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Iran News in Brief – February 20, 2024

iran itc retirees protest 19022024

THIS PAGE WILL BE UPDATED WITH THE LATEST NEWS

UPDATE: 9:00 PM

Tuesday Protests in Iran

Today, scammed shareholders and investors of Rezayat Khodro carmaker in Tehran staged a protest rally outside the Judiciary, demanding accountability for their investments.

Residents of Zahedan, southeast Iran, gathered in front of the electricity department to protest against exorbitant billing practices, expressing frustration over astronomical utility bills.

Retirees from the national pension and social security fund held a protest rally in Ahvaz, Southwest Iran, advocating for improved pension benefits and addressing their grievances with the government.

In Arak, central Iran, residents conducted the seventh protest against the Mazut-fueled power plant in Shazand, urging authorities to address environmental concerns and provide sustainable energy solutions.

Retirees from various government sectors, including telecommunications, staged a demonstration in Kermanshah, western Iran, demanding better retirement benefits and addressing their concerns regarding pension disbursements.

The simultaneous protests across different cities underscore widespread discontent among Iranians regarding economic policies, social welfare, and governance issues. These demonstrations reflect a growing trend of public dissatisfaction and calls for reform across various sectors of Iranian society.


US Navy’s Battle Against Yemen ‘Largest Since WWII’

the cradle logoThe US Navy’s current conflict with Yemen’s Ansarallah-led armed forces in the Red Sea is one of the most significant battles the US Navy has fought in decades, a US admiral said on 18 February.

“I think you’d have to go back to World War II where you have ships who are engaged in combat,” Vice Adm. Brad Cooper told the CBS News 60 Minutes program in an interview broadcast Sunday.

“When I say engaged in combat, where they’re getting shot at, we’re getting shot at, and we’re shooting back,” he continued.

Cooper, the deputy commander of the US Central Command, said the Navy had committed about 7,000 sailors to the Red Sea. CBS reported that the Navy had fired about 100 standard surface-to-air missiles against Yemeni missiles and drones.

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UPDATE: 12:30 PM

Exclusive: IAEA Chief Says Iran’s Nuclear Enrichment Activity Remains High

BRUSSELS, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Iran continues to enrich uranium well beyond the needs for commercial nuclear use despite U.N. pressure to stop it, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said on Monday, adding he wanted to visit Tehran next month for the first time in a year to end the “drifting apart”.

Speaking to Reuters after he briefed EU foreign ministers on the subject, the head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog said that while the pace of uranium enrichment had slowed slightly since the end of last year, Iran was still enriching at an elevated rate of around 7 kg of uranium per month to 60% purity.

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UPDATE: 7:30 AM

Maryam Rajavi Holds Talks With Romanian Parliamentary Delegation Led by Mr. Ardelean, Deputy Leader of the National Liberal Party and Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee

Meeting with Romanian delegation maryam rajavi

On Saturday, February 17, 2024, a delegation from the Romanian Parliament, consisting of Messrs. Ben-Oni Ardelean and Cristian Popescu, both members of parliament, and former MPs Romeo Florin Nicoara and Ms. Maria Grecea, visited Maryam Rajavi. During the meeting, Mrs. Rajavi discussed the underlying reasons for the clerical regime’s warmongering in the region. She emphasized, “Today, everyone has become aware of the role of the Iranian regime. They recognize that the head of the snake of warmongering and terrorism lies in Tehran. As a result, the policy of appeasement has been dealt a severe blow and is no longer justifiable.”

During the meeting, Mr. Ardelean stated, “It is very important for us to support your struggle. We have experienced dictatorship in our own country, and we understand your problem. Many in Eastern Europe support you and your fight to overthrow the religious dictatorship.”

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Iran’s Retirees Resume Protest Rallies, Call for Boycott of Parliamentary Elections

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On February 19, retirees from the Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI) across various cities in Iran, including Ardebil, Arak, Kermanshah, Sanandaj, Tehran, Tabriz, and Ahvaz, staged protest rallies to voice their grievances against the Iranian regime’s neglect of their demands for higher pensions and basic rights. These protests are part of a series of ongoing demonstrations that have been occurring weekly, underscoring the deepening crisis of living conditions for retirees who have been systematically denied their rights by the regime.

The protesters’ demands are centered around the implementation of a law passed in 2010, which mandates the government to adjust their pensions in alignment with the cost of living—a law that has been largely ignored, exacerbating the financial insecurity faced by the retirees.

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Secrets of Iranian Regime’s Parliament Exposed in Confidential Documents

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One week ago, a dissident group known as “Uprising Till Overthrow” infiltrated the servers of the Iranian regime’s parliament, seizing sensitive documents and data. Consequently, the official website, Khaneh-e Mellat (ICANA.ir), which serves as the primary platform for the regime’s parliamentary activities, experienced prolonged inaccessibility due to the breach. The group clarified that it successfully breached multiple websites associated with the regime’s parliament, including the library and the documentation and research center, thereby gaining access to a trove of information and documents. Subsequently, these materials were disseminated via the group’s social media channels.

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Iran’s Statistical Lockout and Its Economic Implications

Iran Regime’s Official: The Stock Market Will Blow

For years, Iran’s Central Bank has refrained from releasing inflation statistics, fearing that their publication might exacerbate inflationary pressures. However, contrary to this belief, the actual data indicates that withholding these statistics hasn’t curbed inflation rates.

This practice, which became commonplace during Hassan Rouhani’s presidency, persists under the current government’s leadership. Recently, the ‘Tasnim’ news agency shed light on what it termed a ‘statistical lockout’ orchestrated by Iran’s Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, the primary authority overseeing the housing sector. It revealed that the last report from the Housing Economics Office of the Ministry, dated November 2020, remains the latest available, with no updates in the past 36 months.

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Desperate Measures: Iran Regime’s Candy-Coated Elections

iran elections ballot

Etemad, an Iran regime’s state-run newspaper, recently released an infographic shedding light on the forthcoming parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections in Iran. According to their analysis, only 9 out of the country’s 31 provinces witness competitive elections, while the remainder are deemed non-competitive—a stark indicator of the regime’s grip on power.

Facing this challenge, the regime has resorted to desperate measures in an attempt to salvage its credibility. Among these tactics, as reported by state-run media, is the distribution of chocolates to incentivize participation in what many view as a farcical electoral process.

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Viewership Crisis: A Closer Look at Iran’s State-Run Media

iran irib center television tv

The state-run website Didban, affiliated with the Iranian regime, reported on February 17th about a concerning trend: a sharp decline in viewership for the regime’s radio and TV programs. The latest survey results reveal significant drops in audience numbers across various shows, with notable examples such as the ‘Tabib’ program retaining only 10% of its viewership, ‘Seyyed Khandan’ and ‘Pavarghi’ each with a mere 7%, and ‘Begu Bekhand’ with 8%. Similarly, the ‘Sarnakh’ program falls below two percent, and ‘Khosh Namak’ hovers around 6%, marking them as some of the least successful programs on television.

Even prominent religious programs like the Samte Khoda show have not been immune to this decline. From December 2019 to December 2021, its audience share plummeted from 26.2% to 18.2%, continuing its downward trajectory to approximately 15% in recent years. Another significant program, Meydoun, which was once among the top 10 popular TV programs in December 2019 with 17.8% viewership, has seen its audience dwindle to a mere 7% despite heavy advertising efforts online.

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Migration and Mismanagement: The Dual Challenges of Water in Sistan and Baluchistan

A school in Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast of Iran. The population in Sistan and Baluchestan Province are facing untold social and economic problems because of longstanding deprivation and poverty because the regime’s leaders have looted their share of Iran’s wealth. The coronavirus death toll in this Province has reached 3,571

In 2023, as the new year commenced, Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province encountered remarkably low rainfall during the autumn and winter seasons. Meteorological records indicate a drastic ‘67%’ decrease in precipitation compared to historical averages.

Despite forecasts predicting rain, the province witnessed minimal rainfall during the autumn and winter of 2023, with only isolated showers occurring sporadically. This alarming trend has prompted concerns of a looming drought crisis within the region.

Mohsen Heydari, Director General of Meteorology for Sistan and Baluchistan, highlighted the severity of the situation in an interview with the ILNA news agency. He noted that since the beginning of the crop year, the province has only received approximately ’15 mm’ of rain, representing a significant ’67 percent drop compared to long-term averages. Moreover, this figure reflects a ‘40%’ decrease from the previous year’s rainfall levels.

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Raoufeh Mirbagheri To Serve Eight Months in the Prison of Shahsavar

Raoufeh MirBagheri Iran

Raoufeh MirBagheri, a women’s rights advocate, was transferred to jail to serve her sentence. Raoufeh MirBagheri reported to the Office of the Implementation of Verdicts of the Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor of Tonekabon on Saturday, February 17, 2024. She was promptly arrested and taken to Shahsavar Prison. Tonekabon, formerly known as Shahsavar, is located in Mazandaran Province, northern Iran.

On February 26, 2023, the Revolutionary Court of Sari, the capital of Mazandaran, sentenced her to eight months of imprisonment, a two-year ban on leaving the country, joining political and social groups, and forming a group on charges of “propaganda against the state.”

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8 Iranian Banks At Risk of Dissolution, Central Bank Warns

melli-bank

Mohammad Reza Farzin, the head of the Iranian regime’s Central Bank, announced during an economic conference that a reform program for eight banks will be implemented next year, stating, “If they are not reformed, we will move towards dissolution and merger.”

According to this official, the responsibility for cleaning up the banks’ balance sheets is on the agenda, and the dissolution of three credit institutions has been implemented with minimal cost and difficulty.

An important point in Farzin’s statements is the number of non-performing banks, whose names have not been disclosed.

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Heidelberg, Germany—February 17, 2024: MEK Supporters Exhibition in Solidarity With the Iran Revolution

Heidelberg—Feb 17, 2024: MEK supporters organized an exhibition to support the Iranian Revolution.

Heidelberg, Germany—February 17, 2024: Freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) organized an exhibition to express solidarity with the Iranian Revolution.

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Copenhagen, Denmark—February 17, 2024: MEK Supporters Exhibition in Solidarity With the Iran Revolution

Copenhagen—Feb 17, 2024: MEK supporters organized an exhibition to support the Iranian Revolution.

Copenhagen, Denmark—February 17, 2024: Freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) organized an exhibition to express solidarity with the Iranian Revolution.

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Also, read Iran News in Brief – February 19, 2023