Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, September 2, 2020—Workers of Iran’s oil and gas refineries, petrochemicals, and power plants, have been on strike for a month.
During the process, the protest has expanded to dozens of cities across 12 provinces throughout Iran. Simultaneously, the workers of the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Company in Shush, Khuzestan province, have been holding protest rallies and strikes for more than two months.
Repression’s dead end and nightmare of responding to demands
The continuation of these protests manifests the Iranian regime’s deadlock. On the one hand, the regime is afraid of the expansion of the protests to other areas. Meanwhile, given the explosive state of the Iranian society, especially the labor community, it has so far refrained from cracking down on the protests, because it knows that violent repression risks triggering a nationwide backlash and more protests.
At the same time, if the regime responds positively to the demands of one sector will activate other labor sectors and even other classes to pursue their pending demands. But the regime neither wants nor can meet these demands. For this reason, the regime tries to keep a low profile and make hollow and vague promises, hoping against hope that this wave passes and the status quo remains. In particular, the regime wants the striking workers, who have not received their wages for months and are under great economic pressure, to tire and just give in to the current conditions.
The regime is also using other methods of repression and intimidation, such as trying to cause rifts among the striking workers and threatening them with prison and death sentences. For instance, the regime has recently started to issue death sentences for protesters arrested during the 2019 uprising to contain the society and dissuade the angry population from taking to the streets again.
Following the execution of Mostafa Salehi, one of the arrested protesters of the 2018 uprising, the regime in another heinous act ordered the confiscation of the house of this martyr, where his wife and two children live, to send a message to the deprived workers that even if they don’t fear for their own lives, they should be afraid of the fate of their wives and children.
Resorting to intimidation measures
The sentences of execution, imprisonment and flogging for three brothers in Shiraz (south central Iran) participating in the uprisings in Shiraz and Kazerun should also be seen in this regard. These three brothers are accused of a long list of bogus accusations by the regime, such as membership in opposition groups, participating in rallies, writing slogans, propaganda activities against the regime, insulting regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei, insulting regime agents, and other such charges.
Navid Afkari, a 27-year old young man in Iran who is on death row for participating in protests back in August 2018, details the horrific physical & psychological tortures inflicted on him by regime authorities.#SaveNavidAfkari#StopExecutionsInIranhttps://t.co/BRLLgF0Brs— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) September 2, 2020
Currently, the regime is trying to create an atmosphere of intimidation by issuing and announcing these sentences. The regime is measuring the response by the society, and if it is sure the backlash will not spin out of control, the regime will implement these sentences.
That is why Ms. Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, while condemning and repealing all the brutal judicial sentences of the executioners, called on all Iranians, especially the youth of Fars and Kazerun, to protest against these criminal sentences.
I urge my compatriots in Fars, particularly the brave youth, to rise and protest the criminal rulings. And I reiterate the need for an international delegation to visit #Iran prisons and speak to prisoners, particularly to political prisoners and detained protesters.— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) August 28, 2020
What protests in Abolfazl village show about the regime's treatment of the people
In recent days, the events in Abolfazl village, Ahvaz, depict the balance of power between the regime and the people. On Wednesday, August 26, regime authorities stormed the area to demolish people's homes following a court order issued at the request of the Mostazafan Foundation, a corrupt government-run body that plunders the assets of the country. But the raid, in which security forces used pellet guns and tear gas, was defeated by the brave resistance of the villagers.
Consequently, the Mostazafan Foundation, which is supposedly a charity foundation, was forced to retreat and announced: “The execution of the court order for the lands of this village has been suspended for two weeks until the families are transferred to another place.”
This forced retreat further shows the regime’s fear of the eruption of anger and popular protests, especially in Khuzestan, where the Arab minority population has been constantly suppressed by authorities.
In this case, the regime is at the crossroads of greed and fear. On the one hand, the looting Mostazafan foundation and other regime-backed institutions have set their eyes on the good lands of this region, and they are probably considering plans to exploit them for their interests.
This is while, in an open letter to Khamenei in 2018, former regime president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed that Mostazafan and seven other so-called nonprofit foundations have a collective wealth of more than $161 billion. “The people are unaware of their work report, income and consumption," Ahmadinejad wrote in the letter, which was published on his website.
However, despite its huge wealth, this criminal foundation seeks to seize the lands of the deprived villagers of Abolfazl, who have lived and worked in this area for 40 years.
The foundation first tried to put pressure on the villagers by cutting off agricultural water in the area, forcing them to migrate. When this vicious method did not work, it tried to carry out its evil intentions through direct repression and dispatching security forces. But in this regard, it also faced the resistance of the people, whose lives and depend on these lands.
The story of Abolfazl village is a symbol and an example of the unequal war between the Iranian people and the mullahs’ regime.
On one side is a regime that knows no boundaries in plundering the people’s wealth and suppressing them. On the other side are workers, youth and people who are fed up with four decades of crime and corruption by their rulers. The regime might have managed the extend its rule through sheer violence and repression. But as the continued protests across Iran show, the tides are changing in favor of the Iranian people and their resistance movement.