Alireza Jafarzadeh explores the 2019 uprising in Iran, detailing how it initially challenged the regime before it brutally suppressed the protesters, resulting in thousands of casualties, injuries, and numerous arrests.

Iran’s November 2019 Uprising Shook the Regime to Its Core

BEHIND THE IRAN HEADLINES Series, November 15, 2023, Alireza Jafarzadeh, NCRI-US Deputy Director

Alireza Jafarzadeh explores the 2019 uprising in Iran, detailing how it initially challenged the regime before it brutally suppressed the protesters, resulting in thousands of casualties, injuries, and numerous arrests.

Today, November 15, marks the anniversary of a significant uprising that took place in Iran in 2019, with protests breaking out in at least 165 cities. The immediate cause was a gasoline price hike of up to 300%, but the primary aim was to overthrow the ruling regime and dismantle the IRGC and its oppressive apparatus.

The rapid spread of the protests highlighted the explosiveness of Iran’s society, as people chanted, “Death to the dictator,” “Death to Khamenei,” and “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, I give my life for Iran.”

The state-run Jomhouri newspaper wrote that “The rioters operated in groups of a few individuals at predetermined locations guided by a certain command center, caused damage, set fires, provoked people, chanted slogans not related to gasoline rationing and the price rise.”

Indeed, the MEK-affiliated Resistance Units were crucial in advancing and guiding the protests. Rebellious youth orchestrated major street blockades and the destruction of regime symbols, including images of Khamenei. Over 1,300 government buildings, banks linked to the IRGC, Basij centers, and seminaries were attacked and set on fire, marking a level of unrest not seen in three decades.

The protestors’ fearlessness, organizational discipline, and tactics against the IRGC and Bassij were extraordinary, as the conscience of the nation, which was severely suppressed over four decades, had come back to haunt the regime. A key Friday prayer leader acknowledged that many protest organizers were children of MEK members executed in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners.

High-ranking regime officials later confessed that they feared the regime’s imminent collapse. Then came the COVID pandemic, which supreme leader Khamenei callously exploited to delay its downfall. Nevertheless, the uprisings erupted again, most notably in September 2022.

Iran’s ongoing democratic revolution has its ebbs and flows, but it is continually rising, maturing, and strengthening. It will culminate in a free, secular, non-nuclear republic that contributes to peace and stability in the region.

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