Thousands defy regime crackdown as protests grow across Iran

Massive demonstrations took place across Iran again on Tuesday, with thousands of protesters defying the regime to take to the streets in the cities of Isfahan, Karaj, and Rasht to protest over soaring prices, skyrocketing inflation, and high unemployment.

The protesters chanted anti-regime slogans including “Death to the dictator” (a reference to Khamenei) and “Incompetent officials, resign resign!” as anger continues to grow over the spiraling economic crisis in the wake of US sanctions.

Despite the regime’s efforts to impose a media blackout and the presence of large numbers of heavily armed anti-riot police, numerous videos were uploaded to social media showing thousands of demonstrators, with many joining the protests as the demonstrators used social media to urge others to join them.

In recent years, the regime has plowed tens of billions of dollars into regional military expansionism, including the funding of multiple sectarian militias to help prop up Bashar al-Assad’s regime, while Iranians have become steadily poorer. Whilst many hoped that the relaxation of US sanctions following the landmark 2015 nuclear deal might bring liberalization and improve citizens’ lives, the monies released have been spent on the aforementioned regional wars, even as domestic poverty and repression in Iran increased. The recent decision by President Donald Trump to reimpose sanctions, heralding yet more hardship, is widely viewed as the last straw by the long-suffering people, with the Iranian rial plunging to 112,000 to one US dollar over the weekend and continuing to fall at the time of writing.
The latest protests follow a recent demonstration by business owners at a major bazaar in Tehran, while shopkeepers in other towns and cities across the country also shut their doors and closed their businesses in protest at the unprecedented economic instability.

On Tuesday, protesters in the city of Rasht were undaunted by the presence of regime anti-riot police who have arrested thousands since large-scale protests first began last December – before Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions. The demonstrators chanted slogans including “Death to high prices!”, “Unemployment, inflation – not bearable any longer!” and “No fear, no fear, we are all here together” – the last has become a favorite chant of demonstrators across the country, an expression of defiance in the face of the regime’s brutal and fruitless efforts to crush the protests.

Similar scenes were seen in Isfahan and in Karaj, where the protesters chanted, “People beg while the leader reigns!”, while there were also unconfirmed reports of protests in the city of Shiraz.

Although the regime deployed thousands of anti-riot police and plainclothes agents, who reportedly beat and arrested many protesters in an effort to intimidate them into abandoning their demonstrations, the people were undaunted, with many believing that the protests will only continue to grow as the economic crisis worsens.