Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Iran over the past few days, speaking out against both the “hardline” government of the ayatollahs and the supposedly “moderate” secular government of President Hassan Rouhani.
“Death to the dictator!” and “Death to Rouhani” are chants heard in at least eight Iranian cities, and the movement appears to be spreading.
On Friday afternoon there were reports of protesters filling the streets of Qom, Iran’s spiritual center, and chanting: “We don’t want an Islamic republic!” Another protest chant, “Iran is haphazard without the Shah,” seems calculated to annoy the mullahs and ayatollah. These are remarkable gestures of defiance against Iran and the revolution of 1979, which is officially regarded as a sacred event.
One brave woman expressed her defiance by standing up without a veil or headscarf:
Rouhani campaigned on economic renewal, including the benefits accruing to Iran from its nuclear deal with the Obama administration, and while progress has certainly been made – Iran’s inflation rate is a little under 10 percent today, compared to about 40 percent when Rouhani took over from his deranged predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – the crowd appears to be profoundly dissatisfied with the standard of living, and displeased that Iran is funneling so much money into foreign mischief and imperial ambitions instead of meeting the public’s needs at home.
Despite Rouhani’s promises, the standard of living for average Iranians has declined about 30 percent over the past ten years.
Protesters threw stones as water cannon came out in the city of Kermanshah, according to footage from members of the anti-Ayatollah group the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI):
Thousands of protesters took to the streets across Iran. Demonstrations began Thursday when hundreds protested against high prices and shouted anti-government slogans Iran’s second-largest city, Mashhad.
The crowds drilled to chant ‘death to America’ went off the script and demanded the end of the Islamic regime instead. Videos show Iranians chanting ‘Death to the dictator’ and ‘Death to Rouhani’.
According to media reports, the protests have now spread to at least eight other cities. “Police forces intervened on Friday to disperse protesters shouting anti-government slogans in Iran’s western city of Kermanshah, a day after similar protests in the country’s northeast,” Reuters reported, quoting Iran’s state-run Fras news agency.
Protesters chant ‘Death to the dictator’ and ‘Death to Rouhani:
The Mullah regime responded to protests by arresting dissidents and using riot police against the demonstrators. Arrests were reported in the Iranian capital Tehran as well. Muslim clerics, the backbone of the regime, urged Tehran crush the dissent before things get out of hand. Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post quoted a senior cleric close to the Iranian government:
A top cleric in Iran’s second largest city of Mashhad called for tough action by security forces after hundreds of people took to the streets to protest against high prices and shouted anti-government slogans, state news agency IRNA said on Friday. (…)Political protests are rare in Iran. But demonstrations are often held by workers over layoffs or non-payment of salaries and people who hold deposits in non-regulated bankrupt financial institutions.“If the security and law enforcement agencies leave the rioters to themselves, enemies will publish films and pictures in their media and say that the Islamic Republic system has lost its revolutionary base in Mashhad,” IRNA quoted prominent conservative cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda as saying.
The Iranian regime is determined to avoid the repeat of the anti-government protests, also known as the Green Revolution, that took place eight years ago. The popular movement began in 2009 when protesters took to the streets demanding the removal of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office following a rigged presidential election. Despite massive suppression by the regime, the protests went on for three more years.