Iran was rocked with protests on Tuesday, with tens of thousands of Iranians commemorating the major uprising in November 2019 and its 1500 martyrs. These demonstrations also marked the beginning of the third month of what many consider Iran’s new democratic “revolution.”
Protests reportedly spread to 60 cities and 40 universities. According to reports tallied by the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), at least 60 Bazar and shops from different guilds across Iran went on strike.
These protests and strikes, despite the regime’s heavy crackdown, once again underline that this uprising is uncontainable for the regime and the situation would not be the same.
The clerical regime’s miserable failure to quash protests and confront people’s desire for change has forced officials and state-run media to express their fear of the prospect of the regime’s overthrow drawing closer. What other choice do they have, facing an ongoing organized nationwide uprising and people chanting slogans such as “Poverty and corruption end with regime change.”
“Iran’s current situation will never go back to the past,” the state-run Etemad daily wrote on November 15. In his article, Abbas Abdi, Etemad’s editor-in-chief and a former prosecutor of the so-called “Court of Revolution” in the 1980s advises the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei to “Take a step forward because this could be accepted by people as the way out of this deadlock.” And what is that way? According to Abdi, Khamenei should use a “complex of independent and distinguished principals or renowned economists, athletes, politicians, lecturers, and artists.”
In other words, Abdi once again promotes “moderation” as the only breakthrough in the moribund regime from the current lethal deadlock. While Iranians ended the game of moderation in 2018 and now say the “entire system is our target,” Abdi tries to pull the wool over his own eyes. He considers moderation as “the only way for Iranian society.”
Abdi and his ilk of “reformists” want a share in power. They led the bloody crackdown on dissidents in the 1980s. Hassan Rouhani, the so-called “moderate” president of the regime, oversaw over 8000 executions during his tenure.
Yet Khamenei did not allow the rival faction to have a larger share in power, as he consolidated power in his regime by choosing Ebrahim Raisi as president and handpicking the parliament.
Khamenei cunningly rejected the so-called reformist faction because he knew that following the major uprisings in 2018 and 2019, the slightest gap in the top of his regime would soon become a deep rift, ripping apart the ruling theocracy.
Besides, due to the rising trend of youth joining the MEK and its Resistance Units network, and particularly the leading role of the latter in the 2019 uprising, Khamenei chose Raisi as his last card against the organized opposition. Raisi played a key role in the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly MEK members and supporters.
Yet, the ongoing uprising in Iran, spearheaded by the MEK’s Resistance Units, has delivered a heavy blow to Khamenei’s strategy. Officials of Khamenei’s faction acknowledge their failure in controlling the “organized protest,” and his handpicked parliament features daily infighting.
“These recent riots had a complicated plot, unlike the past scattered protests. Small groups would instigate these protests with timely and bold actions. They were fully organized and guided. Interestingly, once the demonstration initiated, these units immediately left the scene to start another riot in another part,” Ismail Khatib, the Minister of Intelligence, said in an interview with the website of the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei on November 9.
The revolution in the making in Iran offers no compromise to the regime and wants the mullahs’ downfall. The Iranian people have only “one way,” which is regime change. The world community should support their desire and recognize their right to self-defense and self-determination.