Despite being nowhere near the scale of the 2009 Green Movement color revolution, the recent Iranian protests have nonetheless captured the attention of the world. The questions surrounding the protests are legion but the chief among them are whether or not they are legitimate organic Iranian sentiment or whether they are a Western-backed color revolution aimed at destabilizing the Iranian government.
While many of the demands of the protesters are entirely legitimate (i.e. end to religious rule, better handling of the economy, equal rights for women, etc.) and should be respected regardless of “majority” support, other demands mirror those of the United States, NATO, GCC, and Israel (i.e. stop supporting Palestine and Syria). There is no doubt that the Iranian government is tyrannical and oppressive, but there is much doubt as to whether or not these protests are the result of Iranians being fed up with that rule or whether they are the result of yet more Western meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, particularly those next on the chopping block.
The protests taking place across Iran today bear the hallmark of a Western destabilization operation, regardless of the legitimacy of a number of their demands. For instance, 1.) the protests began as economic demonstrations but quickly morphed into “anti-government,” regime change gatherings 2.) some of the demands seem to mirror the foreign policy desires of the United States, NATO, GCC, and Israel 3.) the corporate Western press is exaggerating the numbers of people participating, 4.) pro-government demonstrations are being ignored by the press 5.) the protests have turned violent in many areas 6.) the protests are supported by the U.S. and Israeli governments as well as by other European governments 7.) the protests are being supported by Neo-cons in the Western press and 8.) the protests are being supported by terrorist organizations (of the Islamic and Marxist varieties).
Those Who Support The Protests
Just from taking a glance at the Western corporate press, it’s easy to discern that the corporate media is united in their “perspective” that the protests in Iran are an organic expression of freedom. This is, after all, the “perspective” of these press outlets in any country where a color revolution is taking place, thus reaffirming the fact that the MSM is not merely a collection of money hungry corporations but also weaponized propaganda that can be used to manipulate the minds of people at home and abroad.
In terms of state support, however, it is useful to note that not only has the U.S. President Donald Trump repeatedly tweeted support for the protests, but genocidal Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also released a video praising the protesters and encouraging their “movement.”
Terrorist organizations have also voiced support for the protests, particularly the MEK (Mujhadeen al-Khalq) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political wing of the MEK. As Moon of Alabama reported early on,
Videos published by the terrorist group Mujahedin-e Khalq [MEK], 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, also show mostly small protests despite the MEK’s claim of Tens of thousands of people chant “death to dictator”. The MEK, or its “civilian” organization National Council of Resistance of Iran , seem to be most involved in the current protests. Its website is currently filled with the protest issue with a total of ten reports and its head figure issued a supportive statement:
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, saluted the heroic people of Kermanshah and other cities who rose up today chanting “death or freedom”, “death to Rouhani”, “death to the dictator”, and “political prisoners must be freed”, and protested against high prices, poverty and corruption.
She said, “Yesterday Mashhad, today Kermanshah, and tomorrow throughout Iran; this uprising has tolled the death knell for the overthrow of the totally corrupt dictatorship of the mullahs, and is the rise of democracy, justice and popular sovereignty.
This very early engagement of the MEK -its first report was published yesterday at 10:26 am- is extremely suspicious.
Those Who Oppose The Protests
According to a number of reports, there have also been counter-demonstrations, with Iranians taking to the streets to actually show support for the Iranian government. To be clear, the pro-government demonstrations were part of annually scheduled celebrations that showcase the pro-government demonstrations made against the “Green Revolution” of 2009, and were not organized as a response to the current demonstrations. Still, as al-Masdar News reports,
An annual pro-government rally was held in Tehran on Saturday following two days of rare anti-government protests across the country.
Saturday’s pro-government rallies were scheduled to be held in more than 1,200 cities and towns across Iran. The events have been held annually to commemorate the “9-Dey Epic” of December 30 2009.
On that day, a rally was held against the 2009 pro-reform “Green Movement” demonstrations.
It has been designated in the Iranian calendar as the “day of insight and nation’s allegiance to religious leadership.”
Protests Go Violent
Over the last few days, the protests have moved from economic complaints to “anti-government” protests, and now to violence. Around 12 people have been killed as a result of the demonstrations, with some blaming security forces; and security forces blaming some of the deaths on terrorists and other demonstrators, also labeling one as unrelated to the protests entirely. Regardless of the accusations from either party, it is clear that some of the protesters have engaged in the destruction of property and violence.
At least 12 people have been killed in four days of demonstrations in Iran, state media reported, in the biggest challenge to the authority of the Tehran regime since mass protests in 2009.
The violence continued despite an appeal for calm by Iranian president Hassan Rouhani on Sunday. He played down the significance of the protests on Monday, as the country’s leadership struggled to respond to the largely spontaneous uprisings.
“Our great nation has witnessed a number of similar incidents in the past and has comfortably dealt with them. This is nothing,” Rouhani said in a meeting with Iranian MPs on Monday. But he acknowledged that Iranians had legitimate concerns and had the right to make legal protests.
The protests have stemmed from concerns about rising living costs and a stagnant economy, but have developed into a broader-based outcry against the regime.
. . . . .
Iran’s state broadcaster said six people were killed in the small western town of Tuyserkan on Sunday, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Also on Sunday, two were shot dead in the southwestern city of Izeh, the area’s local member of parliament, Hedayatollah Khademi, told the semi-official ILNA news agency. Khademi said he did not know whether the shots were fired by security officials or protesters, according to the report.
Izeh is in the oil-rich southern province of Khuzestan, just south of the Lorestan province where two other Iranians were killed in protests on Saturday evening.
The deputy governor of Lorestan province, Habibollah Khojastehpour, denied that security forces had fired any bullets, blaming “Takfiri” groups and foreign intelligence services for the clashes.
Another two people were killed Sunday in the city of Dorud after a fire engine was hijacked, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported, citing the local governor.
Notice the last sentence of the CNN report stating that a fire engine had been hijacked. Ever since the economic protests merged into the “death to Khomenei” movement, protesters have become increasingly violent, attacking government buildings, burning and destroying property. Protesters have also tried to seize military installations as well as police stations. According to Iranian state media, many of these protesters were armed.
Ten people were killed during protests in Iran on Sunday and armed demonstrators tried to seize police stations and military bases but were repulsed by security forces, state television said on Monday.
The nationwide protests have drawn in tens of thousands of people and represent the boldest challenge to Iran’s leadership since pro-reform unrest in 2009. Calls for more demonstrations on Monday raise the possibility of prolonged instability.
“Some armed protesters tried to take control of some police stations and military bases but they met strong resistance from security forces,” state TV said. It gave no details of what happened and there was no independent confirmation.
In addition, video has surfaced showing protesters burning a Muslim seminary building.
Will The Violence Spread Or Fizzle Out?
The major question now is whether or not the violence being witnessed in Iran will simply fizzle out or whether it will increase. After all, the size of the protests is much smaller than they were in 2009. It stands to reason that larger protests would have a higher chance of violence than smaller ones simply because of the sheer number of participants. But, while color revolutions need masses of people in the streets, destabilization campaigns through violence do not. If these protests are indeed a destabilization attempt, then violence will necessarily continue. We should then look for “protesters” launching more brazenly violent attacks against government, military, and security forces as well as political opponents while official and unofficial terrorist organizations launch attacks against the same targets.
While the size of the initial protests may be quite small, Westerners will be convinced whatever movement is taking place is a massive revolt against the Iranian government by a corporate media that inflates the number of participants and thus any violence resulting from the confrontation will be chalked up to “civil war.”
At this point, if the West is engineering a destabilization campaign in Iran, the protests are simply too small to unseat the government through mass movement and violence is an absolute necessity to achieve regime change.
During the Green Revolution of 2009, the Iranian government was quick to recognize a color revolution attempt engineered by the West; and, while the protests were massive and violence was initiated, the Iranian government reacted swiftly and with an iron fist, crushing the protests within a period of days. While many of the demands of the protests are legitimate and the Iranian government is indeed oppressive, the fact of the matter is that the protests seem to be more of an attempt by the United States and Israel, along with other “allies,” to destroy the Iranian government for its resistance to the Western system, its alliance with Russia, and its opposition to Israel.