By Reza Shafiee
Hardly anyone believes these days that Tehran’s regime is in control. Second round of US sanctions hit hard Iran’s theocratic regime on November 4th; a day meaningful both for Iran and the United States. November 4, 1979 marks the start of a 444 days of captivity for American diplomats in Iran. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani’s new plan is “hope-therapy” for pushing back against protests caused by economic challenges in the country. That does not mean the Iranian regime has slowed down the crackdown on protesters. The regime hanged over 30 prisoners in November.
Protests and strikes continue
Daily protests are a logical barometer for gauging Iranian citizens utter revulsion at the regime. Strikes and protests which were once scattered and occasional now have become an integral part of life for ordinary citizens. in November, taxi drivers protest over low fares and high costs of maintains; tuckers strike for the third time this year because their demands have not been met; farmers strike for the second time this year in Isfahan central Iran over water for their thirsty lands; Tehran’s Bazaar merchants protest in solidarity with other strikers and economic uncertainly in the country; shop owners pulled their shutters down over currency’s free fall and lack of job security in Brigand and Sabzevar Bazaars in northeastern Iran; Haft Tapeh Sugar mill workers and Metal industry workers in Ahvaz (Foolad Ahvaz) walked out over job security and back pay in southwestern Iran; Azad University Students protest over mandatory dress codes in dormitories; nationwide teachers’ strike went on for the second time this year over low pay and job security. Those cover just one day of protests in Iran. Human rights activists have recorded 127 protests in first two weeks of last month across the country. The most widespread strike is of course that of the truckers -for the third time this year- spreading to 75 cities in 25 provinces.
Iranian strikers gain support and recognition from international unions. Truckers’ in Great Britain throw their support behind the new round of strikes in Iran. Industrial Workers of World (IWW) posted its statement of support on its website on November 14th. It says: ” Iran’s hardworking truck drivers are continuing their new round of nationwide strikes for the eighth consecutive day on Thursday, demanding the release of their apprehended colleagues and protesting skyrocketing spare parts prices.”
The statement also adds: ” Truck drivers in the cities of Bandar Khomeini, Parvizkhan, Gorgan, Zanjan, Sirjan, Shiraz, Farough, Kazerun, Marvdasht, Mirjaveh, Yazd, Tehran, Bandar Abbas & others were seen continuing their strike.”
IWW state also include other strikers:”Storeowners in the city of Malard joined the nationwide strike on Wednesday, refusing to open their shops. During the past three days, storeowners in the cities of Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad, Tabriz, Shiraz, Kerman, Nourabad in Lorestan Province, Babol, Gorgan, Saqqez and Baneh have been on strike, protesting skyrocketing prices and unbridled inflation. This nationwide strike has now reached 20 cities and bazaars in 11 provinces.”
The IWW calls on all labor organizations to condemn trampling of the workers’ basic rights and to demand the ruling dictatorship in Iran release all detained workers, to respect the basic rights of workers and to adhere to all international labor laws.
In the past week alone around 30 prisoners were hanged in Iran. Amnesty International was angry with the regime over recent mass arrests and execution of prisoners in the southwestern city of Ahwaz:”Iranian authorities must immediately disclose the fate and whereabouts of hundreds of members of the Ahwazi Arab ethnic minority being held without access to their families or lawyers.”
“In the last few days, Ahwazi Arab activists outside Iran have told Amnesty International that 22 men, including civil society activist Mohammad Momeni Timas, have been killed in secret,” adds Amnesty International.
After the US pullout of the nuclear deal-also known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)- the Iranian regime is under pressure to come up with a plan to counter the devastating impact of the pullout on its ill economy. Rouhani pulled out of his hat (turban) a ridiculous plan to push back against problems: hop-therapy. It simply means going around and lying to people about the faltering state of the economy. Rouhani said recently that Iranian economy is a “terminal patient” and has no time left. “The best we can do is to give him hope although is not going to do him any good in the long run, it buys him some more time.” Lecturing sessions and soothing words are no match for a country boiling in dissent.
Conflicting his boss, Rouhani’s Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri rejected hope-therapy as a solution and said: “It wouldn’t be correct to say that the sanctions aren’t impacting the country.” “We are doing everything possible to minimize the impact of the restricting measures on our economy,” he said.
Pressure in mounting on the Iranian regime. With or without Rouhani’s hope-therapy, Iranian people have demonstrated since January that they no longer will put up with the theocratic regime. It is a matter time.