On June 18, the anniversary of the sham presidential elections of 2021, regime president Ebrahim Raisi, who spoke to a group of regime loyalists in Varamin, said, “The people wanted us to fight poverty, corruption, and discrimination,” and in the same speech, he claimed, “We remain loyal to our commitments.”
Ironically, while Raisi was marking the first year of his presidency, protesters in many cities were chanting, “Raisi you liar! What happened to your promises?”
On June 18, Tehran and other major cities witnessed protests. People of different walks of life were in the streets, shouting, “We will not give in to disgrace!” and addressing Raisi by saying, “Enough with the empty promises! Our food tables are empty!” Protesters ruined Raisi’s celebration of his presidency’s first anniversary.
In Tehran, despite the heavy presence of security forces, there were protest rallies in five different locations, and protesters chanted slogans against the destructive policies of the Raisi government. Shop owners in Kashani, Ekbatan, Cheragh Bargh, Melat, and the appliance bazaar held strikes and protest rallies. The regime responded by dispatching anti-riot forces to intimidate the people and disperse the rallies. But the people resisted the security forces and continued their rally.
At the same time, retirees and pensioners of the Social Security Organization held protest rallies in Tehran, Ahvaz, Bandar Abbas, Kerman, Dorud, Abadan, Shushtar, Shush, and Zanzan continued their protest rallies, which has been ongoing for two consecutive weeks. The demonstrators protested the regime’s destructive policies and refusal to raise their pensions in accordance with the growing inflation rate and the skyrocketing price of basic goods.
At the same time, bazaar strikes continued in Tehran, Yazd, Isfahan, Nurabad, and Kuhchenar, in protest to the growing taxes and the decreasing value of the rial. In Isfahan, people of different walks of life joined the protest rally of the shop owners.
These protests come on the heels of two months of mass protests in different parts of Iran. In April, protests erupted in different cities as the price of basic goods grew to record rates. Protests chanted “Death to Raisi!” and “Death to Khamenei!” targeting regime President Ebrahim Raisi and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, respective, and responded to the regime’s crackdown on their rallies by raiding the headquarters of the Bassij repressive forces.
These protests were followed by another wave of demonstrations in Khuzestan and neighboring provinces in protest to the collapse of the Abadan Metropol building. The protesters chanted slogans against Khamenei, Raisi, and other senior regime officials for their role in creating the corrupt system that led to the collapse of the building and the death of dozens of people.
Again, the regime’s security apparatus and repressive forces were not able to prevent the protesters from coming to the streets for several consecutive days.
The retirees’ nationwide demonstrations is now continuing for two weeks, and according to regime officials and state media, began with economic demands but we are now witnessing political slogans and criticism targeting the very top of the mullahs’ regime. Furthermore, there are also dozens of other protests and gatherings by people from all walks of life.
A look at this trend and its evolution to numerous demonstrations in Tehran and other cities, and the expansion of strikes on June 18 indicates that protests in Iran have entered a new phase. The status quo is quite dangerous for the regime, to say the least, and extremely important and for the Iranian people and their organized resistance in the road ahead.
The main characteristic of this period is the unity of an enchained nation based on a joint dilemma that is equal to all of Iran’s communities, nationalities, and generations. All branches of Iran’s society have been victims of the mullahs’ ongoing crackdown, crimes, and plundering. When a society rallies against a certain predicament, they are more likely to reach a solution together.
This is exactly why the regime’s crackdown machine, despite the large number of units dispatched to quell the recent demonstrations, has not been able to prevent the growth of popular protests during the past two months.
When Khamenei’s propaganda apparatus attempts divert the country’s main issue at hand to the West and the “Global Arrogance” , the Iranian people have been taking a stand against him and responding: “Our enemy is right here!” This is tantamount to a nation realizing and targeting its main obstacle, in Iran being the mullahs’ regime and its Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), before establishing freedom, democracy, and human rights.