The challenges facing Iran, including looming intensified sanctions set to be imposed by the United States, and Israel’s endless pressure on Tehran to withdraw its forces from war-torn Syria, are now augmented with dissent on the domestic front.
The suffering of almost dily defeats of the Houthi rebels in Yemen, supported by Tehran, in the battle against Saudi Arabia and the Arab coalition are contributing to the further deterioration in Iran’s domestic and international standing.
The latest weight to have been heaped onto Iran’s shoulders comes in the form of a sever fuel shortage stemming from protests staged by truck drivers and young citizens incensed over the government’s intention to divide a part of the country into two sections.
The protest has resulted in deaths and hundreds of people and of wounded as well as people going missing. Angry citizens have taken to social media, which is currently rife with calls to expand the protests against the increasingly beleaguered regime.
The online campaign which appears to have been gathering momentum in recent days calls on citizens to flood the streets in a bid to overthrow the ayatollah-run government.
Leaders of the protest, the vast majority of whom are young people, have nicknamed the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as terrorists and called on the world to incorporate the state-run corps into the list of terror organizations.
The leaders of the dissent have been joined by truck and bus drivers in 177 cities stretching across the Islamic republic, disgruntled by the poor salaries and difficult employment conditions. The drivers’ presence has contributed to picking up the pace of the protests sweeping the country.
Further intensifying what threatens to become a nationwide movement, owners of shops and shopping malls have also entered the fray by closing up.
One of the key factors that has served as a catalyst to the simmering discord is the “waste of state funds on activities in foreign countries” and the “sowing of terror and war in the Middle East.”
Citizens are also voicing their anger over the heavy hand taken by the security services against citizens, and the killing of civilians, especially women. A prominent feature of the online campaign has been the publication of pictures of women who have been killed by the regime over the last 40 years.
Pictures of some of the women have been paraded through the streets in some instances during protests.
Other notable aspects of the protests have included a spike in support for the female opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, who heads the People’s Mujahedin of Iran which was established in 1965 to topple the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was eventually overthrown in the 1979 Revolution.
Rajavi’s movement now stands at the forefront of the battle to bring down the current Shi’ite regime. Her brother was arrested for alleged collaboration with Israel during the period before the revolution and was defined as a political prisoner. Flags bearing the symbol of her organization were also displayed at recent protests and have permeated social media forum in the country.
The demonstrations are rarely mentioned in the country’s official media, however, which instead continues to focus reports on the regime’s economic and foreign activities.
Two weeks ago, a protest in the city of Kazerun turned particularly violent, with participants recounting stories of dozens of deaths and significant destruction while official state media reported of two deaths only.
A spokesman from the Iranian Justice Ministry said that the security forces “will push back with determination” against the protesters, who could, according to him, be exploited by the US and other enemies to topple the regime. He also added that the protesters are “part of the the psychological warfare” being waged by the US against Iran.
Source » ynetnews