Friday, June 2, 2023

Protests in Iran biggest threat to hardline regime in 13 yrs

Demonstrations have spread to most of Iran’s 31 provinces and almost all urban centres, pitting anti-government demonstrators against regime forces, including the military, and posing the most serious test to the hardline state’s authority in more than 13 years, local media reported.
The demonstrations have evoked images of an anti-government protest in 2009, known as the green revolution, that followed contentious presidential elections and marked the last time citizens faced off against security forces on a large scale. “The main difference between the current protest compared to the green movement in 2009 is that now people are fighting back; they are not afraid of the brutal regime,” said Sima Sabet, an Iranian journalist and presenter on the Iran International TV station, The Guardian reported.
“Demonstrators are now burning ambulances because the government is using ambulances to move their security forces not to rescue people. The protesters are now using different tactics; they move between all cities and make it hard for security forces to control all locations.”
Firuzeh Mahmoudi, executive director of human rights NGO United for Iran, said the recent unrest followed months of Iranians being prepared to hold smaller protests on an array of issues. “The uprising in 2009 in some ways was more expansive in certain cities,” she said.
“We had millions of people protesting in certain cities during the biggest day of that protest. It was the biggest thing since the [1979] revolution. They did not see it coming and were very surprised.
“Now we’re seeing not only big cities, but smaller cities that we’ve never seen before. We’re now also seeing unprecedented ways in which people are showing up, in the messaging and the boldness. Things are a lot more unified.”
Mahmoudi said chants heard at rallies, such as “We’ll support our sisters and women, life, liberty”, had been heard around the country.
“This is unprecedented for us. We have never seen women take their hijab off in mass like this.
Burning down the police centres, running after their cars, burning down the pictures of [supreme leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei,” she said, The Guardian reported.
Drawing on lessons learned over the past decade in anti-government uprisings elsewhere in the Middle East, smartphones have been used as organising tools, with messages and places of demonstrations widely circulated, despite widespread cuts to the country’s internet.
“They have tactics about how to send their videos outside of Iran despite the cut-off of the internet,” said Sabet.
“For the first time now in Iran, women are burning their hijabs with the support of men,” The Guardian reported.
Substantial numbers of Iranians have long been opposed to unflinching societal rules and the reach of the state’s security forces, which have enforced one of the region’s most formidable theocratic states over more than four decades.
As long as the protesters continue agitation on the streets and wear out the security forces, they will sustain and maybe expand the momentum. In at least one small city, Oshnavieh, in north-west Iran, the regime has lost effective control and retreated to the outskirts.
Internet provider Starlink has announced that it will activate its satellite so the internet can be accessed inside Iran, The Guardian reported.

Iran summons UK and Norway ambassadors amid violent unrest

Dubai, Sep 25 (AP): Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday it summoned Britain’s ambassador to protest what it described as a hostile atmosphere created by London-based Farsi language media outlets. The move comes amid violent unrest in Iran triggered by the death of a young woman in police custody.
The state-run IRNA news agency reported the ministry also summoned Norway’s ambassador to Iran and strongly protested recent remarks by the president of the Norwegian parliament, Masud Gharahkhani.
The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in custody after being detained by Iranian morality police launched unrest across Iran’s provinces and the capital of Tehran. State TV suggested Saturday that 41 protesters and police have been killed since the protests erupted Sept. 17. It said official statistics would be released by the Interior Ministry.
According to a tally by The Associated Press, there have been at least 11 deaths from both sides since protests began after Amini’s funeral.
The Foreign Ministry’s website said it summoned Simon Shercliff, the U.K.’s ambassador to Iran, on Saturday and protested the hosting of critical Farsi-language media outlets. The ministry alleges the news outlets have provoked disturbances and the spread of riots in Iran at the top of their programmes.
Iran said it considers the news agencies’ reporting to be interference in Iran’s internal affairs and acts against its sovereignty.
The crisis in Iran began as a public outpouring of anger over the the death of Amini, who was arrested by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly wearing her Islamic headscarf too loosely.
The police said she died of a heart attack and was not mistreated, but her family has cast doubt on that account.
Amini’s death has sparked sharp condemnation from Western countries and the United Nations.


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