In Iran, standing up in protest risks not only your livelihood, but potentially your freedom, your life, and the lives of your loved ones. However, that has not stopped large parts of the Tehran’s Grand Bazaar and bazaars in various cities from going on strike. The shopkeepers have refused to open their shops, in protest of the increase in foreign exchange rates, high prices of goods, inflation, and the recession that is contributing to a growing poverty level.
Dozens of cities have joined the protest, expanding its reach beyond Tehran. Truckers have also been protesting, with a nationwide strike now entering its third week. The strikers’ demands have also focused on economic issues, but these economic issues are part of larger concerns related to the regime’s dealings with the international community.
U.S. sanctions having greater economic impact
Since the Trump administration withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the focus of U.S. foreign policy regarding Iran has been to isolate the regime, particularly through economic means. The result is an increasing number of sanctions, with the ones set to take effect in November targeting the Iranian oil and gas industry.
While the mullahs continue to call the moves by the U.S. illegal and try to shift the focus away from their actions, the Iranian resistance coalition, known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has repeatedly pointed out how the regime is using corruption and repressive tactics to intimidate the Iranian people and its neighbors throughout the region.
Iranian resistance supports strikes
For the Iranian resistance, the increasing number of strikes throughout the country are proof that the regime is struggling to remain control. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI, called on the regime to release those truckers that were arrested as part of the clampdown on the truckers’ strike by the Iranian security personnel. She also called on other Iranians to support the strikers and their efforts to create change.
On October 8, Rajavi commended the efforts of the shopkeepers. “The bazaar strike, coming on the heels of the strike by hardworking truckers, shows the general population’s desire for regime change. For as long as the criminal and corrupt mullahs are in power, high prices, recession, and poverty, and the path to environmental destruction will continue; the only solution to this national crisis is the establishment of democracy and popular rite,” said Rajavi.
She also described the recent strikes as the beginning of a larger effort by the Iranian people to overthrow the regime and free Iran from the extreme fundamentalism and the influence of the mullahs that has spread throughout the Middle East.