On November 15, 2019, the Iranian government announced a 200% increase in fuel prices. Each car will be allowed 60 liters per month on 50% increased price.
By Hassan al-Barazili
The increase itself is devastating for the unemployed and the poor. Unemployment is around 12% and there are up to 20 million people under the poverty line.
The fuel price rise affects all the economy. Even the most basic products will have their prices increased.
On the same day, there were people’s protests in more than 100 cities starting in Ahwaz province in the south. In reality the fuel price rise only triggered an accumulated people’s dissatisfaction with the regime. One of their slogans was the same one shouted against Shah Reza Pahlevi: “Death to the Dictator”.
The regime delivered a ruthless response. Internet connection was cut off and the repressive “Revolutionary Guards” and the Basiji militias attacked protesters across the nation.
Under attack, the protesters set banks, public buildings and religious schools on fire. Posters depicting Iranian leaders were targeted as well.
Some estimates indicate that 450 protesters were killed. Thousands were injured and arrested. Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami, an Iranian authority, stood publicly for punishing protesters with death penalty.
Among the arrested are Iranian socialist journalist, labor and women’s rights activist, Sepideh Gholian who was recently released temporarily after posting heavy bail, and Saha Mortezai, an Iranian woman PhD student in political science has been rearrested along with other students.
Furthermore, Iranian Authorities have frozen the assets of a London-based Persian-language news channel called Iran International. They accused Iran International of planning terrorist attacks, attempting to overthrow the regime, and encouraging “thugs” to destroy public property.
In another development, world-famous The Intercept investigative news center publicized 700 hundred pages of leaked cables from a secret Iranian intelligence archive exposing Iranian Revolutionary Guards General Kassem Suleimani as the real authority behind the Iraqi administration, a similar power held by American diplomat Paul Bremer in the first two years of the American-occupied Iraq.
These protests are a critical challenge to the regime which faces people’s revolutions the directly affect its interests in both Iraq and Lebanon.
Furthermore, American president Donald Trump is carrying out criminal economic sanctions against Iran which have devastating effects on the working people’s economies.
“It is also critically important for labor, feminist and youth activists around the world to express their solidarity with the current popular protests in Iran and their demand for overthrowing their regime.
Unfortunately, some socialists in the U.S. and elsewhere have sided with the Iranian regime and have even travelled to Iran to meet with foreign minister Zarif and praise him instead of trying to meet with dissidents and demanding the release of political prisoners.
It is very difficult for socialist activists inside Iran and Iranian socialists in exile to promote socialism as an alternative when some socialist activists either actively ignore solidarity with the Iranian protests or actually side with the Iranian regime as “anti-imperialist.”, wrote the Los Angeles-based Iranian Marxist Frieda Afary.
Connected to the same concerns, a statement signed by more than 70 academics, militants and independent political groups calls upon the global left to break its silence and express its solidarity with the people of Iran.
The International Workers’ League (Fourth International) stands in solidarity with the Iranian working class in their struggle for social rights and democratic liberties.
We demand the Iranian authorities to stop the crackdown on the protests, to set all political prisoners free (including Asal Mohammadi and Neda Naji), drop of charges against Tehran bus workers’ members including Hassan Saeidi and Rasoul Taleb Moghaddam and against Haft Tapeh sugarcane workers including Ali Nejati, and to hold all responsible for the ruthless repression accountable.
We demand the U.S. administration to halt all economic sanctions against Iran and to recognize the right of Iran and any other oppressed nation to develop the weapons, conventional or nuclear, they feel necessary to defend themselves from American and Israeli threats.
The Iranian working class have a strong heritage of struggle. When in motion they can overthrow any regime. Socialist activists, in and outside Iran, united in a revolutionary party will be instrumental for a new Iranian Revolution to put down the Velayat e-Faqih regime and to impose a workers’ power based on democratic councils when working people will have the right to decide their future.