Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, November 20, 2020—On the outskirts of Iran’s southern city of Bandar Abbas, a poor, single, and unemployed mother was living in her small self-made home with her children. But her world was shattered on Wednesday, November 18, when security agents stormed her house and destroyed it on grounds that she did not have a government permit for living in the place. Left without shelter and any prospect for life, the woman self-immolated after the incident.
This is yet another instance of the regime’s lack of tolerance and its brutal treatment of Iran’s millions of needy and impoverished people. Some of the locals who were present at the scene filmed the incident and posted it on social media, which caused a wave of public outrage.
Regime officials deny responsibility
In response, the regime’s judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi tried to spare himself from the people’s wrath by calling on the Hormozgan province prosecutor to investigate the incident. Following Raisi’s remarks, other regime officials and organs followed suit and tried to shrug off responsibility by blaming the city’s mayor, irresponsible police officers and anyone but themselves. The prosecutor of Bandar Abbas claimed to created and dossier for the incident.
Fereydoun Hemati, the provincial governor of Hormozgan, criticized the security agents for “damaging the reputation of the municipality” and “disrupting public opinion,” tacitly acknowledging that the government’s main worry is not the wellbeing and livelihood of the poor people but the potential public backlash over this inhuman action.
Meanwhile Raisi, who is notoriously renowned for the key role he played in executing thousands of political prisoners, is now feigning compassion toward the very people whose lives he and other regime officials have driven into poverty and misery.
History of contradictory remarks
This is yet another episode of the impasse the Iranian regime is at. Iran’s society that is on the verge of explosion, another nationwide uprising. This leaves the regime at a very complicated position: On the one hand, it needs to create an aura of fear and control, to suppress the people, to show zero tolerance, and to exude power. But on the other hand, it fears that taking things too far will spark another round of protests, which this time will go even beyond the nationwide uprising of 2019.
The situation has resulted in unstable and flip-flopping behavior by regime officials that is only creating confusion and mayhem among its own ranks.
Earlier this year, in Kermanshah, the regime’s security agents destroyed another home, this time of 58-year-old Asieh Panahi, and killed her in the process. Again, in face of the public backlash, the judiciary denied having any responsibility and only promised to investigate the issue.
In October, the regime’s security forces paraded a group of youth in the streets and humiliated them by beating them in front of the public. The goal, of course, was to spread fear and to dissuade people from joining protesters. Again, videos of the event were circulated on social media and caused a wave of outrage.
Disturbing -#Iran— Iran News Wire (@IranNW) October 7, 2020
Another public display of violence, humiliation, and degradation by masked security forces, parading "troublemakers" across town while beating them on the head and forcing them to "repent" in public.
This disgusting show is a clear violation of human rights. pic.twitter.com/y4pkeeNl34
In response to the backlash, Raisi was once again forced to take a critical stance and claim that the judiciary will be investigating the incident. He also declared a set of judicial reforms that have never materialized and are only a cover for more repression.
There have been many such incidents in the past year, including the killing of several unarmed youths by security officers in the streets.
The inevitability of more protests
And while Raisi is making claims of protecting the people and supposedly investigating crimes committed by law enforcement and security officers, he is also calling for the empowerment of security forces and stressing that “national security,” by which he means “the regime’s hold on power,” is the red line of the establishment. At the same time, mass arrests are increasing, persecution of political prisoners is rampant, and the regime is executing protesters who have been arrested in recent years.
While regime officials they can maneuver their way through their own crimes by making nice remarks and giving promises that they will later renege on, the truth is that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. The regime can’t have it both ways: It will either have to rein in its apparatus of repression and violence, or go all in and defend its brutal measures toward the Iranian people.
In either case, it will not be able to escape the boiling wrath of the Iranian people, fed up with more than four decades of tyranny and corruption.