2019–20 Iranian protests

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2019–20 Iranian protests
Part of 2018–2019 Iranian general strikes and protests, Protests of 2019, 2019–20 Persian Gulf crisis, and the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 protests
Protests against Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 shot down by Sepah in Tehran 7.jpg
2019 Iranian fuel protests Day 1 by Fars News (10).jpg
2019 Iranian fuel protests Fars News (18).jpg
2019 Iranian fuel protests Fars News (3).jpg
2019 Iranian fuel protests Fars News (1).jpg
Sit-in in Behbahan 2019-11-15.jpg
Gathering and protest rally outside Amir Kabir University 2020-01-11 03.jpg
Date15 November 2019 – present[1]
Location
Caused by
Goals
MethodsDemonstrations, riots, sit-ins, civil resistance, strikes, online activisms, arson
StatusOngoing
Parties to the civil conflict
Protesters
Lead figures
Uncentralized Iran Ali Khamenei
Iran Hassan Rouhani
Iran Eshaq Jahangiri
Iran Ali Larijani
Iran Sadeq Larijani
Iran Alireza Avayi
Iran Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli
Iran Amir Hatami
Iran Abbas Salehi
Iran Mahmoud Alavi
Iran Ebrahim Raisi
Iran Mohammad Jafar Montazeri
Iran Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi
Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif
Iran Mahmoud Vaezi
Iran Mohammad-Ali Shahidi
Iran Ali Akbar Salehi
Iran Gholamreza Soleimani
Iran Ali Shamkhani
Iran Mohsen Rezaee
Iran Ahmad Vahidi
Iran Mohammad Reza Naqdi
Iran Mohammad Reza Aref
Iran Hossein Allahkaram
Iran Ahmad Jannati
Iran Mohammad Yazdi
Iran Hassan Firouzabadi
Iran Ali Akbar Nategh-Nouri
Iran Abdulali Ali-Asgari
Iran Parviz Fattah
Iran Morteza Bakhtiari
Mohammad Bagheri
Hossein Ashtari
Abdolrahim Mousavi
Habibollah Sayyari
Kioumars Heydari
Hossein Salami
Mohammad Pakpour
Esmail Ghaani
Number
200,000+[4][5] as cited by an Iranian MP
Casualties and losses

Confirmed Death Toll: 1,500 protesters killed [6]

[7][8]
4,800+ Injured[9][10]
7,000+ arrested [11]
Per Iranian government:
3 security forces killed[12]
731 banks and 140 government sites torched[13]

The 2019–20 Iranian protests (Persian: اعتراضات سراسری ۱۳۹۸ ایران‎) are a series of civil protests occurring nationwide across Iran, initially caused by a 50%–200% (approximately 6.5–19.5 cents US)[14][15][16][17] increase in fuel prices, calling for the overthrow of the government in Iran and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.[18][19] The protests commenced in the evening of 15 November and within hours spread to 21 cities as videos of the protest began to circulate online.[20][21][22] Images of the violent protests were shared on the internet with protests reaching international levels.[23]

Although the protests began as peaceful gatherings, they soon turned into violent riots and revolt against the Iranian government.[24] The Iranian government-employed tactics to shut down the protests including a nationwide internet shutdown and, according to Amnesty international, shooting protesters dead from rooftops, helicopters, and at close range with machine gun fire. According to the residents, as reported by the New York Times, the government forces then proceeded to confiscate the bodies of the dead protesters and truck them away to mask the true casualty count and scale of the protests. Amnesty International wrote that the families of murdered protesters were threatened by the government from speaking to the media or holding funerals.[25][26] The government killed 1,500 Iranian citizens and tortures jailed protesters.[8][27][28] The government crackdown prompted a violent reaction from protesters who destroyed 731 government banks including Iran's central bank, nine Islamic religious centres, tore down anti-American billboards, and posters and statues of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. 50 government military bases were also attacked by protesters. This series of protests have been categorized as the most violent and severe since the rise of Iran's Islamic Republic in 1979.[29][30][25]

In order to block the sharing of information regarding the protests and the deaths of hundreds of protesters on social media platforms, the government blocked the Internet nationwide, resulting in a near-total internet blackout of around six days.[31][32][33][34]

Background[edit]

Although sparked by the hike in oil prices the protests were widely seen as an outcry towards issues of government corruption and theft and had the goal of overthrowing the Iranian government. Government mismanagement led to rapid inflation which sent an additional 1.6 million Iranians into poverty in just a single year prior to the protest. [35] [36]

Sanctions by the United States and the European Union, coupled with economic mismanagement, were factors involved in a severe economic crisis in Iran in the 2010s.[37] Prior to the November 2019 cycle of unrest, the President of Iran Hassan Rouhani said, "Iran is experiencing one of its hardest years since the 1979 Islamic revolution".[21]

Multiple protests and strikes took place in Iran in December 2017,[38] throughout 2018[39][40] and in the first half of 2019.[41] Protest causes ranged from rising prices[38] to teachers'[40] and railway workers' rights.[41]

In late 2019, anti-government protests took place in Iranian allies Lebanon and Iraq.[21]

At midnight on 15 November 2019, the Iranian government announced that they would increase the price on fuel.[21] Prior to the price increase, drivers could buy up to 250 litres (66 US gal) each month for 10,000 Iranian rial per litre ($0.90 per US gallon).[19] The new price structure had a similar monthly allotment for drivers but prices started at 15,000 rial per litre ($1.35 per US gallon) for the first 60 litres (16 US gal), then 30,000 per litre ($2.70 per US gallon) after that, a price increase of 50% to 200%.[19] An Iranian state-television programme described these measures as a way to help fund the subsidies of around 60 million Iranians.[37]

Behzad Nabavi, a former member of Iran’s Parliament, has said in an interview in September 2019, just two months before the uprising, that Razavi Economic Foundation, which contains several smaller entities, jointly with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) control about sixty per cent of Iran’s economy. Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, presides over the foundation. None of these entities pay any taxes and no government organization is allowed to go through their books. [42]

While Iranian people were suffering from the country’s depressed economy, a decree issued by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei exempted some trustees from paying taxes. They included the giant organization Khatam al Anbiya Construction Headquarters, and many other smaller entities belonging to Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). [43]

Timeline[edit]

November 2019[edit]

After the government announced the price increase in the early hours of 15 November, Iranians in various cities took to the streets to protest.

One protester was reportedly killed in Sirjan after security forces opened fire. Other demonstrators in the city set fire to a gas station, and chanted "Rouhani, leave this country".[18] Protesters in Ahvaz demanded that people boycott fuel and stop their cars in the middle of the road as a sign of protest.[44]

In Mashhad, Iran's second-largest city, demonstrators blocked traffic in the streets and highways.[37] Protesters gathered late into the night in Qods, a suburb of Tehran, and destroyed a police vehicle.[45]

Protests continued to expand for a second day on 16 November. Demonstrators gathered in over 50 cities and many major cities such as Tehran, Tabriz, Isfahan, and Shiraz to protest the sudden price hike.[46] Security forces shot at protesters with live bullets in an effort to disperse them, killing at least ten protesters in Isfahan, Behbahan, Kermanshah, Karaj, and Shiraz.[47]

Several banks in Eslamshahr, Behbahan, and Tehran, and one religious school in Isfahan were burned down by protesters.[47] In Shahriar demonstrators burned down a monument depicting the ring of the Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic.[48]

On 16 November, internet access across the country was reported to be in a near-total shutdown, with online activity estimated to be 7% of ordinary levels.[49][50]

State news agencies reported that over 1,000 people had been arrested so far and that the protests had spread to over 100 cities in Iran.[47]

Shop owners in Tehran and Isfahan closed the bazaars and went on strike in protest. While in Tabriz, students from the University of Tabriz left their classes and demonstrated at the university.[51][52]

Students at the University of Tehran gathered for a second consecutive day to protest the current situation in the country and chanted "Death to the dictator", and "Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life only for Iran".[53] Protests continued in the Sadeghiyeh neighbourhood of Tehran, and the bazaar was packed with security forces attempting to prevent bazaar merchants from going on strike.[54] Citizens of Tehran reported that despite the internet shutdown, the protests gathered in intensity on Tuesday.[54]

Heavy clashes were also reported in Shiraz, where the security forces fired directly at people.[54] Authorities reported that nine Islamic seminaries and Friday prayer offices were burned by protesters across the country.[55] Protests continued for a fifth consecutive day on 19 November despite a heavy security presence the country. Gatherings were reported in Tehran, Karaj, Shiraz and Isfahan.[56] The city of Shush in Khuzestan province, was effectively closed down as Haft Tappeh workers protested the current conditions.[57]

The Revolutionary Guards reportedly took the bodies of the dead protesters and the injured in hospitals, to hide to cover up the true death toll and downplay the protests. In some cases, government officials sold the bodies of the protesters.[33][34][58] The protests reached 70% of provinces according to The Guardian.[59]

December[edit]

On 7 December, coinciding with Students Day in Iran, students in Tehran and various other cities conducted demonstrations in support of the protests.[60] In the early hours of 17 December, students at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran gathered outside the dormitories and protested the killing of protesters.[61]

On 25 December, the day before the 40th day mourning procession of the protesters killed in the November protests, security forces arrested several members of Pouya Bakhtiari's family.[62]

On 26 December 2019, security forces attacked different cemeteries around Iran to prevent the families, of those killed in November uprising, from holding ceremonies in honour of the 40th day of the death of their loved ones. Some of the mourners were arrested and taken away. One month after Iranian rulers fears any anti-government gathering.[63][64]

January 2020[edit]

Protests at Tehran's Hafez Street, 11 January 2020

On 11 January 2020, after Iranian authorities had stated that Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752‎ had been shot down by Iranian military forces, killing all 176 passengers and flight personnel,[65] two thousand people protested in Tehran, with chants including "Death to the dictator". Police used tear gas on the protestors.[66] Officials reported that 82 Iranians among several other Iranians with dual citizenship were among the victims of the crash.[67] Two hundred people protested in front of Amirkabir University of Technology.[68] The protestors called for the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to resign, chanted "Death to the liars" and called "for the IRGC to leave the country".[69] Protests also took place at the Sharif University of Technology and in Isfahan, Rasht, Sari, and Hamedan. Protesters chanted against the Revolutionary Guards, the Supreme Leader, and the entire political system of the Islamic Republic.[70]

On 12 January, similar protests took place around Iran. In the morning, students gathered at the dormitories of the University of Tehran and chanted against the Supreme Leader.[71] There were around 3,000 participants in the main demonstration in Tehran according to the Iranian Labour News Agency.[66] In online social media videos posted in the evening of a location near Azadi Square in Tehran, there were sounds of gunshots, pools of blood on the ground, wounded people being carried and security personnel with rifles. Hossein Rahimi of the Tehran police stated the following day that police had "been given orders to show restraint" and didn't shoot during the protests.[72] The Iranian daily Etemad wrote "Apologise and resign" in a banner headline.[66] The Iranian president described the missile attack as an unforgivable error.[73]

Protests continued in Tehran on 13 January, including 40 students at a Tehran university who chanted "They killed our elites and replaced them with clerics", in reference to the Iranian students who had died on flight UA752.[74]

In the video surfacing on the internet, many Tehran university students openly refused to walk over the American and Israeli flags which was the symbol of the country’s foreign policy of anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism since the inception of the Islamic Republic.[75][76] The flags had been painted so that protesters would walk over them as they marched.[77]

On 14 January, demonstrations took place in Iran for the fourth consecutive day. Students at various universities in Tehran, and other Iranian cities continued protesting against the regime and Ali Khamenei. At Amir Kabir University, protesters and the Basij clashed violently. Students at the University of Tehran chanted "We will die to reclaim Iran" and "Death to the concept of a [Supreme Leader]".[78]

On 15 January 2020 students in Isfahan and other Iranian cities held their 5th day of protests, after the government of Ayatollah Khamenei admitted downing the Ukrainian passenger plane. Students held banners showing 1500+176 meaning 176 innocent passengers was added to the 1500 killed in November uprising. [79]

On 16 January 2020, protesters planned to head to the IRIB headquarters, however, due to a high persistence of the anti-riot police in the entire Valiasr Street which protesters planned to use as their main way to the headquarters, the demonstrations didn't take place. There was also a high persistence of police in several key points of the capital city of Tehran, to prevent any gatherings to form due to the funerals that took place for those dead in the UA752 flight, nevertheless, lots of people showed up at their funerals mourning for their dead. [80]

Internet shutdown[edit]

On the eve of the protests, Iranian authorities started disrupting internet connections and social media. The Internet was effectively blocked following Iran's Supreme National Security Council decision to shut it down for 24 hours.[81][82][83]

The Iranian government and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Sepah have always opposed joining popular social networks in Iran such as Facebook, Twitter and ... and blocking them in Iran. [84][85][86] But now they have decided to internet blackout in Iran.[87][88][89]

As per NetBlocks, users first reported outages in Mashhad on 15 November. The disruptions increased in extent and severity with impact also visible on overall connectivity charts. Iran's largest mobile network operators, including MCI, Rightel and IranCell, fell offline on the evening of 16 November 2019. By 20 November, national connectivity was at 5% of ordinary levels, making it difficult to monitor human rights violations and cover incidents on the ground.[90]

The government has also jammed satellite TV connections and sent anonymous messages to people near protest sites reading: “We know you are here.”[91]

On 21 November 2019, a small return of connectivity was tracked by NetBlocks, along with reports that some users had come online; national connectivity was up to 8%.[92]

Slogans and tactics[edit]

Slogans[edit]

Chants by demonstrators targeted the government and its leaders with people chanting, "Shah of Iran, return to Iran!", "Clerics must get lost", "No to Gaza, no to Lebanon. We sacrifice our lives for Iran," "Death to the dictator", "Death to the Islamic Republic", "Our military brothers, why do you kill your brother?", "Bless your soul Reza Shah", "Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life only for Iran", "Oil money has been lost, it has all been spent on Palestine", "They have brought up Islam, but trampled the people", "The supreme leader lives like a God. We, the people live like beggars."[93] Iranians expressed their opposition to the Islamic Republic's anti-Israel efforts by chanting ”We have no money or fuel, to hell with Palestine.” [94]

Chants became even more radical in the January protests, with demonstrators calling for a revolution and chanting, "This is your last month, [Khamenei] it is time to go", "Clerics must get lost", "No reforms, no referendum, just strikes and revolution", "Sepah commits murders, and the Supreme Leader supports it", "You killed our elites, and replaced them with clerics", and "Death to Khamenei".[95]

Tactics and methods[edit]

Protesters began by organizing rallies in protest of Iran's government resulting in police gunfire. As protests were met with government crackdowns, protesters began to block streets and highways. The protests intensified with Iranians burning pictures and banners of the supreme leader Ali Khamenei and burning government banks. Many protest chants and slogans were directed at expressing discontent with the Iranian government's spending on conflicts in Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. Other chants praised the late Shah of Iran calling for his return.[96]

Support for Former Monarchy[edit]

One common protest slogan was "Oh Shah of Iran return to Iran." [97] Many protest chants praised the former Pahlavi Dynasty and its two leaders. Monarchist groups supporting the former Pahlavi monarchy were targeted and arrested by authorities across multiple cities. It was reported that some members in a monarchist organization had gone as far as infiltrating the government. During the protest the Iranian Revolutionary Guards had openly admitted the Pahlavi dynasty was popular among much of Iran’s population. [98]

Detainees[edit]

November 2019 demonstrations Isfahan

On 10 December 2019 the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which is a human rights organization based in New York, put Iran among the countries with the highest number of imprisoned journalists. [99]

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network has stated that many detained protesters, some of them underage, are held under gruelling conditions. In addition, sources have characterized conditions in the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary as "unbearable".[100][101]

Many observers are worried that some of those arrested have undergone severe torture and may face execution.[102]

Arrest of journalists and lawyers[edit]

The European Parliament condemned the government of Iran for harassment of lawyers and journalists, and for denying legal assistance to the large number of protesters already in jail. [103]

International organizations warn about torture[edit]

In a new statement Amnesty International has spoken about constant torture exerted on thousands arrested during November Uprising. The statement says, "they have been beaten, punched, kicked and flogged by security forces”. Detainees include children of 15 and younger.

On 28 December 2019, international human rights watchdog has warned prisoners in Iran’s jails "are at risk of being tortured”. [104]

Deaths and casualties[edit]

Government responsibility[edit]

Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and President Hassan Rouhani ordered deadly weapons be used against the Iranians protesting the blatant rise in gasoline prices.[105] Above all government entities, it is the "Supreme National Security Council" that makes decisions on how to deal with such demonstrations and deal with the political crisis. The Council is presided by the president. Iran's constitution prescribes that all decisions taken by the Council should be approved by Khamenei.[106] who is also Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Armed Forces.[107]

The government agents in Iran were accused of stealing the bodies of the dead protesters from morgues, and arresting the injured from hospitals, to give the uprising a lower profile.[33][34]

Death count estimates[edit]

Deaths numbers by provinces[108]
  40 or more people killed
  Between 30-39 people killed
  Between 20-29 people killed
  Between 10-19 people killed
  Between 1-9 people killed
  No Data

On 23 December, Reuters reported that a death toll provided by three unnamed Iranian interior ministry officials was "about 1,500" including "at least 17 teenagers and about 400 women". These numbers were described as "fake news" by a government spokesman.[109]

A man in Sirjan was killed and several others were injured after security forces opened fire on protesters on 15 November.[110][111] The following day, ten protesters were killed during demonstrations.[47]

The BBC has reported that there is a huge variance in the number of people killed. Unofficial reports from various sources say that from 15 to 19 November, about 200 people were killed and 3,000 injured. UN Human Rights said "dozens of people may have been killed" while Amnesty International places the number at "at least 106". Iranian authorities say "only a few people have been killed".[112]

On 19 November, Amnesty International claimed that around 16 people were killed in Kermanshah, 14 each in Bandar-e Mahshahr and in Javanroud, 9 in Mariwan, 8 in Behbahan, 6 each in Ramhormoz, Sadra and in Shiraz, 4 each in Bukan, Karaj and in Robatkarim, 3 in Khorramshahr, 2 each in Abadan, Ahvaz and in Bumahen, and 1 each in Tehran, Isfahan, Eslamshahr, Sanandaj, Shahriar and in Sirjan.[113][114] According to witness evidence reported in mid-late December, the Bandar-eMahshar death toll was much higher than initially estimated. The Iranian government brought in tanks to the streets of the city and security forces and the IRGC used heavy machine guns against unarmed people, leading to the death of 40–100 people.[115][116][117]

As of 26 November, Amnesty International reported that over 100 people had been killed during the protests, including accounts of wounded or dead protesters removed by government authorities to hide the magnitude of the crackdown on protesters.[118] According to the BBC Persian, the number of deaths has exceeded 200.[119]

According to a report by The Guardian from Shiraz on 1 December, "those on the ground" in the city say the death toll is much higher than the 15 confirmed deaths counted by Amnesty International.[120]

Amnesty International reported that the Iranian government threatened families of the killed protestors against talking to the press. The familes were forced to not arrange any funerals and to instead to carry out secret burials. [121]

Speaking at a news conference at the State Department on 5 December, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook stated that Iranian government forces killed more than 1,000 protesters.[122][123] There were reports by US-backed Radio Farda that by December 5, 18 children had been killed by the Iranian government.[124][125]

On 15 December 2019, Amnesty International reported that at least 304 people had been killed in the protests, and described the security forces' actions as massacring the unarmed demonstrators.[126] On 23 December, Reuters reported that 1,500 people, including 400 women and 17 teenagers, had been killed in the protests over the preceding month.[127]

As Reuters has reported, on the second day of Iran protest, in the presence of president Hassan Rouhani, some of his ministers and commanders of the security forces, asserting the government was in total danger, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called to crush the demonstrators, stating "You have my order [...] Do whatever it takes to end it".[128] [129] At least 1500 people, including 400 women and 17 teenagers, were killed in the uprising. Many were shot directly in the head. [130] [131]

Aftermath[edit]

Iranian news agency claimed that starting from 19 November 2019, thousands of people in cities across Iran participated in separate pro-government rallies in condemnation of the riots and showed support for the Iran supreme leadership.[132] On 20 November 2019, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared victory against the "enemy". Iran started gradually restoring internet connection the following day.[133][134] Many supporters (including IRGC leader Hossein Salami) also called for the death penalty on anti-government protesters.[135]

Amnesty International stated on 16 December that one month after the uprising, Iranian security forces are still arresting people and especially youth. Prisons, such as Fashafouyeh prison near the capital Tehran, are overcrowded with detainees, among them juveniles of 15 and younger. Prisoners are faced with daily torture and harassment.[136]

Impacts[edit]

The savings from the fuel price rises are planned to be distributed to 18 million poor families, representing 75% of Iran's population.[91][21] However, with inflation already at 40% and a plummeting currency, according to The Economist, "the inflationary effects of the price rise risk wiping out most of the benefit."[21] This inflationary threat has been acknowledged by Khamenei.[21]

Debate in the Iranian parliament[edit]

Several criticisms of the Iranian authorities were made in December 2019 by members of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, the Iranian parliament. On 9 December 2019, Parvaneh Salahshouri, a female member of the parliament spoke against the country's top officials accusing them of not understanding the griefs of the low-income people and ignoring the deep-seated glitches of the country. [137]

On 10 December 2019, Ali Motahari, a member of Iran's parliament spoke out against the policies of the Supreme Leader and that entities under Khamenei's control have created a stalemate in the parliament. In return another hardliner has asked the Guardian Council to disqualify Motahari as a candidate for the upcoming elections for his "accuses the Supreme Leader in the gasoline issue".[138]

Fears that mass uprising could ignite again created conflicts within the Iranian ruling system. In early December 2019, Mahmood Alavi, the Intelligence Minister, has sent a letter to the speaker of the parliament asking him to stop Mahmood Sadeghi, a member of Parliament, acting "against national interests". Since the protests began in November, Sadeghi continued his attacks against some government entities, including the intelligence system. Sadeghi has also spoken against the forced confessions run by the Ministry of Intelligence and shown on state television.[139]

Reactions[edit]

National[edit]

  • Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei
    • At the beginning of Dars-e Kharej on 17 November, he remarked that he was not an expert in this regard, but this policy had been adopted by the heads of the country, based on expert opinion. Therefore, this decision should be acted on. He said that in any case, some people had become displeased, but setting fire to such and such a bank was not the action of the people; rather it was the action of thugs. Such actions were not carried out by ordinary people, Khamenei claimed. "Of course, officials should also pay attention and decrease the problems associated as much as they can."[140][141] Khamenei also blamed the protests on “all of the centres of villainy around the world that oppose us.”[21]
    • Also at a meeting with producers, economic activists and entrepreneurs on 19 November he stated: "Both friends and foes should know that we have repelled the enemy in the war in military, political and security issues. The recent actions were security issues, not from the people. We have repelled the enemy in various areas, and by God's grace, we will also definitely repel the enemy in the economic war."[142][143][144]
  • Reza Pahlavi, the son of Iran's deposed Shah, tweeted that the Islamic Republic had brought only poverty and suffering to the Iranian people. He also said that the only thing offered for free by the Islamic Republic was oil to its allies in the region, a reference to Syria's president Bashar Assad.[145]
  • Parvaneh Salahshouri, a member of parliament, stated that the decision to increase the price of fuel was not made by the Majles and had been made by the heads of the three branches. Salahshouri stated, "It has been a while now that parliament is not involved in the decision-making process." She continued and, referring to the parliament, said, "The last semblance of a democracy we had is no more. Shut down the next parliament, it is an act of economic resistance".[146]
  • Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Alavi Gorgani asked the government to "change their decision to increase fuel prices before it is too late".[47]
  • Abolfazl Bahrampour, prominent Iranian Quran scholar, stated that the arrested protesters are Muharib and do not deserve normal execution, but must be tortured to death by mutilation of their right hands and left feet. He made these comments in the Iranian state-sponsored IRIB TV1 citing the 33rd Ayah of Al-Ma'ida Surah: "... The only punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is that they should be murdered, or crucified, or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides ...".[147][148][149]
  • Dozens of artists living inside Iran published a statement in support of protesters, saying they will not forget the young faces of the dead, who were killed and then ignored by associating them with “foreigners”. The statement condemned the violation of the people's "most basic human rights" and their "most apparent needs", and warned that people’s voices “will remain in history”. Prominent filmmakers including two-time Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi and Berlinale-winner Jafar Panahi, as well as well-known musicians Hossein Alizadeh and Kayhan Kalhor, are among the signatories of the statement. The statement also ridicules speeches by Iranian officials who have blamed protesters as being agents of foreign states, saying “the regime is trying to justify killing them”.[150]
  • Golshifteh Farahani, an Iranian actress who has been living in exile in France for the past decade, also carried out an extensive interview about the violent response to protests and the high number of people killed, wounded, or arrested. Speaking to Brut America, Farahani explained that many protesters started demonstrating because of a hike in gas prices, but "never came back home". In the video, the actress stated that the killed protesters were "son of some people", "fathers of some people", "daughters of some people", and "they are dead now". [151]
  • Hichkas, Iranian rapper released a song about the recent protests and the inequality that plagues the Iranian society. In the song, titled "Clenched His Fists", the exiled rapper states the various grievances that led to the demonstrations and describes the brutality of the security forces. The song is in the spoken word format and includes audio snippets recorded by protesters on the street, where voices can be heard saying "they are shooting people".[151]

University students[edit]

On 7 December 2019, commemorating the student’s day. university students in various parts of Iran organized rallies shouting slogans against Hassan Rouhani and chief Justice Ebrahim Raeesi. Students also condemned the government for shooting and killing people during recent demonstrations.[152]

Bus drivers[edit]

On 2 December 2019, the Tehran bus drivers' trade union called for the trial of those who ordered the shooting of the protesters. The union described the government's actions as a "massacre and bloody suppression". The statement by the Syndicate of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, also expressed concern about the situation of the thousands of detained protesters.[153]

Lawyers[edit]

On 10 December 2019, 160 Iranian lawyers called for an investigation into the November killings. The lawyers also called for information regarding the several thousand detained protestors.[154]

Mournings[edit]

Iranian regime threatens the families of those killed in recent protests not to talk to reporters or others. Nevertheless, families of young people killed by the regime’s security forces are not giving in. Mother of Pooya Bakhtiari, killed by government agents, says her son was a "national hero". She continued that her son pursued "freedom, justice and truth", something that Iran's authorities will not grant to the people.[155]

International[edit]

States[edit]

  • United States United States:
    • U.S. President of the United States Donald Trump announced his support for the protests stating "Iran has become so unstable that the government has shut down their entire Internet System so that the Great Iranian people cannot talk about the tremendous violence taking place within the country...."[24]
    • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo supported the demonstrations and stated that "The United States is with [the Iranian people]".[156]
    • The Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders criticized the Iranian government for not letting its civilians protest for a "better future" and to stop "showing violence against demonstrators."[citation needed]
    • On 3 December, US President Donald Trump, while attending NATO summit in London, said, "Iran is killing perhaps thousands and thousands of people right now as we speak”. [157]
    • The United States said that the Iranian government had committed "gross human rights violations" during the protests.[158]
  • European Union European Union:
    • Josep Borrell, European Union's new High Representative for Foreign Affairs has condemned the use of deadly force by the Iranian regime against peaceful demonstrators.[159]
    • Almost all political groups and tendencies in the European Parliament voted in favour of a resolution which condemned the Iranian government for its extensive use of force against peaceful protesters in November uprising. European lawmakers called for an independent investigation into atrocities including direct shooting at demonstrators. The resolution calls on the Iranian government “to announce the total number of detainees”. [160] [161] The European parliament condemned the government of Iran for harassment of lawyers and journalists, and for denying legal assistance to the large number of protesters already in jail. [103]
  • Germany Germany: Chancellery urged Iran to respect the "legitimate" protests against a petrol price hike and open talks with the demonstrators: "It is legitimate and deserving of our respect when people courageously air their economic and political grievances, as is currently happening in Iran," said Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer.[162]
  • France France: The French government said on Wednesday it was deeply concerned about reports of many deaths during protests in Iran and called on Tehran to respect its international human rights duties. France "expresses its deep concern over reports of the deaths of many demonstrators in recent days," Foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll told reporters in a daily online briefing. "France calls on Iran to respect its international human rights obligations."[163]
  • Sweden Sweden: Foreign Minister Ann Linde wrote on Twitter: "Terrible casualties in Iran. Nothing can justify this violence. Today's ambassador to Sweden from Our view is informed."[164]

Supernationals[edit]

Sanctions after November uprising[edit]

The United States implemented sanctions on Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran's communications minister, following the deactivation of internet servers inside Iran.[167]

On 19 December 2019, the United States Government enforced sanctions on Two Iranian judges, Abolghassem Salavati and Mohammad Moghisseh, for suppressing “freedoms of speech and assembly”. Thousands of people are now in Iran’s jails just for participating in November uprising. They may face torture or even execution. The two judges have long records of issuing long term prison sentences or death penalties [168] [169] for Iranians longing for democracy and opposed to the rule of the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. [170]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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