Protests and mourning in various cities across Iran occurred after the Metropol twin towers collapse in Abadan that happened on May 23, footage has been broadcast, showing citizens chanting various slogans aimed at the Iranian regime.
Among the chants were: “Death to [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei”; “Khamenei is a murderer; his rule is invalid”; “Death to the dictator”; “Our enemy is right here, [the mullahs] lie when they say it is in America”; and “The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Basij must get lost.”
The regime’s inadequate response to the catastrophe, which has claimed the lives of at least 37 victims—as of this report—has outraged the public. At the same time, Iranian authorities have been stunned by the ongoing protests in Abadan, which have also spread across the country.
The mullahs expected that there would be mourning ceremonies for the victims; however, the regime’s 43-year resume of corruption, deception, and failure has led the grieving families to vent their anger against the entire regime with slogans such as “Death to Khamenei” and “Death to [regime President Ebrahim] Raisi.”
The ongoing and expanding protests prove that Iran’s society is in a volcanic situation, and the people’s frustration and disappointment may erupt at any given moment. In recent months, Iran’s state media has repeatedly sounded alarm bells about the gap between the state and society. These latest demonstrations have proven that their predictions were correct.
Brutal Crackdown Shows the Regime’s Vulnerability and Weakness
It appeared that the regime had seemingly recognized society’s readiness for an upheaval. As a result, authorities immediately dispatched anti-riot forces to the Metropol site following the incident, rather than sending relief personnel and equipment to rescue survivors. State media also downplayed the disaster, seeking to ease the people’s hatred and anger.
In an interview with Entekhab daily on May 24, the state-run propaganda chief Peyman Jabelli said, “We dispatched the News Channel to the Metropol. We received appeals and requests from everywhere, demanding that we cover this issue for even one or two hours. Then we received orders, saying, ‘That’s enough.’”
In response to the organization’s failure to cover the news and report the disaster, citizens were heard chanting, “The state-run radio and TV organization is a disgrace”
Videos of the aftermath of the collapse have shown anti-riot units, Basij paramilitary forces, and plainclothes agents, using lethal force to disperse citizens’ peaceful gatherings. Not only did authorities fire teargas and birdshot against the defenseless protesters, but they also resorted to using live ammunition to quell the people’s rightful demands for justice against corrupt officials.
Reports have also indicated that the regime transferred armored vehicles and oppressive equipment to Abadan, countering unarmed citizens. Snipers were also reportedly placed on the rooftops, and then targeted several citizens.
Observers have suggested that such a cruel approach towards the unarmed citizens greatly signifies the regime’s vulnerability and weakness, and shows that the mullahs neither can, nor want to address people’s demands. “They are all cuts of the same cloth,” citizens say.
According to another citizen, “Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani, Vice-President for Economic Affairs Mohsen Rezaei, Arvand Free Trade Zone director-general Esmail Zamani, Assembly of Experts member Abbas Ka’bi, the governor, judiciary officials, security forces, and municipal managers are all in a mafia, dominating Khuzestan.”
Protests Extend and Aim Dictator Ali Khamenei
Despite the regime’s brutality, the latest protests have engulfed the country. On the sixth consecutive night of protests, defiant youths in the Naziabad district of Tehran chanted, “Death to Khamenei,” boldly pointing to the source of Iranian citizens’ difficulties and problems.
In Bushehr, in the south of the country, citizens chanted anti-regime slogans, such as, “Death to the dictator” and “Our enemy is right here, [the mullahs] lie, saying it is America.”
In Abadan, a number of Arab tribes joined the mourning ceremonies. These tribes were armed and terrified security forces, pushing them to ease their oppressive measures.
Fearing the further expansion of protests, the regime disrupted the Internet in order to silence protesters. However, Iranian netizens called upon tech companies and satellite-owner incorporations to ensure protesters still had access to free internet.
Concurrent with the domestic protests, the Iranian diaspora, mostly supporters of the main Iranian opposition – the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) – also rallied outside local administrative offices in various countries in Europe.