Campaign

Update

May 16, 2022

Iran on Fire: Fierce Resistance Meets Ferocious Repression Head On

May 16, 2022

As we go to press, the mass protests in Iran are still unfolding and we will try to provide timely updates to the degree possible via the IEC website.

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s vicious crackdowns on teachers and other activists leading into their May First protests has continued with new waves of even fiercer resistance, and new rounds of state repression aimed at suppressing these growing protests and the seething rage of millions of Iranians.

On Tuesday May 12, teachers and trade unionists in Iran again held nationwide mass street demonstrations in defiance of the Islamic regime’s attempts to stop them with mass raids, arrests, disappearances and imprisonments. In one city (Yasuj/Yasoof), 50 teachers were preemptively arrested. A well-known activist, Siamak Shirazi, was brutally beaten and arrested at a May 12 protest. A central political demand of the May 12 actions was for “unconditional release of imprisoned teachers,” and “the immediate release of all teachers arrested in [different] parts of the country in the past week.”

As we go to press, the mass protests in Iran are still unfolding and we will try to provide timely updates to the degree possible via the IEC website.

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s vicious crackdowns on teachers and other activists leading into their May First protests has continued with new waves of even fiercer resistance, and new rounds of state repression aimed at suppressing these growing protests and the seething rage of millions of Iranians.

On Tuesday May 12, teachers and trade unionists in Iran again held nationwide mass street demonstrations in defiance of the Islamic regime’s attempts to stop them with mass raids, arrests, disappearances and imprisonments. In one city (Yasuj/Yasoof), 50 teachers were preemptively arrested. A well-known activist, Siamak Shirazi, was brutally beaten and arrested at a May 12 protest. A central political demand of the May 12 actions was for “unconditional release of imprisoned teachers,” and “the immediate release of all teachers arrested in [different] parts of the country in the past week.”

During this same week and since, protests against soaring prices for basic food items have spread to scores of cities and provinces all over Iran. Some have escalated into street fighting against the police and security forces.  Inflation in Iran is 40-50 percent with nearly half the population (40+ million) reported to be living below the poverty line. Iran’s economy has already been battered by U.S. sanctions and the Covid pandemic.  Now the war in Ukraine is adding fuel to that inflationary fire by disrupting Iran’s access to imports of cooking oil and wheat from Russia and Ukraine.

Omid Soltani, murdered by Islamic Republic’s police forces

These mass protests quickly took up general anti-regime slogans such as “Death to Khamenei” (Iran’s Islamic supreme leader) and “Death to Raisi” (Iran’s new president).  These protests express righteous outrage at the regime and solidarity with political prisoners, but within its overall progressive thrust are backward trends, such as support for the brutal regime of Shah Pahlavi (now deceased) put in power by a U.S.-backed coup in 1953 and driven from power by the revolution of 1978-79.1

Raisi reportedly had to cancel a May 13 trip to the city of Shahrekord.  Some of these protests involved large numbers of women.  Despite the Islamic regime’s internet shutdown in many areas, aimed at isolating and limiting the growth of these protests, social media was ablaze with photos and news, such as the Instagram post by filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof which showed two of his filmmaker colleagues (Firouzeh Khosrovani and Mina Keshavarz) being detained.

There were reports in at least two cities that the offices of the hated and feared Islamic militia Basij, a paramilitary force of the Islamic “Revolutionary” (i.e., Repressive) Guard Corps, were set on fire. The Islamic regime deployed huge numbers of police, armored vehicle convoys and used tear gas and even live fire to try and quell the uprisings.  

Twenty-one-year-old Omid Soltani was shot dead by the Islamic police on May 12 in the city of Andimshk, Khuzestan province, according to Burn the Cage’s post on Instagram.  They also issued a statement about the crossroad facing the upsurge in Iran (see below).

ALL of Iran’s Political Prisoners Must be Freed

As arrested teachers and other protesters join growing numbers of political prisoners in Iran, there is a growing danger of a bloodbath on the streets and in the prisons.  Iran’s Islamic regime has a bloody track record of mass murder when it has faced internal instability or upheaval.  During the mass rebellion of November 2019, hundreds of protesters were gunned down.  And in the summer of 1988, Raisi was one of the chief architects of the execution of at least 5,000 political prisoners.  Iran has publicly announced plans to execute Swedish-Iranian dual citizen Ahmadreza Djalali on May 21.  “There’s no time to waste,” warned Hadi Ghaemi of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, “Now is not the time for silence.”

It’s up to us, all the justice and freedom loving people around the world to unite to defeat this repression.  The IEC has announced bold plans for the next 5 weeks.

*Join us: Friday, May 20, 6:30-8:30PM (PST): Sensible Cinema of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco (UUSF) screening of the documentary film Nasrin, followed by Q&A.  This event will be on site and also accessible via Zoom.

* Donate between now and June 15 to raise the $9K needed to publish the Emergency Appeal as a 2-page color spread in Ms. Magazine's Summer edition, along with a series of digital ads.  

* Friday June 10 (2-4PM EST) tune in to the international online roundtable of the IEC in partnership with DePauw University’s "Fighting the Power: Global Movements for Social Justice" summer-session course.

IEC table at Books Without Borders, Toronto

We’re working to put freeing Iran’s courageous resisters further into the public square so that “the whole world is watching” what is taking place in Iran, and so people will be inspired to come to the aid of our sisters and brothers there with due urgency.  This can compel the Islamic theocrats to release its political prisoners. Join us now to make this message heard loudly and clearly around the world, and make clear to all the dissidents in Iran that “we stand with you”.

***

From Burn the Cage, Free the Birds movement Instagram (translated by IEC volunteer)

The uprising of bread and freedom in Charmahal, Bakhtiari and Khuzestan is still on.  In Neyshabur, Yazd, Shiraz, Isfahan, Shahrekord, Shahin, Narmak neighborhood of Tehran, Ahvaz, Eyzeh, Soureshjan, Hafshejan...people are angry at all the oppression and suppression...and all the other hardships: shortages of commodities such as bread, poverty and lack of freedom...repression against the people struggling against joblessness, lack of water, destruction of the environment, and working conditions the destruction of farms and livestock... compulsory hijab, and widespread detention and imprisonment of rebellious women, students, writers, artists and working people that have joined in rebellions and are once again demanding the ouster of the Islamic Republic (of Iran).

Slogans such as "Death to Khamenei", "Death to Raisi" and "mullahs must get lost" fill the air.  "Do not be scared we are all together" warms the air. Repressive security forces of the Islamic Republic from special security forces and intelligence units as well as plain clothes police are busy shooting and killing people, even children 7 or 8 years old.  Some have been arrested and others have even been killed. But people are not afraid to die anymore, especially those who have nothing to lose.

To achieve a real and positive solution from all these struggles and sacrifices, the most significant criteria is the understanding and the leadership that will not repackage this same system of oppression in a different form, and a system that does not continue the same repression and exploitation over women, different minority religions and nationalities. There is a need for leadership that brings the needed understanding and organization to people to fight for emancipation of humanity from all forms of oppression and exploitation, a fundamental change that eliminates the roots of world capitalism and Islamic and religious fundamentalism.

Related Resources:

Campaign Updates & Press Releases

June 1, 2022
Update
Save the Date: June 10
December 2, 2021
Press Release
Eyes of World on Iran as JPCOA Talks Resume
October 3, 2021
Update
Now Available Online – Watch
September 22, 2021
Update
UN Press Conference Photos and Video
September 17, 2021
Update
Heroism for Our Times
May 20, 2021
Update
Letter to Signatories

Prisoner News