This is very hard to watch, so a proper warning must be given.
In 1979, the Iranian military and police refused to fire live ammunition at protesters in the streets trying to bring down the Shah. Seeing that the game was up, the Shah fled and Iran’s long nightmare theocracy began.
That was then. This is now.
The Iranian government is slaughtering its own people who are, for the most part, unarmed and demonstrating peacefully. They are shooting them down like rabid dogs in the streets or aiming sniper fire in their direction. The killing is being done by the Revolutionary Guard under the direct command of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
According to Amnesty International, 208 protesters have been killed since the protests began, Most observers believe the body count is much higher.
The difference between the IRGC and the Shah’s military is a fanatical belief that the protesters are being directed by the U.S. and other Western powers. This conspiracy theory finds resonance on the American and European left — as Tehran knows it will. Those inclined to believe the absolute worst of America accept such nonsense at face value.
Meanwhile, ordinary Iranian citizens are facing live ammunition in the streets to fight for a better future. I doubt very much they believe they’re being directed or controlled by the U.S.
Iranian activist and journalist Masih Alinejad appeared on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” Monday to discuss the unrest in Iran and the hundreds of protesters killed by the government’s brutal crackdown, saying the movement opposing Tehran’s authoritarian regime could topple the country’s theocratic regime.
“This time is totally different. People became their own leader. They took to the street. They risked their lives. And they had the message, which you hear through the videos,” Alinejad said after MacCallum showed clips of the unrest. “That is actually why the government shut down the Internet. Why? Because they didn’t want the rest of the world to hear the message.”
Of course, no internet also means no ugly, bloody videos of protesters getting mowed down in the streets.
Amnesty International said it verified extensive footage that showed security forces shooting at unarmed protesters.
It added that it had compiled the death toll by interviewing and crosschecking a range of sources inside and outside Iran including victims’ relatives, journalists and human rights activists involved in gathering the information.
NBC News could not independently verify the number of dead.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations disputed Amnesty’s findings early Tuesday though it offered no evidence to support its claim.
It should go without saying that fuel costs and inflation were only the catalysts for the explosion. It’s much simpler than that. Oppressed people don’t want to be oppressed anymore.
And that is driving the fear of authorities, who are going to extraordinary lengths to keep a lid on the story and eliminate every vestige of opposition.
Mansoureh Mills, an Iran researcher at Amnesty, said there was a “general environment of fear inside of Iran at the moment.”
“The authorities have been threatening families, some have been forced to sign undertakings that they won’t speak to the media,” she said.
Authorities also have been visiting hospitals, looking for patients with gunshot wounds or other injuries from the unrest, Mills said. She alleged that authorities then immediately detain those with suspicious wounds.
Iran’s U.N. mission in New York called Amnesty’s findings “unsubstantiated,” without elaborating.
With protests still going on in over 100 cities, the violence won’t end anytime soon. And a lot more brave Iranian kids are going to bleed before it’s over.