There is open revolt in Iran and for some reason, no one seems to be talking about it.
Protestors first hit the streets over the issue of rising fuel prices and were met with a brutal crackdown by the Iranian regime. The situation escalated at an alarming rate with an internet blackout starting on the 16th of November near masking the news while comrades international were focused on Hong Kong, Bolivia and Chile.
By the 19th, Amnesty International said that at least 106 people had been killed and that the number may be much higher. The Iranian government called it “baseless allegations and fabricated figures.” Meanwhile, a UN agency said that it was looking to be more like 200 and Anarchists on the ground put the figure closer to 3/500.
It’s hard to pin a figure on the dead with only the broadcasts of the Iranian government to turn to, and they were pouring out a mixture of protestors burning Qurans in Tehran and pro-government rallies in an attempt to alienate the protestors from their communities. Through VPN’s and the occasional bit of signal the odd status update or picture leaked out, however, these calls for support seem to been drowned out in the reams of shocking footage coming from elsewhere.
So here is the situation.
In 2015, the US imposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran and there was a subsequent economic collapse. This, of course, overwhelmingly affected the working class Iranians, while the parasites in control remained quite comfortable. President Hassan Rouhani’s solution was to raise the fuel price (as opposed to say increasing the taxation of the economically wealthy) and this saw an explosion of civil unrest. Iran has the cheapest petrol prices in the world. Sitting on top of the fourth largest oil reserves, petrol is seen as something which should be accessible to all in abundance. A rise of nearly 200% was simply intolerable to working class Iranians.
However, the fuel price increase is simply the straw that broken the camels back as the people face a constant waves of government corruption and widespread poverty which sees millions unemployed or living extremely precarious lives, depriving them education, healthcare, food, and housing.
Protestors were initially met with water cannons and tear gas. This quickly escalated to live ammunition and local Anarchist comrades reporting tanks on the streets and people being shot at from helicopters.
On the 25th November, the internet was restored. Reports came out indicating at the very least there were 400 deaths, 4000 injuries and some 10,000 arrests. Anarchists comrades report protests in 170 cities being composed of a mixture of workers, students and the homeless, identifying it as a class war. The protesters were now demanding the overthrow of the Iranian regime, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) due to their corruption and the plague of economic problems and the lack of freedom and fundamental rights.
A statement by The Iranian leftist diaspora in the United Kingdom, France and Germany, formed by a loose coalition of academics and militants calling upon the global left to express solidarity with those struggling in Iran was issued later that day:
“Our world is on fire. Not only forests but also cities are burning all over the world. Social conflicts of all sorts are erupting, spreading their flames across the planet: Algeria, Chile, Ecuador, Haiti, Hong Kong, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, you name it. Located within this global context of struggles against the social hell of neoliberal, financialized capitalism, there has been another mass uprising in Iran since November 15 …
…. There are many videos showing the police shooting demonstrators in the head and chest — as we observed before in the case of Iraq. This happened mainly in the Kurdish and Arab provinces whose discriminated people are once again at the very forefront of the uprising and have paid the highest price…
… The left needs to learn from the oppressed classes to simultaneously oppose US imperialism (especially US sanctions) and the Islamic Republic’s interventions in the region.
We, the undersigned academics and militants, urge the global left to break its silence and express its solidarity with the people of Iran and their resistance.
It is pointless for us to demand anything from the Islamic Republic, but we will demand from our comrades and progressive forces all over the world to be — in any possible form — the voice of the oppressed people in Iran suffocated by the forced isolation. We also call on the international left to condemn the atrocities of the regime against its own people.
Finally, we stand in solidarity with the Iranian protesters who are reclaiming their dignity by refusing austerity, authoritarianism, militarization of society, as well as any other form of domination that stifles their autonomy and freedom.”
This was subsequently followed by The Anarchist Union of Iran and Afghanistan issuing a statement for a call to arms on the 26th:
“The Anarchist Union of Iran and Afghanistan believes that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regime will not hesitate to massacre millions of Iranians, like it has done in Syria and Iraq as well as in Iran these these last few days. Therefore, the Anarchist Union of Iran and Afghanistan is prepared to declare that it will cooperate with all Kurdish, Arab and Baloch armed opposition forces. With respect to the widespread repression of defenseless people in Iran, we must be able to provide them with the right tools to defend themselves, before there are more dead and the people’s movement has been permanently suppressed. Therefore the need to form an armed revolutionary front to support and defend the people against the Islamic regime’s executioners is urgent and necessary. If it is possible to transport weapons to people inside Iran, you should not hesitate for a moment to prevent more people from being bled and buried. The duty of the revolutionary and radical opposition outside of Iran is to provide logistical and strategic support to the struggles and resistance of the people inside Iran”
These statements come just days after President Hassan Rouhani celebrating on the 20th remarked “our people have been victorious against… the enemy’s conspiracy” stating that “Those anarchists who came out onto the streets were few in number,” he said, insisting “this is the biggest display of the power of the nation of Iran”.
Two days later protestors burnt down a bank in Behbahan.
It would seem he is wrong.
It would seem that Iran is gearing up for a revolution.
Express your solidarity.
Peter Ó Máille