During the nomination of his cabinet in the Parliament [Majlis] last year, President Ebrahim Raisi spoke about his priority and introduced “Jihadi motions” as his path toward improving citizens’ livelihood.
“My government prioritizes the economy, economic stability, improving the major indicators, and in one word: the strengthening people’s livelihood and reinforcing the business atmosphere,” he said at Majlis’s public session on August 21, 2021.
After ten months, citizens regularly chant “Death to Raisi” in their social protests. They call Raisi’s cabinet “deceitful,” which has plundered the people’s fundamental rights to compensate for its budget deficit and fund extremist proxies in Gaza and Lebanon. “Death to the deceitful government” and “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, my life is for Iran, the oppressed people are here,” citizens chant frequently.
Protests Ceaselessly Radicalized, Expanded, and Continued
The continuous protests and social grievances targeting the high-ranking officials, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Raisi, and Majlis Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, are unprecedentedly within the past four decades.
After 43 years of living under the theocracy, the people of Iran have grasped that the government’s publicity maneuvers would not resolve their difficulties, even for short periods. Therefore, officials’ decisions, indeed, fuel public ire instead of extinguishing objections.
In this respect, citizens from different walks of life endeavor to obtain their rights through street protests. In other words, they have realized that the ayatollahs and other officials, mostly commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), only respond to the language of power and firmness.
“We can only obtain our rights at the tarmac,” fed-up people frequently chant in their rallies and marches. “Neither Majlis [parliament] nor the government thinks about the nation,” “Both of the Majlis and government lie to the people,” and “We heard a lot of promises, but our food baskets are still empty.”
Simultaneously, not a day has passed without protests inside the country, and clashes are getting more violent day by day. The continuance of these movements by different classes shows society’s volcanic situation. Already, the people denounced the authorities via massive apathy in the 2019 and 2021 elections. Now, they loudly target high-ranking officials with hatred slogans:
—Death to Raisi
—Death to the deceitful government
and sound alarms about further uprisings, chanting, “Raisi, Ghalibaf; this is the last warning; our movement are ready to uprise.”
At the same time, citizens more freely speak on social media. They express their hatred against the theocracy’s crimes, corruption, and mismanagement and collaborate on justice-seeking moves. “Those responsible for cyberspace should take steps, preventing the enemy from doing whatever it wants,” Khamenei said on March 28.
The State’s Loyalists Have Been Confused
In such circumstances, even Khamenei-controlled Majlis warns about the Raisi government’s decisions and their consequences. “These days, we are continuously hearing curses by citizens,” said cleric Javad Nikbin, an MP from the Razavi Khorasan province in northeastern Iran, on June 15. “The previous government burned people with gasoline [price hikes in 2019], and this government strangles people with bread [price hikes].”
“All governments needed surgery and performed it… The Raisi cabinet leaves people’s half-dead bodies lifeless by increasing the prices of 700 essential goods.”
“The high prices have broken the people’s back,” said Alborz Hosseini, an MP from Zanjan province in the west-central of Iran. Warning Raisi, MP from Isfahan Massoud Khatami, said that “the people’s fury will break your government’s back if you do nothing.”
Khamenei and Raisi pushed Labor Minister Hojjatollah Abdolmaleki to resign, trying to quell public protests. However, the problems are too profound to be solved via cabinet changes, as Abdolmaleki’s resignation did not result in the end of rallies, marches, and demonstrations. It indeed proved that their dilemmas originated from another source, Khamenei and Raisi. “Our Lord, uproot the tyranny,” citizens chant, venting their anger over the entire religious dictatorship.