Iran Roundup, Nov. 27th thru 30th: Repression Continues but More Sanctions Are on the Way

By Editors of The Free Iran Herald 

Now bringing you updates on the events unfolding in Iran


On Wednesday, November 26th, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo again tweeted about Iran, first to thank the Iranian people for sending him some 20,000-odd messages documenting the atrocities committed by the Khomeinist regime when suppressing the protests of the prior week; then to reaffirm the US’s support for the Iranian people’s democratic aspirations, and finally to mention the case of Massoud Molavi. As the Free Iran Herald previously reported, Molavi was an Iranian dissident journalist living in exile, in Istanbul, Turkey, who was assassinated by regime agents on November 14th.

Reacting to U.S. pressure, the regime has announced that it will be holding its first ever joint war drills with Russia and China, Tehran’s two primary allies. “The joint wargame between Iran, Russia, and China, which will hopefully be conducted next month, carries the same message to the world, that these three countries have reached a meaningful strategic point in their relations, with regard to their shared and non-shared interests, and by non-shared I mean the respect we have for one another’s national interests,” Rear-Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, the commander of the regime’s navy, was quoted as saying. Russia and China have used their assistance to the Islamic regime as a cover to extort massive economic concessions from Tehran, whose officials have been all too willing to sell away Iran’s national wealth for help to maintain their power. Due to this, Iranian protestors have long condemned Russia and China in their slogans.

We are still learning just how large in scale the protests of last week were. According to the regime’s own interior minister, Abdol Reza Rahmani Fazli, demonstrations were held in 500 cities, located in 27 of Iran’s 31 provinces, and four of those provinces, namely Khuzestan, Tehran, Fars, and Esfahan, were driven into “intense unrest.” 100 clashes occurred in Tehran alone, and 200,000 protested, in total. As always, these numbers are most certainly severly understated.

The exact death toll of those killed by the regime might probably never be accurately known because, as previously reported, bodies are being stolen from morgues by regime agents to hide the physical evidence of their crimes.

Also, Internet access is still not fully restored. Five provinces are still completely offline, while mobile phone service is only working in ten provinces. 

More warnings of an imminent mass execution of the thousands of detained protestors are being received. Abolfazl Bahramipour, a cleric, on regime-controlled television openly defending the regime’s right under “Shari’a law” to torture and kill those they arrest.

Ebrahim Raisi, the judiciary chief, also promised a coming mass execution today, while visiting the family of an IRGC general who was killed during the uprising.

For now, Iran remains under heavy lockdown. IRGC personnel are celebrating their apparent victory on the streets, while the pace of arrests shows no sign of lowering. In one instance, all of the witnesses who saw a Basij member setting a pharmacy on fire, as part of the regime’s campaign of staged violence, were detained, while the Basiji was freed.

Anti-Khomeinist demonstrations in Iraq, however, are increasing and growing in brazenness. Today, Iraqis attacked the Iranian consulate in Najaf, the city at the heart of world Shi’a Islam, set it alight, tore the regime seal off the building, and dragged it through the streets.

The Iraqis continue their uprising despite a constantly increasing death toll, as the IRGC and its proxies deliver to them some of the same treatment they’ve given to Iranians.

The IRGC is continuing to proffer its usual bombastic and violent rhetoric. Its commander, Hossein Salami, has again threatened to destroy the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. US Senator Lindsay Graham responded to Salami’s statements on Twitter, writing that it is Salami who is the true enemy of the Iranian people.

For the moment, the IRGC’s position within the regime is predominant. Regime Supreme Leader Khamenei, in his most recent speech delivered today before an audience of Basij members (the Basij are the paramilitary wing of the IRGC), said that the Basij is “the largest cultural, social and military network in the world.” Khamenei is probably correct, in so far as the IRGC controls most of the Iranian economy, and is deeply entrenched in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. He added that the Basij should continue “be present in all Iranian neighborhoods.” 

Additionally, today, the regime firmed up its working relationship with another terrorist group, the Afghan Taliban, with a delegation from them arriving in Tehran.

Arrests Continue to be Made in Connection with the Protests

Over two weeks after the massive protests began on November 15th, the Khomeinist regime is still engaged in mass arrests of those it deems to be opposed to it. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) reported on Thursday, the 28th, that it had detained 30 people that day in Tehran, seven in Esfahan, and nine in Shiraz. In addition to known political opponents, the IRGC is also specifically targeting members of the persecuted Baha’I religious minority.

The Internet continues to be blocked in multiple Iranian provinces, but some unconfirmed reports indicate that protests and clashes are still occurring in the city of Bandar’e Mahshar.

On Saturday, the 30th, the regime again threatened Iranian journalists in London working for the TV network Iran International, described them as “terrorists,” and confiscated all assets they held within Iran.

More Documentation of the Enormity of the Protests, and the Viciousness of the Regime’s Response, Comes to Light

General Yadollah Javani, the IRGC’s deputy commander for political affairs, admitted in an interview with regime-controlled media that the protests of last week were “unprecedented,” in the IRGC’s four-decade history of suppressing opposition to the regime, and that the protests had spread through 29 of Iran’s 31 provinces.

Estimates of the death toll from the protests continue to rise. The Kalameh website, linked to the so-called reformist faction of the Tehran regime, posted on the 30th that 236 had been killed in Tehran alone. 156 bodies were buried in Tehran’s main cemetery, Behesht’e Zahra, while 80 were sent to other parts of Iran. Two days beforehand, Kalahmeh had claimed that the total number of those killed across the entire country was 366.

Meanwhile, those who lost family members and loved ones during the crackdown have been telling their stories over social media. One that received attention from Iranians worldwide was that of Pouya Bakhtiari. A 27-year-old electrical engineer, who was planning to emigrate to Canada, and son of a decorated Iran-Iraq war veteran, Bakhtiari was killed by the IRGC in Karaj on November 16th, in front of his mother and sister who had joined him at a protest.

European Countries Again Betray Principles for Profit

Six European countries, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Belgium announced on Friday, November 29th, that they would be joining the INSTEX trade organization, created by the UK, France, and Germany, to help the Khomeinist regime skirt US sanctions against it. The announcement was made by Lars Nordum, Norway’s ambassador to Tehran, at the sixth annual Europe-Iran forum in Brussels, Belgium, hosted by the Tehran-regime connected economic magazine, Bourse & Bazaar.

By doing business with a regime that flagrantly violates international law and morals, these countries are once again showing that their rhetoric, and self-congratulatory pose, of being staunch defenders of international human rights is hypocrisy, and that just as always, the prospects of making money through trading with Tehran’s regime overrides any concern for the Iranian people. Iranian democracy activists reacted with anger, but also with an understanding that this is how Europeans have typically behaved, with regard to Iran.

This move also comes after Tehran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, threatened Europe, and Tehran resumed uranium enrichment to levels above those it agreed to keep to under the 2015 JCPOA. Tehran was frustrated with Europe because, despite the European governments’ efforts to maintain trade with Tehran, so far, no European company has wanted to risk reprisals from America by doing business with the regime. Thus, faced with a possible danger, the Europeans are also choosing the path of appeasement rather than confrontation.

The six countries’ action brought strong words of censure from US officials, including Richard Grenell, US Ambassador to Germany, who suggested that any companies that embark on business deals with Tehran be added to the list of organizations sanctioned by Washington.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) also condemned the six European governments’ betrayal of the Iranian people.

One outlying voice coming from Scandinavia that gained respect from Iranians was that of Swedish MEP (Member of the European Parliament) Charlie Weimers. In a speech before the European Parliament, Weimers condemned INSTEX, and the broader pro-Tehran policy of the EU, promoted most notably by its foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, and powerfully called on Europeans to support the Iranian people free themselves from the regime.

The Iraqi People Continue Their Struggle Against Khomeinist Domination

The storming of the Khomeinist regime’s consulate in Najaf, and its burning to the ground, on the night of the 27th proved to be a turning point in the almost two-month long popular uprising against the Tehran-installed government of Prime Adel Abdul-Mahdi, and the IRGC-controlled Shi’a militias terrorizing Iraq. 45 people were killed during the fighting that led up to the consulate seizure. Having its installations torched and its emblems dragged through the streets was a powerful symbol directed at a regime that began its career of terrorism by attacking a foreign diplomatic mission, the US embassy seizure in 1979.

Twenty four people were killed on Thursday the 28th in Nassiriya, where protestors and security forces clashed over control of a key bridge, and four were killed in Baghdad, bringing the total number of those killed during the uprising to 354.

Matters then came to a head politically. v, leader of an opposition bloc in the Iraqi parliament, warned that if Abdul-Mahdi didn’t resign, it would be “the beginning of the end of Iraq.” Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, the head Shi’a cleric, who is opposed to the Tehran clerics, also called for immediate regime change in Iraq. The prime minister immediately did resign then, amidst scenes of jubilation on the streets of Baghdad.

Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation comes as a huge blow to Tehran and the IRGC. The commander of the Qods Force, the external arm of the IRGC, Qassem Soleimani, had been personally directing the repression against the Iraqi protestors. Tehran’s main candidate to replace the outgoing prime minister is said to Hadi al Ameri, head of the Hashd al Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units), the largest of the militia groups set up by the IRGC, but he despised by the mass majority of Iraqis.

In the meantime, however, the militias are continuing to assault the populace.

Iran’s Environment Continues to Worsen

Schools and higher education institutes were closed in Tehran on Saturday due to heavy smog. Public sports activities were cancelled, and children, the ill, and the elderly were warned to stay indoors. Municipality officials also imposed traffic regulations in an attempt to disperse the clouds of polluted air. Smog problems were also reported in other parts of Iran, such as Qom, Esfahan, Mashad, and Urumiyeh.

Iran has some of the worst air pollution in the world, largely due to the regime’s unwillingness to be concerned with the issue, and the antiquated industrial infrastructure that the regime hasn’t invested in renovating. 30,000 Iranians are reported by the regime to die yearly from complications related to air pollution.



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