged national wrestling champion Navid Afkari in spite of an international campaign appealing the ayatollahs to revoke his punishment. Many athletes across the globe raised their voices and joined the “Save Navid Afkari” campaign. He was also sentenced based on torture-tainted evidence and confessions, which were uncredible even under the Islamic Republic constitution.
The ayatollahs tried to silence any opposition voice with executing Mostafa and Navid and issuing more death sentences and long-term imprisonment against protesters. However, they seem to backfire on themselves and had miscalculation about the potential reactions of society.
Contrary to authorities’ predictions, Navid’s family members, relatives, fellow-citizens, and all Iranians called him a hero. A hero who protested the unjust and brutal rule of clerics and sacrificed his life for his country and nation. The government and judiciary were claiming that he is a murderer and launched a misinformation campaign by using state-run TV and media outlets. However, the slogan of “Navid the champion” chanted at his grave showed who lost his reputation.
The mullahs and their criminal judiciary tried to disrupt #NavidAfkari's reputation with false allegations, bungled film, and fake news… However, behind the clouds, the sun is still shining.
"NAVID THE CHAMPION"
— IranNewsUpdate (@IranNewsUpdate1) September 17, 2020
In practice, the people’s motto has a meaning beyond some words. It was an open admiration of protesters killed by the government, showing the existing gap between rulers and ordinary citizens who pay the price of the ayatollahs’ failures and mismanagement with their flesh and blood.
Furthermore, the outpour of admiration for Navid is considered a clear message to high-ranking officials that society trusts its children who struggle to topple the current ruling system. It shows the people’s ire against security forces, intelligence officers, and commanders or members of the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) who murder innocent people from Iranian cities to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen.
Earlier, in Behbahan, mourners turned regular ceremonies into an anti-establishment move and paid homage to the Dashtinia brothers killed by the state security forces during the November 2019 protests. The continuation of these actions, along with the anxiety society demonstrates that Iran a powder keg. Iranian media outlets described this status quo as “Nitrate of Disappointment,” referring to the Beirut explosion in early August.
In such circumstances, not only economic or political reliefs cannot save and rescue the ayatollahs’ rule, but also would bring dangerous disadvantages in the near future. The Iranian government’s primary concern is about the “Nitrate of Disappointment,” which is likely to explode at any moment.