Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is celebrating a “victory” over protesters who turned out en masse to demonstrate against a doubling of fuel prices. What exactly he’s celebrating is unclear. Is it the 106 protesters Amnesty International is claiming were gunned down by snipers?
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared on Wednesday that street unrest had been put down in a victory over foreign enemies, after a wave of violent demonstrations swept the country following a hike in fuel prices last week.
Amnesty International said it had documented at least 106 deaths of protesters killed by security forces, which would make it the worst street unrest in Iran in at least a decade and possibly since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Rouhani is in a tough spot. And whenever despotic regimes find things getting uncomfortable, they always blame foreigners.
“The Iranian people have again succeeded in an historic test and shown they will not let enemies benefit from the situation, even though they might have complaints about the country’s management,” Rouhani said, state TV reported.
As part of the show, Rouhan’s government is targeting people with dual citizenship.
Iran says its security forces have arrested several dual nationals in Karaj near Tehran during anti-government demonstrations that were triggered by a gas price hike on Friday November 15.
The announcement plays into the hands of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani who have said U.S., Israel and “some regional reactionary states,” meaning Saudi Arabia have been behind the nationwide protests that have rocked Iran for six days now.
During the post-election unrest in 2009 Iran arrested some dual nationals and Iranian staff members of European embassies to prove Khamenei’s conspiracy theory about foreigners’ involvement in the protests. The detainees, including a British Embassy staff member and a Newsweek journalist were even forced to make self-incriminating confessions.
The dual nationals arrested in Karaj in Alborz Province reportedly carried German and Turkish passports, a normal occurrence in a city frequented by transit truck drivers. However, the officials claimed without showing any evidence that they had equipment to be used for sabotage.
There’s no other way to describe this regime except “gangsters.”
It’s difficult to know precisely what’s going on because the internet has bee switched off for days, but Amnesty says that protests are going on in 21 cities across Iran and that the death toll might be much higher.
“The organization believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed,” Amnesty International said in a statement, adding that reports from witnesses “reveal a harrowing pattern of unlawful killings by Iranian security forces, which have used excessive and lethal force to crush largely peaceful protests.”
Intelligence and security forces did not return bodies of the dead to their families but instead ordered quick burials of the bodies without autopsies, Amnesty International said.
Peace has been restored, Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said at a news conference, but videos on social media showed protests continued through Monday night, Reuters reported.
All of this is not solely the result of a fuel price increase. Unemployment among the young is close to 30 percent and, once again, young people are rebelling against the straitjacket that religious authorities have placed them in. A decade ago, it was the young who took to the streets after a rigged election, calling for many reforms and for liberalization of society.
And is happening now, authorities gunned them down in the street.
The regime is teetering on the edge and it wouldn’t take much to push them over the precipice on to the scrap heap of history.