The radical Islamic government of Iran is being buffeted by some of its most serious protests yet, with momentum so far-reaching that businesses — and the all-important oil sector — are threatening to go on strike. It is the clearest sign in decades that the Iranian people are ready to cut the mullahs and their murderous cohorts down to size.
Past protests in Iran have been met with swift and brutal opposition with the mullahs sending out the vicious Revolutionary Guard security forces, a group the Trump administration labeled a terrorist organization in 2019, to crack down on mass protests and to cart off dissidents for torture and death. But so far, the ruling national government has not deployed its most zealous security agency, according to the U.K. Guardian.
One reason for that, according to the paper’s expert, is that protesters have changed tactics. In the past they met in groups of thousands and marched in big cities, making themselves big targets for the mullahs and their goon squads. But this time, protesters are fanning out in smaller groups and hitting areas they had never gathered in before, forcing police and security forces to spread their own operatives thin.
The cause that marchers are organizing for today is far different from past protests, too. In 2009 and 2019, demonstrations where the Revolutionary Guard was able to mow down marchers by the hundreds were organized for rigged elections and high oil prices, the Guardian reported, issues that were a bit less personal than what is occurring today.
The regime also used “legal” moves to quash the heart of dissent. In 2020, for instance, the mullahs made a big show of executing a journalist for encouraging protests in 2017.
The protests we are seeing this time have risen in the wake of the death of a woman in police custody who protesters insist was raped, tortured, and beaten to death merely because she was “incorrectly” wearing her Islamic head scarf, or hijab.
The woman, Mahsa Amini, was reportedly visiting Iran’s capital city of Tehran when she was set upon by the “morality police,” an extra-legal force of thugs who patrol Iranian cities looking for women who are violating the country’s strict Islamic codes for dress and comportment.
These “police” officers loaded Amini into a vehicle and took her to their headquarters. But not long after, she appeared in a hospital, brutalized and unconscious. Several days later, she died without ever having woken up, according to the Guardian.
Since Amini’s death, protests have been growing. In fact, women have begun flouting the hijab rules and have been seen bareheaded, without scarfs at all in Tehran, according to the Guardian
The protests have been personalized to the greatest extent ever since the Islamic Revolution of 1978 and some experts say this could be the catalyst that drives the radical Islamic regime out of power at long last.
“People are chanting death to the dictator – the legitimacy of the regime has been put under question,” said Chowra Makaremi, a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris, according to the Guardian.
“The protests have brought together the most diverse group of dissidents yet, because of economic and political problems impacting the whole country,” the paper added.
A principal weapon the government has wielded is a shutdown of the Internet and phones, preventing some protesters from communicating and planning. But despite that, Elon Musk recently noted that his Starlink has helped protesters circumvent some of the government’s control.
And the Iranian people have had it, Makareme told the Guardian.
“The Iranian people have been suffering economically because of sanctions,” she said. “And this economic pressure has been compounded with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated unemployment.”
Buttressing that possibility is the fact that some hints have been coming out of the country that the business class is on the verge of joining the protests and going on strike in support. And one of the industries that seems poised to be hit by strikes is the oil industry.
A recent, Farsi-language post at Radio Farda, the Iranian branch of U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty points out that oil workers are saying that if they strike, they will crush the country’s economy.
“We support the people’s struggles against organized and everyday violence against women and against the poverty and hell that dominates the society,” the Organizing Council of Oil Contract Workers said. according to a translation published by OilPrice.com, an energy news website.
And the threats of strikes is growing.
“On Monday, the education sector declared a nationwide strike – more than 15 universities [along with] students and professors joined,” Makaremi told the Guardian.
Now, according to the Guardian, the threatened oil workers’ strike puts the country’s economy “at risk of a complete collapse, especially since Iran’s oil industry is its strongest economic sector,” the Guardian reported.
Iranian oil industry contract workers have warned the government to end its crackdown on protesters or they will strike, a move that could cripple a key sector of the economy.https://t.co/vSdJLP42tx
— OilPrice.com (@OilandEnergy) September 28, 2022
There are other pressures inside the oppressive country. As conservative columnist Daniel Pipes wrote at Newsweek in October 2021, authorities have been fighting against a resurgence of Christianity over the last few years, too. The growing number of Christians has sent Iranian security forces into overtime, Pipes wrote, hunting, capturing, torturing, and killing Christians all across the Islamic Republic.
But Iranian authorities continue to attempt to export terrorism outside their borders, as well. Only a month ago, for instance, an Iranian operative was charged by the Department of Justice for a plot to assassinate former Trump security adviser John Bolton.
That same month, the Islamic Republic issued threats of a “nuclear nightmare” aimed at New York City if the Biden administration didn’t cave in to the Mullah’s demands.
Iran watchers have for years been expecting the people of Iran to get fed up enough to tear down the mad mullahs, take away their power, and put an end to all this terrorism, despotism, and brutality. So far, that hasn’t happened. But maybe the seeds are planted at last.
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