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Iran News in Brief – May 18, 2023

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19,7 Million People Across Iran Are Deprived of Basic Life Facilities, Official Admits

On Thursday morning, May 18, at a meeting in Isfahan, Ali Agha Mohammadi, a member of the regime’s Expediency Council said: “There are 2,200 neighborhoods and 19,7 million people across Iran who are deprived of basic life facilities such as housing, employment, education up to 12 years, health, food and clothing.”

According to this official, 874,000 children between the ages of 6 and 17 were identified in the country as school dropouts while one million and 800 thousand people do not have the ability to be rehabilitated.


Iran Protests at a Glance

Based partially on reporting by PMOI (MEK) Network in Iran

Thursday, May 18, 2023 – 8 PM GMT + 1

Protests continued across Iran on Thursday, following a busy day of protests by people in Isfahan and other cities as they sought to prevent authorities from executing three inmates in Isfahan.

Authorities in Isfahan had closed off roads leading to the city’s Dastgerd Prison on Wednesday night to prevent people from rallying outside the facility. Heavy traffic was reported in the area, and some people were gathering near the prison after being able to reach the prison’s vicinity on foot.

Locals in the city of Junaqan in Chaharmahal and  Bakhtiari Province of southwest Iran held a ceremony on Thursday to mark the memory of Jamshid Mokhtari, killed by the mullahs’ regime during nationwide protests.

A similar ceremony was held in the city of Bandar Anzali in northern Iran as locals are marking the memory and birthday of Mehran Sammak, a young man killed by the mullahs’ regime.

Locals in Isfahan and different districts of Tehran, including Ekbatan, Chitgar, and Shahrak-e Bagheri, were chanting anti-regime slogans on Wednesday night, including:
“Down with Khamenei, the murderer!”
“Down with the republic of executions!”
“Down with the dictator!”
“Down with the IRGC and Basij!”
“Down with the murderous regime!”

Protesters in Sanandaj established roadblocks and attacked a branch of the regime’s Bank Tejarat late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning to voice their protests against the regime’s intention to execute the three inmates in Isfahan.

Bakery owners in Ardabil, northwest Iran, held a rally on Thursday, protesting the officials’ decision to decrease their flour rations.


School Fees Hit New Record in Iran

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School fees for elementary schools reached 60 million Tomans, the state-run Tasnim news agency reported on Wednesday, May 17. Acknowledging the “low quality of public schools” and turning people to non-profit schools, the source wrote: “The tuition fees requested by some non-profit schools for the next school year, starting in October 2023, have been accompanied by a significant increase. This has caused surprise and confusion for families as some schools are demanding tuition fees of 60, 53, and 50 million tomans to register in elementary schools.”

One of the parents, who is looking for a non-profit school, complained: “Last year, I registered my child in the first grade of an elementary school with a tuition fee of 22 million tomans, but the school later demanded a fee of 36 million tomans for the next school year, and they even said that this might be subject to change. Due to the high tuition fees, I decided to change the school, but the prices of other schools were more surprising. I visited most of the elementary schools in District 7 and some schools had tuition fees of 60, 53, and 50 million tomans for registration in the second grade. This fee has to be paid for one year and considering 12 years of schooling, can families really afford these costs?”


‘War’ Over Iran’s Ban Suella Braverman & Tom Tugendhat at War Over Foreign Secretary James Cleverly ‘Going Soft’ on Iran

The SunSecurity Minister Tom Tugendhat and Home Secretary Suella Braverman both want to declare the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terror organisation. But they have been blocked by James Cleverly despite mounting pressure from MPs to proscribe the group, which they say presents “clear and present danger” to the UK.

Now senior Tories have accused the Foreign Secretary of being “in hock to the blob” after repeatedly vetoing attempts to outlaw the group. They say he is “too closely led by officials” and should overrule anyone advising him against the move. But defenders of Mr Cleverly say intelligence gathering is more important than the gesture.

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Central Bank Fails to Report Record High Inflation Stats, State-affiliated Source Says

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On May 17, in a report citing an informed source in the regime’s central bank, the state-run ‘Eco Iran’ website announced a 70% increase in the price of goods and services in March this year compared to March 2022.

According to this report, the inflation rate in March 2023 reached 68.7%, which is only one step away from 70% inflation and shows the highest inflation rate in the last 30 years.

Echo Iran has pointed out that inflation has increased by the end of the year 1401 [on the Persian calendar] and the Central Bank has not yet published statistics on inflation about four weeks after the end of March. Also, considering the soaring prices in March 2023, an unprecedented growth point has been established in the country. This growth was mostly caused by the increase in food prices and it seems to have a significant impact this month as well.


Iran Sees More Anti-Regime Attacks as Protests Over Executions Continue

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As the mullahs’ regime ruling Iran has been escalating the number of executions across the country, reaching at least 90 counts since April 21, the Iranian people are continuing their protests against these brutalities. Brave youths and members of the network of Resistance Units affiliated with the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran have been launching new campaigns against the ruling dictatorship and its entire crackdown apparatus in response to the recent surge of brutal executions. As the country is witnessing its 244th day of the nationwide uprising, people throughout Iran continue to specifically hold the mullahs’ Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei responsible for their miseries, while also condemning the oppressive Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and paramilitary Basij units, alongside other security units that are on the ground suppressing the peaceful demonstrators.

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Iran: International Community Must Take Bold Action To Prevent the Execution of Three Tortured Protesters


Responding to fears over the imminent execution in Iran of three protesters – Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi, and Saeed Yaghoubi – from Esfahan after state media broadcast their forced “confessions” and the Supreme Court upheld their unjust conviction and death sentence despite torture and fair trial concerns, Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “The shocking manner in which the trial and sentencing of these protesters was fast-tracked through Iran’s judicial system amid the use of torture-tainted ‘confessions’, serious procedural flaws and a lack of evidence is another example of the Iranian authorities’ brazen disregard for the rights to life and fair trial. Majid Kazemi said in an audio recording from prison that he was forced to make false self-incriminating statements after interrogators beat him, gave him electric shocks, subjected him to mock executions, and threatened to rape him, execute his brothers and harass his parents.”

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Labor Activist Anisha Assadollahi, Maryam Derisi Receive Over 7 Years of Jail Time

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In a recent development, labor activists Anisha Assadollahi and Maryam Derisi have been handed severe prison sentences by Iranian courts. Labor activist Anisha Assadollahi was sentenced to five years and eight months of imprisonment by Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court. Maryam Derisi, a graduate student and activist, received a sentence of 22 months and 17 days from the Fars Province Appeals Court. These rulings highlight the ongoing crackdown on activists in Iran. Anisha Assadollahi’s verdict, issued by Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, states that she has been found guilty of “assembly and collusion” and “propaganda against the state.” She has been sentenced to five years of imprisonment for the former charge and eight months for the latter.

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Struan Stevenson: Iranian Women’s Quest for a Free and Democratic Iran

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Issues and Insights published an article by Struan Stevenson on May 15 about the continuing struggles of Iranian women. Struan Stevenson is the coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change. He was a member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014), president of the Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14), and chairman of the Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14). Struan Stevenson is also Chair of the ‘In Search of Justice’ committee on protecting political freedoms in Iran. He is an international lecturer on the Middle East and the European Iraqi Freedom Association president. His latest book is titled ‘Dictatorship and Revolution. Iran – A Contemporary History.’

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Inside Tehran’s Agenda To Derail Congressional Support for Iran’s Revolution

Iran Opposition MEK

In a Twitter thread, the Iranian American Community of North Carolina unveiled the Iranian regime’s intricate campaign within the U.S. Congress to undermine the Iran uprising and those advocating for change in Iran. To conceal its agenda, the campaign uses the death of Mahsa Amini, a youth killed by the regime’s morality police in September 2022. The regime’s objective in Iran is to disrupt the revolution and target individuals seeking regime change, particularly the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the primary Iranian opposition group. Tehran employs various individuals and questionable organizations to discredit the MEK and tarnish the reputation of Maryam Rajavi, the President-Elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

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Also, read Iran News in Brief – May 17, 2023