Gas Price Surge Sparks New Iranian People’s Protest
This past weekend, Iran's Islamic regime announced that the nation’s gas price had been raised 300 percent since Friday, November 15. Suddenly after this announcement, millions of protestors gathered in the streets across the country. For years now, the Iranian people have been continuing to rally against the regime's unpopular policies, which have reached record lows of miserable feelings on the quality of life indexes. So, will the regime finally break under this added pressure?
Since these protests and rallies began, and spread to more than 115 cities in Iran, the regime's Supreme Leader, along with the Iranian president himself, have called the protestors “hooligans,” and began to shoot them down. As of today, about 200 have been left dead and thousands injured, by reports. Additionally, more than 3,000 citizens were arrested. What remains to be seen is if this latest uprising will cause any big movement in Iranian power.
The regime of the mullahs is facing trouble now from three sides. First, President Trump altered the international diplomatic landscape for Iran. In the second front, the Iranian people are rising up against economic hardship and Islamic tyranny. And third, the mullahs and other regime leaders are all having to watch their own backs, at risk from each other, as they become more desperate to stay alive.
On one front, Trump withdrew the United States from the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal, and has been tightening sanctions, along with other moves to counter Iran’s police state and terror activities. After the deal withdrawal, Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, sought to create disputes between America and the European states. Europe wants to continue the JCPOA deal with Iran, for its own gain. Iran's regime hoped that by widening cracks in U.S. and E.U. diplomatic relations, Iran could loosen Trump’s maximum pressure policies against the Islamic regime.
It seems American pressure by Trump is having an effect. The gas price increase is an indicator that the Islamic regime is becoming desperate for funds. But the people are not tolerating it. Their action in the streets is becoming such a grave threat to the regime, that the internet is being shut down in the country.
Internally, the Islamic regime of Iran is divided into competing, paranoid factions. They are all coming under pressure from each other now, as well. The self-proclaimed moderates in Iran hold the presidency and a considerable minority in Iran's parliament. They are losing their power as a consequence of the nuclear deal falling apart. They are desperate to maintain the propaganda narrative that if they fall, then the regime's hardliners would eventually come to power. And then they say, the civilized world would find the hardliners impossible to deal with.
Unlike most Middle Eastern countries, Iran has an election every 4 years. That creates an illusion that a sort of democracy operates for the people to decide the balance of power in Iran. Foreign minister Zarif and his faction push a false narrative, that the Iranian people support the current moderates and reformists inside the regime, against the hardliners. However, the people are tired of suffering under corrupt and harsh Islamic rule. They are not buying the regime’s fear propaganda. Along with Trump’s pressure, and the paranoid regime infighting, Iranians may be using their own force to bring real change.
Kaveh Taheri (Twitter: @TaheriKaveh), American Truth Project contributor, is a Turkey-based Iranian Human Rights researcher and journalist who has worked exclusively on Middle East. Kaveh, who was a former political prisoner in Shiraz, had been sent to prison for his writings and statements on his websites and weblogs in Iran and fled the country through Turkey to save his life.