News media in Iran never report the truth. This is because the Islamic Republic wants to control not only the lives of its citizens, but their thoughts as well, to shape their minds into believing whatever benefits the regime.
Censorship, exaggeration, misleading information and outright lies all serve to hide the truth, whether inside Iran or around the globe. Everything is fair game for the regime’s apparatus of distortion, including the protests that have been taking place throughout Iran in recent weeks. The regime has attributed these protests to a group of troublemakers attempting to sow disorder and undermine security. After the protests spread, both camps, reform and conservative, insisted they were not involved and began accusing the other side of instigating the unrest in a partisan powerplay.
These protests are a backlash against the corruption of the regime’s leaders who have raided the life savings of citizens who kept their money in the bank. The protesters are speaking out against their government’s financing for terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Assad’s dictatorship, rather than for improving its citizens’ living conditions. They are protesting the regime’s decision to pour resources into expanding power and influence in the region and exporting their revolution to other parts of the world, so they can make everyone else as miserable as they’ve made the Iranian people.
The protesters are challenging the assault on liberty and basic human rights that began with the establishment of this regime, and sent so many freedom-loving Iranians into exile and so many others to prison, torture and even execution. They are demanding their own salaries, and asking the government to stop financing Syria, Gaza and Lebanon and, instead, help Iranians living in poverty despite the country’s tremendous wealth.
By shouting slogans against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei such as “Forget Syria and figure out how to help us,” “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon, I sacrifice my life for Iran,” “Death to Hezbollah,” “Independence, freedom — an Iranian Republic,” and “The people live in poverty, and the leader acts like a god,” the protesters are insisting that this dictator must stop ransacking the country and start transferring power to the people so they can decide for themselves.
But the regime, as ever, is digging in its heels. Yet again, it sends its well-armed security forces to quell the situation and suppress the people, and, as it did during the protests of 2009, it is once again filling the jails and the cemeteries as it continues to rule and plunder the country’s resources.
This regime will keep trying to portray the demonstrations as political, and to marginalize them by ascribing ulterior motives to them. But we mustn’t lose sight of the real catalyst for these spontaneous grassroots protests: They are born of a human desire for a life of freedom and health. They will continue. And they are the only ray of hope to burst through a darkness that has lasted for 39 years.