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The implications of Iran’s prison riots

Iran's mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak has caused a chain of riots in prisons
Iran's mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak has caused a chain of riots in prisons

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, March 31, 2020—The past week has seen riots in many Iranian prisons. It started in Khoramabad and Aligoudarz, followed by Tabriz and Saqqez. On Saturday night the wave of prison riots reached Hamedan and Mahabad prisons. On Sunday night it was the turn of Adelabad Prison of Shiraz. On Monday, there were reports of riots in Ahvaz prison.

The incidents are taking place against the backdrop of the worsening coronavirus outbreak, which has so far claimed the lives of more than 14,200 people. Iran’s prisons, in particular, are hit badly as humanitarian conditions continue to deteriorate.

Without a doubt, this is a situation that will continue. In some cases, dozens of prisoners succeeded to escape, which shows the massive support and sympathy among the people for the movement. In this regard, regime prosecutor of Kurdistan Province threatened, “Those who are secretly providing and preparing the way for the escape will be prosecuted.” It is also possible that prisoners have received support from inside the prisons. There were reports that four prison guards were arrested in this regard.

 “The main indicator for prisoners to be free temporarily is their behavior,” said a spokesperson of the regime judiciary. While prisoners see their presence in prison as inevitable death, this regime official is promising prisoners that if they stay obedient, maybe they get free in the future.

Prison escapes, a sign of dissolution

While the regime’s forces seemed to be on high alert after the first prison riot broke out, the continued rebellion in prisons and the escape of prisoners shows the regime instability and its failure to maintain its hold on the situation. This can also be seen as the other side of the coin which shows the regime’s failure in imposing its force on its larger prisoner population, the Iranian society, a society that is on the verge of bursting from anger. The Iranian society is another example of big prisons made by the mullahs by imposing economic pressure, suppression, harsh suffocation and now the coronavirus crisis has been added to it.

The regime’s cover-up of the COVID-19 outbreak and its abysmal mismanagement of the situation has further added fuel to the fire of the people’s outrage.

These sets of parameters have primed the Iranian society for a big change that has been long overdue. Also worth noting is the sympathy and solidarity that the people have shown toward the protest movements inside Iran’s prisons. Ebrahim Raisi, the criminal head of the regime’s judiciary, has been urging prison authorities to take the necessary measures to re-establish control.

The regime tries to maintain its unstable sovereignty

What is clear is that the regime is truly desperate. Iranian regime Supreme leader Ali Khamenei officially announced that the General Staff of the Armed Forces is responsible to set up a new military and intelligence base. While ostensibly, this measure is aimed at countering the coronavirus outbreak, but in reality, this military base has taken over part of the government’s functions and is in fact a military government to control possible uprisings.

On the other hand, the regime has increased its propaganda campaign against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and tries to demonize the Iranian Resistance but sees the opposite result. The regime’s propaganda campaigns against the MEK have only encouraged Iranian Resistance Units inside Iran to become more determined than before in their struggle for freedom.

Especially after the coronavirus crisis, more and more people found out that the regime is unable to govern and handle the situation and the regime is the worst enemy of Iran and all Iranians. The regime is ready to do everything to maintain its power even at the cost of people's lives. The people of Iran are determined more than ever that the mullahs cannot and will no longer stay in power.

The Iranian regime security versus the security of the people

Iranian regime officials understand very well that their fate is tied to the coronavirus crisis. The resolution of the coronavirus outbreak will mark the beginning of their end.

“The security of the society (which means maintaining the regime) is our priority. All our armed forces, border guards, and our police are present, and it has no meaning if the security is supposed to be damaged,” regime president Hassan Rouhani said.

The Iranian people are well aware that as long as this regime is in power, which is the number one enemy of Iran, there will be little to live for. The riots in Iran’s prisons is the latest manifestation of the Iranian people’s will to overthrow this regime.