The MEK ‘s role was notable in transforming this from an ordinary economic protest into a nationwide uprising for regime change, with its Resistance Units taking part in extraordinary acts of rebellion by plastering up posters of MEK leaders and slogans across the country.
The MEK reported that the Iranian regime resorted to a bloody crackdown on protests, with over 1500 killed during the protests and 615 victims identified so far by the MEK
A former member of the European Parliament and ardent MEK supporter Struan Stevenson wrote in The Scotsman on December 30 that the nationwide uprising has been largely ignored in Western media, even though Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and so-called ‘moderate’ President Hassan Rouhani ordered their thug troops to shoot-to-kill MEK protesters.
Stevenson, who is the Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change (CIC) and has spoken at many MEK events, wrote: “IRGC thugs and security agents have scoured the country’s hospitals, dragging the wounded from their beds. While the fate of those imprisoned remains largely unknown, there are many reports of protesters being tortured to death.”
He then named several of the protesters who were tortured to death in prison by the regime, including Hamid Sheikhani, 35, Kaveh Veisani, 30, Halimeh Saimiri, whose age is not noted, and Arvin Ranin, 17.
All four were arrested in different cities on different dates and their families were kept in the dark until they were asked to pick up their loved ones’ body or their relatives’ body was found dumped. Ranin’s family even had to pay for his body to be returned.
Stevenson, who has written many op-eds about the MEK since leaving office in 2014, wrote: “The uprising was triggered by the regime’s decision to triple the price of gas. This was the last straw for a nation whose citizens have been impoverished by the venally corrupt regime that for 40 years has stolen Iran´s wealth for the benefit of its rulers and to wage proxy wars across the Middle East, in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Iraq.”
He explained that this was why the Iranian people attacked the banks and institutions linked to the regime’s security forces and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). It’s why the MEK led chants like ‘Forget Syria, what about us?’ and ‘The enemy is here; they are lying when they say it is America’. The Iran protests were political with protesters demanding regime change and calling for the ousting of Khamenei and Rouhani.
Stevenson advised that the world must stop treating the Iranian regime like a “normal nation-state” because the regime’s “belligerent, repressive and vicious behavior” shows that appeasement is futile.
He urged the United Nations to establish a fact-finding mission to determine the true numbers of those killed and injured. Then, the UN should hold those responsible to account in the international courts of justice.
He wrote: “The ayatollahs have committed appalling crimes against humanity that require an immediate response from the international community… There can be no impunity for those guilty of such chilling atrocities. The West must show support for the oppressed Iranian millions, who now look to the UN Security Council for urgent help.”