Chasing Mourners at Their Graves
Iranian women mourn during a public funeral ceremony in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz, September 2018. (Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

Chasing Mourners at Their Graves

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, December 29

The sight of the security men forcefully pushing people away from the cemetery, to which they came to mourn and visit their loved ones who were killed in the last round of Iranian protests, shows that the regime in Tehran has lost its mind. Indeed, the regime seems to be in a state of sheer terror if it fears even the ghosts of the dead. We now see how alertness levels have been raised across the entire country. The regime has cut off the internet for 40 million users, despite its importance to meet the needs of the government and the people. Security agencies are disturbing international media and preventing them from reporting what is happening in Iran. The streets of Tehran have been flooded with police and army forces. Unlike previous rounds of demonstrations, in which security forces remained vigilant yet hidden, the regime has now deployed its forces out in the open, with the hope of deterring people from taking to the streets. Over 500 protesters have been killed, most of them young adults. Thousands of others have been arrested. The pictures coming from Tehran reflect the confusion and deterioration of the regime’s stability. As a case in point, there has been a deluge of contradictory statements made by regime officials, including political and parliamentary leaders, government clerics, and media officials close to the government. The government seems to have lost its credibility even among its loyalists. The mullahs’ political intransigence costs the Iranian people billions of dollars. Most Iranians depend on the government for jobs and subsidies of major commodities, but instead of improving people’s livelihoods, the mullahs are financing internal and external political operations. Horrific scenes such as the harassment of families and mourners visiting the graves of their loved ones manage to turn even some of the strongest regime proponents against the system. Similarly, targeting young men and children taking to the streets will only turn them into icons of the new Iranian revolution. Nikta Esfandani, a 14-year-old girl who was shot straight in her head during the November protests against rising fuel prices, has already succeeded in galvanizing the masses against the regime. Does the supreme leader actually believe he will be able to control the protests at a time when prices are continuously rising, and when people have become fully convinced that corruption is widespread among all ranks of government? The mullahs are awaiting a divine miracle but all they are getting so far are more and more crippling US sanctions. –Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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