Iranian mullah mafia regime in the verge of downfall

Iranian security forces targeted farmers with gunfire and tear gas in the central city of Isfahan on Thursday and Friday in response to ongoing peaceful protests in the region. Writes Hugh Fitzgerald

Iran has been suffering from the worst drought in 50 years. Already, this past July, there were protests in Ahvaz, the capital of Khuzestan Province, in southwestern Iran, over the government’s inability to deal with the water crisis in that area. Now the protests over water have just erupted in Isfahan, Iran’s third largest city, where both the historic drought, and the long-term diversion of water from the city’s river, the Zayandeh Rud, to the province of Yazd, have brought out farmers and their supporters for several weeks of peaceful protests. A report on those protests, and how the regime suppressed them, is here: “Iranian regime kills protestors in central city of Isfahan,” by Benjamin Weinthal, Reuters, November 26, 2021:

Iranian security forces targeted farmers with gunfire and tear gas in the central city of Isfahan on Thursday and Friday in response to ongoing peaceful protests in the region.

The protest was against water shortages and at times the legitimacy of the theocratic state. Photographs on Twitter appear to show the murders of at least two Iranians.

“Horrific images of my compatriots in the Iranian city of Isfahan being slaughtered by ruthless Ayatollah regime’s thugs & security apparatus for peacefully protesting against the regime! This older woman was shot in cold blood on the streets. Are you seeing this @StateDept?” tweeted Karmel Melamed, an Iranian-American journalist.

“It wasn’t hooligans or thugs who shot at me. It was the security forces,” said a bloodied farmer in video footage posted by the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad.

All over Iran, the news by now has spread on social media about how a merciless regime used live fire to quell peaceful protestors, killing at least two, one of them an elderly woman.

She [Masih Alinejad] tweeted, “For years the Islamic Republic blamed hooligans for attacks on people. He [the bloodied farmer] is one of the many eyewitnesses who say the security forces are behind the attacks. We need international media.”

Alinejad added in a second tweet, “This is what is happening in Iran right now. People took to the streets in Isfahan for a peaceful protest but they are being violently suppressed by the regime. West is busy getting a nuclear deal. You must warn the Islamic Republic that there will be consequences for such brutality.”

Iranian dissidents ignited Twitter with the hashtag #BloodFriday in Isfahan. The regime pulled the plug on internet connections in Isfahan, according to Iranian human rights experts.

Alinejad showed dramatic pictures of severely injured protesters and a security official firing shots at the farmers….

These images of the regime’s brutality in Isfahan have now been seared into the brains of Iranians everywhere. They can see for themselves the severely wounded – some shot in the face – and the dead, murdered by the regime’s security men — not “hooligans,” as the regime likes to blame whenever protests are violently put down – who fired point blank at unarmed and peaceful protestors.

One of the widely circulated photos from Isfahan is of a middle-aged man, sitting in the road, his face a grimace of mental anguish and physical pain – you can see the deep gashes on his face, covered in blood from shrapnel.

What began as a protest over water policy metastasized into a direct challenge to the regime, with the protesters chanting slogans against the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei: “Death to the dictator! Death to Khamenei!” This is what led the security officials to use live fire, to shut down quickly those seditious expressions of rage against the rulers. And it was not only the Supreme Leader who was being chanted about, but also the whole crew of rapacious and cruel clerics who have run the country since 1979, and brought it to economic and, even more importantly, moral ruin.

Isfahan, Iran’s third-largest city, has been the site of protests over water shortages. Protests have been held in the dried-up riverbed of the Zayandeh Rud, the largest river in the region. The regime-controlled news agency Fars said demonstrators threw rocks and set fire to a police motorcycle and an ambulance.

Water from the Zayandeh Rud river has for almost two decades been diverted from Isfahan to irrigate farmland in Yazd. Some in Isfahan believe that the diversion was the work of Mohammad Khatami, Iran’s president from 1997 to 2005, who is from Yazd and may have wanted to benefit his home city.

The regime claims that the protesters threw rocks at the police and set fire to police motorcycles and an ambulance. But there was no evidence, not according to those taking part in the protests, nor in the videos of the protests, of any violence by the protesters. There were fires, but these were caused by the security men who set alight the protesters’ tents.

“They are in groups of 40-50 on streets around Khaju Bridge and are estimated at around 300,” Fars said.

If the official news agency, Fars, says there are “300 protesters,” you can be sure the real number was in the thousands. Fars is the Iranian version of Pravda or Izvestia; it makes up the “news” to conform to the regime’s needs, and in this case the regime wants to downplay the size of the protests in Isfahan.

Hundreds of protesters clashed with police in Isfahan, according to Iranian news agencies and social media posts, after officers fired tear gas at demonstrators backing farmers demanding water for crops.

The clashes only came after the police fired tear gas at demonstrators who up to that point had been entirely peaceful. Note that there is no mention here of demonstrators “throwing rocks” or setting police vehicles on fire, as the official Fars news agency would subsequently claim..

Overnight, farmers holding a two-week-long peaceful sit-in to protest water shortages in the drought-stricken region were dispersed by unidentified men who set fire to their tents. Social media posts said they were security forces while state media said they were “thugs.” State media earlier said farmers had agreed to leave after reaching a deal with authorities….

If the social media reports insist that the “security forces” set fire to the farmers’ tents, and the state media claims that the arsonists were not police but “unspecified thugs” who suddenly showed up at the protest, I know – don’t you? — whose version I believe.

In Ahwaz in July, the protestors were also peaceful, but there too the regime gave the go-ahead for live fire to be used. At least a dozen protesters were killed.

Sheina Vojoudi, an Iranian dissident who fled to Germany to escape persecution, told the Post that “The protesters in Isfahan gathered peacefully and asked for their rights. The right of using Zayandeh Rud has been given to them during Reza Shah’s time and this regime deprived them of their legal rights. Water scarcity is a very important problem in Iran but with this tyrannical and authoritarian regime in power, we can never solve the problem.”

She said ” All these problems only can be solved after the downfall of the Islamic Republic because this regime only supports its proxies to destabilize the Middle East and never thinks of the true owner of the land that they occupied. The protesters only demanded their rights but the regime answered them with bullets. Iranians have to comprehend that with this regime our days will be worsened day by day. Today people in Isfahan blamed Ali Khamenei directly and chanted ‘an army (of the people) has appeared to fight the Leader (Ali Khamenei).’…

This was the seditious chant in Isfahan against the Supreme Leader that no doubt has made Tehran most anxious: “An army (of the people) has appeared to fight the leader (Ali Khamenei).” A direct call for regime overthrow could not be tolerated, hence the security men set the farmers’ tents on fire and shot directly at protesters to send them scattering in retreat.

Vojoudi added that, Iranians from other cities have announced that they will protest to support the people of Isfahan. Now we Iranians know exactly that the enemy of our nation has occupied our country since 1979 and we must liberate our country. This is a sure thing that will happen very soon. If the free world wants to stand on the right side of history, they should support the Iranian people who have been fighting for their freedom for the last 43 years. The Iranians need free internet because the regime has already shut down the internet in Isfahan. They want to kill the protesters like in November 2019 and that must be stopped. Soon Khuzestan, Yazd, and other cities will also come to the streets and they will face the same danger.”

Will protesters appear elsewhere? In Khuzestan, in southwest Iran, they already have. Peaceful protests began in Khuzestan in July but then were violently suppressed by the regime; since the summer the protesters have been quiet. But now those protests have apparently started up again in Ahvaz (the capital of Khuzestan), and one likes to think this is in sympathy with the protesting farmers in Isfahan. In Yazd, there must be mixed feelings. On the one hand, the farmers in Yazd are on the side of their fellow farmers in Isfahan against the regime, and on the other hand, they don’t want to give up the water that for nearly two decades has been diverted from the Zayandeh Rud river in Isfahan and used to irrigate farms in Yazd.

Many Iranians, and not only in Isfahan, have concluded that there will be no amelioration of the water scarcity until the regime itself is overturned. That is why, to the regime’s great alarm, the farmers of Isfahan went from demanding a solution to the water problem to chanting the very last thing those in power in Tehran want to hear: “Death to the Dictator! Death to Khamenei! “ And re-purposing the central notion in Twelver Shiism, that of the Hidden Imam who will someday appear and, with Jesus, bring peace and justice to the world, those aggrieved farmers also shouted, even more frighteningly: “An army (of the people) has appeared to fight the leader (Ali Khamenei).”

Is this one more example of the regime managing to suppress with a vindictive thud a challenge to its existence, or could it spell the beginning of the end, as many Iranians hope, for the cruel clerics who still rule the roost in Tehran? Stay, as they say, tuned.

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