The Petrol Price Hike Sparked Rebellion in Iran– Emre Güntekin
Iranian laborers joined the wave of insurgencies in the world. It is not surprising that Iranian laborers have joined the ongoing global protest wave, especially after the protests in Lebanon and Iraq. The anger of the working people against the rotten Mullah regime in Iran has been accumulating over the years and sometimes makes itself apparent on the streets.
The recent petrol hike has re-activated the accumulated energy in society. The government reinstated a rationing of subsidized fuel with a 50% price increase (from 10,000 Rials/litre to 15,000 Rials/litre), and a 300% increase for consumption above the subsidized ration (from 10,000 Rials/litre to 30,000 Rials/litre). With the regulation, the state plans to earn $2.55 billion in additional revenue, while the spokesmen of the regime argue that the income will be distributed to the poor.
After the price hikes in gasoline, the masses were mobilized in the streets of Ahvaz, Khorramshahr, Birjand, Mashhad, Gachsaran, Sirjan, Bandar Abbas, Isfahan and Shiraz; gas stations were set on fire in the cities of Isfahan and Kerman. At the same time, protestors blocked many roads across the country. While the regime intervenes violently to stop the actions, it is stated that two people have lost their lives so far. Social media reported that Basij militias opened fire from rooftops to protesters and that the casualties is higher than that announced, and that around 300 people were detained in 11 cities. The regime also blocked access to the internet in many cities to prevent the flow of information and protests.
Just as in Iraq and Lebanon, the rebellion in Iran lies at the heart of the economic difficulties of the working classes, the corruption of the regime, unemployment and repression policies. The Mullah regime has kept the regime up to date with bloody repression and now its capacity to convince the masses has crashed. The deepening economic crisis with the tightening of international sanctions made living conditions more difficult, while the imperialist blockade of the country was the mainstay of the regime against the occasional rising actions of the masses. Today, Khamenei repeats this argument that had been used for decades. “The counter-revolution and Iran’s enemies have always supported sabotage and breaches of security and continue to do so,” says Khamenei, “they exacerbate such issues and actions that would disrupt security, which could be the greatest plague for every country and society. A person who loves his country is not involved in such a business.”. Iran’s interior minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli has given the signs that intervention can get severe: “Until now we have shown tolerance toward these individuals…but today a really small number engaged in activities in some cities that we decided if this issue continues, despite self-control, police and security forces will discharge their duty.” The instigators are undoubtedly being directed from abroad and their actions are illegal and criminal,” Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said, “I warn those disruptors who have roots outside the country trying to provoke the public by using virtual environments.”
In recent protests in Iraq and Lebanon, it was claimed by the Mullah regime that forces such as the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia were behind the protests; Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds force linked to the Revolutionary Guards of Iran, was reflected in the media that he guided the paramilitary forces for suppressing the rebellion in Iraq.
This, of course, directly determines the fate of the struggle of the laborers in the Middle East. Imperialist competition allows for the manipulation of the protests that begin with class demands in the region where the masses are unorganized. Iran is not an exception. As in the past, the US was quick to announce support for the protests through Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “After 40 years of tyranny, the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government’s abuses,” Pompeo wrote in the original Persian tweet. “We will not stay silent either. I have a message for the people of Iran: The United States hears you. The United States supports you. The United States is with you.” While the US-led Western forces led to deepening the economic crisis in Iran through sanctions, they expected the society to take actions against the Mullah regime. Thus, the US imperialism had planned opening a door to regime change. So it is not surprising that they are happy with the protests and the crackling of the Mullah regime.
How will Iranian laborers overcome this paradox? On the one hand, a corrupt regime in the country, on the other side imperialism circling like vultures on any struggle of the people… In any case, little will change in the life of the Iranian laborers as long as the Mullah regime exists. Besides, pledge of imperialism after a regime change has already shown itself in Iraq. Therefore, the only way for a possibility of change in the Middle East, especially Iran, is through the struggle for socialism.