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News: Iran protests

NCRI Online Conference on the Iran Protests

NCRI Online Conference on the Iran Protests-November 22, 2019
NCRI Online Conference on the Iran Protests-November 22, 2019

On Friday, November 22, 2019, Ms. Dowlat Nowrouzi, the Representative in the UK for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) took part in a live online press conference about the nationwide eight-day uprising in Iran and answered questions posed by journalists.

Mr. Shahin Gobadi, a member of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee moderated the conference.

Mrs. Nowrouzi said that the protests began on November 15 and spread with stunning speed. The regime engaged in a bloody suppression and completely blocked the internet on November 17 to prevent the news on the scale of the protests and the scope of its brutal crackdown.

She emphasized that Contrary to the regime’s assertions, and despite the widespread crackdown, clashes were continuing in different parts of the country. The regime is terrified of the re-ignition of the uprising. One obvious reason for this is that after eight days, the regime is still fearful; of resorting to the internet.

She said that based on information provided by the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK)

  • Protests occurred in 165 cities.
  • At least 251 have been killed. The MEK has identified 85 victims. Most were shot in the head and the chest by snipers. Some as young as 13 are among them.
  • 3,700 have been wounded.
  • 7,000 have been arrested. Fars News agency reported on the first day of the protests that 1,000 had been arrested.

Ms. Nowrouzi noted that from the very first hour, the regime deployed all its suppressive forces, including the IRGC, the paramilitary Bassij, the Intelligence Ministry and plainclothes agents and that in Shiraz, Mahshahr, and Kermanshah, it had used tanks and armored personnel carriers and had fired on the crowd from helicopters.

She cited comments by Regime officials and state-controlled media which acknowledged that hundreds of IRGC centers, offices of Friday prayer leaders, Khamenei’s representatives and other suppressive agencies.  

NCRI UK Representative summed up the characteristics of the uprising as follows:

  • The balance of power between the people and the Iranian Resistance is shifting.
  • While the uprising was prompted by the gasoline price hike, it quickly morphed into a nationwide and popular uprising.
  • The slogans were from the very beginning political and directed at rejecting the entirety of the regime. The most prevalent slogans were “death to the dictator,” “Death to Rouhani,” “Death to Khamenei,” “leave Syria alone, think of us,” “neither Gaza, no Lebanon, my life only for Iran.” The slogans reflected what the MEK had been saying for many, many years.
  • The speed with which the uprising spread was unprecedented. People’s anger was entirely directed at government agencies and institutions, particularly agencies affiliated with the IRGC and Khamenei’s office. The IRGC-affiliated newspaper wrote that the uprising had been organized and that the “rioters had been trained.” Those involved in the uprising were tasked with “attacking sensitive military and law-enforcement centers,” it wrote.

She pointed out that Regime officials repeatedly acknowledged the role of MEK’s Resistance units in the uprising, noting that with the uprising a page has turned in Iran and that the regime had entered its final phase. This is the beginning of the end for the regime.

Ms. Nowrouzi added that the uprising laid bare the murderous and barbaric nature of the regime and the Iranian people realized that there is no difference between the regime factions. Rouhani put aside his moderate posturing and called for a total crackdown.

On the other hand, she underscored, the uprising demonstrated that the MEK’s Resistance units have developed a deep bond with the population. Despite many years of suppression, the regime’s efforts to drive a wedge between the people and the MEK have failed. Most senior regime leaders admitted to the role played by the Resistance units in organizing and directing the uprising.

Ms. Nowrouzi recalled the message by the President-elect of the NCRI, Maryam Rajavi in which she asked world governments and the international community to demand an immediate halt to the killings and arrests. The UNSC must declare the regime’s leaders as criminals committing crimes against humanity. They must face justice for this massive suppression and bloodshed.

Mrs. Rajavi also said that the international community must strongly condemn the mullahs’ terrorism on the internet and assist the people of Iran in circumventing this inhumane blockade. She also called on the United Nations to send investigative missions to address the situation of the martyrs, the wounded and the prisoners.

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