Hadeel Oueis, Riyadh Daily, 14 March 2018
Soona Samsami, US-based representative of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Iran’s parliament-in-exile, says protests are taking place in Iran every day. In an interview, she further reveals the sorry state of the Iranian economy.
Do you expect a new wave of protests in Iran on Nowruz, March 21?
There are currently protests taking place every day. The size of the protests might be different from the recent uprising, but the continuation of the protests indicates the regime’s failure to suppress or even contain the wave of protests. For example, only in the past few days, the people of Varzaneh, east of the city of Isfahan, staged massive anti-regime protests.
In addition, in the past few days, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) network in Iran has been actively encouraging the people to celebrate the festival of fire, despite the regime’s suppressive forces being on full alert. Walls in Tehran and many other cities are full of slogans calling for “Death to Khamenei” and “Long live Rajavi.”
How is the economy doing now in Iran?
The economic situation in Iran is deteriorating day by day. The value of the Iranian currency, rial, has further plummeted to its lowest ever. One dollar now exchanges for 48,000 rials. Most factories are either functioning at partial capacity or not at all. There are thousands and thousands of workers who have not been paid their salaries for months. As a result, there are strikes and protests in different factories around the country. The country’s resources are either spent on war mongering outside Iran or used for suppression. What is left fills the coffers of regime officials.
What do you expect from Trump’s decision on the nuclear deal?
As the movement which first revealed the secret nuclear program of the regime, we have always maintained a clear position. This program is against the interests of the Iranian people. The mullahs need it as part of their strategy to survive. They retreated just one step under strong international pressure and for fear of an uprising in Iran. We believe that the mullahs should not be allowed any enrichment, and all its sites must be open to inspections. Any attempt by the regime to prevent that would be a clear indication of their malign intentions.
Do you think it is the beginning of the end of the Iranian regime?
This was the message to the recent uprising in Iran. The regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, had to apologize to the people for the failures of his regime. Dictators reach this position when it is too late for them and are on the verge of being overthrown by the people.
Do you think this regime will fall?
There is growing resistance inside Iran organized by MEK. The resistance’s strategy is to form centers of rebellion around the country to further organize the uprising. Khamenei and other senior regime officials have publicly acknowledged that the MEK was responsible for organizing the recent uprising in January.
What are the strongest factors that can lead to the fall of the regime?
The strongest factor is the Iranian people and their determination to overthrow the regime. Unlike 2009, the recent uprising was organized and was led by the MEK, as admitted by Khamenei. This was also evident by the slogans the people were chanting, calling for regime change, establishment of a real republic, and separation of religion and state. The underlying factors that caused the uprising were, of course, poor economic conditions, poverty, corruption, unemployment and repression. These problems still remain and the regime cannot resolve them. Of course, unlike the 2009 uprising, the international community must not remain silent and voice support for the aspirations of the Iranian people who are calling for democracy and respect for human rights.