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Maryam Rajavi: Iranian Society is Experiencing an Uprising Phase

Maryam Rajavi: Iranian Society is Experiencing an Uprising Phase

Since January 2018, there have been several significant uprisings in Iran. The biggest uprising was sparked in September 2022 following the tragic death of a young Kurdish woman, Jina Amini. The uprising changed Iran’s political scene. Indeed, the uprising did not happen overnight, and the leading role of women did not happen by accident.

The uprising was on the one hand the result of more than 40 years of struggle of the Iranian people and resistance, paying a heavy price, including in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, and resisting torture, imprisonment, and suppression. On the other hand, it was the result of the role women have played in the leadership of the resistance during the past few decades.

The uprising demonstrated that the Iranian people were determined to overthrow the clerical regime.
Notably, women have played a leading role in this uprising, guiding and mobilizing the youth in numerous instances of protest. The remarkable involvement of women further signifies the Iranian people’s strong desire for substantial change. They are prepared to endure great sacrifices in their pursuit of freedom.

Tragically, over six months, at least 750 protestors were murdered by the IRGC.
However, despite the relentless repression, the situation remains highly volatile, characterized by a surge in strikes and protests. Workers in the oil, gas, steel, power plants, and copper mining sectors across 38 cities in Iran initiated strikes.

Zahedan, the largest city in the Sistan and Baluchestan province, witnesses weekly protests against the regime after Friday prayers, where demonstrators boldly chant slogans such as “down with Khamenei” and “down with the tyrant, be it the shah or the (mullahs’) leader.”

The outcomes of the uprising

Firstly, the entire regime, particularly Khamenei and his president, has experienced significant weakening. Desertions within the regime’s institutions, particularly the Basij militia, have become increasingly commonplace. Furthermore, the official currency has devalued 17 times since 2015.
Secondly, the uprising did not leave any doubts about the Iranian people’s desire to end religious dictatorship and establish a republic based on free elections, and democratic values.

The regime is not able to quell the uprising. Presently, the slogan “Down with Khamenei” is being echoed by diverse social strata, akin to the “Down with the Shah” slogan during the final months of his reign.
Thirdly, hollow coalitions and false alternatives were swept aside. During the peak of the protests, certain individuals or groups, motivated by personal interests or specific agendas, positioned themselves as the opposition, claiming to be the leaders of the uprising. Some utilized television channels funded by lobbying groups or foreign governments to promote their political shows, proposing the formation of an alternative. Some of these so-called opponents even advocated for cooperation with the IRGC.

Their actions were intended to obstruct the uprising and practically worked against the uprising and in favor of Khamenei’s regime. For this reason, Iranian society unequivocally rejected them.
The fourth outcome highlights the clear realization that the driving force behind the uprising primarily consists of young individuals, particularly women, who form the Resistance Units. These units carried out nearly 3,000 operations to shatter the prevailing repression in the previous year.

In March 2023, the Iranian Resistance disclosed that over 3,600 members of the Resistance Units are either currently imprisoned or have gone missing since the beginning of the uprising in September. The significant point, however, is that the number of those who have joined the network is greater. This is a considerable achievement.

Regime’s measures to confront the uprising

To contain the uprising and preserve its rule, the regime relies on brutal suppression of protests, including increase in executions and widespread arrests. At least 127 people were hanged in the month of May. These have been formally announced, but the actual number is higher. The goal is to create an atmosphere of terror to confront the uprising.
The mullahs have intensified the repression, especially against women. They have organized chemical attacks on girls’ schools.
They create many restrictions for women to impose the compulsory hijab. Many women are arrested. The Iranian women’s slogan is “With or without hijab, onwards to revolution.”
And I have always emphasized: No to compulsory hijab, no to compulsory religion and no to compulsory government.

The mullahs also engage in a disinformation and demonization campaign to promote the narrative that there is no alternative to the ruling regime.
Recently, documents were disclosed from the mullahs’ foreign ministry regarding their project to discredit the resistance.
However, the uprising showed: People are no longer willing to tolerate the status quo and the situation will not return to the pre-September period. The Iranian people’s desire is a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic.

Nine months since the start of the nationwide uprising, it was once again proved that the clerical regime is at an impasse. It is unable to initiate any reforms, and it would not give up suppression to the last day of its rule. Despite such absolute repression, however, the social conditions are explosive.
The clerical regime has been suppressing the uprisings since 2017. Nevertheless, they have re-emerged with greater depth and scope from another place, undermining the regime.
50% inflation, growing unemployment, systemic corruption in the government, and widespread poverty have put the regime face to face with a society that seeks to overthrow it.

As a result of social discontent and the relentless activities of the Resistance Units, new uprisings are looming on the horizon. The crucial aspect is the organization of the uprising to achieve victory.
The Iranian Resistance seeks to establish a republic characterized by the separation of religion and state, complete individual and social freedoms, gender equality, autonomy for ethnic minorities, the abolition of the death penalty, the prohibition of torture, an independent judiciary system, a free market economy, environmental reconstruction, the dismantling of the IRGC, a non-nuclear Iran, as well as regional and international coexistence and cooperation.

We are serious in our commitment to topple the regime

We believe that the Iranian people and Resistance are capable of overthrowing this regime.
The most important principle we believe in is freedom. One hundred and twenty thousand of Iran’s children have sacrificed their lives for freedom.
Our people and we insist on people’s sovereignty and reject any kind of dictatorship: Both the religious and monarchic dictatorships.
The common slogan of the Iranian people in this uprising was No to the Shah, No to the mullahs’ leader.
We seek freedom and democracy for our people, whatever the cost.

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