Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Ahmadinejad, the former president of Iran, said: “I warn you that a flood is coming, a heavy flood is coming, and it will take you with it. I’m like that baby shepherd standing on a hill, and he sees a flood coming and letting you know. Once again, another Bahman 22 (February 11, 1979 – the day of Shah’s overthrow) is forming.” (Isfahan Today newspaper)
Iranian society is a powder keg of frustration, poverty, corruption, and oppression. Iran’s media outlets describe 80 percent of the population as wandering between the red line of poverty and the black line of death. Khamenei banned importing reputable French, British and American vaccines into Iran to curb an inflamed society by shifting their focus and paralyzing society with the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent them from resorting to another uprising against the regime’s rulership.
For his regime to act with uniform repression, Khamenei, like any other dictator, has no choice but to pursue a contractionary policy to keep those most loyal to himself in power. Even if Iran succeeds in lifting some of the sanctions during the Vienna talks, thus being able to resume selling oil fully or partially, the risk of an uprising lurking around him. With the help of the Guardian Council, he wants to eliminate all the candidates not loyal to him and keep his faithful and loyal people in place to implement his strategy and policies.
The Iranian regime recognized after the two uprisings of November 2017 and February 2019 that maintaining control was vital. The Iranian guards and security forces open direct fire at the protestors, killing more than 1,500, injuring and detaining thousands. According to an Iranian sociologist, when the government does not want to listen to its people via the ballot box, the people will speak out differently through demonstrations, disturbances, and more.
After the widespread uprising of 2019, the resistance units have been very active in cities across Iran. These units are guided and organized by Iran’s leading opposition group, which advocates for separating religion and state and gender equality. They are proliferating throughout Iran. The resistance groups engage in informing the public on methods available to resist the regime. Their activities include setting fire on large photos of Khamenei and Rouhani in busy districts of Tehran and other cities. They are also active in writing anti-regime slogans or hanging Mrs. Rajavi’s pictures from bridges in the busy district of Tehran. The regime is very concerned about the impact of these activities. It is feared these activities will pave the way for future uprisings, which could spell the end of the regime.
Public news of detaining and sentencing MEK activists has frequently surfaced in the news media. On May 20, a so-called revolutionary court in Tehran sentenced a 34-year-old MEK activist and member of a resistance unit to death and three others to five years in prison for engaging in non-violent dissemination of anti-regime literature.
Resistance units have called for a nationwide boycott of the regime’s sham Presidential election by posting banners and placards, writing graffiti, and distributing leaflets in public places of the capital and throughout Iran.
The activities of the resistance units have created an array of new headaches for the regime in Tehran. Iran’s Deputy Police Commander, Qassem Rezaei, acknowledged, “We are going to watch all the activities that are manifested by those beyond waters (referring to Mujahedin, the main opposition group and the viable alternative to the theocratic regime in Iran that are in Albania) or those inside Iran and we will suffocate them.” (Entekhab News Site, May 20, 2021)
In another revelation, the commander of the Zanjan police force referred to the police force as the axis of election security and added: “The Mojahedin and the enemies take every action to strike at this country, but the armed forces thwart their conspiracies.” (IRNA News Agency, May 12, 2021)
The regime sees these resistance units as challenging the discontent of the Iranian people in a way that could remake the government, taking power from Khamenei and his cronies.
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