Iranians RISE and RISE again, to Combat 40 Years of Khomeinist Tyranny

Iranian people’s message to the Islamic Regime: “Enough is enough! Death to the Dictator”

By Editors of The Free Iran Herald 

Now bringing you daily updates on the events unfolding in Iran

Brave Iranian women writes: “Death to Khamenei!”

Tuesday marked the fifth day of continuous mass protests in almost every large city within Iran.

This is not the first time that Iran has seen waves of nationwide anti-regime demonstrations, 1999, 2003, and 2009 are just a few examples of prior uprisings. What is happening now, however, which is actually a continuation of the simmering unrest that commenced with the protests of December, 2017, and never was completely suppressed — When seen in the economic and political contexts of the straits the regime has found itself in, is leading observers to question whether the Khomeiniist dictatorship is on the brink of collapse.

The Setting and The Trigger

The initial spark bringing Iranians out into the streets on Friday was the regime’s announcement that gasoline prices would be raised. In Iran, the price of gas has been kept artificially low for a long time via state subsidies. However, as the regime is running short on cash due to the US sanctions blocking their oil exports, it announced, suddenly, that it would be raising gasoline prices by 50%, to 49 cents a gallon for the first 15 gallons used per month, and then 98 cents for each additional gallon consumed. While these prices may seem low by international standards, it must be recalled that Iran is a very low-income country – between half to 80% of Iranians live below the international poverty line – so every additional cent is of concern to a people who are already suffering from malnourishment due to rising food prices as a result of hyperinflation.

The examples of neighboring Iraq and Lebanon, where spontaneous mass movements have erupted against the Islamic regime’s domination of those countries, have also inspired the Iranian people despite the regime’s attempts to prevent news of the protests there from being broadcast inside Iran.

Thus, almost immediately upon the announcement of the gasoline price increase on Friday morning, November 15th, crowds began assembling to demonstrate against it in multiple cities at the same time across the entire country. 18 big cities saw massive demonstrations, while smaller were reported in at least 50 smaller municipalities. The biggest scenes of protest were in Ahvaz, Abadan, Mashad, Shiraz, Sirjan, Esfahan, Bandar Abbas, Khorramshahr, Karaj and, surprisingly, the Islamic clergy’s stronghold of Qom.

The slogans chanted by the demonstrators went beyond the daily issue of gasoline and attacked the Islamic regime itself, its wasting money on foreign aggression and terrorism instead of serving the Iranian people. In various places, the crowds called for the return of the Pahlavi monarchy, the government overthrown by the clergy in 1979.

Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, for his part immediately responded with a Twitter message of support.


The regime reacted with force, sending the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its Basij militia to supress the demonstrations. The people held their ground, and the clashes developed between them and the security forces, who began shooting at them. The first reported casualty was Javad Nazari, who was killed by the IRGC in Sirjan, during the evening.

The regime also began to impose blocks on the Internet, a standard tactic employed whenever protests occur to stop images and video from being shared on social media.

Saturday, November 16th

The protests continued after yesterday’s violence, growing larger and more intense. A big crowd in Tehran’s bazaar assembled, closed down the shops and began burning photos of supreme leader Ali Khamenei. Bazaars in Shiraz, Esfahan and Yazd also shut down. In Bushehr province along the shore of the Persian Gulf, the entire staff of the provincial government office went on strike in solidarity with the demonstrations.

Violent mobs have begun to burn down banks and government buildings. The regime is claiming that protesters are responsible, but Iranians on the ground are saying that IRGC provocateurs are committing the arsons as a means of attempting to turn popular opinion against demonstrators. 

Meanwhile, the death toll is quickly rising. 13 people were killed today as eyewitnesses are stating that the security forces are aiming specifically at protesters’ chests. An IRGC Colonel, Iraj Javaheri, was killed in Kermanshah during clashes with crowds. The people in that city have begun erecting barricades in self-defense using trucks and buses to block roads.

In Andimeshk, in Khuzestan, protesters have also blocked roads and the railroad leading to Ahvaz.

Barricades are also being erected in Tehran and Tabriz.

The regime ordered all schools and colleges in 13 cities to be closed indefinitely to prevent students, always vocally anti-regime, from creating more scenes of protest. Regime-controlled media were also ordered to downplay the scale of the demonstrations in their coverage of them and to report that all was only the action of a few “criminals.”

American government officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have begun issuing statements of support for the Iranian people.

Sunday, November 17th

The protests have now spread to 100 cities (out of 1,080 in Iran). 1,000 people have already been arrested.

The Tehran Grand Bazaar remains a scene of ongoing demonstrations.

Barricades went up Mahshar, amidst clashes with the IRGC.

2,000 IRGC troops attacked the city of Shahryar, near Tehran today after reports that protesters had seized control of government offices there. The death toll is now 37.

More deaths were reported today in Bebehan, and Eslamshahr. Shiraz was also a scene of heavy fighting while Bam has been completely closed off under martial law. Ahvaz also has been placed under military rule. In Karaj, however, IRGC soldiers were forced to withdraw after being outnumbered by the crowds during the fighting. According to some reports, IRGC personnel in Bushehr, Jahrom, and Zanjan have defected and joined the protesters.

Due to the bank and supermarket burnings, which protesters insist isn’t being committed by them, Khamenei and other officials have started referring to demonstrators as “thugs.” Protesters believe the regime forces are also targeting banks because their WiFi networks were left out of the nationwide Internet stoppage and thus have served as access points for social media uploads.

In the southern Iranian city of Bushehr, the Revolutionary Guards and Basij Security forces violently attacked protesters. In the township of Borazjan (Bushehr suburb) protesters chant: “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid; we stand together”

 

 

Meanwhile, 60 members of the 290-strong Islamic Parliament (Majles) have called for regime president Hassan Rouhani to be impeached.  

Brian Hook, the US State Department official responsible for Iranian affairs said today that the protests are proof that the sanctions are working by cutting off the regime’s funding.

Monday, November 18th

Fighting is increasingly growing harsher as crowds challenge the IRGC with strength of masses, despite not having much access to weaponry. Reserve Basij units have been called to duty. Roadblocks and barricades are hampering the IRGC’s movements.

☞ ☞  Below: A video that leaked out from Tehran shows a woman protester climbing a street lamp post, tearing down a “Death to America” banner with crowds cheering her on and helping her.

 

In Shiraz, two IRGC soldiers were shot dead by a superior officer after the two refused to fire on the people.

Another video shows fed up residents of the city of Shiraz setting fire to Islamic centers and the offices of various Mullahs and representatives of the regime’s clerical leadership. 

 

Also, according to people on the ground in Ahvaz, the regime has imported members of the Khomeinist regime proxy group in Iraq, Hashd al Shaabi milita (aka The Popular Mobilization Forces or PMF) from Iraq to reinforce the IRGC presence there. Though protests in Iraq itself continue and the PMF forces are being spread thin. Interestingly, a New York Times report revealed previously classified American documents detailing how the IRGC and its Iraqi seized control over Baghdad in 2014-2015. Other observers noted that this was another fruit of bad policy from the former Obama administration.

In the below video, a brave Iranian woman tears off her headscarf and begins to loudly cry out protesting against the Khomeinist regime’s oppression of people of Iran and Iranian women who have been long-suffering under the gender apartheid of the Shia dictatorship.

 

 

In the city of Varameen people continue night protests, setting fire to the regime security forces kiosks on the streets. 

 

Tuesday, November 19th

Heavy fighting continues, while the Internet remains offline. The death toll now stands at 106, according to a statement today from Amnesty International. Other estimates have put it closer to 200. Protests continue onwards. News is also being smuggled out that in some places, the regime has cut all electricity to punish the inhabitants.

In Shiraz, protesters briefly took control over the entire city. All government buildings, including clerical offices, were seized and torched. Crowds attempted to storm the city’s prison and free those held there. The IRGC counterattacked and is said to have retaken the city. The Qashqai nomadic tribe, which is armed, is now said to be fighting the IRGC, and inflicting causalities on them.

Regime forces also appear to be have been repelled from Shahryar.

Reports this evening are alleging that the IRGC is now engaging in a wholesale massacre in an effort to terrorize the people back into submission.

Families of those killed by the regime are being forced to confess that their loved ones were “thugs” in order to be able to recover their remains.

How Will It End?

If this movement is to succeed in overthrowing the Islamic regime and not be quashed as previous ones were, it is essential that the Iranian people find a means of communicating with each other by overriding the regime’s Internet blockage. Brian Hook stated today that the US government is working on creating such a network for Iranians. Other activists in the diaspora have been recommending that Iranians use the Mesh app, a secure communications program that has been put to good use by the protestors in Hong Kong. Activists are all posting instructions over social media for how to hide one’s face when posting videos.

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