On May 16, a new round of protests against the regime began in various cities around Iran. The increasing number of protests and demonstrations show the world that the regime’s control is an illusion and that the unrest is simmering below the surface.
In Arak, the workers from Hepco Company, which is a heavy machinery manufacturer, held their fourth consecutive protest while chanting slogans against the Iranian regime and its officials. The workers were demanding their overdue salaries and benefits, along with guarantees of job security.
Tehran’s metro personnel stopped their daily work to protest non-payment of their salaries and arrears. Those waiting for their trains to arrive were heard to chant, “Death to the dictator.” While several cities saw protests focused on working conditions, others saw shopkeepers protesting against the regime not following through on their promises to open border crossings and reduced customs tariffs.
One village, however, did not fall back at the arrival of the security forces. In Mehdi-abad, a village near the central city of Qazvin, the residents forced the regime’s security forces and authorities to flee the area. The authorities are trying to take over the land that the resident farmers are working on, but to date, those officials have not been successful.
Another group of merchants in Naghsh-e Jahan bazaar began a strike protest the rise in the dollar exchange rate, which is controlled by the regime. Those who attempt to exchange money at another rate than prescribed by the regime risk losing their business license.
Protests are not just limited to workers and business owners, but also include citizens who are suffering due to the corruption throughout the regime’s banking system. Credit institutions have been a prime target of protests, as the funds on deposit disappear. The regime does not insure any deposits, making it more difficult for those who used these institutions in an attempt to invest their funds in a savings account.
One protest in particular had deadly consequences. In Kazerun, which is in south-west Iran, the authorities launched a clampdown on a peaceful protest. At least five individuals were killed, and more than 60 were injured. The regime’s security forces also arrested up to 150 people, in an attempt to discourage additional protests and demonstrations in the area. Videos collected by members of the MEK/PMOI show the way the security forces used extreme force against the Iranian protesters.
The ongoing protests seem to be gaining ground, even in areas of Iran that have been pro-regime and the mullahs. How this will impact the future of Iran, in light of the potential end of the JCPOA, remains to be seen.