Iran

On Wednesday 25 November, five strikes broke out in the Iranian oil sector. At least three thousand workers have come out, demanding their unpaid wages to be paid and the previous promises of the management and the government to be fulfilled. This is a part of a continuing strike wave, which in October saw the largest number of strikes since the Iranian revolution of 1979.

A wave of protests is sweeping Iran. There were 331 strikes and demonstrations reported in August involving all sectors: from the oil-and-gas sector, to students in the municipalities, farmers and more.

Since August, a strike wave has spread through Iran like wildfire, involving workers across various sectors from the petroleum industry to public services; from Khuzestan in the south-west to Mashhad in the north-east.

The coronavirus has hit Iran especially badly due to government blunders, misinformation and US sanctions. This crisis has exposed all the rottenness of Iranian capitalism and brought the masses' anger at the regime, which was already heating up, close to boiling point.

Early Friday morning (3 Jan 2020), in an act of supreme arrogance the Trump administration carried out the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, as well as top Iraqi paramilitary leader Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes in Baghdad airport. Yet again, US imperialism is adding to the instability in the Middle East.

Note: this dramatic development means we have postponed Alan Woods’ new year article, which will be published tomorrow.

The November protest movement in Iran was drowned in blood, but the fight isn’t over. Anger is ripe on the streets, and for the first time ever, a serious, organised attempt at protest is being led by nine organisations representing workers and the poor. We publish their joint statement and call to protest on 23 December (tomorrow). We do not know what will transpire, but this is an important development and a sign of where things are headed.

Two weeks have passed since the eruption of protests all over Iran after the regime introduced a surprise cut to fuel subsidies. Despite a heroic struggle by the people on the streets, the movement was crushed by the regime within five days. But this was far from a triumphant victory for a regime that is now weaker than ever before.

The protests sparked on 15 November by fuel rationing and increased prices in numerous cities spread across the country, affecting at least 100 cities and towns by 18 November. Since then, it has become increasingly difficult to follow developments, due to an almost total internet shutdown in the country. Amnesty International has confirmed that at least 106 people have been killed in 21 different cities across the country, but these are only fully named and confirmed victims.

A few years ago, a conversation was leaked between a commander of the revolutionary guards, and a group of Basiji militiamen, discussing the Green Movement that shook Iran in 2009. In that conversation the commander said something along the lines of “these guys [referring to the people in the Green Movement] are just uptown pretty boys, there is nothing to be afraid of, but once the barefoot people of the poor and destitute areas come out, that is when we have to be afraid.” Well, that day has come.

Protests broke out in Iran on November 15, 2019, after the government unexpectedly announced a major increase in fuel prices at midnight on Friday. Protesters took to the streets in many cities across the country, switching off their cars on the streets and blocking the roads.