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Tags: iran | protests | revolution

Protests and Revolution in Iran

Protests and Revolution in Iran
(Reza Ebrahimi/Dreamstime.com)

Micah Halpern By Friday, 27 December 2019 12:44 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Iran is experiencing a phenomenon not typically seen in that country — protests. Not small, discreet protests — huge protests.

What started as a spontaneous reaction to a 50% increase in the price of gas has exploded. The numbers are fuzzy but since the protests began, it is believed that hundreds upon hundreds of Iranians have been killed and multiple thousands have been arrested. But those numbers have not deterred the people of Iran.

The protests are continuing to gather strength. Estimates, Iranian estimates, have already put the number of participants as high as 200,000. United States imposed sanctions on Iran may be the pressure behind the current demand for change in Iran, but the Iranians have grabbed the gauntlet and they are running with it.

In order for any chance of change in Iran to succeed, Iranians must act alone. The regime must be overthrown organically. The promise of internally overthrowing the regime is the only way to convince the masses to risk their lives and join the movement on the streets in the various provinces. The momentum must include the masses residing in the provinces.

According to Reuters Media, which quoted three separate Iranian Interior Ministry sources, 1,500 Iranian protestors and security officers have been killed since December 16.

These two weeks were the bloodiest two weeks in Iran since the 1979 Revolution.

The sources say that orders came from the highest level of leadership to shut down the protests and the anti-government movement fueling the protests. In Iran, “shutting down” often means kill.

The Supreme Leader has demanded that the protests stop now — if not he will hold the leaders of the protest responsible. According to a source in the inner circle of the government, the Grand Ayatollah said: “The Islamic Republic is in danger. Do whatever it takes to end it. You have my order.”

At first, Amnesty International and other groups put their estimate at 300 deaths.

Then the U.S. State Department upped it to 1,000 deaths. Now, as we see, the Iranians are reporting even higher numbers. These numbers include 17 teens and 400 women.

We don’t know how this will end, but we do know that, for Iran, this is transformative. Iranian leadership is running scared and scrambling to find ways to punish Iranians — ways other than cold blooded murder — for taking issue with their regime. One solution the leadership has come up with is their tried and true method of blocking mobile internet.

And so, once again, Iran is blocking mobile internet hoping to make it more difficult for protestors to communicate and to organize. In certain Iranian provinces, the internet is already totally shut down.

But Iranians aren’t running scared. Organizers are expecting a huge surge in participants at their demonstrations in the next few days. Protestors are hoping for 250,000 people. One of the motivational tools the protest organizers are using to get people out is video clips of others protesting. The obvious messaging and announcements of the protests are important, but they only go so far in penetrating the intimidation and fear factor that Iranian leadership has perfected. Peer pressure, however, seems to be working.

On the flip side, however, Iranian TV is broadcasting clips of protestors being beaten and shot while protesting. Their message, too, is obvious. If you protest this will happen to you!

Iranians are getting the messages, but Western media seems to be a bit befuddled in their coverage.

For example, on December 4, The New York Times ran a headline that read: “Iran’s Leaders Soften Stance on Protesters: In an apparent attempt to ease anger over the killing and arrest of protesters, senior leaders urged leniency and promised compensation for peaceful demonstrators who died.”

Yes, that is what Iranian leadership said, but it is not what they did. The New York Times bought into and propagated Iranian propaganda. They took a statement made by the Grand Ayatollah “calling on the judiciary to show mercy” and accepted it at face value when it was really merely a PR tool.

It is not difficult to see that current Iranian leadership is feeling the pressure. The Iranian people are risking their lives in the name of freedom for themselves and for their children. They are challenging an oppressive state. It is the responsibility of the West to ferret out the disinformation and the lies dished out by the dictators. We cannot promote their propaganda as news when it is, in truth, designed to deflate the momentum of the protests.

Now, we wait and watch, evaluate, and determine how we can help. Will the Iranian masses swarm to the streets? Will Iranian leadership authorize the killing of masses of innocent protestors in order to maintain their power?

This is Iran. There is no predicting the outcome.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reportsClick Here Now.

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Iran is experiencing a phenomenon not typically seen in that country — protests. Not small, discreet protests — huge protests.
iran, protests, revolution
Friday, 27 December 2019 12:44 PM
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