The situation in Iran has been turbulent for several weeks now. Since mid-November last year, the people of Iran have been participating in the biggest popular uprising in the country in the past few years. Widespread protests were sparked when the regime announced a massive increase in fuel prices.
Then, at the beginning of the year, Qassem Soleimani – the commander of the Quds Force branch of the notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – was killed during a US drone strike. The regime was furious at the killing of such an important regime official, for he has been instrumental in shaping foreign policy and carrying out many of the tasks that have advanced the regime’s plans.
The Iranian regime’s propaganda machine worked hard to make out like there was a huge outpouring of grief by the general public in Iran. However this was not the case. Many people rejoiced in the news of Qassem Soleimani’s death. He was considered, by the people, as one of the country’s top terrorists. Because of the level of repression in Iran, the people were unable to celebrate freely in the same way the people of Iraq were.
The uprising has been encouraged and supported by the main opposition to the Iranian regime – the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). There are a great number of people outside the country that are standing behind the people of Iran.
On Saturday 11 January, a convention was held in Los Angeles, California, in support of the people of Iran and their popular uprising. It was organised by members of the local Iranian American community. There were a number of prominent guest speakers that participated in the convention.
The speakers condemned the Iranian regime’s downing of flight PS752 (Ukrainian International Airlines) shortly after take-off from Tehran. This disaster resulted in the death of every single person on-board the flight – all 176 crew and passengers. The Iranian aviation authorities initially reported that the international passenger flight that was heading to Kiev experienced technical issues that resulted in the downing of the plane, but it was later established that the IRGC had shot it down in error (believing that it was an American cruise missile).
During the speeches at the convention, it became very clear that the people of Iran and the numerous “Resistance Units” spread across Iran have substantial support from many political figures and groups around the world.
President-elect of the NCRI, Mrs Maryam Rajavi also addressed the attendees of the convention, reminding then that the opposition is relentlessly targeted by Iranian authorities. She also highlighted that the regime has suffered blow after blow in recent times and that it is unable to claw back the power that it has lost. Mrs Rajavi said that the death of Soleimani “delivered a crushing blow to the strategy of export of fundamentalism and terrorism”.
Other speakers at the event included Senator Robert Torricelli, General James Conway (ret.), Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield, Professor Ivan Sasha Sheehan and former Congressman Patrick Kennedy.