On Thursday and Friday, Iran’s ongoing protests saw another surge of rallies against the regime despite strict security measures and suppression of dissidents.
On Thursday, people took to the streets to mark the 40th day of the execution of Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Mohammad Hosseini, who were arrested and hanged for taking part in the nationwide protests. Both of them were severely tortured, forced to make incriminating confessions, and were deprived of a fair judicial process.
While the regime had dispatched security forces to prevent protests, rallies were reported in many cities. including Tehran, Mashhad, Sanandaj, Shiraz, Karaj, Qazvin, Arak, Izeh, Ahvaz, Khorramabad, Rasht, Yazd, Javanrud, and Qorveh. Protesters chanted slogans against regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei and called for regime change. They also pledged to avenge Karami, Hosseini, and hundreds of other protesters who have been killed by security forces in the past five months.
In several locations, protesters blocked roads by lighting fires and clashed with security forces who were dispatched to suppress them.
February 17 – Zahedan, southeast #Iran
Placard reads: "Freedom will come [with the motto of] 'We can & we must!'"
"Death to Khamenei!"
"Death to the IRGC!"#No2ShahNo2Mullahs #مرگ_بر_ستمگر_چه_شاه_باشه_چه_رهبرpic.twitter.com/IFUqtCelGy
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) February 17, 2023
On Friday, the province of Sistan and Baluchestan saw another round of protests following the Friday prayers. These protest rallies are taking place on a weekly basis despite videos showing the regime sending troops and taking extra security measures to prevent rallies from taking place.
The protesters chanted slogans in support of regime change but also in opposition to a return to the dictatorship of the Shah regime. Protesters were chanting, “Death to the oppressor, whether it be the Shah or the Mullahs” and “No to monarchy, no to the supreme leader, democracy and equality.”
Nightly protests were also held in several cities, including Tehran, Sanandaj, and Isfahan, where protesters marched in the streets and chanted anti-regime slogans.
These protests were taking place at the same time as the first day of the annual Munich Security Conference was being held. Thousands of supporters of the Iranian Resistance held a protest rally in Munich to voice their support for the ongoing protests in Iran and to call on the world leaders to hold the regime accountable for its crimes. The rally was also in support of the slogan “No to Shah and no to Mullahs,” which has become very popular inside Iran.
This rally was also significant since representatives of the remnants of the Shah regime were invited to the Munich Security Conference. The demonstrators in Munich voiced their opposition to this invitation and made it clear that the people of Iran will not accept a return to the Shah dictatorship.
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Leo Dautzenberg, Chair of the German Solidarity Committee for a Free Iran (DSFI) and former Member of German Bundestag, warned against the promotion of the son of Iran’s ousted Shah.
Dautzenberg emphasized that during the 1979 revolution, Khomeini promised not to seek power and leave it to the people to choose their leaders.
“But we know that he seized power when he came to Iran. Reza Pahlavi has also made similar moves. He claims not to want power, but he has already sworn an oath of being the King of Iran. And he has even declared his heir,” Dautzenberg said.
Pahlavi has not condemned the crimes of SAVAK, the secret police of his father’s regime that was tasked with arresting, torturing, and killing dissidents. Neither has he revoked his claim to the throne.
“This is dangerous,” Dautzenberg said. “This is why the participation of the Shah’s son at the Munich Security Conference is a dangerous decision and welcomed by the regime. It distracts discussions focused on unity and solidarity for freedom.”
Hanif Mahoutchian, Legal Advisor of the JU-Hamburg, said, “Whatever the media try to promote fake alternatives, the true face of the Iranian revolution is different. The people of Iran are relaying their own message to the world.”
The supporters of the Iranian Resistance resumed their rally on Saturday.