Many experts believe that the Iranian regime is weaker than ever since 39 years and suggest that it is due to a variety of issues among them President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal. By having a closer look at what is happening on the Iranian streets across the country, one realises that the regime in Tehran is facing a more serious problem, which threatens the theocracy’s existence.
Today, the entire clerical dictatorship is challenged by mass strikes and sporadic popular demonstrations from almost all sectors of the Iranian society.
The nationwide protests started earlier this year and spread across the country like a wildfire especially with active participation from the poorer classes labelled by the regime officials as “the hungry rebellions”. The uprising shattered all the perceived expectations that the regime had support among those millions who are living under poverty lines. Now, after six months of sustained ongoing popular protests, the Supreme Leader’s hegemony of power is crumbling as the middle-class citizens also join the demonstrations.
This is because not only has the economic and human rights situation deteriorated but there is no outlook to improve them. Rouhani’s government has no plan to solve neither the economic nor the social crises as his government is not only riddled but moribund and incapable to fulfil people’s basic and legitimate demands.
The theocracy is currently in its most vulnerable position ever, salaries of workers are unpaid, the unemployment is skyrocketing and the free fall of the national currency has brought the government to its knees.
So much so that the regime’s National Security Council has warned about the army of hungry rebellions. But the more serious challenge to the regime is the Iranian people’s civic demands such as freedom of expression and women rights, which are red-lines for the theocratic establishment.
For many years, Iran pundits and proponents of appeasement policy argued that people in Iran do not want regime change. However, as the regime respond to the protest with usual brutality, mass arrest and crackdown, citizens both on the streets and virtual space consider overthrow of the theocracy an urgent priority.
That is why every non-political strikes or demonstrations have the potential to become anti-regime protest, which many do. For instance, a nationwide strike by truck drivers in Iran demanding the government to increase freight and salaries, transformed rapidly into anti-regime protests.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei felt the threat and took to the scene to warn about the main threat.
During his remarks on the anniversary of the founder of theocratic dictatorship, Khamenei said that the Iranian opposition movement, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), “adds fuel” to the fire with reference to the mass strikes and demonstrations across the country.
In fact, in countries under a dictatorship, if protests and strikes have adequate political support and media coverage, they will achieve the desired goals.
The Iranian opposition’s satellite TV and its social media bypass all restrictions in Iran and report news over the strikes breaking right through the regime’s censorship.
But what terrifies the regime is the NCRI’s annual gathering in Paris, known as the Free Iran gathering. This year’s event is on 30th of June and will give voice to the millions who are oppressed in Iran.
In her speech to the gathering last year, the NCRI president-elect, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, said “the regime is besieged by the poor and unemployed youths who additionally want regime change”.
Indeed, one year later, the world witnessed Mrs. Rajavi’s words translate into the nationwide protests. It is an evident fact that the theocracy has no future in Iran. Consequently, it is crucial for the West, and especially the European countries, to listen to the real voices coming from Iran, which demand democratic change.
Hossein Abedini is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. He was seriously injured during an assassination attempt on March 14, 1990 in Istanbul, Turkey by agents sent by Tehran.