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Iran’s Government in Search of ‘Public Trust’

“This (people’s) frustration is very worrying and is a serious warning to the managers, the government and the management and political system of the country, for which they must find a fundamental solution.” (Youngsociologists.com)
“This (people’s) frustration is very worrying and is a serious warning to the managers, the government and the management and political system of the country, for which they must find a fundamental solution.” (Youngsociologists.com)

Iran’s state-run website Youngsociologists.com: “This (people’s) frustration is very worrying and is a serious warning to the managers, the government and the management and political system of the country, for which they must find a fundamental solution.” (Youngsociologists.com)

The concept of the public trust relates to the origins of democratic governments, while Iran’s government is far from such an idea. The seminal idea that within the public lies true power and future of a society. Therefore, whatever trust the public places in its officials must be respected.

But in Iran public trust has no role to play and does not matter. Because the key person of the country which is the supreme leader Ali Khamenei is not elected by the people at all. And he being the spiritual leader has both the political and religious power in his hands and therefore, in his view he has no obligation to be responsible in front of the people.

In all political and economic relations, the reason that bribery is regarded as a notorious evil is that it contributes to a culture of political corruption in which the public trust is eroded. But in Iran this is the main tool within the government’s officials to gain their private benefits.

The other issues related to political corruption or betrayal of public trust are lobbying, special interest groups and the public cartel. And again, in Iran where the country is controlled and led by different mafia groups and interests, this does not make any sense either.

Therefore, speaking about public trust in Iran is wrong altogether. There is no public trust, and the people accept everything because of the violent repression.

Now before the presidential election in Iran, many officials, affiliated social, political, and economic experts, and the media are speaking and in the search of the public trust which by their own expressions was lost a long time ago and is getting worse by the day.

To restate this claim, below are parts of an article about this subject published by the state-run website Shafa online, on May 5, 2021, entitled ‘From November 2019 to the vaccination of 2021’.

“In the last four years and at the time of the corona outbreak, the gap in social trust has reached its highest level in the last forty years, which is not hidden from anyone.

“In simpler terms, social trust is the cause of the emergence of social capital. Social trust is one of the major and key conditions for the ownership of any society.

“So that if social trust at the community level is eliminated, then economic, social and political developments will disappear.

“For example, whenever the legitimacy and acceptance of people to government institutions and organizations is lost, for any reason, we will definitely see a reduction in social trust.

“The decrease in social capital in our country is not unreasonable, from the sudden announcement of gasoline prices in November 2019 contrary to the promises of the officials, then the story of secrecy in the case of the crash of a Ukrainian plane.

“Then the coronavirus further exacerbated this secrecy, or we should say lack of transparency, in the official announcement of the coronavirus arrival in Iran after the parliamentary elections, the discrepancy between the death statistics of the Ministry of Health and provincial officials, and more recently the vaccination and the corruption around it by the officials, which have deepened the social divide in the country.”

Fearing the consequences of the people’s non-participation in the upcoming election, it added: “Undoubtedly, with the loss of social trust, we will surely see the loss of popular participation, which in itself can have negative effects on society, as we will soon have the biggest event and elections in the last four years, and this gap must be filled as soon as possible.”

Then expressing the most feared concern of the regime which are protests and uprisings, it added: “Decreased social trust can lead to the loss of social discipline.” (Shafa Online, May 5, 2021)

Addicted Women’s Conditions in Iran

While the population of female addicts is continuously increasing in Iran, the government does nothing to counter this phenomenon except fruitless arrests.
While the population of female addicts is continuously increasing in Iran, the government does nothing to counter this phenomenon except fruitless arrests.

In Iran, the people daily witness the heartbreaking conditions of addicted women on the side of highways, the corner of ruins, or in destroyed slums. Iranian officials downplay the actual number of addicts to cover up their failure to contain this social phenomenon.

“Among 2.8 million addicts in the country, around 156,000 persons are women, meaning six percent of the total addicted population,” said Reza Tuiserkan Manesh, the director-general for treatment and social support in the anti-narcotics headquarters.

Many observers believe that these statistics are not accurate and include pretentious addicts. They mention official figures in 2011, which indicated there were 4 million addicts across the country with an 8-percent increasing rate per year. According to the 2011 report, there are currently more than 7 million consumers of different kinds of narcotics, including 600,000 women throughout the country.

Scattered Statistics of Female Addicts

Relevant officials occasionally announce some figures about addicted people. However, there is not a precise number of female addicts’ population. Based on some studies, women consist of between seven to 10 percent of addicted persons.

“Latest statistics show that nine percent of addicted people are women,” said Fatemeh Rezvan Madani, the chief of advancing prevention and treatment of addiction.

However, all officials and media approximately confirm that the population of female addicts are growing. On the other hand, official statistics usually contain addicted people who are seen in the shape of displaced people beside the streets or highways while many addicts have yet to lose their regular lives.

Iranian Women’s Consumption Pattern

Scattered research about addiction among women displays that during recent years female school and college students have oriented to consuming industrial narcotics. This issue is rooted in easy access to these kinds of drugs.

However, Rezvan Madani says, “The most common cause of addiction among women is addicted husbands, addicted parents, and eventually addicted friends.”

The addiction, regardless of gender, causes a lot of harms to the addict, relatives, and society. However, women endure more harms in comparison to men and tolerate social stigma. Nonetheless, the number of female addicts is still on the rise.

“In the past 15 years, research show that the women’s orientation to addiction has been doubled,” said Farzaneh Sohrabi, the social deputy of Cudras institute, in an interview with the semiofficial ISNA news agency. She described that women’s consumption pattern has turned from traditional drugs into industrial and psychiatric narcotics.

“An analysis of statistics shows that a high percentage of female consumers had oriented to methamphetamine, crack cocaine, opium-methamphetamine, and heroin-methamphetamine, meaning more than half of female drug-consumers—51 percent—use new and more dangerous narcotics,” Sohrabi added.

Meanwhile, official reports and statistics indicate the average age of addiction for women is between 20 to 36. Also, women mostly consume opium, methamphetamine, alcohol, and crack cocaine, based on official sources.

Reasons for Women’s Addiction

It is said that there are several reasons for being addicted, and its reasons differ between the people. Poverty, economic disorders, psychological dilemmas, and friends may lead an individual to addiction. However, most of female addicts in Iran had been addicted by one of their family members. In this context, Leyla Arshad, the founder and director of the anti-narcotics institution for women Khaneh Khorshid, says, “Addiction is not women’s choice; it is their destiny.”

On the other hand, some activists believe that the denial of addiction among women is not an appropriate path to resolve this social phenomenon. Nayyereh Tavakkoli, a sociologist, highlights poverty and the lack of family and social supports as the main reasons of women’s orientation to addiction.

“As we remove the issue and ignore it, these harms would not be resolved. Wide research must be done in the respect of women’s addiction to find proper solutions,” she said. “Many of youths orient to addiction due to frustration, failure, insufficient, and to free themselves from loneliness and psychological pressure. When the situation for women is such that this feeling is many times more than the men, then it can be expected that the tendency to addiction in women will increase significantly.”

Furthermore, the government does nothing to resolve this phenomenon. Officials’ only method for addiction is detaining addicted people for 15 days. Many experts criticize this insufficient and fruitless method. For instance, Leyla Arshad says, “The arrest is the only approach in this field. Fifteen days after arrest and prohibition of consumption, detained persons will return to the same place, where they used to consume narcotics, without principal therapy.”

UN Experts Call on OHCHR Commission of Inquiry into 1988 Massacre in Iran

152 former UN officials and international human rights and legal experts called for an international commission of inquiry into the 1988 Massacre in Iran.
152 former UN officials and international human rights and legal experts called for an international commission of inquiry into the 1988 Massacre in Iran.

In an open letter published by Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI), more than 150 former United Nations officials and renowned international human rights and legal experts urged UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to launch an international commission of inquiry into the mass extrajudicial executions of political prisoners in Iran in 1988.

In their letter, the signatories mentioned a letter by seven UN Special Rapporteurs to the Iranian authorities in September 2020. The rapporteurs had stated the 1988 extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances of thousands of political prisoners “may amount to crimes against humanity.”

Previously, the experts had called on Tehran to uphold its obligations under international rights law. They had announced that they would “call on the international community to take action to investigate” the cases including through the “establishment of an international investigation” if the authorities continue to refuse their international obligations.

“The letter states that the families of the victims, survivors and human rights defenders are today the ‘subject of persistent threats, harassment, intimidation, and attacks because of their attempts to seek information on the fate and whereabouts of the individuals and their demands for justice,’” the signatories wrote.

The experts stressed that the crime has yet to end, citing, “There is a systemic impunity enjoyed by those who ordered and carried out the extrajudicial executions. Many of the officials involved continue to hold positions of power including in key judicial, prosecutorial and government bodies.”

On July 19, 1988, the Islamic Republic founder Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering the execution of all political prisoners affiliated to the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). In this context, ‘Death Commissions’ were formed across Iran by a prosecutor and representatives from the Intelligence Ministry and Judiciary. Following the mass killings, Khomeini’s appointees expanded the crime to members of other groups within the second wave.

Notably, the current Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi and Justice Minister Alireza Avaei were among members of the “Death Commissions” which perpetrated and practiced executions in 16 cities across the country from July to September 1988. Afterward, the authorities buried victims’ bodies in dozens of unmarked mass graves in various provinces.

“We appeal to the UN Human Rights Council to end the culture of impunity that exists in Iran by establishing a Commission of Inquiry into the 1988 mass extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances. We urge High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to support the establishment of such a Commission,” the open letter states.

“This marks the first time that such a distinguished array of former UN officials is appealing directly to High Commissioner Bachelet to hold the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre accountable,” said former UN human rights official and JVMI representative Tahar Boumedra.

“The victims’ families have a right to the truth and to justice through an UN-led investigation. The witnesses are still alive. The evidence is at hand. Justice delayed is justice denied. The failure to act now will only embolden the regime to continue its cover-up and evade accountability,” he added.

Furthermore, on May 4, some 1112 families of the PMOI/MEK members who were executed during the 1988 massacre expressed their anger over the destruction of their loved ones’ graves. In a letter, they urged the United Nations Secretary-General, EU leaders, and the President and officials in the United States to take immediate action to prevent further damages.

“While international human rights organizations and experts have described the massacre as a crime against humanity… the Iranian regime has embarked on erasing the traces of the evidence on the massacre by destroying the mass graves where they are buried … These actions constitute the collective torture of thousands of survivors and families of martyrs. It is another manifest case of crime against humanity,” wrote the family members.

Iran Elections: Five Weeks To Go

An Iranian holding a placard with the slogan:
An Iranian holding a placard with the slogan: "The people are involved with poverty, and they (the regime) are thinking about votes.

With little over a month to go until the presidential election in Iran, there still does not appear to be a serious candidate and the infighting between the reformist and hardliner factions, not that the differences between the two are huge, has gotten worse.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif acknowledged in audio leaked last week that the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) dominate government policy, which drew criticism from the hardliners, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Now, the state-run media, including the IRNA news agency and the Vatan-e Emrouz daily, are warning that this could spur the people into a new uprising because of the precarious situation that the country is already in.

Another possibility is that the people, already acutely aware that there’s no difference between the two factions, will heed the calls of the Resistance and boycott the elections altogether. The Sharq daily and Mostaghel daily already warned of voter turnouts between 40 and 60 percent, because of the traction the idea is getting amongst protesters in recent weeks, including pensioners, nurses, investors, farmers, and workers.

In a number of protests since the start of the year, demonstrators from all across Iran chanted slogans like:

  • “We have seen no justice and we will not vote!”
  • “We will not vote, we’ve heard so many lies”
  • “Boycott of the mullahs’ sham elections”

What’s more, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK)’s Resistance Units have taken part in a nationwide campaign to promote the boycott and received widespread support for the people who are angry at the mullahs’ corruption and incompetence.

The Hamdeli daily wrote: “Before we worry about the political consequences of a low election turnout, we should worry about the social consequences. All candidates have a serious obstacle being non-participation in the election.”

While the Jahane Sanat daily wrote: “A large part of the society has boycotted elections due to mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis, economic woes, pressure on people’s livelihood, officials’ negligence regarding the social events of January 2018 and November 2019. Given the status quo, a significant voter turnout is unlikely.”

As a affirmation that the presidential election in Iran is just a show and sham-election, the state-run daily Shargh on May 6, 2021 wrote:

“In previous presidential elections, we have seen that some candidates were not accepted by strange interpretations, or they could not present themselves for the people choice, or they were prevented from the candidacy, being accused by expressions like non-practical adherence to Islam or the constitution, or like these, they have prevented the candidancy of those which they did not liked.

“A very clear example of this behavior can be seen in the situation of disqualification of candidates for city council elections. The law on council elections has not changed; But in the current period, with the dominant approach in the parliament, the qualifications of a large group of candidates for the council elections have been rejected in an unprecedented and astonishing way.”

Simply put, there is no democratic election in Iran and voting will not bring about real change, so instead the people should boycott the election and show the international community that the regime does not have the backing of its people and is therefore illegitimate. Following that, the people must rise up and overthrow the regime in order to change the country for the better.

And more astonishing is the regime’s Guardian Council on May 5 anncouned that the IRGC officers are allowed to participate in the presidential election and nominate themselves for the candidancy.

“Ministers, governors, mayors of cities with a population of more than two million, senior commanders of the armed forces with the rank of major general and above can be a candidate.”

Iran Droughts and Floods Have Easy Fix

The torrential rains in eight provinces of Iran created unfavorable conditions for our the people in these areas, which caused serious damage to many houses, urban and rural facilities, farms and livestock.
The torrential rains in eight provinces of Iran created unfavorable conditions for our the people in these areas, which caused serious damage to many houses, urban and rural facilities, farms and livestock.

Floods have hit 47 cities across eight provinces in Iran after heavy rainfall for the past few days and reports are still coming in about the damage caused.

These floods are nothing new, have killed, injured, made homeless, or otherwise destroyed the lives of many Iranians over the past few years, but regime officials say that the country is suffering from a drought with dam lakes all but drained and water supplies limited.

So how can Iran be experiencing drought and floods? Well, the answer comes down to corruption and greed.

The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) largely controls Iran’s natural resources and exploits them for profit, which is detrimental to the ecosystem. For example, they’ve previously dug deep wells that destroyed the groundwater aquifers. Currently, they’ve drained 74,000 cubic kilometres of groundwater, according to state-run newspaper Hamshari, which has led to an increase in soil salinity, land subsidence, soil infertility, and soil death. These actions have caused a major drought in a country with thousands of rivers and streams, which is situated between the world’s largest lake and a bay connected to the sea.

Dozens of aqueducts and bridge spans have been damaged and destroyed in flooded areas. The damages in Sistan and Baluchestan province alone reach 40 billion tomans. 39 bridges have been destroyed in Kerman province and 14 bridges in the flooded areas of Khorasan.

Reports indicate that the people in at least 6 cities and 47 villages in the provinces of Isfahan, Yazd, South Khorasan, Khorasan Razavi, Kerman, Semnan, Tehran and Sistan and Baluchestan, have suffered heavy damage.

Whereas the floods are the result of rivers overflowing after seasonal rains, something that happens year after year and that the regime freely admits they have no plan to address. After similar floods in 2020, Kerman’s deputy governor admitted that a failure to dredge the rivers was the problem, but these precautions do not appear to have been taken this year either.

The answer to both flooding and drought in Iran is environmental protection through a detailed policy that is back up with adequate spending; something that Iran has the opportunity and the finances to do. However, the regime refuses because they see natural resources as a money-making opportunity and are fully prepared to exploit natural areas in Iran for a quick buck, even if it increases overall poverty in Iran and results in unnecessary suffering.

The mullahs have even arrested many environmental activists and given them long prison terms for protesting the regime’s destruction of the natural world or even just for trying to study endangered animals in their natural habitat. A recent example came last week when the State Security Force fired tear gas at locals in Lorestan Province who were protesting the decision to cut down walnut trees in Kahman Aleshtar, which provide an income for villagers as well as all the other benefits of trees being left to grow.

In a tweet Mrs. Maryam Rajavi President Elect of the National Counil of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said: “I extend my condolences and sympathies to the victims of the floods last night in Kerman and Yazd, who have lost relatives or property. I call on the people of this region, especially the youth, to rush to the aid of the victims and help find the missing.”

And added: “The clerical regime is the reason for the magnitude of losses and casualties in natural disasters in Iran. By looting and squandering resources in nuclear, missile, and war projects, the mullahs have destroyed the infrastructure and left our people defenseless.

Maryam Rajavi: Prevent Destruction of Graves of Martyrs of 1988 Massacre

Maryam Rajavi at the anniversary of the uprising in November 2019 - November 10, 2020
Maryam Rajavi at the anniversary of the uprising in November 2019 - November 10, 2020

In a bid to cover up evidence, the Iranian regime is intending to destroy the mass graves in Kharavan of the political prisoner victims of the 1988 massacre.

The president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Maryam Rajavi said: “Destroying the graves of the martyrs of the 1988 massacre to eliminate evidence of the crime against humanity is a well-known practice of the clerical regime.”

Previously, graves of martyrs of the 1988 massacre and other atrocities in the 1980s were destroyed in many cities across Iran. These include the graves at the Behesht-e Reza cemetery in Mashhad and Vadi-e Rahmat in Tabriz in 2017, along with graves located in Ahvaz, under the pretext of building a boulevard, which was destroyed and cemented.

Maryam Rajavi has condemned the clerical regime’s inhuman act and urged the United Nation’s Security General, the UN Security Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council to condemn this act and take immediate measures to prevent the continued destruction.

In a speech made in 2019 at the conference of Calling for Justice for the 1988 massacre, she said that in the decades since, the regime has taken many measures to eliminate any trace of the mass graves, bulldozing the graveyards in order to build new roads and buildings.

Maryam Rajavi said: “The massacre in 1988 was the horrifying scene of such historic confrontation. But it was not the end. Despite its excruciating pain and agony, it was the beginning of a new confrontation which still continues and will ultimately write the fate of the Iranian nation with the word ‘freedom’.”

The massacre was orchestrated by Khomeini and his regime to execute 30,000 political prisoners across Iran, many of whom were affiliated with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Maryam Rajavi explained in her speech that by the figures and details of victims that the PMOI/MEK had compiled, the 1988 massacre took place in at least 110 cities. Maryam Rajavi said, “It is not an accident that these cities and provinces are hotbeds of constant uprisings and protests.”

She said the regime has evaded publishing information concerning the massacre and have refused to provide families of the victims with details about where the location of the graves are, all the while remaining immune from accountability.

Maryam Rajavi said: “The highest officials in charge of this crime and members of the Death Committees are among the senior officials presently running this regime…A number of them, including the mullahs’ Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, defend the 1988 massacre. They even say that they are proud of it. And still, they enjoy impunity.”

She urged that the international community and its leaders need to end the impunity of the regime leaders and hold them accountable for the crimes against humanity that they have committed. Speaking of the Call for Justice movement, Maryam Rajavi stated, “We will continue until all the details of this horrible crime are revealed until the graves of all our sisters and brothers are found.”

Iranian Diplomat Assadollah Assadi Drops Appeal, Has to Serve 20 Years in Prison

Fearing a more significant scandal, Tehran withdrew its appeal against 'diplomat' Assadi’s conviction; his 20-year imprisonment is now final.
Fearing a more significant scandal, Tehran withdrew its appeal against 'diplomat' Assadi’s conviction; his 20-year imprisonment is now final.

This article is part of our series that explores Tehran’s terror activities and Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi‘s role in a bombing plot against the opposition rally in Paris in June 2018.

On Thursday, May 5, Belgian lawyer Dimitri de Beco, representing Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, announced that his client has dropped an appeal to his jail sentence, meaning the ‘diplomat’ would spend the next 20 years of his life behind bars.

In June 2018, Assadi was arrested by German law enforcement in Bayern following a joint counter-terrorism operation by Belgian, French, and German prosecutors.

According to evidence and obtained documents from his car, the ‘diplomat’ had orchestrated a foiled bomb plot against the annual gathering of the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran in Villepinte, a suburb of Paris.

Assadi had personally smuggled 1lb of explosive material TATP on a commercial flight to Vienna, where he had directing Tehran’s intelligence station on European soil as the third counselor of the Iranian embassy.

Assadi had recruited three Iranian-Belgian individuals to perform the attack, including, Nasimeh Na’ami, Mehrdad Arefani, and Amir Sa’douni. The ‘diplomat’ had trained these people for espionage and terrorist missions.

Furthermore, according to his green booklet, Assadi had overseen an expanded network of Iran’s spies in Europe, which contained his appointments and payment receipts.

Following two years of investigation, the proceedings began in November 2019. However, the ‘diplomat’ refused to participate in hearings and court sessions based on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s orders.

The Iranian government had insisted on Assadi’s diplomatic immunity to elude the bomber diplomat from justice. In response, NCRI attorneys argued that diplomatic immunity should never allow an individual to walk on the streets and kill people.

Eventually, the judges ruled in favor of the NCRI, stressing, “Diplomatic immunity as the third counselor at Iran’s embassy in Vienna did not protect Assadi from charges of using the post for state-sponsored terrorism.”

On February 4, a court in Antwerp issued its ruling about the case announcing Assadi and his three accomplices guilty. The ‘diplomat’ was sentenced to 20 years in prison and other terrorists were convicted to 18 to 15 years in prison. The court also annulled the citizenship of Na’ami, Arefani, and Sa’douni, meaning they have to depart Belgium territory after the end of their prison terms.

The conviction of an Iranian senior diplomat highlighted the role of the entire Iranian foreign ministry in terrorism. In this respect, a panel of renowned American politicians attended a virtual briefing hosted by the NCRI on the same day, discussing the responsibility of Zarif and his department in state-backed terrorism.

They also highlighted the foreign ministry’s brokering for hostage-taking operations, forging travel documents for terror squads, funding sleeper cells, and spies, and providing diplomatic coverage for assassins affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force (IRGC-QF) and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).

Recently, in a leaked audiotape, Zarif openly admitted that the foreign ministry was fulfilling former IRGC-QF commander Qassem Soleimani’s plans. “I had spent diplomacy on the field,” said Zarif.

“The information about the regime’s terrorist and intelligence network, the names, and particulars of hundreds of its agents used against the Iranian Resistance must be made available to the public,” stated NCRI.

Also, NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi called on the European Union to blacklist the clerical regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards.

“The terrorist conspiracy at the Villepinte, France and the Antwerp court’s verdict showed that we are facing a case of state-organized terrorism emboldened by four decades of appeasement vis-a-vis the clerical regime,” she emphasized, adding, “The regime’s so-called cultural and religious, which are in reality the centers of coordination of terrorism and espionage, must be closed.”

Maryam Rajavi on the Protests Across Iran During the Past Month

Maryam Rajavi: Workers’ great festival, the auspicious feast of freedom and equality, will arrive
Maryam Rajavi: Workers’ great festival, the auspicious feast of freedom and equality, will arrive

Widespread protests took place across Iran in April, organised by enraged Iranian citizens, over the current conditions they are facing in the country. At every stage, the Iranian regime strived to quell the unrest. President-elect of the National Council of the Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Maryam Rajavi has spoken out in response to the ongoing protests.

On April 11, retirees and pensioners protested outside government buildings and social security offices in Tehran, and 26 other cities, against oppression, dire living conditions, low salaries and the increase in prices that are making it impossible for them and their families to survive. In Tehran, the State Security Force (SSF) blocked the pensioners and attacked anyone trying to take videos of the event to prevent news of the rally from spreading.

Maryam Rajavi said: “The nationwide protests by the dignified retirees reflects the cries of protests by all Iranians to obtain their pillaged rights by the mullahs’ usurper and corrupt regime.”

April 21 saw hundreds of defrauded investors protesting and marching over the plundering of their property and savings by the clerical regime on the country’s stock market. The rallies took place in Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan and Tabriz, with calls for the boycott of the mullahs’ sham presidential election. Some of the chants from protesters included; ‘Stealing from the nation’s pocket, while the Supreme Leader keeps silent’, ‘We will not vote, we have not seen any justice’, and ‘Rouhani, reviving the stock market is more important than reviving the JPCOA’.

In her response, Maryam Rajavi emphasized that “as long as the religious dictatorship remains in power, plundering, state corruption, poverty, inflation and unemployment will continue to increase”.

On April 24, 3,000 Isfahani farmers gathered in Isfahan to protest their water rights and prevent the diversion of the Zayandeh-Rud river. The Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor of the city had warned that any rally without the permission of the Provincial Security Council in regards to the river issue was prohibited, but the protest went ahead regardless.

Elsewhere, investors of the Azvico Company protested about the plundering of their investments that had been under the pretext of car purchases. Protesters were attacked by the SSF who tore up their placards and beat them.

Maryam Rajavi saluted the farmers and investors and said: “The protests and rallies by different sectors of the society…with slogans such as ‘The government betrays, the leader supports’…and ‘We will not rest until we gain our rights’ displays the Iranian people’s determination to overthrow the clerical regime and establish freedom.”

More recently, April 28 saw the SSF trying to cut down walnut trees in the village of Kahman Aleshtar in Lorestan province. These trees are the source of income for the people in the region and for years, the locals endured great hardships to grow them. A Special Forces unit fired tear gas and opened fire on protesters injuring many people, 30 of which were women who had led the protests.

Maryam Rajavi condemned the SSF’s ‘heinous crime’ and called on the people and youth of Aleshtar and surrounding areas to help the wounded.

Iran’s Many Crises

The 8-year legacy of the Rouhani government is the cause of social crises
The 8-year legacy of the Rouhani government is the cause of social crises

There is a multitude of crises facing the Iranian regime right now and there’s no way for the mullahs to escape them, except possibly with the miracle of a high voter turnout at the presidential election, which is why officials are heralding the June vote as highly important.

Despite how important it is to the continued existence of the regime, there’s still no serious candidate with just five weeks to go and infighting is increasing between the warring (but realistically identical) factions.

Last week, an audio recording of foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif surfaced, in which he admits that the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) direct regime policy to a major degree, particularly for foreign affairs, including that of Iran-backed terror proxies.

In response, those from the so-called hardliner factions condemned Zarif, even though Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei warned in March that it would be dangerous to publicly fight close to the election.

In an interview with the regime’s television, government expert Fouad Izadi called the release of the Zarif tape a blow to the clerical regime, saying: ‘In the United States in particular, we have two currents: Those who are anti-Iranian and those who are more anti-Iranian, and the more severe anti-Iranian current was very happy, because they said the same things from the beginning as saying: ‘Look, an Iranian official has also repeated our words’, so it was not a small blow to the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic’.” (Iran’s State-TV May 3, 2021)

Of course, infighting and an election boycott are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the regime’s problems. In fact, one of these issues – the economic catastrophe – is a contributing factor for infighting and the boycott.

Abas Akhundi, the former Minister of Roads and Urban Development of the regime, admitted in an article: The election atmosphere is very cold and the majority of the society has chosen to be silent.

“One of the reasons for this is the chronic inflation with an average above 18 percent for more than 50 years, negative investment growth for ten years, low or negative growth and near to zero of the economy for two decades, high unemployment rate, especially of the women, youth and the educated class. A persistent real deficit of over 50% of the budget in recent years.” (State-run website, Khabar Online, May 4, 2021)

While, yes, the pandemic is partially responsible for the financial problems, much more can be attributed to the regime’s policies. Rather than use the ill-gotten gains the regime already controls to help the people during this time, the mullahs preferred to continue throwing money into the nuclear program and terrorist proxies.

No wonder the Iranian people are furious; so furious in fact that people from every job sector have been taking to the streets in protest for the past four months. On International Workers Day (May 1), Iranian workers rallies in over 20 cities to chant slogans like “We will not rest until we achieve our rights”, which shows how serious they are about systematic change.

Trouble is, that change will not come from inside the regime. The mullahs and the state-run media, knowing this, are warning of a precarious situation that could see them swept from power.

The Bulletin Rouz website wrote Sunday: “People and youths are active on the daily basis in demonstrations, strikes, writings on the walls, burning governmental institutions, and installing posters of Maryam Rajavi and Massoud Rajavi in public places.”

Indeed, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran’s (PMOI/MEK) Resistance Units has been setting up anti-regime campaigns in 250 areas of 27 provinces in April alone. This is making the regime desperate and liable to fatal mistakes.

Iran Paper Warns of Social Collapse

A sad image of poverty in Iran
A sad image of poverty in Iran

Iran’s state-run Eghtesad-e Pouya newspaper has spent the past few days warning officials that a social collapse may be on the horizon as the economic crisis caused by the regime worsens.

Housing

In an article on Sunday, the paper quoted Vahid Shaghaghi Shahri, who is the head of the Kharazmi  School of Economics, as saying that there are “15 million marginalized people” in the country and that this has caused mass migration to metropolitan areas, intensifying the housing crisis, but what is the reason for this?

Well, unemployment has risen disproportionately in rural areas, which means that people looking for work will travel to cities where there are not enough affordable properties to meet the need.

Shaghagi said that this is the result of the regime not having a “clear [and] coherent housing plan” over the past decade, building 350,000 houses per year when 1 million were needed annually”.

Inflation, Income, and Iranian crude

Also on Sunday, Eghtesad-e Pouya quoted political sociologist Hamid Asefi as saying that Iran is experiencing “45% inflation” and 200% “point-to-point inflation”. Assefi explained that no matter if the poverty line is 12 million Tomans or 8 million Tomans, workers’ wages are still far below that at just 4 million, which means that the working class can’t cover their monthly expenses and the regime has been stopping workers from protesting this.

Assefi said: “People’s livelihoods are getting worse daily. [Because] Iran is governed by the sale of crude, mostly crude oil. The country’s oil revenue has generated embezzlements. As a result, it shows that governments are seeking to distribute embezzlements and rents. Accordingly, the people’s livelihood will deteriorate daily and year by year.”

Poverty Line

Last Wednesday, Eghtesad-e Pouya spoke to sociologist Mostafa Eghlima, who said that over 50% of the country lived below the absolute poverty line, but that the number below the relative poverty line, based on areas of the country rather than the country as a whole, is much higher.

Another sociologist Ahmad Bokharaie said: “80% of people are below the poverty line. Currently, our country has become bipolar, and these dipoles will lead to social collapse.”

Election

In fact, all of the issues in Iran can be traced back to the policies pursued by the mullahs and internal corruption, but still, the regime makes hollow promises with the hopes of getting people to vote in the presidential election.

Eghtesad-e Pouya admits that the boycott, organised by the Iranian Resistance, is likely to work because when people can’t put food on the table, why would they care about “election games”?

On wendsday May 5, the state-run daily Arman about the critical situation of the regime’s presidential election said:

“Encouraging people to go to the polls requires something like a miracle. In fact, this presidential election of Iran is more than just an election, and is considered as a referendum from another perspective.

“Therefore, participation or non-participation in it must be with the understanding and acceptance of this presupposition.

“We must be vigilant and think that today the sharp decline and poverty of public trust in the government has raised the alarm even more than the economic poverty.”

Iran Regime’s Growing Infighting

Abdullah Ganji, Editor-in-Chief of the state-run daily Javan:
Abdullah Ganji, Editor-in-Chief of the state-run daily Javan: "In the Islamic Republic, there is now a rift between the ruling political elites, which is more than just a matter of taste."

Just over a month ahead of the presidential elections in Iran and the regime is facing another crisis; this time over infighting. Granted, it’s not exactly the same as deliberately failing to control the pandemic or destroying the economy, but it’s still pretty damaging for the mullahs.

So last week, an audio recording of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is from the so-called reformist faction, was leaked. Then, Government spokesperson Ali Rabie spoke on Saturday about a “destructive bipolar” in society and spying accusations. Soon after, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei attacked Zarif and the reformists in an attempt to increase his hold on power.

The state-run media has long been warning that the regime would be taken down by a “political tsunami”, as the state-run Etemad daily described it last Tuesday, but they probably weren’t expecting this.

But the increase in severity and scale of these factional feuds is down to the restiveness of Iranian society, thanks to the coronavirus and the economic crisis, which are both ignored by the regime in favour of funding terrorists and enriching officials.

Regarding the people’s righteous anger, sociologist Ahmad Bokharaie told the state-run  Eghtesad-e Pouya newspaper on Sunday: “80% of people are below the poverty line. Currently, our country has become bipolar, and these dipoles will lead to social collapse.”

Protests have increased significantly in 2021, with major rallies being held by pensioners, investors, and farmers, which covers both the middle and working classes and eliminates what is left of the regime’s base. Alongside this, there are increased activities by the Resistance, particularly when it comes to encouraging an election boycott.

The state-run Bulletin News wrote Saturday, that the daily activities of the people and their resistance range “from protests and strikes to writing graffiti, torching [regime’s] symbols, and hanging banners of [Resistance Leaders] Massoud and Maryam Rajavi”, all of which has frustrated the regime.

This is something that Khamenei seemed particularly afraid of during his Sunday speech, where he spoke a “the great sedition” and “the bedrock of security breaches”, whilst warning officials about the Resistance’s growing influence on the public, especially young people.

The Iranian Resistance wrote: “The rising trend of protests in the last four months and their rapid spread across Iran, with people chanting that “we will not rest until we get our rights,” are signs of Iran’s explosive society and foretell another uprising… In a nutshell, the regime is entangled in crises and has no way out.”

A Look at Female Workers in Iran

The conditions of working women in Iran is the new appearance of modern slavery
The conditions of working women in Iran is the new appearance of modern slavery

To mark the World Day for Safety and Health at Work (April 28) and International Workers Day (May 1), we will now look at the issues faced by female workers in Iran, whose living and working conditions just keep getting worse.

Roles

Women have traditionally done around 80% of agriculture and irrigation work in villages, but due to increased poverty, they are now forced to take on unsafe roles in construction or even as a border porter.

Many women (and even children) now work at the brick kilns, where occupational safety is not observed and workers’ health is put at risk from smoke fumes and a lack of safety clothing. The low-paid work lasts from 7 am until sunset and they must travel a long way to get to the factory. Some will stay on-site, but report that conditions there are not fit for living with a lack of adequate bathroom space.

While there are no official statistics on female porters, who would have to carry heavy loads across dangerous terrain for little pay, there’s been an increase in the border provinces because of poverty. Even elderly women are forced to do this physically taxing work because their husbands have died or become disabled, while educated women are taking on the manual job because of a lack of employment at their level.

The coronavirus has not helped matters because women are much more likely to be fired during an economic crisis and those who work in artisan careers will have less trade.

Salary

In Iran, the minimum wage for this year is about a quarter of the poverty line, but to compound on this, women are often paid less for the same work because they’re hired on informal contracts, which bosses are reluctant to stick to. This means that their salaries are about a tenth of the poverty line, which has resulted in a growing number of households unable to afford meat and having to settle to bones instead. Worst still, around 80% of workers without insurance are women.

Safety

As with most statistics in Iran, the ones on job-related injuries or deaths are shocking, but likely still understated because of contract clauses and the regime’s desire to make the situation look better.

Between March and September 2019, 898 deaths were recorded as the result of a workplace accident, which is more disturbing when you consider that the true number is likely much higher.

And, of course, the coronavirus has increased the amount of job-related deaths because the regime refused to shut down non-essential parts of the economy and pay workers to stay home. Even workers employed by the regime have not been given masks, sick pay, or even money to cover hospitalization.