Iranian mullahs caught off guard by scale of protests
On the fourth day of the nationwide uprising of the Iranian people, regime officials are acknowledging popular anger against and abhorrence of the regime and the uprising spreading across the country. The people are seeking regime change in Iran, and this has a major impact for the U.S.'s and the international community's foreign policy in the Middle East and possibly beyond.
Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which is a major force behind the protests, released a statement in which she said, in part, "The ongoing protests in different cities against the regime reveal the explosive state of Iranian society and the people's desire for regime change," Fox news reported.
Fox news: Maryam Rajavi released a statement in which she said, in part, "The ongoing protests in different cities against the regime reveal the explosive state of Iranian society and the people's desire for regime change."https://t.co/LLP8jqvDiG#Iran#Iranprotests
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) December 31, 2017
That stands in contrast to the dolorous musings of the mullahs. "The events of the last few days have caused concern, sadness[,] and discomfort for our dear people, and ... the created atmosphere ... has damaged the security of the country," according to the Iranian interior minister Rahmani Fazli.
In Iranian regime terminology, "dear people" and "the country" are references to the ruling clerical establishment, who have destroyed Iran's assets, killed the people for 39 years and plunged the entire region into havoc.
Iran's regime has also led a policy of targeting U.S. and coalition forces stationed across the region for the past 15 years.
"Those who attempt to destroy public property, cause unrest and lawlessness, and undermine the people's security will be held accountable," Fazli added.
"Those who misused the [i]nternet for the purpose of destroying security, irregularity, lawbreaking[,] and destruction of the people's property have shown it was just an excuse to use in this regard," he continued.
The semi-official Mehr news agency wired a report accusing the Iranian Opposition People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), which is closely affiliated with the NCRI to the point that the mullahs consider them synonymous, of being "behind the recent turmoil and managing ongoing developments." The PMOI/MEK is a longtime opponent of the mullahs, in opposition since the dawn of Iran's 1979 revolution that brought the mullahs to power.
Ali Asghar Nasser, the security and law enforcement deputy of Tehran governorate, knew that the protests had reached crisis levels. For that, he sought to downgrade the massive impact of the rallies.
"Yesterday, a few individuals disrupted the people's comfort and were quickly apprehended," he said, adding that these individuals hurled "stones at the police, damaged police vehicles[,] and broke windows of banks[.]"
— Hossein Abedini (@HoAbedini) December 31, 2017
Meanwhile, developments inside the regime are indicating increasing concerns and confusion within the regime apparatus more than ever before regarding the Iranian people's uprising.
Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei remains silent.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani canceled his scheduled speech today – this despite the fact that Iran Daily, associated with Rouhani's faction, posted a piece this morning saying, "In light of recent events and several days of conflict in different cities across the country, the president will speak about these incidents in a couple of hours."
However, one of Rouhani's spokesmen issued a statement two hours later saying, "There is no speech in Rouhani's program today."
Authorities have also shut down schools for today and tomorrow in Tehran and many cities under the pretext of "air pollution."
These latest developments are indicating major changes in the making in Iran, as the people are showing they have reached their ultimate limit with the ruling regime.
The Obama administration, loyal to a policy of appeasement, failed to come to the support of the Iranian nation during their uprising back in 2009 and missed a historic opportunity.
U.S president Donald Trump, his administration, and Congress have expressed their support for the Iranian protesters. This may signal enough of a difference that the Iranians now feel emboldened to demand their freedom.
Europe is following Trump's lead. British foreign minister Boris Johnson and other officials in Europe have voiced support.
The European Parliament, which enjoys the support of many MEPs, calls on "the E.U. High Representative Ms. Mogherini and the European governments to publicly express solidarity with the current uprising of the Iranian people and to strongly condemn the brutal reaction of the Iranian government and the security forces against the peaceful demonstrators."
The Iranian people must be assured that the international community will support their demand for fundamental regime change in Iran to the very end.
Shahriar Kia is an Iranian human rights activist. See more videos of the Iranian protests on his Twitter feed at @shahriarkia.