Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, November 23, 2019—The Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) held a live online press conference on Friday, November 22, featuring Ms. Dowlat Nowrouzi, the NCRI Representative in the UK a covering the nationwide uprising in Iran, answering questions raised by journalists.
Mr. Shahin Gobadi, a member of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee and the press spokesperson of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), moderated the conference.
#MEK sources Reported:— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) 22 November 2019
-#IranProtests occurred in 148cities.
-At least 251 have been killed. The MEK has identified 85 victims. Most were shot in the head and the chest by snipers. Some as young as 13 are among them.
-3,700 have been wounded.
-7,000 have been arrested.#FreeIran pic.twitter.com/L87UseHm3M
The protests began on November 15 and quickly spread in cities checkered across the country with remarkable speed, Ms. Nowrouzi said. The mullahs’ regime launched a massive and bloody crackdown parallel to completely blocking the internet on November 17 to prevent activists from posting news and footage depicting the vast scale of the protests and the scope of the regime’s brutal crackdown.
#Live Conf: Contrary to the claims by regime& despite the massive crackdown,#IranProtests are continuing all over the country. The ppl have repelled the #IRGC’s onslaught &forced them into retreat. One obvious reason 4this is that after 8days, Internet is still shut.#FreeIran pic.twitter.com/f4URc5mdgv— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) 22 November 2019
Contrary to the mullahs’ claims, and despite the authorities resorting to a widespread crackdown, clashes continued in different cities and towns throughout the country, Ms. Nowrouzi added. The regime is deeply concerned of an uprising re-ignition. Based on information and constant reports provided by the PMOI/MEK network protests spread to 165 cities and towns.
At least 251 people were killed by the mullahs’ regime, she added. The MEK has identified 85 victims. Most were shot in the head and the chest by snipers, some being as young as 13 years of age. At least 3,700 are wounded, many being arrested while in hospital and transferred by security forces to unknown locations. At least 7,000 have been arrested. The IRGC-linked Fars news agency reported 1,000 arrests on the first day of the protests.
#IranProtests Conf.— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) 22 November 2019
Dowlat Nowruzi:There is no legitimacy in dealing with this regime any longer. We call on the Intl community for decisiveness and to impose maximum sanctions on the criminal regime. Also to #BlackListRouhani & #Khamenei, in addition to #BlackListIRGC#FreeIran pic.twitter.com/Y6Fvah1hhq
From the very first hour of this uprising, the regime deployed all its suppressive forces, including the IRGC, the paramilitary Basij, the Intelligence Ministry and plainclothes agents, Ms. Nowrouzi noted. In the cities of Shiraz, Mahshahr and Kermanshah, authorities deployed tanks and armored personnel carriers, and even resorted to firing on protesters from helicopters.
Ms. Nowrouzi also cited comments by regime officials and state-controlled media acknowledging that hundreds of IRGC sites, offices of officials representing Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other suppressive agencies were also stormed, torched and severely damaged by protesters in a show of their utter hatred of the mullahs’ regime.
The NCRI UK Representative summed up the characteristics of the uprising as follows:
- The balance of power between the people and the Iranian Resistance against the mullahs’ regime is shifting.
- While the uprising was prompted by a recent gasoline price hike, it quickly evolved into a nationwide and popular uprising targeting the regime in its entirety with political slogans against senior regime officials across the board.
- The most predominant slogans were “Death to the dictator,” “Death to Rouhani,” “Death to Khamenei,” “Leave Syria alone, think about us,” “Neither Gaza, Nor Lebanon, My life only for Iran.” The slogans reflected what the MEK has been saying for many, many years.
- The uprising spread with unprecedented speed. People’s anger was entirely directed at government agencies and institutions, particularly those affiliated with the IRGC and Khamenei’s office. An IRGC-affiliated newspaper wrote that the uprising had been organized and that the “rioters had been trained.” Those involved in the uprising were tasked with “attacking sensitive military and law-enforcement centers,” it wrote.
She pointed out that Regime officials repeatedly acknowledged the role of MEK’s Resistance units in the uprising, noting that with the uprising a page has turned in Iran and the regime has entered its final phase. This is the beginning of the end for the mullahs.
Dowlat Nowrouzi @DowlatNowrouzi:The nationwide #Protests is the best indication that the #EU must definitely change,this very counterproductive policy of appeasement with the most brutal repressive regime.They should be inline with #Iranian ppl's demands4 #FreeIran #IranProtests— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) 22 November 2019
The uprising displayed the murderous and barbaric nature of the mullahs’ regime and the Iranian people realized there is no difference between regime factions, Ms. Nowrouzi emphasized. Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani put aside his moderate posturing and called for a total crackdown.
On the other hand, the uprising demonstrated that the MEK’s resistance units have developed a deep bond with the population, she continued. Despite many years of suppression, the regime’s efforts to drive a wedge between the people and the MEK have failed. Most senior regime leaders acknowledged the role played by resistance units in organizing and directing the uprising.
Ms. Nowrouzi recalled the message by NCRI President Maryam Rajavi in which she asked world governments and the international community to demand an immediate halt to the killings and arrests. The United Nations Security Council should declare the regime’s leaders as criminals committing crimes against humanity. They must face justice for this nationwide crackdown suppression and bloodshed.
Mrs. Rajavi also said that the international community should strongly condemn the mullahs’ internet terrorism and assist the people of Iran in circumventing this inhumane blockade. She also called on the United Nations to send investigative missions to address the situation of those killed, wounded and arrested.