Tag Archives: Tehran

Executions and repression intensify in Iran

With the continued threat of war, the sanctions siege and the dual political and economic crisis within Iran the repression of opposition forces is continuing and intensifying.

On Tuesday May 17 two brothers, Mohammad (27) and Abdollah (29) Fathi, were executed by the Islamic Republic. After being torture they were sentenced for being involved with anti-revolutionary groups, armed robbery and Mohareb (waging war against god). Their father, Bijan Fathi, said that their confessions were “obtained under severe torture” and they were “deprived of all their basic lawful rights”.

Below is the video of their funeral:

Left-wing student and activist Mohammad Pourabdollah who has been in prison since February 12 2009 has been moved to the infamous Ghezal Hesar prison in Karaj a city to the west of Tehran. It is a prison known for its barbaric treatment of prisoners and the housing of violent thugs and rapists. He has been charged with propoghanda against the state and being a threat to national security. Pourabdollah was initially sentenced to six years but was reduced to three years on appeal. He has spent months in solitary confinement enduring methodical physical and mental torture.

He was moved along with ten other political prisoners to a prison where in March up to 150 prisoners were injured and a minimum of 14 killed when prison guards attacked prisoners. This is a common move by the theocratic regime that puts political prisoners and those on false charges in the wings and prisons of often violent prisoners.

On the same day of Pourabdollah’s arrest comrade Alireza Davoudi was taken from his home into secret detention. He would never be released alive. The Ayatollah’s thugs murdered comrade Davoudi on July 29 2009 by torturing him to death.

These moves come at a time when the regime is stepping up the murder and brutalisation of political prisoners. Habib Latifi, another left-wing student, is at risk of execution after his death sentence was upheld by Iran’s supreme court. The comrade was arrested in October 2007 during a massive crack down against left-wing students. He is accused of conspiracy against national security and insurgence. A massive campaign was launched to stop the execution which was originally scheduled for December 26 2010. This campaign has been reignited with hundreds of people in the Kurdish city of Sanandaj have signed a letter asking Ali Khamenei to pardon Latifi.

Hands Off the People of Iran is for the release of all political prisoners and an end to executions. Mass action in Iran backed up by grass roots international solidarity is desperately needed to push back the repression and end executions. There can be no liberation from the imperialist forces whose sanctions are causing unemployment and poverty on a massive scale. We are opposed to all sanctions and any military action directed against Iran.

February 14: films about the protests in Iran

Tens of thousands of people defied a ban by the Islamic regime and protested on the streets of Iran on February 14 2011. The Iranian people are protesting in solidarity with the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt – now they want their own dictator and the whole regime to go.

Some films we have been sent by comrades in Iran:

video.php?v=1573961594956

We demand the immediate release of Dr. Fariborz Raisdana

Please sign the petition here

We demand the immediate release of Dr. Fariborz Raisdana

We have learned the astonishing news of “Dr. Raisdana’s arrest” by the security agents of the Islamic republic on the early morning of December 19th, 2010 at his home in Tehran. Dr. Fariborz Raisdana is a well known intellectual, economist, social activist, and …the active member of the Iranian writers’ association. He published several books and articles on political economy and sociology. He has been known as a leftist socio-economic expert who always considers working class in his economic impairment analysis. So that he can be firmly called as “Iranian working class economist”. Dr. Raisdana’s field of expertise is econometrics. He has tried hard to disclose how workers and wage earners have been implicated by the relations of political economy in the turbulent Iranian society and how they have been increasingly suffering.

Arrest of Dr. Raisdana , the member of the Iranian writers’ association which is a long-lasting core on the struggle against censorship in Iran , is a warning to the grass root movements who are seeking public justice and to the people whose main civil and democratic demand is focused on human rights and freedom of speech in spite of the extensive violation of civil rights in Iran. Moreover, his arrest, as a leftist economist who criticizes the Iranian government socio-economic platforms, points out the fact that social and political oppression apparatus in Iran is trying to implement its unfair plan to reduce the allocation of national subsidies. This is the unreasonable plan which has been evaluated by the majority of the experts as a plan to consolidate the military authority in the public sphere of Iran. It is out of question that the military economic plan results in reducing welfare and increasing pressure on the lower classes which Dr. Raisdana is their voice in the society to stand against the illegitimate resilient structure.

We, undersigned, condemn Dr. Raisdana’s arrest and with pledge to civil rights and freedom of speech we demand his immediate and unconditional release.

ما خواهان آزادی فوری فریبرز رییس دانا هستیم

در نخستین ساعات بامداد 28 آذرماه 1389 ( 19 دسامبر 2010 ) فریبرز رییس دانا، روشنفکر ، اقتصاد دان و کوشنده ی اجتماعی و عضو هیات دبیران کانون نویسندگان ایران، توسط ماموران امنیتی در منزلش واقع در تهران، دستگیر شد . فریبرز رییس دانا مولف و مترجم کتاب ها و مقالات متعددی پیرامون نظرگاه های اقتصادی و اجتماعی و سیاسی است. او به عنوان اقتصاد دانی پیش کسوت و صاحب نظر اجتماعی، در تحلیل آسیب های اقتصادی کشورمان، همواره به طبقات فرودست و کم بضاعت ایران نظر داشت، به طوری که می توان به جرات او را « اقتصاد دان طبقه ی کارگر و زحمتکش ایران » نامید. رشته ی تخصصی رئیس دانا « اقتصاد سنجی » است و او به کمک معادلات و محاسبات کاربردی ریاضیات، می کوشید روابط و مناسبات اقتصاد سیاسی را در جامعه ی پر تلاطم ایران نمایان سازد و به ویژه نشان دهد که چگونه کارگران و مزد بگیران جامعه در محاق قرار گرفته اند و محنت روزافزون می کشند.

دستگیری عضو هیات دبیران کانون نویسندگان ایران ، به عنوان کانونی دیرپای در مبارزه با سانسور ، هشداری است به مردم عدالتخواه که نقض گسترده ی حقوق بشر و تهدیدهای بی شمار به آزادی بیان را در مقطع اخیر در صدر مطالبات مدنی و دموکراتیک خود قرار داده اند.

همچنین دستگیری رییس دانا، به عنوان اقتصاد دان چپ و منتقد برنامه های دولت فعلی ایران، مبین جریان ویژه ی سرکوب اجتماعی، در آستانه ی طرحی است که کاهش تخصیص یارانه های ملی را مدنظر دارد . بدیهی است که این طرح غیر علمی و نابخردانه که از سوی بسیاری از صاحب نظران در راستای تحکیم اقتدار نظامی و سیاسی حاکم بر ایران ارزیابی شده است، منجر به کاهش رفاه همگانی و افزایش فشار بر طبقات زیرین جامعه خواهد شد، همان ها که رییس دانا صدای ناله و فریاد فروخفته ی آنان بود. باری، چنین شده است که بی محابا بر منتقدین می تازند و ناروا، روا می دارند تا بیش از پیش بر ساختار ارتجاعی خود یکه تاز شوند.

ما ، امضاء کنندگان زیر ، ضمن محکوم کردن بازدداشت فریبرز رییس دانا ، با التزام به حقوق مدنی و آزادی بیان ، خواهان آزادی فوری و بی قید و شرط این فرهیخته ی آزادی خواه ایرانی هستیم

2 Days to Save Shahla Jahed

End all executions
End all executions

Shahla Jahed is due to be executed in Iran on December 1st, while the eyes of the world are on her fellow Iranian, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Jahed had a temporary marriage with Nasser Mohammad-Khani, an Iranian footballer, and has been charged with murdering his full-time wife. She has withdrawn a confession made under torture, stating in court “everyone knows the conditions under which I confessed.” She has now been imprisoned for nine years.

Send protest emails to:

Head of the Judiciary in Tehran

Mr Ali Reza Avaei

avaei@Dadgostary-tehran.ir

Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran

Mohammad Javad Larijani

info@humanrights-iran.ir

Please copy all emails to the Iranian Embassy in London: consulate@iran-embassy.org.uk

Yassamine Mather: Sanctions take their toll

Yassamine Mather calls for international solidarity with Iranian workers

Over the last two weeks the number of strikes in Iranian factories and workplaces has risen considerably. Workers have taken action in major plants such as South Pars Gasfields, Alborz Lastic Sazi, Ghaem Shahr textiles, Safa Louleh (pipe manufacturers), as have city council workers in Abadan. Demands have also been raised by nurses and other hospital workers, teachers and civil servants.

Some of the most important oil and gas plants have been hit, as well as key manufacturing industries. In other words, both the traditional and modern sectors. In addition to these strikes, we have also seen the first protests by retired workers opposed to a reduction in price concessions for pensioners, reduced from 15% to 9%. Retired employees demonstrated outside the majles (Islamic parliament). In some ways this was as important as the strikes by workers in employment.

How should we analyse the fact that so many workers’ protests have occurred simultaneously? Is it just a coincidence? Of course, it is impossible to predict how things will evolve, but, given the level of repression against workers and the left, these events mark a significant development in the current stage of economic and political struggles inside Iran. So what are the factors behind this new wave of labour unrest?

There is no doubt that sanctions are creating widespread economic devastation, to a degree that is unprecedented over the last 30 years. The drop in the price of oil on the world market, the reduction of production levels for both oil and gas (itself a result of the failure to renew productive capacity), the fall in non-oil exports, bankruptcies and closures in production and manufacturing, the rise in the rate of inflation in housing and essential goods, the plunder of the country’s economic resources through the expropriation of privatised industries and services by factions of the regime, the colossal rise in the price of medical services and drugs – all this points to an escalation of the economic and social crisis.

By November 9, long queues were forming at petrol stations, as motorists expecting a 400% price rise were trying to fill up their tanks. But low-paid workers are the main victims of the current situation. According to an employee of Ghaem Shahr Textile Industries, many of his colleagues have been forced to remove their children from education (both high school and university) so that they can feed their families on the meagre income from their temporary jobs.

Many small and medium-sized firms have already been bankrupted. However, what we are witnessing now is the effects of the crisis on some of the country’s major industrial units, exposing the extent of the problems facing the whole economy. In the past the Islamic regime could rely on oil income and unbridled imports to deal with the demand for basic consumption goods. But now the ruling elite is faced with two important problems: a fall in the price of oil and a regime of suffocating sanctions.

The new round of sanctions has not only made it difficult to import many items, leading to spiralling price rises for most goods: it has also become a serious political weapon threatening the survival of the regime. The regime cannot ignore the problems of production in major industries and this has given the workers in such plants an opportunity to raise demands regarding wages and working conditions.

All this has occurred at a time when the government has been pushing through the abolition of price subsidies – or promoting ‘targeted subsidies’, as it prefers to say. Despite threats to punish shopkeepers who increase prices charged for essential goods, such as bread, meat, sugar, cooking oil and dairy produce, prices for these items are rising daily. Compared to last year, the cost of bread is likely to have increased five or six times by the end of this Iranian month, while cooking oil will have more than doubled and cuts of lamb tripled.

This week, after months of denial, Iran’s Central Bank admitted the true extent of the rise in the rate of inflation. Statistics issued by the bank and other government organisations, including for the cost of living, are given in dollars, even though Iranian workers are paid in tomans (1,000 tomans = one dollar). Last week the price of imported meat in Tehran supermarkets was $30 a kilo – more than in most stores in London or New York. The average wage is $400 a month.

We should not forget that the removal of subsidies on essential food items was part of a $100 billion cuts programme; an integral component of the regime’s adherence to neoliberal economic policies under the terms of its five-year plan. However, uncertainty over the changes was one of the factors behind a $6 billion slide in the value of Tehran’s stock exchange two weeks ago, with trade volume plummeting 63% and share prices dropping by 43% in just one week.

All this will inevitably lead to increased unemployment. Official figures put Iran’s jobless rate at 14.6%. However, this is far below the true figure. The government of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has revised the definition of what constitutes unemployment a number of times. Currently someone doing just one hour of paid work per week is not considered unemployed. But no-one doubts that for many the prospect of finding a job is non-existent.

The government’s fear of food riots following the abolition of subsidies is so real that even before the deadline for full implementation it stationed special military units in poor districts to ‘maintain security’ – in other words, prepare for potential confrontation with the masses. The police presence in Tehran and other cities was also increased and many were deployed on major streets and outside supermarkets. Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guards’ Tehran commander announced that a special task force has been formed to deal with any economic protests. On November 8, several underground rap musicians were arrested in Tehran, and last week hundreds of young men and women were detained in what the police termed a “security cleansing”. The press has been warned to steer clear of any controversial coverage of the subsidy cuts.

In working class districts, everyone is clearly worried about Ahmadinejad’s plans for ‘reforming’ the economy. Of course, a combination of workers’ protests and riots in shanty towns would be a nightmare for the Islamic regime, but the key element is the strength and organisation of the working class. Given the weakness of the left, we cannot expect the working class to be in a position to take full advantage of the current situation. However, there is no doubt that in these exceptional times the success of the shanty towns struggles, the defeat of the abolition of subsidies and the struggles of pensioners all depend on the proletariat.

As in 1979, Iranian workers are in a position to make their mark in the fight against poverty and exploitation and for democracy. In pursuing these goals they need international solidarity and it is part of the role of Hands Off the People of Iran to mobilise such support.

Working class activists and the situation in Iran

Below is aspeech given by an Iranian worker activist Behrooz Khabaz on 22/10/2010 in Sweden at meeting in solidarity with Iranian workers and organising support for imprisoned activist Mahmood Salehi.

Greetings friends and comrades

In this speech first of all I am going to discuss to the general situation of workers in Iran and then I will talk about the role of worker activists inside and outside of Iran and their connection with the workers movement in Iran.

As you know, since long ago, the capitalist regime of Iran, has started a broad invasion to the working conditions and subsistence level of workers in Iran, it was started by the fifth Period of the Parliament and continued and became more prominent during Khatami’s presidential time, and it is going on more severely now.

In this limited time, I will try to show the actual image of the workers life and work situation, based on what I have personally faced and witnessed, the workers Campaign particularly became more active after labor contracts mainly turned to be temporary contracts which gradually even transformed to white signed contracts (which allows the employer to decide for every thing in the contract and the worker is only signing a white paper!) also when contractor companies started to take over. These companies were mainly started in the period of President Hashemi Rafsanjani, with the goal of creating cheap labor, and making the government free from their obligations toward the workers, and until now we can see that these companies are growing.

Capitalist regime of Iran, relying on millions of jobless people, relying on low level of subsistence, relying on job insecurity and also relying on its militia force keeps suppressing the working class more and more. Employed workers, have a nightmare that constantly threatens them: to be fired or unemployed! So they keep on working with a monthly wage that could not even cover the expenses of ten days of their life, and the smallest protest will be responded by a brutal repression of the capitalist regime, so they work with any condition until they are dismissed from work, or the factory is shut down, could you believe that their basic request is that this little salary is not postponed for months? When they go on a strike it is usually to demand the wage that they have not been paied for months or even years!

and we know through all the sources the first reason of the workers protests in Iran is first of all for these unpaid salaries and then to dismissal and closure of the factory!

In my opinion, the basic demands of workers in Iran are: the increase of wage, job security and freedom of association and workers organization, but the Iranian capitalism using all means of oppression has succeeded to suppress the workers, to make them be conservatives not to loose their jobs…. Not to take part in their co workers protests and strikes, to work extra all the time to earn a bit more and try to find the second and even the third job!

Iran’s current regime, with this overwhelming pressure, deprives workers from reaching their most basic demands, prevents workers to organize and to be united with the other progressive social movements. It has even forced workers to make little workplaces inside their homes to be able to make a living!!!! In their houses all the family has to work to make stuff etc and sell it for a very little money just to be able to survive, the workers children usually cant keep on studying and have to drop out of school and work in the under workshops…..

Due to this sad picture of the lives of Iran’s working class, the role of workers activists in Iran in fueling the movement and taking it forward should be really appreciated. They have done so much in the past years to defend the working class such as: organizing the demonstrations of the May days, leading and supporting workers strikes and protests etc, although many workers activists have been arrested and threatened and mistreated by the state we have had successes such as: the organization of Tehran’s bus drivers, the organization of Haft Tape (sugar companies) etc.

Due to the actively of the pioneer worker activists, the voice of the Iranian working class is heard all over the world. We hope that the worker activists in Iran become more aware of the complications of class struggle in Iran and keep on with the struggle with the aim of: uniting the workers struggles making organizations of different types and being active in them and training new members and activists who could take over in case the leaders are imprisoned.

In the end I should mention the important roll of the worker activists who live in exile, the ones who are concerned about the workers movement inside Iran all the time, and they do not want to lead, but support this movement, and they prefer the benefits of the working class over any other benefit, these activists could do a great roll in supporting the movement and to encourage the workers organizations and movements in solidarity with the Iranian working class.

Thank you all

Behrooz Khabaz

Ansar-e-Hezbollah Attacks Students

Repression
Repression

Clashes erupt at the University of Science and Technology. 200 members of Ansar-e-Hezbollah were joined by Basiji students to beat protesting students.

 

There was a clash on February 6th in Tehran between the University of Science and Technology students and supporters of the regime. Students initiated a general strike around 2:00pm. The chant, “Down with the Islamic Republic” was heard. After the students returned to their dormitories, the 200 members of Ansar-e-Hezbollah and Basiji students attacked approximately 600 students with tear gas and electric batons.

The students chanted: “Down with Dictator,” “Damned Ahmadi, you are a disgrace to Elm-o-Sanat [University],” and “Down with the Basij mercenaries.”

Four of the Basijis were identified as Nima Ebrahimi (third year student), Seyed Mehdi Mahdian (third year student), Reza Mousapour, and Seyed Sajjad Khansari.

It was reported that at least three students were thrown out of dormitory windows. 20 students were taken to an unknown location, while several other students had their identification cards confiscated.

The university was in a virtual lock-down by Ansar-e-Hezbollah, and cell phone communication was purportedly blocked.

This report is sent over the internet by a resident student who witnessed the incident.

Translation by: Siavash Sartipi
Edited by: Jim
Persian2English.com

خبر فوری: درگیری شبانه در دانشگاه علم و صنعت

امشب، 17 بهمن ماه، حوالی ساعت 21:30، خوابگاه کوی بسیج در انتهای دانشگاه علم و صنعت، شاهد درگیری های مزدوران انصار حزب الله و بسیجی با دانشجویان بود.

دانشجویان دانشکده علوم پایه از حوالی ساعت 14 تحصن کرده بودند. این دانشجویان بعد از نهار ظروف غذایشان را تا در ساختمان ریاست دانشگاه چیده بودند و بعد از آن پایکوبان و با شعار مرگ بر جمهوری اسلامی به سمت دانشکده علوم پایه رفته بودند. بعد از بازگشت دانشجویان به خوابگاه در حوالی ساعت 21:30 بانگ الله اکبر سراسر دانشگاه و خوابگاه را فرا گرفت. از بلوک 4 دود و صدای فریاد دیده و شنیده می شد. در محوطه خوابگاه حدود 200 نفر از مزدوران انصار (؟ با لباس یشمی تیره بدون نقش) مشغول کتک زدن حدود 600 نفر از دانشجویان بودند. دانشجویان بسیجی هم به کمک مزدوران آمده بودند که نام های برخی از آنان عبارت است از: نیما ابراهیمی (ورودی 85)، سید مهدی مهدیان (ورودی 85)، رضا موسی پور و سید سجاد خونساری. آن ها در حالی که چراغ های محوطه را خاموش کرده بودند، با گاز اشک آور و باتوم برقی وحشیانه دانشجویان را می زدند. در این حال دانشجویان شعار های مرگ بر دیکتاتور، احمدی لعنتی ننگ علم و صنعتی و مرگ بر بسیجی جیره خور می دادند. مزدوران دست کم 3 نفر از دانشجویان را از پنجره به بیرون پرتاب کردند و بعد هم از بهداری دانشگاه آن ها را به همراه 10 الی 20 نفر دیگر به مکانی نامعلوم بردند. کارت های دانشجویی برخی از دانشجویان را نیز گرفته اند.

تا نیمه شب همچنان تمام درب های دانشگاه و خوابگاه محاصره است و اجازه خروج به کسی نمی دهند. تلفن های همراه نیز قطع هستند.

خبر از طریق اینترنت از یکی از دانشجویان که خود این صحنه ها را از نزدیک دیده است و در خوابگاه به سر می برد، گرفته شده است.

( خبر از حامیان قاصدان آزادی )

ساعت 1:00 نیمه شب به وقت ایران

27 December: Iran’s bloody Sunday

Mass protests rock Islamic Republic
Mass protests rock Islamic Republic

December 27 was the bloodiest and most violent convulsion in Iran since the June elections. Millions of ordinary Iranians came out onto the streets to use the Ashura ceremonies and mourning as a focal point of opposition protests. In every part of Iran security forces backed up by Basij militia and the revolutionary guard (Pasdaran) resorted to ever intensifying violence as swarms of protestors over-ran state-repressive forces. It is unclear how many have been killed and arrested at this time, the regime say that only 4 have been killed, whilst student websites and news feeds from Iran put the number around 15. ‘Reformist’ leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s nephew is among the dead. The official reason for these deaths have been accidents and murder by ‘uknown assailants’. The regime has admitted to arresting over 300 protestors yesterday, this number will undoubtedly be much greater.

Clashes took place in Shiraz, Isfahan, Ardebil, Arababad, Mashhad. Whilst Marshal Law was declared in Najaf-Abad, at least four have been killed in the city of Tabriz and the house of recently deceased Ayatollah Montazeri was the scene of heavy fighting in Qom.

Protests began in the morning around 10 am with heavy security presence on major streets, squares and transport links. In Tehran the supreme leader’s residence was surrounded by massed ranks of Pasdaran and police. Throughout the day chants against Khamanei, such as ‘this month is a month of blood!- Khamanei will be toppled’. A clear indication of how far the protest movement has come since June, not only is the regime fearful of a re-run of the election, but are now considerably worried that a revolution is underway. In Tehran clashes erupted at many religious sites as soon as people started to gather for the planned opposition protests. The fighting was intense, with security forces taking several defeats as demonstrators burnt police vehicles, stations, Basij posts and erected barricades. In a couple of instances police and Basij were arrested and detained by the people and three police stations in Tehran were briefly occupied by protestors.. Demonstrators also attacked the Saderat Bank in central Tehran, setting it on fire.

As the day wore on the security forces began to crack, the first division of the special forces refused orders to shoot protestors. There are many pictures and videos that show police retreating or being beaten back by protestors (some are in this report). There is also unconfirmed statements from sections of the army declaring that they will not be used to put down popular unrest. During the evening clashes erupted outside the IRIB headquarters with security forces firing tear gas and bullets into the crowds who responded with rocks and burning barricades. Later on there was fighting in and around Hospitals in central Tehran.

Following the protests several aides to opposition leaders have been arrested whilst injured protestors have been interviewed, beaten and arrested whilst in hospital, the many injured have had to endure interrogation with painful injuries. In response to this it has been reported that medical staff have been patching people up instead of admitting them to the already overcrowded wards. In many parts of Tehran residents opened their doors to the injured and exhausted demonstrators.

The Ashura protests saw a qualitative change in the protests, the people of Iran attacked and won street battles in Tehran, attacked a set fire to police stations and security forces vehicles, demonstrators arrested and detained many riot police and Basij throughout the day. Possibly more importantly the regime has undermined its own religious credibility by making martyrs on Ashura day. Neither side of the regime can now back down, and through this split the mass movement is breaking down the Islamic Republic. Many calls have come not just for the end of Khamanei’s rule, or Ahmadinejad’s government but for the end of the Islamic Republic itself. On the streets protestors have begun chanting ‘Independence, freedom, Iranian Republic’, a slogan which has been condemned by ‘reformist’ leader Mousavi as too radical. The Ashura protests have further underlined that the Islamic Republic is facing the greatest existential threat since its inception and the Iraq-Iran war.

Below are some videos of the protests:





Student activist Mohammad Pourabdollah sentenced to six years imprisonment

 

Only crime: fighting for freedom
Only crime: fighting for freedom

Mohammad Pourabdollah a member of Freedom and Equality Seeking Students in Iran was arrested during a brutal attack on his home in Tehran on February 12th 2009. Mohammad was a chemical engineering student at the University of Tehran. He has been kept in Evin prison in terrible conditions, suffering torture and abuse on a regular basis.

Today he was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment by the Islamic Republic’s revolutionary court. He has been in prison over 300 days already moving from the notorious Evin prison to the equally harsh Ghezel Hesar prison. His only crime was to take part in the student protests against the Iranian regime and the encroachment of the revolutionary guard onto campuses in Iran.

We call for his immediate and unconditional release along with all other political prisoners in Iran.

 

16 Azar: The entire regime is the target!

“Mousavi is an excuse, the entire regime is the target”
“Mousavi is an excuse, the entire regime is the target”

The 56th anniversary of a murder of a student by the Shah’s security forces during Vice-president Nixon’s visit in 1953 may prove to be the last held under the heel of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Possibly millions of students, youth and workers took to the streets in protests against the regime and the barbaric repression since the rigged June elections. Though hard to confirm, today’s protests could be the biggest since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Protests have taken place in Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad, Arak, Karaj, Orumieh, Kerman, Rasht, Shiraz, Ahvaz, Kermanshah and Hamedan and there have been reports of soldiers protesting at Qom Airbase. Protestors carried Iranian flags that omitted the Allah sign showing that the movement is moving beyond the slogans of the June protests.

In preparation for these demonstrations the regime formed lines of police, Basij and Pasdaran around the universities, squares and monuments in the major cities. The government also attempted to limit internet access with up-to 50% of attempts to connect failing, however, the regime failed to stop the flood of information that is now on hundreds of blogs, twitter and news sites. The mobile phone network was also shut down in central Tehran and limited in other parts of the city. At one point the Basij were scene frantically searching computer rooms at Tehran Polytechnic University in an attempt to stop pictures and videos coming out. Protestors managed to organise the protests and relay information of road blocks etc through the internet and land lines in defiance of the government. Once again the Iranian youth has shown the world that the state cannot keep a lid on protests and unrest.

Repression and Resistance
Repression and Resistance

On the streets the state repressive forces backed up by militia assaulted and arrested protestors but were met with courage and defiance.

At Hamedan University two students were thrown from the second floor by Basij scum, reports indicate that both students have sustained severe injuries. There were also heavy clashes between students and security forces here. At the hospitals in Tehran police with dogs prevented injured protestors from entering, arrested and attacking people who looked like protestors. At Amir Kabir University students were savagely beaten by security forces, where a prominent student leader; Majid Tavakoli was arrested. At the Medical College in Tehran Basij thugs attempted to break up a demonstration beating several students, there were reports of some badly injured protestors at this demonstration. At the Polytechnic University students clashed with the police and managed to repel them for a time shouting “Marg Bar Khamanei” (Down with Khamanei!) as the focus of popular anger shifts from Ahmadinejad and onto the Supreme Leader and the entire Islamic Republic. At Razi University in Kermanshah militia and police had a massive presence but failed to stop the student demonstration. At Sanati University in Isfahan in Kermanshah student protests were attacked by security forces. Professors at Beheshti University joined with the 2,000 strong protest to scenes of massive cheering and chants of ‘Death to the Dictator’. In Kurdistan students burned images of Khomanei and Khamanei in the University, they were also protesting the murder of socialist fighter Ehsan Fattahian who was executed on the 11th November. There were protests and clashes at Azad Shahrkord University, Elm o Sanat University, Sharif University, Azad University of Mashhad, Azad University of Najafabad, Sanati University in Isfahan, Hormozgan University, University of Zanjan, Yasooj University and others. School students have also taken part in the demonstrations, at a high school for girls in Tehran they gathered and chanted slogans, the video is below.

There was heavy fighting across Tehran with students turning the tide against security forces and militia at times. Basij who were carrying Hezbollah flags were attacked and thrown out of Khaje-Nasir University by brave students. Outside Tehran University, the streets approaching Enghelab Square and Valiasr Street saw shots fired by security forces, it is not clear whether they were warning shots or fired into the crowd, some reports claim that some students have been shot. There were reports of security forces refusing to attack students and at times taking water from students who were calling for them to join the protests. It also seems that around Enghelab Square Basij abandoned their positions and vehicles which were swiftly used to form burning barricades by the youth. It has been reported that riot police attacked Basij who were attacking demonstrators. If this wavering from security forces and demonstrations from soldiers are confirmed then this could undermine the regimes confidence in its ability to suppress the protests and may possibly signal an acceleration of the regimes collapse.

Proving that the protests go far beyond the student movement, elderly women dodged bullets and tear gas to bring water, sandwhiches and first aid to the student demonstrators. Some were attacked by security forces, one women was beat savagely by Basij thugs. Below is the video of her after the attack:

Where fighting was taking place residents rushed to aid the students and young workers and many have formed voluntary medical groups, helping the injured into nearby homes and distributing water to crowds. Many workers joined the demonstrations after finishing work swelling the numbers in central Tehran and other cities.

Many students posting on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook have been asking where are the reformists? The mass movement has kept the colour of Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s presidential campaign yet it seems he has abandoned the movement he helped to stir up. As students chanted across Tehran “Mousavi is an excuse, the entire regime is the target” the reformists will have been made acutely aware that the movement is far beyond their control now.

Protests have continued on into the evening with sporadic clashes between protestors and police. It is unclear how many have been arrested today, though we expect it to be in the hundreds. The workers movement internationally must get serious in organising solidarity and demanding the immediate release of all of those who are in prison and secret detention sites. An analysis of today’s events and a wider report will be posted shortly.

Below are some videos from today’s protests: