January 5, 2018

Iran: the Hot Week

Vadym Volokhov

January 4, 2018, the week of people's protests in Iran ended. Protest meetings and mass demonstrations against the regime continue, despite Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari's statements. According to the Iranian news agency “Fars”, on January 3, he stated that “Our enemies should know that the military threats or security threats will not work against Iran”. “Today we can announce the completion of the turmoil and the defeat of the rebellion”, said M. Jafari. In his speech, M. Jafari emphasized that some IRGC units with a total of no more than 1.5 thousand solders were sent to only three provinces of Iran to restore order, and the total number of protesters was estimated by M. Jafari at 15 thousand people. Like all other representatives of the central government, he accused anti-revolutionary elements, pro-monarchists and other forces of stirring anti-government demonstrations.

But, it is said to be not quite so. Indeed, the number of rallies has decreased, but their tension and ruthlessness have increased. On the night of January 4, mass demonstrations took place in the provinces of Isfahan, Hamadan, Zenjan, Kermanshah and Kurdistan. In Isfahan, January 3, the protesters set on fire and almost destroyed the headquarters of the IRGC. You agree, there is not enough “defeat of rebellion”.

Mass demonstrations were held in the cities of Ilam, Isfahan, Tehran, Ahvaz.

The situation in other provinces is not entirely clear, especially in small towns and settlements.

Demonstrators throw stones on the Police and Basijes, the latter shoot at crowds of people. There are reports about the death of 5 IRGC soldiers. There are dozens of people killed in the city of Masjed Soleyman. It is virtually impossible to check, as the government blocks the Internet and all kinds of communication. Despite the restrictions on the Internet, a large number of video clips continue to appear on the web. They are all amateurish, short, without installation. The vast majority of them are taken by mobile phones.

Police behave extremely passively, there are reports on fights with Basijes.

The Supreme Leader's family has been moved to Turkey, his son now in Malaysia.

The idea of organizing “meetings of victory” at the expense of veterans of IRGC and law enforcement agencies failed. The regime managed to arrange such meetings in Qom and Kermanshah.

Pro-government rallies in Iran

As I wrote earlier, there is no talk about a revolution. It is a civilian social riot that has spread to virtually all provinces and large cities of Iran. The driving force of the protests is the middle class and the least secured strata of the middle-aged population. Young people are present, but not as the main element of protest actions.

A week of protests did not put forward a national leader or organizational group of well-known people. The regime is still unable to suppress the protests of the population, but cannot go to negotiations, because there is nobody to negotiate with. The situation is such that none of the sides can stop. The tension continues, the level of aggression is growing.

Mass demonstrations in support of Iranians protesting against the regime were held in the United States, Germany, France and Belgium. Demonstrators demand that the public pays attention to the difficult situation in Iran and support the Iranians in their struggle against the regime.

On Wednesday, January 3, IRNA, referring to a statement by the Parliament (Majlis) National Security and Foreign Policy Committee member Ali Reza Rahimi, announced that the government intended to remove all restrictions on the use of the Telegram and Instagram from January 5 this year.

Map of protests in Iran
Map of protests in Iran

The table shows data on people's protests day by day. It shows that the number of protests has declined, but they have moved westwards, in the direction of the provinces where the national minorities and representatives of other denominations reside. Now it's hard to say that it means something. Today, large cities with the predominantly Persian population remain the centers of the protests, first and foremost Isfahan and Tehran.

So, it is impossible to speak of the regime's victory, but it is impossible to speak about revolution either. There is still no leader of protest actions, so the people's rebellion remains a riot.


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