Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, October 11, 2020—In the past few days, Iran has been mourning the death of musician, singer, and regime critic Mohammad Reza Shajarian, an artist who helped shape Iran’s music in the past century. The events that have happened these days have done much to expose the inhuman nature of the regime and the Iranian people’s rage toward their rulers.
Following Shajarian’s death, many people took to the streets to mourn and celebrate his life. A large crowd gathered in front of the Jam hospital, where Shajarian was hospitalized before his death. The mourning rally turned into anti-regime protests. The people chanted “down with the dictator,” “down with Khamenei,” and “dictators will die, but Shajarian will live forever.” The Security forces attacked the mourners and tried to disperse the crowd. The protesters resisted and chanted “shame on you.”
The crowd also changed slogans against the state-run broadcasting organization, which had censored Shajarian’s art.
“The broadcasting organization is a disgrace,” the crowd was chanting.
Fearing widespread protests, the regime quickly shut down internet across the country. According to Netblocks.org, an organization that tracks internet accessibility across the world, the Iranian regime limited internet bandwidth as the gatherings took place.
The regime’s fearful measures
On Friday October 9, the regime prevented gatherings in Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery and dispatched security forces to prevent any gathering. Shajarian’s body was quickly transferred to Mashhad, and the regime banned any travel to Mashhad under the pretext of coronavirus restrictions. The funeral was held under the strictest security measures.
The regime knows that these measures will further expand the gap between the establishment and the people. But it also knows that any gathering could turn into anti-regime protests. Regime vice president Eshagh Jahangiri acknowledged recently that the Iranian society is like a room full of gas and a small spark could blow it up.
The Iranian society is in a powder-keg situation. The explosive state of Iran’s society and outraged people are waiting for any opportunity to rise up. It could start with a mourning ceremony or a celebration following a football match. Last week we witnessed two such events. On Saturday, October 3, security forces suppressed the celebration of Persepolis FC supporters with teargas. And in the last two days of the weekend, the regime’s security forces were on the edge, expecting Shajarian’s funeral to turn into an uprising.
It is worth reminding that these events were the first large rallies after the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. The regime had tried to use the coronavirus outbreak and its high death toll as a tool to maintain control over the society and prevent protests. The regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei referred to the coronavirus as an “opportunity” and “blessing,” though what he actually meant was that it would be a useful tool to contain the explosive state of the society. But the continuation of these movements prove the regime’s failure and sooner or later Iran will face a new wave of protests.