By Ali Safavi
Iran’s regime is doomed, desperate and dazed. For weeks, people in Lebanon and Iraq rose up against its destructive meddling. And, for the past 11 days, people of Iran in 176 cities revolted to unseat it in Tehran itself.
So far, the murderous theocracy has slaughtered 450 protesters, wounding 4,000, and arresting at least 10,000, detaining many in grade schools. The deadly crackdown, however, has failed to quash the uprising, as reports of continuing clashes in Tehran and other cities are making their way out of the regime’s Internet blockade.
The uprising started in response to a drastic jump in fuel prices. For months, the regime had been trying to lift fuel subsidies but was afraid of the impending social unrest.
Recently, the regime’s calculus changed after being confronted with near-empty coffers, hungry regional proxies relying on its largesse, and serious threats to its “strategic depth” in Lebanon and Iraq. Caught between a bad and a worse option, it chose the former. On Thursday at midnight, as the country slept, fuel prices tripled and security forces were quietly planted at sensitive locations, ready to quell protests.
But the awakening that followed shocked the mullahs. Protests spread nationwide like wildfire, with youth taking center stage. Unprecedented levels of popular rage were directed at the corrupt rulers, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei himself. “Death to Khamenei” and “death to Rouhani” were the rallying cry, democracy the objective.
The scale and the depth of the uprising prompted a clearly panicked Khamenei to quickly intervene in an attempt to both quash internal disputes among alarmed officials and to swiftly nip the protests in the bud by publicly supporting the price hike and calling for the suppression of “rioters.”
The November uprising is unprecedented and exceedingly more audacious than the 2009 and 2017-18 uprisings.