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MEK, the Main Concern of Iran’s Government – Why?

Iranian people take part in an uprising
Iranian people take part in an uprising

With the escalation of a crisis at the head of Iran’s government and biting economic sanctions, state media and government officials are increasingly paying attention to the People Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). It is as if each time they look up, they see their longtime opposition in every domestic and international challenge.

The state-run daily Mostaghel, which considers itself aligned to the reformist faction, wrote an article titled “Blind Dogmatism” on February 23:

“Elections that now have a lot of evokes. Of course, not only of the type of healthy and inclusive advertising, but in many cases of destruction, or maybe saying that, it is like digging your own grave in the subject of the election. As if they do not see that the enemy in the most subtle form is designing many kinds of conspiracies against the system in this gap.”

A US House resolution that shook everyone

This daily tried to draw attention to the main contradiction of the Iranian government, pointing to the sensitivity of the upcoming election. It wrote:

“They do not see that, on the same days when [UN nuclear chief Rafael] Grossi travels to Tehran, they shout slogans to dismiss the inspectors, the most serious enemy of the system, the MEK, overseas recorded a bipartisan resolution, signed by 113 members of the new US House of Representative. They are strategically exploiting it against the integrity of the system.

“Have these radical read the substance of the US congressional resolution that shook everyone? A resolution that supported the supported the ominous strategy of the MEK to overthrow [the regime] and has described the steps of the MEK are taking to hit the Islamic Republic’s system as ‘principled’ and ‘helpful.’”

Read More:

Iran’s Regime Sees MEK As Threat to Its Hold on Power

Support for the ten-point plan of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi

Mostaghel daily, attacked the rival faction, which should not miss this exceptional opportunity to overcome sanctions, and reminded that the resolution in support of the MEK in the US Congress will burn this opportunity.

The daily also pointed to the fact that the H.Res.118 also supports the 10-point plan of Iranian opposition leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi:

“Such a resolution does not only burn the political, strategic and economic opportunities of the integrity of the system, rather it will hit us more with a terrible avalanche in the future, falling down from the hillsides of the developments against the system.”

“This congregation does not understand that with this resolution, the new Congress of the United States, which began its work less than a month ago, supports the 10-point plan for the post-so-called overthrow of the system. It even burns the maneuvering fields of the so-called “monarchy” phenomenon, instead highlighting the role of the MEK.”

A gleam which wipes out

The author of the Mostaghel daily then pointed to the conviction this month in Belgium of Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi and wrote about the role of the MEK: “The parties that make up the current government’s inefficiencies excuse themselves. Why do they not see in the vacuum created in this conflict that the MEK finalized the conspiracy of the Antwerp court in Belgium?”

“A conspiracy that an international court for the first time sentenced an official diplomat of the Islamic Republic to 20 years in prison, with the slander of terrorism and the bombing at the MEK gathering, and that exactly at the time when a gleam was seen to cancel the cruel sanctions, and that gleam was wiped out!”

This daily while ignoring the deadlock of the regime and calling it ineffectiveness wrote: “The extremists who try to create even a platform to attack the reformists from the leadership’s recommendation are ignoring this Khamenei saying,” Let us pay attention! The enemy ads to our failures and creates a psychological war.”

Panic from an uprising beyond November 2019

This daily expressed its fear about an uprising like November 2109 and wrote: “Through their satellite network, they do not stop encouraging the young people and others to make chaos and sedition. The MEK has practically captured the cyberspace and it actually invites young people to arms by producing daily clips, documents and articles. God knows what they have been prepared for us in the next turmoil.”

Finally, at the end, it addressed the rival faction and warned them that they are on the same ship and wrote:

“Why do you not understand, in a situation when the MEK with their 40 years of blind hatred with the integrity of the Islamic Republic (regardless of any factions and current), in which they will not step back even one centimeter, your attacks on the reformists only prepares the field for more blows by the MEK to the integrity of the system?”

“If this procedure continues, and with their actions the gap and corrosion in the system further widens, neither this faction nor that faction will benefit from it, but the enemy that has sworn to overthrow us will gain. Piercing the ship will drag all of as into inexistency.”

Khamenei’s Humiliating Retreat With the Bluff of ‘No Negotiation’

Khamenei faces the intensifying crises of his regime
Khamenei faces the intensifying crises of his regime

It is now increasingly clear that Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei ‘s threat of enriching uranium to 60 percent or not to negotiate with world powers on his nuclear project until sanctions are fully lifted is not from a position of strength, but from a point of weakness and to cover up that weakness. An objective example of this claim can be seen in the case of the parliament’s decision to repeal the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s Additional Protocol and set a deadline for it in public and in secret its agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

‘Time is not in our favor’!

The reason for this decision is also clear. On the one hand, Khamenei was caught in a self-imposed deadline and could not cancel it; because all the investment in this kind of bluff would be wasted, on the other hand, if he did not agree to negotiate with the IAEA and did not accept an intermediate solution, the window of negotiation around the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), would be closed. The closure of the JCPOA case would lead to the activation of the trigger mechanism and the return of UN sanctions.

Read More:

Iran’s Sweet Dreams About a U.S. Return to JCPOA

This embarrassment of Khamenei and the whole regime can also be seen in the letter of Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Abbas Akhundi.

“Of course, time is not in our favor and something must be done. The longer this time is, the more our national interests will be jeopardized. Undoubtedly, confronting Biden’s America is tougher than Trump’s America, and he will use all of Trump’s achievements … Now that Parliament is in the hands of the government, all current and historical responsibility for the subsequent failures resulting from this inaction will rest with Parliament.” (Setareh-e-Sobh, February 23)

Khamenei behind the agreement with the agency

Despite the commotion among the regime’s MPs and their approval of the high priority bill to cancel the agreement with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, the data show that Khamenei was behind this agreement and this retreat was done with his knowledge and consent. One proof of this is the position of his appointee in the Kayhan daily. This time it was fundamentally different from the positions of the parliament.

Kayhan’s editor Hossein Shariatmadari, while acknowledging that the parliament’s decision to suspend the implementation of the Additional Protocol was Khamenei’s decision, told the MPs that there was no need for so much fuss in the parliament about the agreement with Rafael Grossi. Because this agreement was done behind the scenes with the intervention and opinion of the Supreme Security Council [Here Khamenei’s nickname].

As he said: “Sorry dear MPs, this volume of protest was not needed.”

“There is a friendly grumble about the protesting representatives! And that the agreement, although signed by the head of the Atomic Energy Organization, should be known that such an important issue cannot be prepared without the intervention and opinion of the Supreme National Security Council.” (Kayhan, February 23)

Then we see the same position in one of the media the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani.

“The nuclear issue is managed in a very multifaceted way, and the various branches cannot decide on it arbitrarily. The nuclear issue is directly related to national security, and all decisions made in this council are approved by the highest pillar of the country.” (State-run daily Arman, February 23)

Khamenei’s shortcut to a quick agreement with the IAEA showed that his words about not negotiating until the complete lifting of sanctions should not and cannot be taken seriously. In addition, he proved that he avoids even his own parliament in the most urgent matters and does not take them seriously. Because the first and last priority for him is to maintain the regime, that is, which is his illegitimate rule.

Corruption at the Central Bank of Iran

During political rivalries, IRGC-controlled media revealed that there is around $35 million interventional currency at Iran's Central Bank.
During political rivalries, IRGC-controlled media revealed that there is around $35 million interventional currency at Iran's Central Bank.

Iranian state-run news agencies affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) have announced the existence of massive corruption in the distribution of $35 billion in interventional currency at the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). What are the range of this corruption and its effects?

On February 21, IRGC-linked news agencies, including Tasnim and Mehr, announced the existence of widespread corruption in the distribution of $35 billion interventional currency in the CBI and the arrest of some senior executives of the government’s banking system.

Corrupt Golden Signatures, a Trick to Rob Iranian Citizens

However, in this news, no specific person was named, but earlier in some news, the detention of Rasool Sajjad, deputy international of the CBI, and Ehsan Moahfi, head of the CBI protector were mentioned.

In the meantime, Salar Agha Khani, who had the first row in the case of the Central Bank corruption, left the country in July 2019. As a representative for the exchange of the Ansar Bank, Agha Khani, dependent on the IRGC’s Cooperative Foundation, was accused of smuggling $160 million and €20 million and paid $118,000 in bribes. But the IRGC in February 2019 took him out of the country to the city of Najaf in Iraq.

Alongside Salar Agha Khani, the name of Seyyed Ahmad Araghchi, the then deputy of the Central Bank and the nephew of Abbas Araghchi, the political deputy of the Foreign Ministry, was also seen as another main defendant of the case.

Fighting Corruption or Faction Dispute?

But beyond the news of corruption in the central bank’s case and before any analysis and judgment about this news. You must first answer this question, what is the purpose of the publication of this news on the media affiliated with Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei and the IRGC?

As a preliminary reason, and when the government is trying to cover the dimensions of corruption within the government due to fear of popular protests, we should pay attention to this that this is because of the faction disputes within the government.

In other words, when Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani’s faction is trying to revive the dead nuclear deal known as the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), while the revival of the 2015 JCPOA is ideal and desirable of the Khamenei and the IRGC, broadcasting this news is a step towards the isolation of Rouhani’s faction in the nuclear case. And in the next step, removing this faction from the election box before the presidency is considered in favor of Khamenei’s faction.

This borehole is more strengthened in recent weeks that some of the people of Rouhani’s faction, including Abbas Akhundi, Former Minister of Road and Urban Development, in the game of approval or non-approval of the JCPOA, was hitting the drums of corruption and money laundering by the IRGC and its affiliated factions conducted by Khamenei.

Perspectives on Domestic and International Consequences of Iran’s 2021 Presidential Election

Some Other Examples of Corruption

As another example of these corruptions, we can point to the withdraw of $100 billion from Iran over the last two years, which was announced by Masoud Khansari, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Iran.

Khansari, on February 21, in an interview with the state-run website Fararou, announced that part of this money, ($100 billion) was used for housing purchases in neighboring countries.

The purchase of houses in Turkey has become a secure way for withdrawing currencies by government officials. So far, Turkey’s official statistics indicate that 7200 housing units only in 2020 are from Iranian citizens.

The figure, according to the Turkish Statistics Center for 2019, has grown by more than 33 percent compared to 2019 and 200 percent compared to 2018 and compared to 2017 and years before more than 1000 percent.

We can add to this list the withdrawal of $59 billion from Iran during the years 2017-2018 that the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Research Center has already announced.

Iranians Support Saravan Protests

Following the Saravan protests in Iran, citizens from various cities declared their support and solidarity with protesters and fuel porters.
Following the Saravan protests in Iran, citizens from various cities declared their support and solidarity with protesters and fuel porters.

On the night of Wednesday, February 24, the Iranian regime cut off the internet in Zahedan city, the capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province, to prevent news from spreading about the Saravan protests. On the other hand, Iranian Baluch citizens in Karim-Abad and Shir-Abad districts rallied, protesting the regime’s crackdown on the impoverished people in Saravan city.

According to the Iranian Resistance, at least 40 protesters and fuel porters were killed, and around 100 others were wounded as of February 23. However, regarding the continuation of protests and news reports, the number of victims seems far more.

The Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) called on local people to resist the Revolutionary Guards’ (IRGC) cruelty and aid the injured people. Furthermore, eyewitnesses reported that the IRGC had opened fire on peaceful rallies and protests in Zahedan.

Following the regime’s crackdown in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan, Iranian people declared their support for Iranian Baluch protesters inside the country and abroad.

According to the PMOI/MEK, citizens in the provinces of Razavi Khorasan, Alborz, Isfahan, Gilan, Western Azarbaijan, Tehran, and Zanjan provinces showed their solidarity with protesters in Saravan.

In Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan province, a citizen chanted, “Down with the mullahs’ rule” while he was trampling on a photo of Qassem Soleimani, the former chief of the IRGC – Quds Force. In Karaj, Alborz province, one citizen said, “We support the uprising of Saravan… Death to the dictator, and death to [the Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei.”

“Hail to the brave Baluch people,” said a citizen from Fouladshahr in Isfahan province. “Salute to all those who are struggling for freedom,” said a citizen from Tehran, adding, “I am sending this message to all the brave Baluch people of Saravan. I support you. All of Iran supports you.”

“Down with the Islamic Republic. Death to the IRGC mercenaries who kill the Kolbars [porters] in the west of Iran and the fuel carriers in the east with bullets,” said a citizen from the northern province of Gilan.

Iran: Protests Following the Murder of Baluch Fuel Carriers in Saravan

“Condolences to the families of the martyrs of the struggle for freedom,” a citizen from Western Azarbaijan said. “We in Azarbaijan express our solidarity with the brave people of Baluchestan.” And a citizen from Tehran added, “It is the duty of all of us to support Saravan. Saravan is not alone.”

A resident from Zanjan said, “Death to the rule of the mullahs. Saravan is not alone. I will fight for the freedom of Iran and to support the people of Saravan. The Baluch are not alone. Down with Khamenei.”

Furthermore, Iranian diasporas announced their support for the Saravan protests. Despite the coronavirus outbreak and health restrictions, MEK supporters gathered in front of the United Nations headquarters in Geneva.

They echoed the voice of oppressed protesters in Sistan and Baluchestan province, calling on the international community to pressure the Iranian regime to stop violence and suppression. “In every corner of Iran, we join our voices to those of Saravan and the uprising for victory,” the demonstrators chanted.

Iranians Continue Protests; at Least Eight Rallies and Strikes on February 22 and 23

Iranians Continue Protests; at Least Six Rallies and Strikes on February 24

On February 24, Iranian citizens held at least six rallies and protests in various cities, as well as supported the Saravan protests.
On February 24, Iranian citizens held at least six rallies and protests in various cities, as well as supported the Saravan protests.

On February 24, citizens in Iran held at least seven rallies and protests in various cities, in addition to the massive protests of Baluch residents in Saravan city, Sistan and Baluchestan province. In response to security forces opening fire on a group of fuel carriers and killing dozens of people, residents attacked the local Governorate and set it ablaze.

The situation of Saravan is still tense, and officials have banned the people from access to the internet. Furthermore, Iranian citizens staged seven rallies and protests in various cities, including in front of the Parliament (Majlis). They expressed their despair over the officials’ failure to meet their long-standing demands.

Solidarity with Saravan Protests—Iranians continue protests on February 24
Solidarity with Saravan Protests—Iranians continue protests on February 24

Solidarity with Saravan Protests

Sistan and Baluchestan province—following the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on Iranian Baluch protesters and fuel porters in Saravan city, citizens from different provinces declared their solidarity with oppressed people. In Iranshahr, merchants shut down their stores and launched a strike in condemnation of the regime’s crimes.

Furthermore, according to the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), Iranian citizens in the provinces of Razavi Khorasan, Alborz, Isfahan, Gilan, Eastern Azarbaijan, Tehran, and Zanjan showed their support for the Saravan protests.

Rally of Azvico Customers—Iranians continue protests on February 24
Rally of Azvico Customers—Iranians continue protests on February 24

Rally of Azvico Customers

Tehran province—customers of the Eastern Azarbaijan-based Azvico automaking company held a gathering in front of the Special Complex for prosecuting Economic Crimes. They blamed the government-backed company for failing to meet protesters’ demands.

“Economic criminals must be punished,” they chanted. “The February 24 rally was the 24th protests of Azvico customers,” said a protester.

Only in February, Azvico customers have held two rallies. The Azvico company was accused of receiving more than $200 million from government funds 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 commanders of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and MPs are behind the case. For instance, IRGC Coordinator Mohammad Reza 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.

Rally of Engineers—Iranians continue protests on February 24
Rally of Engineers—Iranians continue protests on February 24

Rally of Engineers

Eastern Azarbaijan province—in tandem with the Engineer Day in Iran, a group of engineers rallied, protesting recent decisions of the Provincial Engineering Apparatus’s managing board.

According to protesters, the managing board’s recent decisions have led to the unemployment of engineers with little experience. In this context, they have faced enormous living dilemmas.

Rally of Water Organization Staff—Iranians continue protests on February 24
Rally of Water Organization Staff—Iranians continue protests on February 24

Rally of Water Organization Staff

Khuzestan province—Water and Sewage Organization staff of rural sectors held a rally in front of the Provincial Governorate in Ahvaz.

They protested officials’ failure to pay their wages and insurance rights. Notably, Ahvaz lacks essential infrastructure despite the province sitting on massive reserves of oil and liquid gas. However, the government refrains from allocating an adequate budget to cover its staff.

On the other hand, the worn-out infrastructure of Ahvaz claims many children’s lives. State-run media mention such a social phenomenon as the abandoned future of Ahvaz’s children.

Rally of Customs Staff—Iranians continue protests on February 24
Rally of Customs Staff—Iranians continue protests on February 24

Rally of Customs Staff

Western Azarbaijan province—activists and staff of the Bazargan [merchant] customs rallied, protesting officials for refusing to issue permissions for cargos’ clearance. Staff say that the Western Azarbaijan Customs Office has unreasonably increased taxes by 10 percent.

“Protesting the lack of customs system and the prevention from releasing goods inside the Bazargan customs, people have gathered in front of the Finance Office to vent their anger,” explained a protester.

Rally of Contract Oil Workers—Iranians continue protests on February 24
Rally of Contract Oil Workers—Iranians continue protests on February 24

Rally of Contract Oil Workers

Tehran province—a group of temporary contract workers affiliated with the Oil Ministry held a rally in front of the Parliament (Majlis).

They protested systematic discrimination, calling on officials to change their job conditions and equalize their paychecks with other oil employees’ salaries.

Iranians Continue Protests; at Least Eight Rallies and Strikes on February 22 and 23

Why Do Iranian Children Prefer To Die?

As suicide rates rise among disadvantaged people in Iran, the suicide rate among children and adolescents has risen too
As suicide rates rise among disadvantaged people in Iran, the suicide rate among children and adolescents has risen too

These days, suicide, particularly among children, teenagers, and women, has been general news in Iran. In the past month, at least eight children and teenagers committed suicide in various cities.

January 25—one 16-year-old boy jumped from the sixth floor of a building and lost his life in Tabriz city in Eastern Azarbaijan province, northwestern Iran. Two female students also ate Aluminium phosphide tablets and lost their lives in Dezful city in Khuzestan province, southwestern the country.

January 26—the semiofficial ISNA news agency quoted Mohammad Hamidi, the Governor of Gorgan in the northern province of Golestan, as saying, “Two young girls attempted to commit suicide by jumping off a passenger bridge. Both of them have been severely injured and transferred to a hospital.”

January 31—fourteen-year-old child laborer Mohammad committed suicide due to poverty and lost his life in Mahshahr city, Khuzestan province.

February 2—eleven-year-old Moslem Shahkaram Zehi hanged himself and ended his life in Ziarat village, a suburb of Saravan district in Iran’s southeastern province Sistan and Baluchestan.

February 5—a 16-year-old teenager committed suicide by shooting himself in the head in Deymoushak district in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad province.

February 8—according to Deymoushak’s local officials, “Committing suicide in this area has become a regular event,” which shows parts of the horrific situation in this area. “In the past three-four years, around 60 persons, mostly women, committed suicide. In the past month, two men and one 11-year-old girl have committed suicide, and all of them lost their lives, unfortunately. The name of the 11-year-old girl was Bina. She hanged herself on February 8 in Deh-Qazi village in Deymoushak,” the semiofficial ILNA news agency reported on February 14.

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The Lost Future of Iranian Children

February 12—a 17-year-old teenager hanged himself in Bandar-e Jask in the southern province of Hormozgan.

February 14—a 14-year-old child hanged himself and died in Bandar-e Kangan, Hormozgan province.

These are just some examples of children’s suicide in Iran in the past month. They decided to end their short lives due to poverty, unemployment, dire living conditions, and misery amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

According to government statistics, child laborers, dropouts, children of education, and girls, who were compelled to marry, are among those who committed suicide. “Currently, the poverty and economic impasses have convinced the people and even children that death is easier than remaining alive in such quagmire of poverty and misery,” Jahan-e Sanat daily wrote on February 3 following the suicide of Moslem Shahkaram Zehi.

Previously, an official of the Forensic Organization announced that the suicide rate from March 20 to October 20 has increased by 4.2 percent compared to the same period in the last year, according to Etemad daily on January 20. The official also acknowledged that many families conceal this news, fearing losing their reputation.

The daily also mentioned growing socioeconomic phenomena like high prices, unemployment, and poverty had brought thousands of desperate individuals into grave financial challenges. “According to psychologists, to grasp the intensity of uncured depressions in Iran’s society, we should increase the pure number of suicide victims by at least 20-30 times to realize the raw figure of suicide attempts,” Etemad added.

In addition to economic pressure, Iranian youths witness social injustice and the expanding gap between society’s classes, as well as rampant corruption and plundering every day. Instead, they see that not only do officials not resolve their dilemmas but also suppress any protest with violence. In such circumstances, they prefer to die rather than acquiesce to more humiliation and hardship.

However, this phenomenon has sounded the alarm bells for the authorities, declaring that the people have nothing to lose. It shows that society awaits an opportunity to vent its anger over four decades of imprudence, corruption, massacre, and suppression.

Iran’s Regime Sees MEK As Threat to Its Hold on Power

The U.S. government classifies the Islamic Republic of Iran as the “ foremost state sponsor of terrorism”
The U.S. government classifies the Islamic Republic of Iran as the “ foremost state sponsor of terrorism”

In June 2018, agents from the Iranian regime tried to carry out a terrorist attack on an Iranian Resistance rally near Paris where supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) were congregated.

The plan was foiled before an incident could take place but in November 2020, the leader of the plot and three accomplices were brought to trial where they were later convicted and sentenced. The key perpetrator, Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, received a 20-year prison sentence.

In this regard, the opposition said: “Assadi’s prosecution has shown to the world that Iranian terrorism will continue to threaten Europe and the US until it is finally stopped.”

They encourage the European Union and the wider international community to rethink their approaches on dealing with the Iranian regime. They believe that a new set of ideas should be suggested in order to bring the root of the terrorism to an end, both domestically and abroad.

Read More:

Why Khamenei Admitting MEK Responsibility for 2017-18 Protests Is Still Important?

Sadly, the EU’s Head of External Actions, Josep Borell, has suggested that the EU’s intention is to continue a ‘maximum diplomacy’ strategy with the terrorist regime in place in Iran and has said himself that he will be taking part in an online business forum with the Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, in early March.

The opposition said: “The fact of the matter is that in the long term, no one in Europe will benefit from this sort of appeasement. All it will do is allow the current Iranian regime to continue with its human rights violations in order to maintain its position of power.”

Thankfully, not everyone takes Borell’s stance on relations with the regime. There is growing support worldwide, and especially within Iran, to endorse the NCRI and MEK resistance movements that are challenging the regime consistently.

There have been numerous protest rallies since the current political system began in the late 1980s. Each time, the regime has sought to suppress these uprisings through multiple arrests, tortures, and executions but this has never stopped the NCRI and the MEK from their goal to overthrown the regime and building a better foundation for Iran.

The Iranian opposition added that, “In the end, it is only by protecting the Iranian people in their fight for a democratic future that the EU and the US can ever hope to permanently eliminate the Iranian terror threat from the world. For these reasons, Western governments should listen to recommendations and be more assertive toward the Iranian regime.”

One of the biggest uprisings in recent years took place in November 2019. Protests began in Khuzestan province on November 15, in response to the announcement of a sudden hike in fuel prices, and quickly spread within hours to over 190 cities. These protests quickly shifted to calls for changes to the regime.

The regime suppressed the uprising almost a week later with the use of guns, batons, water cannons, and tear gas. According to an announcement by the MEK on December 15 2019, more than 1,500 protesters were killed and 12,000 more were arrested.

Iran’s Crackdown on Native Languages

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999 declared February 21, as the International Mother Language Day.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999 declared February 21, as the International Mother Language Day.

Since 1999, February 21 has been International Mother Language Day, as declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and supported by the Iranian regime.

This and Article 15 of the Iranian Constitution, which states that “regional and ethnic languages” are permitted in the media, school literature, and in everything bar official documents that are produced in the official language of Persian, might lead you to believe that the various languages spoken in Iran – Azeri, Kurdish, Arabic, Turkmen, Gilaki, Mazandarani, Taleshi, Lori, Baluchi, Laki and Tati – are respected. This is not true.

Punishing non-Persian speakers

In fact, the regime limits the Azeri, Kurdish, Arab, and Baluch ethnic minorities’ participation in cultural and political activities, while ethnic minority children are not allowed to learn their native tongue in school, with teachers even being arrested, tortured, and imprisoned for a long time for teaching these languages.

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Zahra Mohmmmadi, a 30-year-old Kurdish civil society activist, was charged with national security offences for teaching the Kurdish language and coerced into signing false confessions, without a lawyer present, because the police threatened to arrest her family.

In 2020, the regime even shut down two publishers of Turkish-language books – ‘Tak Takhtar’ and ‘Andisheh No’.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, ethnic minorities are being forced to choose their children’s name for a book of pre-approved Persian names, which means they are deprived of naming them based on their religious, ethnic, or cultural identities. Iran’s Registry Office has even refused to issue birth certificates for newborns with non-Persian names, like Aisha or Yagish. (This might actually violate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.)

Protests

Many ethnic minority rights activists used World Mother Language Day to criticise the regime for its policies and present petitions (and other literature) in non-Persian languages.

The regime cracked down with mass arrests and heavy prison sentences. Those activists arrested include Behnam Sheikhi, Hamid Manafi, Alireza Farshi, Akbar Azad, Kianoosh Aslani, and Tohid Amiramini. Sheikhi, Manafi, Farshi, and Azad, are currently detained in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran, while Aslani, and Amiramini have been sentenced to 12.5 years in prison on charges of “conspiracy to disrupt national security” and “propaganda activities against the regime”.

It is clear that despite pretences, the regime does not support minority rights in Iran and the only solution is regime overthrow, as advocated by the Iranian Resistance for the past 42 years.

Iranians Continue Protests; at Least Eight Rallies and Strikes on February 22 and 23

On February 22 and 23, Iranians held at least eight protests in various provinces, including the massive protest in Saravan city, SE Iran.
On February 22 and 23, Iranians held at least eight protests in various provinces, including the massive protest in Saravan city, SE Iran.

On February 22 and 23, citizens in Iran held at least seven rallies and protests in various cities, in addition to the massive protests of Baluch residents in Saravan city, Sistan and Baluchestan province. In response to security forces opening fire on a group of fuel carriers and killing dozens of people, residents attacked the local Governorate and set there ablaze.

The situation of Saravan is still tense, and officials have banned the people from access to the internet. Furthermore, Iranian citizens staged seven rallies and protests in various cities, including in front of the Parliament (Majlis). They expressed their despair over the officials’ failure to meet their long-standing demands.

Saravan Protests—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23
Baluch Fuel Carriers Uprising in Saravan city—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23

Baluch Fuel Carriers Uprising

Sistan and Baluchestan province—following the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) murder of several Iranian Baluchi fuel porters and protesters in Saravan city on Monday, February 22, many people flooded onto the streets, protesting the regime’s oppressive measure and bloodshed.

According to the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the regime has killed at least 40 Baluch fuel carriers and protesters as of this report. In response, residents attacked and took over Saravan Governorate, and set its appliances ablaze. Protesters also overturned several security forces’ vehicles and set them on fire, venting their anger at the regime’s cruelty.

The IRGC dispatched tanks, artillery, and special units to crack down on protesters. The regime also cut off the internet, preventing human rights defenders and activists from covering the news.

In November 2019, the mullahs applied the same tactic to conceal their crimes against defenseless protesters, leading to the death of more than 1,500 unarmed demonstrators.

Rally of SMA Patients’ Families—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23
Rally of SMA Patients’ Families—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23

Rally of SMA Patients’ Families

Tehran province—families of (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) SMA patients once again held a gathering in front of the Health Ministry on February 22. In the past ten days, they have rallied two times at the place, protesting officials’ failure to import necessary medication.

On February 13, based on prior notice, these families gathered at the same place, blaming officials’ failure to provide medicine for muscular atrophy. At the time, Health Ministry officials promised to schedule an appointment for protesters to visit Minister Saeed Namaki. However, the visit did not take place, prompting families to rally once again.

“Our children have rights for treatment and life,” “Why does Iran not provide reliable medicine so far?” and “Sanctions are only an excuse for not importing the medicine,” had been written on protesters’ placards.

SMA is a group of hereditary diseases that progressively destroys motor neurons—nerve cells in the brain stem and spinal cord that control essential skeletal muscle activity such as speaking, walking, breathing, and swallowing – leading to muscle weakness and atrophy.

Rally of Contract Forces—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23
Rally of Contract Forces—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23

Rally of Contract Forces

Alborz province—a group of contract forces affiliated with Karaj Municipality, the province’s capital, staged a rally in front of Karaj City Council on February 22.

They protested officials’ failure to clarify the situation of contracts. Such institutions have recruited many people under contracts, refusing to hire them officially. These contracts have allowed municipal officials to ignore workers’ rights easily.

In this status quo, while people suffer from the coronavirus outbreak and its consequences but due to government-backed institutions’ actions, the fate of impoverished workers is murky. Earlier, state-run media acknowledged that over 90 percent of Iran’s working families face economic dilemmas, and even deal with poor nutrition in some provinces.

Rallies of Contract Health Staff—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23
Rallies of Contract Health Staff—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23

Rallies of Contract Health Staff

On February 21 and 22, several contract medical and health staff affiliated with the medical sciences universities referred to relevant local offices and the universities in various provinces. They demanded officials pay attention to their wage claims and their dire living conditions.

“Refusing to implement basic rules has prompted healthcare workers to protest. No doubt, the rally of contract colleagues has sounded alarm bells for officials. The continuation of negligence toward rules and refusal to pay health and medical staff’s paychecks and demands would expand protests,” said contract forces.

They expressed their wrath about systematic discrimination, saying, “Unjust distribution of working hours between emergency staff, hospitals’ emergency sections, special sections like intensive care units (ICU) and critical care units (CCU), or health centers, as well as the rejection of paying the rights of housing, clothes, and other issues,” are parts of these staff’s problems.

“Regarding this density of missions during the coronavirus conditions, in addition to economic dilemmas and rampant inflation, health and medical staff face severe hardship in their life,” said a protester, adding, “Our most important demand is to implement the rule of exploitation for our emergency partners.”

They also posted a photo of three receipts, showing flagrant discrimination between three emergency staff with the same expertise and job experience. According to the photo, the contract force monthly receives $100; his partner, who has been hired according to a plan, receives $148 per month; and an official staff monthly receives $256. “This is while the contract force’s job experience is more than two others. Is this justice?” a protester had written under the photo.

Sit-in of Preschool Educators—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23
Sit-in of Preschool Educators—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23

Sit-in of Preschool Educators

Khuzestan province—preschool educators in Izeh county launched an ongoing sit-in in front of MP Hedayatollah Khademi’s bureau. They protested officials’ refusal to resolve their concerns.

“We have time and again urged officials to follow up our dilemmas. Here is the bureau of MP from Izeh and Baghmalek counties. We have referred to this place several times, asking to visit the MP. However, not only did they reject to follow up our dilemmas, but they are playing to prevent us from holding a face-to-face discussion with the MP,” said a protester.

“This is our legal right that we visit the MP, and they have a duty to follow up our problems. We are legally pursuing our demands. We would never give in until obtaining our rights,” the protester added.

Rally of Landowners—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23
Rally of Landowners—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23

Rally of Landowners

Tehran province—more than 500 landowners of the plots of Pourqomi land in Evrin village rallied in front of the Parliament, protesting officials’ failure to follow up their demands.

This village is located in Baharestan county. The government’s negligence to follow up these people’s demands led them to raise their voices once again and rally in front of the Majlis.

Rally of Teachers—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23
Rally of Teachers—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23

Rally of Teachers

Tehran province—teachers of non-profit schools from several provinces held a gathering in front of the Majlis. They demanded officials recruit them like contract teachers, members of the Literacy Movement, preschool educators, and other service forces.

“There is no support on behalf of the country’s officials” and “If you deal fairly [with different issues], so why do you not care about us?” protesters chanted.

Rally of Urban Train Staff—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23
Rally of Urban Train Staff—Iranians continue protests on February 22 and 23

Rally of Urban Train Staff

Khuzestan province—a group of Ahvaz’s urban train crew held a rally in front of the municipality. They protested officials’ failure to pay their insurance rights in the past 100 days.

Notably, Ahvaz lacks basic infrastructure, causing enormous dilemmas for residents in different areas. Despite the province sits on the oil sea and mostly oil refineries are in this province, the people are deprived of essential services, and the government refuses to pay public crew’s salaries and rights.

Iranians Continue Protests; at Least 26 Rallies and Strikes on February 21

Maryam Rajavi: Hail to Deprived and Defiant Retirees

Maryam Rajavi: I salute the deprived and defiant retirees and pensioners. Those who insistently pursued their protests until achieving their rightful demands
Maryam Rajavi: I salute the deprived and defiant retirees and pensioners. Those who insistently pursued their protests until achieving their rightful demands

The President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Maryam Rajavi has spoken out following the retiree and pensioner rallies that have taken place this month across Iran to protest price inflations and unbearable living conditions.

Addressing the participants of the protests, she said, “I salute the deprived and defiant retirees and pensioners. Those who insistently pursued their protests until achieving their rightful demands with chants of ‘We will not rest until we get our rights,’ and ‘Only by taking it to the streets, we could gain our rights’.”

Maryam Rajavi urged the youth to support the retirees’ nationwide movement and warned that while the regime is still in power, poverty, inflation, unemployment, corruption and repression will continue.

Read More:

Maryam Rajavi: INTV’s 25th Telethon Is a Symbol of National Solidarity

On Sunday, February 14, a large number of social security retirees gathered in Tehran and 21 other cities across Iran to protest the inflations and low retirement benefits. Many chants were shouted during the rallies, such as; ‘We are tired of injustice’, ‘Our country sits on rich resources but the retirees are suffering’, ‘The gatherings will continue until we reach our goals’, and ‘Our enemy is right here, they lie claiming it’s America’.

Retirees in Tehran, who were holding their largest protest rally in recent months, chanted ‘Enough hollow promises, we have no food,’ and ‘Qalibaf, come out! Qalibaf, come out!’. The latter chant being in reference to the regime’s parliamentary speaker, Mohammad Qalibaf who is said to be an accomplice of Judiciary Chief, Ebrahim Raisi, who sent thousands of political prisoners, associated with the MEK, to their deaths in the 1988 massacre.

Along with the Tehran rally, other protests took place in front of Social Security Organization buildings in the cities of Tabriz, Neyshabur, Arak, Ahvaz, Kermanshah, Yazd, Khorramabad, Isfahan, Ardabil, Shush, Ilam, Qazvin, Shiraz, Karaj, Mashhad, Sanandaj, Kerman, Bojnurd, Dezful, Zanjan and Hamedan.

Similar protests took place in 20 cities across Iran on Wednesday, February 3, as well as Tuesday, January 26, which saw 22 cities take part.

Speaking on the first protest in January, Maryam Rajavi said, “Indeed, the only way to end poverty and inflation is to revolt against the religious fascism and establish freedom and justice in Iran.”

The crowds of people in January were protesting against their living conditions and unpaid wages as well as demanding a revision in formulas to equalize salaries and the paying off of the State’s debts to the Social Security Administration.

In support of the protests, Maryam Rajavi said, “To end poverty, inflation and unemployment, one must only rise up and protest to overthrow the mullahs’ religious fascism and establish freedom and justice in our enchained homeland.”

The high price and shortages of essential goods are believed to be related to mismanagement by the regime officials, leaving the Iranian people unable to afford even basic food staples like bread and eggs.

An earlier report by the Iranian Resistance, said, “It is becoming increasingly clear that Iranian officials deliberately want to starve the people as another way of punishing them for not wholeheartedly supporting the regime and its outdated politics.”

Iran: Protests Following the Murder of Baluch Fuel Carriers in Saravan

Security forces targeted a group of Iranian Baluch fuel carriers, leading to dozens of deaths and injuries and igniting protests in Saravan city.
Security forces targeted a group of Iranian Baluch fuel carriers, leading to dozens of deaths and injuries and igniting protests in Saravan city.

On Monday, February 22, Iranian citizens were taken aback by harrowing news about the killing of Iranian Baluch fuel carriers in Saravan city, in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan. According to local reports, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the State Security Forces (SSF) targeted fuel porters, leading to several dozen deaths and injuries.

Eyewitnesses and human rights defenders have reported that the regime has killed at least nine Baluch residents so far. Images and videos posted on social media showed a dense presence of IRGC forces along with heavy artillery and tanks.

Furthermore, the IRGC had dug deep ditches at border crossings to prevent the commute of fuel porters. Poverty and unemployment have driven underprivileged people to make ends meet through hard jobs like transporting fuel. However, oppressive forces frequently target them under the excuse of combating trafficking.

This is while the IRGC is the main smuggling entity in Iran, which controls almost all of Iran’s border crossings and gates. In July 2011, former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described IRGC commanders and merchants as “Smuggler Brothers.”

“The annual cost of smoking in Iran is between $1.3-1.48 billion. This figure tempts international smugglers, let alone our smuggler brothers,” said Ahmadinejad in the Specialized Conference on New Strategies in Prevention and Combating Smuggling Commodity and Currency on July 4, 2011.

A Baluch mother has hugsged the lifeless body of her loved one's lifeless body, who was gunned down during Saravan protests.
A Baluch mother has hugsged the lifeless body of her loved one’s lifeless body, who was gunned down during Saravan protests.

Caption: A Baluch mother hugs the lifeless body of her loved one, who was gunned down during Saravan protests.

To prevent other citizens from joining protests and raising their voices, the regime tries to silence Saravan protesters at all costs. According to footage circulated on social media, the IRGC has dispatched several armed forces squads to Saravan.

The regime has also blocked roads leading to Saravan’s Razi hospital and morgue, where victims’ bodies were being held. Officials are profoundly concerned about families’ backlash.

In response to the regime’s crime and ongoing crackdown on Baluch residents, protesters raided and occupied Saravan Governorate. The event displayed public ire against the oppressive forces and people’s determination to end such oppressive measures.

“On Tuesday, in spite of the heavy presence of security forces, the residents of Saravan held a demonstration in front of governorate building, protesting the killing of fuel porters by IRGC forces. The IRGC tried to disperse the protesters by opening fire on and throwing smoke grenades at the demonstrators. But the protesters held their ground and forced the IRGC forces to retreat,” the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) reported.

To justify the IRGC’s cruelty, Iranian officials laid blame on fuel porters, claiming, “The gathering of the fuel carriers at the border crossing and their lack of restraint has caused the attack on our border station today.” This is while videos posted on social media show that the regime initially used tanks and artillery to quell people’s anger.

On the other hand, just like the gas protests in November 2019, the regime immediately cut off the internet in Saravan, to censor news of the protests and prevent them from reaching other provinces. “Today, some people provoked the people on cyberspace to assemble a rally and again, some attacked the governorate… Anti-revolution groups and dissidents had drawn a roadmap and encouraged opportunist individuals to engage in such activities,” said a security official.

However, the people, particularly youths, continue protests against the dictatorship that has deprived them of essential needs and led the country to misery and poverty.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), expressed her support of the people of Saravan, who have stood up against the tyranny of the mullahs’ regime.

“This is the only way for the people of Iran to achieve their rights in the face of the mullahs’ vicious regime,” Mrs. Rajavi said while calling on all youths, particularly in Sistan and Baluchestan, to join the protests and support the people of Saravan in their plight.

Iran: A Father Who Abandons His Daughter Out of Poverty

The advert of a poor family in Iran. Due to their intolerable living conditions, the family want to give the supervision of their child to someone else.
The advert of a poor family in Iran. Due to their intolerable living conditions, the family want to give the supervision of their child to someone else.

A catastrophe is raging in Iran. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is trying to continue ruling at the cost of killing humanity and human beings. The catastrophe is raging across all of Iranian society. Poverty, the most inhumane phenomenon imposed on human beings, devours the social life of society. Poverty has broken the backbone of the people.

What we read below is the story of a catastrophe which is just a part of the catastrophic poverty in Iran, and we were only able to tell a story:

This is the advert of a family that has asked people for help to transfer their daughter. And this is the word of a man who is forced to his loved one to other people, out of extreme poverty:

“We are in a terrible situation. We want to save our daughter. We live and sleep in the ruined kiosk in Behesht Zahra Cemetery in Velayat Park.”

My Daughter at the Age of Growth Cannot Tolerate Hunger Anymore

“My daughter is growing up. She has a lot of stress. She suffers from many problems due to thirst and hunger. We want to give her to a family. We only stipulate that the family would not have an older son.

“Since yesterday, several families have come and seen my daughter. Two families accepted. But his mother and I did not accept because they had a 15-year-old son.

“My wife and daughter sleep every night in the Velayat park or in a ruined kiosk in Behesht Zahra or the shrine of Imam or the shrine of Imam Masoumeh in Qom or the Jamkaran Mosque, and generally wherever it is warmer and more suitable for sleeping. We are displaced. We do not have money for a mortgage.

Read More:

The Lost Future of Iranian Children

“We are not even able to eat two servings of bread and cheese every day. I am in a wheelchair. An old and broken wheelchair, with which I sell wild rue in the market. My wife and daughter shine the shoes of women and girls in the subway. But I can no longer torment my growing daughter and keep her in distress and hunger.”

We Do Not Even Have Shoes

“So far, many families have come for her supervision. But they did not have suitable conditions, that is, they had a son under 20 years old. Or they had a single son, which my wife and I do not accept at all. Many people end up shamelessly proposing to accept her as a concubine while she has not even grown-up. My daughter is only 12 years old.

“You don’t know what is happening to us? You don’t even know that we don’t even have shoes to walk on. We do not have a piece of torn shoes to walk on in cold weather. We have slippers on our feet in this rainy weather.”

Then the father wiped his tear-soaked cheek. He is accustomed to tears and poverty and homelessness. Tragedy begins when we become accustomed to seeing this dirty face of poverty.