By Jubin Katiraie
On Friday 15th November, it was announced by the Iranian government that there would be a 50 percent price increases in petrol. This immediately sparked protests across the whole country, with the people clearly angry at the levels of corruption and mismanagement in the country.
For years, the government’s destructive policies have adversely affected the people, with purchasing power reaching worrying lows and an economic situation that is seeing more and more citizens fall into the absolute poverty category.
The protests are still continuing in cities across the country and the situation has reached such a stage that members of the government are considering reversing the rise, fearful that the government will not get out of this current period of unrest unscathed.
On Friday at midnight, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cut petrol subsidies that financial aid for the poor citizens of the country.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has voiced his concern about the situation, blaming the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) for encouraging people to participate in the demonstrations. The Supreme Leader had also voiced his full support for the increase in fuel prices, making it clear that the ultimate approval was down to him.
Protesters have been active in 132 cities across the country and security forces have been attacking the crowds with force. It is believed that there have been more than 200 protesters killed and over 3000 injured. It has also been reported that more than 100 centers associated with the government have been destroyed by angry protesters.
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard warned protesters they will face “decisive” action if nationwide unrest does not stop.
Just west of Tehran, in Karaj, thousands of protesters have been able to get the security agents to flee. Young people are instrumental in the protests there and have been confronting the plainclothes agents and anti-riot police.
In Karaj, protesters have also been storming and torching the state-affiliated banks and judiciary.
Roads around major cities where protests are taking place have been closed, leading to the closures of schools and universities too.
In Isfahan in central Iran, protesters have been setting fire to the gas stations and banks as well as a number of state-affiliated centers.
The latest reports from Iran indicate that the clashes between protesters and security forces are intensifying in the western part of the country, particularly around the city of Kermanshah.
Because of the severity of the protests, the authorities blocked the internet, which many are saying was a near-total national shutdown. The Iranian Resistance has played a big role in protests – the organization and coordination – and the Iranian authorities are clearly fearful of the power of the people.
Very few international leaders have commented on the ongoing protests in Iran, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took to Twitter to voice his support for the people of Iran. He said that “the US is with you”. The US Secretary of State has previously acknowledged the role of the people in Iran, with President Trump identifying the people as the first victims of the mullahs.
Last reports from yesterday:
Reports from one of Tehran's hospitals indicate that most of the killed were shot in the head from back by the IRGC’s forces.
Reports from Shiraz indicate that clashes continued last night in Afifabad Street, Koran Beltway, Bushehr Road, and several other areas.
In Shiraz, the Revolutionary Guards corps attacked the Namazi Hospital and took the bodies of the killed and wounded protesters.
The protesters in various parts of Kermanshah set fire to dozens of banks including Export, National, Trade, Agriculture, Economics, Novin, Parsian, Qavamin, Ayandeh, Sepah and a center called Refah. Protesters in Kermanshah attacked three police stations. Protesters set fire to on 6 banks in Damavand city.