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December 26, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8436

The Iranian Fuel Revolt Of 2019

December 26, 2019
Iran | Special Dispatch No. 8436

The oil-based Iranian economy has been under harsh U.S. sanctions for the past two years that have reduced its export to 300,000 barrels a day, down from the 2.5 million allowed by the JCPOA nuclear deal.[1] Despite this, fuel prices in Iran itself have not been raised for several years – until the morning of November 15, 2019, when a 50% spike in gasoline prices was announced. Following the announcement, a widespread wave of protests broke out across Iran, the worst since the onset of the Islamic Revolution four decades ago. The wave of protests became a political revolt against the regime and its ruler, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

In response, the Iranian regime cut off Internet access to the public countrywide,  and regime security forces responded brutally. Amnesty International reported that more than 300 had been killed, with some 3,000 wounded and thousands under arrest. U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook estimated the number of killed at over 1,000.[2] In recent days, Reuters has reported that 1,500 had been killed. It was also reported that Iranian security forces had snatched wounded protestors and bodies of the dead from hospitals to hold them for ransom by their families, with the aim of silencing the families and warning the public not to talk about what had happened.

Recently, there have been reports on social media that bound bodies of young adults and teens have been found floating in rivers, and it has been claimed that the bodies show signs of severe torture before execution. They have been discovered primarily in the Kurdish and Arab regions of the country. Also reported was the disappearance of many others. Iranian authorities have not provided details about the killed and wounded, but have reported on arson attacks at 731 banks, 140 government buildings, and 70 gas stations, in addition to attacks on 50 army bases.[3] Video posted online show members of Iranian security forces, sometimes in plain clothes, beating citizens and shooting at them.

To view a clip of the unrest in Iran on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

As the regime's violent suppression of the unrest was underway, regime officials claimed that the protestors were merely thugs with connections to expat Iranians, to the U.S., to Israel, and to Saudi Arabia and that they are "non-Iranians." Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called the unrest "an extensive, deep, very dangerous and well-funded plot that had been thwarted by the people."[4] Regime officials and mouthpieces demanded that the "full extent of the law" be applied "harshly" against the "thugs," including execution; Iranian judiciary head Ebrahim Raisi promised that this would be done.[5] Nevertheless, following public criticism of the violence against ordinary citizens who were caught up in the protests, Khamenei announced that the authorities should be lenient towards detainees found not to have been directly involved in the unrest, and that "Islamic mercy" should be shown towards their families.

However, a December 23, 2019 Reuters report stated that sources close to Supreme Leader Khamenei said that Khamenei himself had ordered that "whatever it takes" be done to end the public revolt; he was speaking at a November 17, 2019 he convened with his top security and government officials. On December 24, 2019, a senior member of Khamenei's office denied that the meeting had taken place,[6] and the head of the Supreme National Security Council's Information and Communications Secretariat, Alireza Zarifian, denied that 1,500 people had been killed.[7] Several Majlis members reiterated the regime's demand to release the actual numbers of those killed and detained.

Testimony by regime associates shows that it was Supreme Leader Khamenei who had insisted that fuel prices needed to be increased. However, as he has in other crises, Khamenei hastened to renounce responsibility for making the decision, but did follow up on its implementation despite the widespread protests. Iranian President Hassan Rohani also attempted to evade responsibility for the decision, stating that he had heard of the spike in prices from the media, like any other citizen. Majlis speaker Ali Larijani announced after the suppression of the revolt that he would not run again as representative of the people in the upcoming Majlis elections.

Social media posts show that Iranian citizens want to mark the 40th day after the deaths of protestors, which falls on December 26, 2019, as had been done four decades earlier in 1979, for the protestors killed in the unrest against the Shah and in support of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. These events ultimately led to the ouster of the Shah, Khomeini's rise to power, and the establishment of today's revolutionary regime. Also, guidelines have been posted on social media for the Iranian public, instructing them how to create makeshift weapons such as paint bombs, firebombs, and grenades, as well as improvised helmets and bulletproof vests, along with how to destroy surveillance cameras in advance of demonstrations.[8]  

This report will discuss the question of who in the Iranian regime made the decision to hike fuel prices and who gave the order to violently suppress the revolt, and regime officials' handling of the aftermath of the protests, when the numbers of killed, wounded, and arrested came to light:

The Decision To Hike Fuel Prices: Khamenei, Rohani, And The Majlis

According to various reports, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei initiated and pressed for the decision to hike fuel prices for the public, and he also demanded the continued implementation of the increase despite the widespread protests against it.

On August 29, 2018, Khamenei demanded that the government of President Hassan Rohani reduce the public's fuel consumption from 105 million liters per day to 65 million liters per day, and that the government had to make it happen even if some people did not like it. Khamenei said:

"One of our biggest problems in this country... is high fuel consumption. [Rohani] informed me that Iran's fuel consumption is 105 million liters per day. I myself read in a report that it is 120 million liters per day... Why must we consume so [much]? In the past, those responsible [in the government] managed to reduce the consumption to 65 million liters... It is possible, [and] must be done... There are ways. Find ways to carry it out. Move right ahead. Perhaps some people and families with five cars who consume a lot [of gas] will be offended by this move. Let them be offended! Of the daily consumption of 105 million liters, how much is consumed by the general public? I mean to say that [this issue] is very important and you must prevent [this high consumption]. Don't let it happen."[9] 

Majlis Member Mahmoud Sadeqi: Khamenei Demanded The Price Hike

On his Telegram account on November 22, 2019, Majlis member Mahmoud Sadeqi wrote about Supreme Leader Khamenei's involvement in the price hike:

"On November 17, 2019, two days after the planned price hike was implemented, and following the widespread protests in the country and Majlis members' proposals to rescind or ease the plan, Khamenei, expressed his unequivocal support for the plan and sent a letter to Majlis Speaker [Larijani] warning the [Majlis] members not to oppose it. Khamenei's declaration of support for the decision [to raise prices] decreased the tension and restored the peace... There are those who believe that correcting energy prices and managing fuel consumption are, in principle, demands made by Khamenei. Khamenei has demanded on several occasions that Rohani implement [the planned price hike], and the decision by the heads of the [three] branches of the regime [i.e. the Majlis speaker, the president, and the head of the judiciary] was not only taken in coordination with Khamenei but was taken according to his demand. This is presumably why Khamenei gave his full support to this decision."[10] 

Majlis Member Ali Motahari: "Enter Khamenei, Who Applied Pressure And Asked Why It Wasn't Getting Done"

On December 3, 2019 Majlis member Ali Motahari emphasized that Khamenei had been the one who ultimately compelled Rohani to impose the price hike and to implement his decision, in light of the government's and Majlis's reluctance to take action: "The discussion of this issue  came up in the country a year or two ago, as an urgent matter. The Majlis gave the government the authority, but it did not act even though it knew that it was necessary to do so. The government evaded taking action in this matter, with a different excuse each time. The Majlis too aimed to take action several times but no bill was ever passed. The Majlis and the government transferred the tackling of this matter [of hiking fuel prices] from one to the other, and neither wanted to take responsibility. Enter Khamenei, who applied pressure and asked why it wasn't getting done. He asked the government several times what had happened in the fuel issue, and why it wasn't acting on it. In the end, the [heads of the] government and the Majlis took action, despite the objections [of the institutions]..."[11]

Photo Of The Heads Of The Three Regime Branches, Signatories To The Decision To Hike Fuel Prices

On November 16, 2019, the day after the protests broke out, a photo of the leaders of all three branches of the Iranian regime – Majlis speaker Ali Larijani, President Hassan Rohani, and Judiciary head Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi – signatories to the decision to hike fuel prices, was published.


Left to right: Raisi, Rohani, and Larijani (Source: Tasnim, November 16, 2019)

Guardian Council: "We Support Khamenei's Position To Approve The Decision By The Heads Of The Three Branches Of The Regime"

On November 22, 2019, Guardian Council chairman Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati released an announcement of the council's support for the decision to raise fuel prices, stating: "The Guardian Council hereby declares its support for Khamenei's position in approving the decision of the heads of the [three] regime branches, while emphasizing [the need to] properly manage the implementation of the plan and to control the prices [of goods] so as to preserve and increase the economic capabilities of [society's] disadvantaged sectors. [The council] thanks the beloved Iranian public for understanding the situation and for its resourcefulness in condemning the brutality of the elements lured into causing unrest, and for not letting the enemy abuse the situation... The council again demands that the government and the Majlis prevent the creation of new economic problems and any increase in the price of goods essential to the public, and that they do so by implementing the plan while closely monitoring its implementation and eliminating potential flaws in it..."[12]

Reformist Abolfazl Ghadyani: "The Tyrant" Khamenei Who "Dares Not Take Responsibility For His Decisions" Is To Blame For The Blood And Brains That Have Been Spilled

Reformist political activist Abolfazl Ghadyani accused Khamenei of deciding to hike fuel prices and also of the violent suppression of the protestors. Ghadyani, born in 1945, served prison time during the Shah's rule. In September 2012, he was sentenced to two years in prison and 40 lashes for statements condemning Khamenei, and in March 2019 he was sentenced to prison, this time for three years, for insulting Khamenei, and was forced to read and copy out three books about Khamenei's life and works. In a letter published on November 20, 2019 on the Iran International website, he accused "the Iranian tyrant" – Khamenei – of responsibility for the "destructive" and "tyrannical" management of societal and economic affairs in Iran, and for the violent suppression of the public protests that followed his decision to raise fuel prices. The following are the main points of Ghadyani's letter:

"The sudden, unexpected increase in fuel prices is a plan and a decision by Ali Khamenei, the Iranian tyrant of our time. It is also a direct outcome of his tyrannical and egotistical policy, which was implemented several months ago by the obedient government of [President] Rohani... But after the public thronged to the gas stations and the matter [the price hike] was widely publicized, Khamenei was forced to reverse the decision, and postpone it to another time. Khamenei followed his usual custom of never taking responsibility for his decisions.

"[Khamenei's] destructive policy in various areas, especially in the economic area, particularly burdens the disadvantaged sectors, who bear the brunt of it. The economic pressures pile up, and as a result all affairs of state, particularly economic affairs, have reached an impasse.

"[President] Hassan Rohani has officially announced that he has a deficit amounting to two thirds of the budget of 450 trillion tuman [approximately $34 billion]. I think this deficit is unprecedented in the entire history of modern Iran. Under these dire circumstances, where, from what source or sources, can [funds be found] to cover this incredible deficit and the rest of the enormous expenses caused by Khamenei's tyrannical and tension-creating policy.

"In all this chaos, they have found no one weaker than the oppressed Iranian people, and true to their [usual] loathsome approach, they plan to rob them yet again. This is because they have already shown that they have neither the power nor the skill to solve the problems except by strong-arming the people. That is why their announcement of this sudden fuel price increase has put the people in this situation.


Abolfazl Ghadyani (Source: Iranintl.com, November 20, 2019)

"The public realizes that this price hike heralds a new era of inflation and will be followed by a surge in the cost of living. The question is why the public must bear such heavy punishment. The public clearly knows the answer: because the tyrant of Iran [Khamenei] does not want to abandon his destructive policy [i.e. Iran's policy of regional expansion into Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen] that creates tension in the region and the world. He has no intention of removing this [source of] tension, since he fears that if he changes his foreign policy and Iran's relations with the other countries of the region and the world [begin to] comply with international law and respect mutual interests, he will lose the great power of corruption and plunder he possesses. That is why he is determined to maintain his control of the country at any cost.

"Luckily, Khamenei's Achilles heel is his greed for power, and he will eventually lose this destructive power. Once it heard the news about the rise in gas prices, the [Iranian] public spontaneously took to the streets in many cities. This protest is their natural and most fundamental right. The protestors expressed their demand peacefully, but unfortunately [Khamenei's] agents of tyranny responded violently, committing crimes and spilling the oppressed protestors' blood. I hereby convey my condolences to the bereaved families, and additionally I reiterate the reality that the intelligence, military, and plainclothes [regime activists] and all those participating in suppressing [the protests] are all responsible for the blood that has been spilled. But the main person responsible for the bloodshed is only Mr. Khamenei, and he must be brought to account."[13]

Iranian Intellectual Zibakalam: If The Leader's Policy Is Wrong, Who Will Take The Blame?

On December 17, 2019, Iranian intellectual and reformist Prof. Sadeq Zibakalam tweeted criticism of Khamenei and his monopoly on decision making in the country: "[Hujjat Al-Islam Abdallah Haji Sadeqi,] the representative of the Rule of the Jurisprudent [Khamenei] in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said: 'In the Rule of the Jurisprudent, the president, Majlis speaker, and Judiciary head have no right to determine policy. These dear ones only execute the policy [set by the leader, i.e. Khamenei].' Only one question remains: If it turns out that, heaven forfend, the policy [set by the leader] was mistaken, which organization is to blame?"


Twitter.com/sadeghZibakalam/status/1206798575507845120, December 17, 2019.

Evading Responsibility For The Decision To Hike Fuel Prices

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei: Although I "Understand Nothing" In This Matter And Have "No Opinion" On It – I Support The Decision By The Three Branches Of the Regime

On November 17, 2019, two days after the protests began, Khamenei distanced himself from the decision to increase fuel prices by stating that he "understands nothing" about fuel prices and had "no expertise in the area." He added that although he had "no opinion on the matter" he supported the decision by the three branches of the regime to sharply increase fuel prices. 

He added: "In the last day or two, there have been several incidents, last night and the night before, in a few of the country's cities due to the [fuel-price increase] decision by the heads of the three branches. Unfortunately, some problems were created. A few people were killed, and some places were destroyed. These actions were carried out in the last day or two.

"But a few points merit attention: Firstly, when a particular issue is approved by the state's leaders, there should be optimism about it.

"I understand nothing in this matter [of fuel prices] – that is, I have no expertise in the area. I also told the gentlemen [the heads of the three branches] the same. I told [them] because expert opinions on the issue of the [increase in] gasoline [prices] were divided, with some considering it necessary and others as harmful. Therefore, I, who have no opinion on these matters, announced that I had no opinion; thus, if the heads of the three branches made a decision, I am in favor [of that decision]. This is what I said, and I support them, [because] they are the heads of the branches of the regime; [they] met and arrived at a specific decision for the state, with professional backing – and  this decision must be implemented..."[14]

President Hassan Rohani: Like Any Ordinary Citizen, I Heard About It On The News

Iranian President Rohani also tried to evade responsibility for the decision. He described the difficulty faced by the government and the Majlis in the past three years regarding the decision to increase fuel prices, and how each tried to pass responsibility for doing so to the other because it was such an explosive issue. Apparently aware of how severe the repercussions among the public might be, on November 10, 2019, five days before the price hike was announced, Rohani announced the discovery of a 53-billion-barrel oilfield. Furthermore, so as not to bear sole responsibility for the fuel price increase, Rohani made sure to have the other two heads of the branches of the regime – Majlis speaker Ali Larijani and Judiciary head Ebrahim Raisi – sign it as well, thus bypassing discussion of it in the Majlis and the need for Majlis members' ratification. Several Majlis members objected strongly to this move.[15]

At a November 27, 2019 meeting of the East Azerbaijan province's board of directors, Rohani explained that the plan to increase fuel prices had been sent a month prior to its implementation to the Supreme National Security Council for discussion and ratification. Rohani himself is a member of the council, and he appointed Ali Shamkhani as its secretary; nevertheless, he explicitly requested that he not be informed of the date the price hike would come into effect. He went so far as to claim that he had not known the time which was determined for the price hike and like any ordinary citizen, he had heard about it on the news. The following are excerpts from his explanations at the meeting

"We could have not adjusted the price of fuel, and left the previous price, but as a result we would have to import fuel in 2020. This year, fuel consumption rose to 97 million liters per day; had this continued, we would have become importers of fuel – adding yet more pressure in the current severe economic circumstances... Thus, by adjusting the price of fuel, we were striving to maintain justice in society and attain economic independence.

"Why did the government decide to raise fuel prices suddenly? It should be noted that as early as 2016 I had decided to slightly adjust fuel prices – but the members of the government objected. In 2017, the implementation of this plan was again postponed because of a demand by Majlis speaker [Larijani]. In 2018, the severe  [U.S] sanctions had already been imposed, and increasing fuel prices was inappropriate. Last winter, when we wanted to raise prices, it was again postponed until after the celebrations for the Persian new year [in March 2019]. This April, when we wanted to implement the decision, a certain news agency reported on a Tuesday that there would be an increase on the following Thursday; this gave rise to gas station lines stretching kilometers. We rescinded the decision. [Finally] I handed the authority [to make decisions regarding] the nature and timing of the implementation of the fuel price hike to the Interior Minister and the Supreme National Security Council. I told them to handle the timing of the announcement, and the planning and implementation of the decision alone, and to coordinate with the broadcasting authority, and that they should implement it whenever they saw fit. I emphasized that they should not inform me of when it would be implemented – so I learned of its implementation at the same time the public did..."

To view clip on MEMRI TV of Rohani's claim to have learned of the fuel price hike from the media, click here or below:

Rohani continued: "Our goal in implementing this decision was to help the public... There are no profits for the government in this plan, and all the revenue will go back to the public. This move [having revenues go back to the public] is, however, against the law, so I obtained the leader's [Khamenei's] permission to carry it out... Adjusting fuel prices was an urgent matter, but was it implemented correctly? We as a government transferred the authority to the Supreme National Security Council, and in our opinion they did everything they could. The plan to adjust fuel prices was ratified in the presence of the heads of the three branches. When I presented it to Khamenei, he asked whether they had agreed to it. I showed him their three signatures, and then he too agreed."[16]

Majlis Speaker Larijani: "The Highest Position In The Country Is That Of The Supreme Leader – And It Is He Who Sets The Direction"

At a December 1, 2019 press conference, Majlis speaker Ali Larijani said he would not run again as representative of the people in the upcoming Majlis elections. Referring to the criticism of the Majlis, according to which it has lost its relevance for making decisions impacting the public, he pointed at Khamenei's responsibility for all decisions made in the country: "The fact that [the founder of Iran's Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini called the Majlis an organization that leads every issue does not mean that it has the power to interfere in every issue, or to decide on every issue. The highest position in the country is that of the Supreme Leader, and it is he who sets the direction. The Majlis' role is only to lay down the tracks, following Khamenei.[17]

Ideologues, Reformists Both Criticize Rohani's Evasion Of Responsibility For The Decision To Raise Fuel Prices

On November 28, 2019 two senior members of the regime, one from the ideological camp and the other from the reformist camp, tweeted criticism of President Rohani for evading responsibility for deciding to raise fuel prices.

In defense of Supreme Leader Khamenei, former IRGC commander and current Expediency Council secretary Mohsen Rezaei wrote: "Mr. Rohani's evasion of responsibility for determining the time and nature of the implementation of the fuel price hike is astonishing!"


Twitter.com/ir_rezaee/status/1199964118435946496, November 28, 2019.

Gholamhosein Karbaschi, former Tehran reformist mayor who had been removed from office, also criticized Rohani, whom he had supported until now: "As one of the supporters of this government I was terribly ashamed by yesterday's interview with the interior minister. But I was thoroughly disappointed by the president's laughter today. There is not one iota here of justice, emotion, or insight."


Twitter.com/ghkarbaschi/status/1199801137387462656, November 27, 2019.

Majlis Member Salahshouri Criticizes Regime Institutions' Evasion Of Responsibility For Decisions Impacting The Public

In her speech in the Majlis on December 9, 2019, Majlis member representing Tehran Parvaneh Salahshouri criticized the government for abandoning the public, saying that the Majlis had been irrelevant during the recent events and castigating the many regime institutions for evading their responsibility for decisions impacting the public. She added that the killing of numerous young people protesting against the poverty and hardships of life in Iran was unacceptable.

To view clip of Salahshouri's statements on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

The Order To Violently Suppress The Protests

In general, senior regime officials explained to the public that the demonstrators were "thugs" from outside the country, or Mujahadeen-e-Khalq operatives, or supporters of the return of  the monarchy "serving a great plot by the American and Zionist enemy," whom they described as "non-Iranians," who had destroyed public property and disturbed the peace. Some even called the demonstrators ISIS members, in a bid to justify the regime's iron-fisted crackdown on the unrest. Officials also praised the members of the public for not joining the protestors, of whom they said there were only a very few.

Khamenei: "The Basij Must Be On Alert In All Areas... In All Neighborhoods Across The Country"

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei explained to Basij members on November 27, 2019, following the suppression of the unrest, that the Iranian people had, with the help of the Basij forces, repelled the plot of the American and Zionist enemy that regularly seeks to harm Iran. Khamenei even published several guidelines for the Basij, stating:

"The Iranian people's great operation during the past week was glorious. With this operation,  an extensive, deep, very dangerous and well-funded plot planned by the enemy was thwarted by the Iranian people. I hereby express admiration and deep submission to the great Iranian people. The Iranian people again showed its might in this operation. The enemies invested a great deal of planning in this plot and were ready to carry it out when the time came, by means of destructive operations, murder, and thuggery. They thought that the issue [of hiking prices of] fuel was the opportunity for which they had been waiting, and brought their army into the area, but the Iranian people destroyed the enemy operation in a magnificent display... The mighty operation of the Iranian people, that began in Tabriz and Zanjan, and even moved through several villages and ended in Tehran, was a slap in the face to the arrogance [i.e. the U.S.] and global Zionism and forced them to retreat. The main enemies of the Iranian people understand the meaning and the message of this great popular movement. This week was truly the apex of the glory and might of the Iranian people. We thank God and the dear public...

"The question arises: Why does [Iran's] Islamic regime keep encountering threats? It must be said that the Islamic regime emanates from the Islamic foundations and values, and that Islam is the pioneer of justice and freedom. But the hegemonic regime [the U.S.] is opposed, in principle, to freedom and justice, and therefore the Islamic regime naturally encounters threats of the seekers of hegemony and the Front of Arrogance [the West, led by the U.S.]... The Regime of Hegemony is constantly battling and harming the independence of the peoples, and is not ashamed to express its position in this matter, as the Americans say unequivocally that they went into Syria for its oil, or they entered military bases in Iraq without authorization, paying no heed to the Iraqi government and capitol... When the Islamic thought is revealed, in whatever framework, the Regime of Hegemony tackles it harshly and crushingly, even more so when Islamic thought is revealed in the framework of a regime and a political force [i.e. Islamic Iran] that includes a great people, armed forces, and scientific capabilities. Under such circumstances, the threats and hostility are much greater... The [Islamic] resistance [front] requires spiritual strength, and this will impact the essence of the movement and particularly the advancement of the young people...

"[I have] several recommendations for the Basij members: The Basij must be on alert in all areas, including 'the hard defense,' 'the semi-hard defense,' and the 'soft [passive] defense,' and it must have at the  ready strategy and tactics for all neighborhoods across the country and against a range of events. Do not [allow yourself to be] surprised in any area and try to maintain a presence in all neighborhoods. Do not be passive [that is, take the initiative]; indeed, you are obliged to respond to the enemy, but always be one step ahead of him, like an expert chess player, and play an active role. Strengthen your relationship with the mosques, because the Basij emerged from the mosques. Act together and synergistically with the groups whose position aligns with the goals of the Basij, at the universities and outside them. The Basij must move quickly, while at the same time it must be deployed [in the area]..."[18]

On December 20, 2019, Khamenei explained to the public that the unrest was "security-related" and that the Iranian people had "repelled" it.

To view the clip of Khamenei's statements on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

The Support For Suppression Of The Protests

Rohani: "I Thank The Police, The Basij, And The IRGC For Their Exceptional Efforts To Preserve The Security Of The State"

On November 17, 2019, during the height of the protests, President Rohani thanked "the intelligence ministry, the police, the IRGC, the Basij, and all the armed forces and security forces... that tried with all their night to identify the leaders of the groups that strove to destroy public property. Some of them have been arrested, and the rest will be arrested soon, and they will be dealt with according to the law.  This is the place to thank our great people – because no city joined the lawbreakers, schemers, and vandals. They were few and remained few. While they did cause damage, the public remained aware. I personally saw a lot of documentation of the unrest. The people who destroyed property were few in number...

"I thank the broadcasting authority, the rest of the media, the police, the Basij, and the IRGC for their exceptional efforts to preserve the security of the state. Nothing is more dear to us than security. We must preserve our security, fraternity, and unity. The public will not allow a handful of people who live abroad, neither those who to implement such great economic pressure on the public; nor terrorists who have spilled the blood of the public in the past, to exploit this atmosphere..."[19]

The next day, November 18, Rohani clarified to the public that the government and the regime would not tolerate disturbance of the peace and that the regime had filmed the protestors.

To view this clip of Rohani's statements on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

On November 27, 2019, Rohani added: "The enemies have invested a great deal since the first months of 2018 [when protests erupted throughout Iran because of the economic situation] to shock the country, by means of... sending equipment and tremendous economic pressure. They have striven to anger the public and thought that such operations would lead to the downfall of the regime. But the revolutionary people of Iran entered the arena with the readiness to sacrifice themselves,  awareness, and timeliness characteristic of them, in order to preserve their security, dignity, and independence, and disappointed the enemy ... When a few thugs and people dependent [on the West] act so wildly, the public can respond superbly with its mighty presence, and this is what the public in Iran did.

"It is true that the police and security forces were present on the ground, but the glorious presence of the public at the conferences and demonstrations was the fist that showed the strength of the public to the thugs and enemies... The enemy who had for two years prepared itself to foment unrest saw the implementation of the plan to raise fuel prices as an appropriate opportunity, and began to set hospitals and shopping centers on fire and to attack military centers – actions that have nothing to do with fuel prices.

"I ask the Intelligence Ministry to explain to the public how these detainees, in whose homes large quantities of weapons were found, managed this... America thought that it had a golden opportunity and did all it could, but succeeded in disrupting public life and the situation on the streets for a mere 48 hours, and never imagined that all its people would be expelled within 48 hours, even though it used all its might and all its activists...

"In the recent events, it was the police, the IRGC, and the Basij who, within 48 hours, took control of the situation and calmed the area. But the main work was done by the public, and its glorious presence shook the world."[20]

Ayatollah Kazem Sadeqi: Khamenei's Orders Were The Implementation Of God's Command

At a "Political Doctrine In Light Of The Cultural and Security Threats" conference held in Hormozgan Province on December 8, 2019, Tehran Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Kazem Sadeqi said: "As long as we shelter in Khamenei's shade, no harm will come to us even if the entire world is set against us... In the recent events, Khamenei implemented God's command, guaranteed the public security by virtue of his wise position, and repelled the enemy's useless threat and scheme, in addition to preserving national unity."[21]

Reformist Majlis Members: We Thank The Security Forces Who Made Efforts To Quell The Unrest

On November 27, Majlis member Mohammad Reza 'Aaref, Tehran representative and one of Iran's leading reformists, thanked "the public for its cooperation in the control of the recent unrest." He added: "The public has problems in their lives, but when there is a revolution, we see their influential cooperation on the ground. We managed to take control of the unrest with the help of the public. We thank the police, military, security, and Basij forces who made efforts to extinguish the unrest, in accordance with Khamenei's orders. As could be seen in the foreign media, [the enemies] prepared a special plan and wanted to instill in the minds that these were the regime's final days – but they took this dream with them to the grave. The enemies must learn their lesson from these events."[22]

IRGC Deputy Ali Fadavi To The French: "You Failed To Stop Protests In Which Civilians Were Merely Expressing Their Demand – But We Put An End To This Thuggery In 48 Hours"

IRGC Deputy Commander Ali Fadavi said on November 24 that it was the protestors themselves who shot civilians to death at closer range. Comparing the Iranian regime's forceful suppression of protesting civilians to France's lax handling of its Yellow Vest protests last year, he said:

"A handful of thugs acting against the public entered the arena and caused a situation in which the public's just protest went unanswered. The banks and gas stations are government property, and the shopping centers, factories, and homes are public property, and they were burned and destroyed. We in the IRGC were in contact with the entire country in real time and filmed the activity of these thugs, and identified them. They must personally pay for the damage they caused the public... The forensic [department] will surely publicize the fact that some civilians were shot in the abdomen at a range of a meter or half a meter, and were killed – that is, [the thugs] killed the public with a pistol... We have arrested all the mercenaries who explicitly acknowledged that they were working for America and the munafiqeen [i.e. Mujahadeen-e-Khalq]. The judiciary will implement the full force of the law against them...

"I address the authorities in France: What have you done for the past 11 months of demonstrations in France as you condemned [the perpetrators] of the unrest in Iran? The demonstrations in France are demonstrations in which only French civilians take part; no other country supports them, and no demonstrator dares to do a thing against the police, nor crosses red lines. Yet you failed to put an end to demonstrations in which civilians were merely expressing their demand. But we put an end to this thuggery within 48 hours – thuggery in which America, England, France, Germany, and Saudi Arabia were all involved. These countries acknowledge that they were involved in this unrest – and we have plenty of proof showing which country was most active on social media on the subject of the protests in Iran..."[23]

Iranian Armed Forces Legal Advisor Hujjat Al-Islam Shukrallah Bahrami: "When The Basij Enters The Arena Of Events, It Is Like Water [Poured] On Fire – It Is All Over"

Iranian Armed Forces Legal Advisor Hujjat Al-Islam Shukrallah Bahrami said on November 24: "When the Basij enters the arena of events, it is like water [poured] on fire – it is all over... In the few days when the Internet was cut off, the ones [the Americans] who had levelled sanctions on medicine for children with cancer were very sad, and mourned...! The enemy used the Internet to coordinate [operations] with its forces in Iran, in order to carry out a series of operations against Iran.

"We must today congratulate the armed forces, including the police, the Basij, the IRGC, and the army, that stood firm against this rabble. It may be that someone was hurt, by chance, in the recent events, and this is natural when there is fighting in an urban landscape... because civilians are present.

"Our role today is to recognize the hypocrites and opportunists, those who have no religion or belief, and who always quote the worlds of the enemy, and who in the middle of fitna [civil war] sign declarations against the police, intelligence, Basij, and IRGC forces... Do these people know what they are doing and who they are collaborating with? There are those who in the middle of fitna plan to carry out a second fitna against the security forces... The authorities tried very hard not to have to cut off the Internet – but ultimately they realized that things could not go on as they were, and were forced to do it. Now, our enemies are mourning the cutting off of the Internet, and they can do nothing."[24]

Basij Operational Commander Gen. Salar Abanoush: "The Success In Suppressing The Fitna Is Only Thanks To Divine Providence And The Imam Mahdi's Intervention"

In the city of Hamedan on November 21, Basij operational branch commander Gen. Salar Abanoush said: "These riots were like a pregnant woman carrying a world war [in her womb]. Happily, the fetus died as soon as it emerged. Until the last hours of the fitna [civil war], we confronted the real coalition of satans, that included the Zionists, America, and Saudi Arabia. We obtained a great deal of information from interrogating [the detainees] and by coordinating [with the other security apparatuses]. The success in suppressing the fitna is only thanks to divine providence and the [Shi'ite Messiah] Imam Mahdi's intervention. During the fitna, there was bizarre coordination [among its leaders] and they were waiting for just a small spark to destroy the country. We will publish all the data only at the conclusion of the investigation.

"The Internet was cut off too late, but this nevertheless helped thwart the complex organizing carried out by these groups. The leaders of the fitna planned to murder half of Iran's population. For the first time, we encountered special organizing and coordination. [The rioters] had bags of equipment of which we had never seen the like. They had shears and welding equipment that could cut through the most complex locks. Everywhere they went they immediately set fires and looted. Thus, this fitna was a strange, new phenomenon that spread suddenly throughout the country. We saw many miracles during [Iran's Islamic] Revolution and in the plots that have taken place since then, but this plot was of a completely different kind. As someone who was there, I believe that only God saved us..."[25]

Criticism Of The Regime's Harsh Suppression Of Its Own Citizens

Majlis Member Sadeghi: The Interior Minister Told The Majlis: We Fired At The Demonstrators' Feet And Not Only At Their Heads

On December 16, 2019, Mahmoud Sadeghi, Majlis member for Tehran, protested against the brutal suppression of the protests and the close-range firing of weapons at the protestors. Enraged at Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli's response to Majlis members, when he said that representatives of the regime, i.e. Basij and IRGC forces, had fired not only at the protestors' heads, but also at their legs, and called for his removal from his position:  

"In addition to the unwarranted decision to increase fuel prices – which demands an accounting from various organizations – we must obtain an answer in this matter from Interior Minister Rahmani Fazli, in light of his direct responsibility [for this decision, as granted to him] in the security council, and in light of the nature of the handling [of the suppression of the protests] that is in the realm of authority of the Interior Ministry...

"At the committee meeting, I told Rahmani Fazli that we have an explicit law, from 1994, regarding the use of weapons during disturbances of the peace. Under this law, there are many conditions for the use of weapons during disturbances that cannot be controlled without resorting to them… The question is whether there is justification for such large numbers of live weapons used against protestors.

"A [Majlis] member from the periphery said at this meeting that in his constituency (between Karaj and Shahr-i Qods) two people were murdered with a bullet to the head. He asked Rahmani Fazli whether these shots were fired because there was no way to shoot them in the legs, or below the waist. The minister answered, 'Of course, there were also shots to the legs.' The Majlis members expressed amazement at his response, and at his indifference. Is this a convincing answer?

"[The authorities] said: 'We managed to contain the disturbances within 48 hours.' My problem is whether such containment, with so much shooting and so many people murdered, can be considered an art form. Containment means that you first give the protesters the right to speak, particularly those whose position represents a response to a decision that is highly unprofessional and surprising – particularly since in most of the areas where the protests occurred the residents are dependent on transportation and fuel is a vital issue for them... I explicitly told Rahmani Fazli that he was analyzing a socioeconomic issue from a security perspective. The authorities say that the enemy dragged the disturbances to the outskirts of the city because the public could not hold them in the city centers and in Tehran. But the real reason for the disturbances in exactly those regions was that the residents there have a [genuine] need – [it was] not an enemy plan.

"I also told Rahmani Fazli that in France the Yellow Vest movement has held demonstrations every Saturday for two years, and that Iran's broadcasting authority even sometimes interviews the protestors and reports enthusiastically on what is happening there. Couldn't the French government contain the demonstrations within two days [using violent suppression]? Of course it could, but it gives the public the right [of expression], allowing it to express its protest...

"We believe that Rahmani Fazli, the direct executor of the [decisions of the] state security council, is responsible, and must be brought to account – especially since the president had charged the security council with implementation of this matter. We are therefore determined to remove the interior minister from office. I still insist that there must be an [official] statement on the total number of people killed in the November protests, and I actually believe that such a statement would prevent the enemies from taking advantage of this matter..."[26]  

Majlis Member Parvaneh Salahshouri: The Sentence To Slaughter And Torture The People Was Carried Out In The Name Of Religion

On November 29, 2019, Majlis member Parvaneh Salahshouri tweeted a response to a statement by former IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari. Jafari had said that the public did not know how to protest without its protests being exploited by people with malicious intent. She wrote: "The public expressed its protest but received bullets and the arrest of adults and teens. Some of the malicious individuals were positioned next to those who were protesting because of [the threat to] their livelihood. The genocide [at the protests] was the same as the world war and [the Iran-Iraq War operation] Karbala 4. In the name of the religion, the verdict of slaughter and torture for the people was carried out.


Twitter.com/P_Salahshouri/status/1200492033724633088, November 29, 2019

Majlis Member Sadeghi To Regime: Disclose The Exact Numbers Of Those Killed – And Air The Footage Of The Firing On The Protestors

Majlis member Mahmoud Sadeghi also tweeted protests against the regime's ambiguity regarding the number of those killed in the protests, and the broadcasting authority's selective airing only of footage of the damage done to public property during the unrest on December 1 and 2. He wrote on December 2: "Authorities beware! If the sources in charge do not publish the exact numbers of those killed, wounded, and arrested, the Majlis members will be forced to release figures based on reports by the public."


Sadeghi's tweet demanding accurate numbers of those killed in the protests

The previous day, he had tweeted a demand for the state broadcasting authority, which is controlled by the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and by the regime's ideological circles, to air footage of the firing of live ammunition at the protestors, just as it had already aired footage only of damage done to public property during the protests:

"Iran's state television should air [footage of] the firing of live ammunition at the 'rioters' – just as it selectively aired [footage of] damage to national property and the disturbances."


Sadeghi's tweet demanding the airing of footage of firing of live ammunition at the "rioters"

Former Majlis Speaker And 2009 Green Movement Leader Mehdi Karroubi: "The Regime Violently Suppressed [The Fuel Revolt] As It Did In 2009 And In 2017, Instead Of Listening To The Protestors"

Former Majlis speaker Mehdi Karroubi, a 2009 Green Movement leader who has been under house arrest since 2011 for criticizing the regime for its brutal torture of citizens to suppress the 2009 unrest,  announced on November 28: "Unfortunately, the government violently suppressed [the civilian protest] as it did in 2009 and in 2017, instead of listening to the protestors. Many people were killed and still more were injured, and thousands were arrested... I demand that senior officials in the judicial system prepare, as soon as possible, the groundwork for the release of the prisoners, who, according to the authorities, are mostly members of society's poorer strata...

"It is known that America's withdrawal from the [JCPOA] nuclear agreement and the imposing of unilateral sanctions not only broke the back of the people, particularly the disadvantaged, but also prepared the ground for [totalitarian] rule, as in the [1794-1925] Qajar era[27] on the pretext of economic warfare. This method of rule escalates corruption and discrimination in all the foundations of the government. Thus, the legal organizations [i.e. the Majlis] have become pointless, and basic decisions, including this decision [to increase fuel prices] are made behind closed doors by a shadow government.

"The Sixth Majlis decided that fuel prices would be increased gradually, instead of leaving them fixed for many years. Suddenly, with no Majlis discussion and no public opinion campaign, the price spiked amidst difficult economic circumstances.

"Even worse, in responding to a justified public protest, both the regime and the government spoke in a tone of menace, and used the machines of suppression with indescribable violence. The publication of parts of this shocking violent arena pains the heart of any liberty loving person. Disclosing the scope of this catastrophe, including identifying and punishing those who fired live ammunition at the people, requires [the establishment of] a separate committee to uncover the truth. This committee's report will also of course identify those who destroyed public property.

"The people, whose national interests were lost because of the interests and the unethical decisions of a small handful, are hearing strange things these days. The new IRGC commander [General Hossein Salami], the same man promoted overnight to the rank of general, calls the just public protest 'a world war;' another member of this military organization [the IRGC] calls the days-long suppression of this country's defenseless women and men 'the victory of the world war.' Surprisingly, no one warns them about making such idiotic statements that undoubtedly fan the flames of the people's anger and hatred. I am astonished at the silence of the senior officials and of the influential [political] streams with regard to these crimes.

"The root causes of the recent protests can be found in the corruption, humiliation, discrimination, and inequality prevalent in Iran, not overseas [in the U.S. as claimed by Khamenei and his regime officials]. Since the dawn of the [Islamic] Revolution, [regime founder] Khomeini sought to ensure the people's livelihood, saying: 'Based on justice and conscience, you must give consideration to this public that raised you to power, to the tin shack neighborhood residents who seated you in chamois chairs. Do not weaken this republic. You must fear that day when the people will grasp your true essence and an explosion will be triggered and that day on which heaven forbid another Allah's Day [a day commemorating a significant event connected with the revolution] will be created.

"I remind the regime, and those involved in it, that cutting off mass communications, including websites, cellular communications, messaging, and television channels, is a mistaken solution, and that because of this the last vestiges of the people's confidence [in you] will be lost. You must agree that under the constitution... protest is a public right, and no one is entitled to ignore this basic right.

"In conclusion, I demand that the government not only apologize to those harmed in the recent events, but also begin paying compensation for the damage done. Were I not confined [under house arrest], I myself would visit the wounded and their families, and speak to their hearts."[28]

Former Prime Minister And 2009 Green Movement Leader Mir Hossein Moussavi: The November 1979 Murderers Represent A Religious Regime – Khamenei's Rule Of The Jurisprudent Which Has Unlimited Authority

On November 30, 2019, Mir Hossein Moussavi, another  2009 Green Movement leader also under house arrest since 2011, compared Iran's Islamic revolutionary regime and its leader Khamenei to the regime of the Shah, that was brought down in 1979: "The violent and bloody treatment of angry citizens and of the poor who were tired of, and harmed by, [the regime's] destructive policy, and who had taken to the streets to protest an unreasonable decision that was against the interests of the weaker strata – along with a look at the spread of the protests in Tehran and elsewhere in the country reflecting the general despair among those who have nothing to lose – were absolutely identical to the cruel massacre of the people on September 9, 1979.

"The 1979 murderers were representatives of [the Shah's] nonreligious regime, and the November 2019 policemen and shooters represent a religious regime. Then, the supreme commander of the armed forces was the Shah [Mohammad Reza Pahlavi]; and today, it is the rule of the jurisprudent [Khamenei] whose authority is unlimited."[29]

Majlis Member Ali Motahari: The Intelligence And Security Apparatuses Are Among Those Preventing The Right To Protest

On December 2, 2019, Majlis member Ali Motahari, who is affiliated with ideological circles, criticized the regime's denial of the right to public protest: "We have not managed to actualize the citizens' rights. The constitution's third section that focuses on the rights of the people has not been properly implemented. The root cause of the recent events is our failure to officially recognize the public's right to protest. We say, 'Anyone wanting to protest can do so peacefully, we only oppose destruction.' But in practice, we do not keep our word. We arrest any peaceful protestor; thus, every protest becomes a confrontation. We must tackle the issue of protests. People with a political or sectarian protest are entitled to the right to speak easily and protest. This is also permitted by the constitution, but our prevention always causes these problems...

"Some of the elements that are preventing the citizens from actualizing their rights are [Iran's] intelligence and security apparatuses. They are fearful; they think that if they fight the protests, the country will function better. The recent events are the reason we plan to remove the interior minister from office. As of today, we have 34 signatures on the proposal to remove the minister; God willing, we will do it this time. The government and the Interior Ministry must be brave. The plan to set aside appropriate places of assembly must be implemented. Everywhere else in the world, protests are heeded. Had this law been properly implemented, we would not have had so many problems. Right now, only groups with a permit from the Islamic propaganda organization have the right to demonstrate."[30]

Prosecute The Protesters To The Full Extent Of The Law; Slaughter Them, Torture Them To Death

Theologian Bahrampur: Those Arrested Should Be Tortured To Death; Killing 10,000 Protestors Would Not Be An Exaggeration

On November 26, 2019, on the state-run Channel 1, theologian and Quranic expert Abolfazl Bahrampur called for slaughtering the protestors, saying that their punishment should be slaughtering, which is death in agony, or chopping off their hands and feet on alternate sides of their bodies. He went on to say that the punishment must be carried out in public and in the place where the crimes were committed and that they must be crucified as well, as a deterrent for "the people who wait behind the scenes for America's orders." He said that killing 10,000 of the protesters would not be an exaggeration.

To view the clip of Bahrampur's statements, click here or below:

Mohammad Javad Haj Ali Akbari, the chief of the Imams of Friday Prayer Policy Council, said in a Friday, November 29, 2019 sermon in Tehran that aired on Channel 1 (Iran) that the Islamic punishment for people who cause fitna, disrupt public security, and endanger people's lives, property, and family honor is severe.. Society would, he said, be "purified of the lowlifes, savages, and criminals." He added a prayer that the "hand of divine justice that extends from the sleeve of our law enforcement and legal system" will take "quick measures."

To view the clip of Mohammad Javad Haj Ali Akbari's statements, click here or below:

IRGC-Affiliated Journalist: Kill The Detainees

On November 24, 2019, journalist Abbas Kolahdooz, former political bureau chief of the IRGC-affiliated Tasnim news agency, tweeted that the detainees who were arrested  during the protests in Iran should be executed: "The martyr Morteza Ebrahimi died when he was lynched after entering unarmed a [gathering] of the rioters in order to negotiate with them. 'ISIS fighters 2019' [a nickname for the protesters] must be immediately tried, prosecuted to the full extent of the law like the decisive punishment for ISIS members in 1988 [i.e. the murder of tens of thousands of prisoners who were Mujahadeen-e-Khalq members, ordered by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini]. But the punishment for a protestor is not the same as the one for a terrorist who starts riots..."


Twitter.com/KolahdoozAbbas/status/1198673702944223234, November 24, 2019.

Judiciary Head Ebrahim Raisi: "The Public Must Know That We Will Absolutely Deal With The Thugs Who Depend On Foreigners And With Those Who Have A Relationship With The Foreigners"

On December 2, 2019, Judiciary head Ebrahim Raisi announced in the Supreme Judiciary Council that "the thugs" would be brought to justice: "We must not give up on those who were hurt or harmed physically or financially during the riots. We believe that we must demand their rights. I have asked those responsible, and particularly the government, to come up with a way to compensate them for the damage, because according to the information we have, considerable damage was done to citizens and to officials, and this cannot be ignored... Several thugs who created insecurity and damaged public property and attacked the public – the offices and the property of the public – have been arrested by the police, the security forces, the intelligence office, and the IRGC, and have been transferred to the various departments of the judiciary. The cases of each and every one of those arrested are being processed, and soon the dear public will know all the details...

"The public must know that we will absolutely deal with the thugs who depend on foreigners and with those who have a relationship with the foreigners. They will be dealt with in accordance with justice and commensurate with their criminal activity."[31]

Supreme National Security Council Secretary Shamkhani: "Each And Every One Of The Thugs, No Matter Where He Is In Iran, Will Be Arrested And Punished For His Deeds"

On November 20, 2019, at a funeral for an IRGC member killed in the unrest, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani vowed: "Each and every one of the thugs, no matter where he is in Iran, will be arrested and punished for his deeds."[32]

Guardian Council: Prosecute The Protestors "To The Full Extent Of The Law"

On November 22, 2019, Guardian Council chairman Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati released a statement by the council that read: "Over the past days we have witnessed riots and unrest by some opportunists claiming that they were protesting against the implementation of the fuel management plan. They directed the citizens' valid claims toward rioting, and created violent arenas by disturbing the order and security of the public – who had only asked those in charge in the country to tackle the economic and livelihood problems, and had never in any way agreed to these acts of violence...

"The Guardian Council demands that the security organizations and the judiciary prosecute the protestors to the full extent of the law, identify them and bring them to justly stand trial."[33]

Regime Attempts To Placate The Public

On December 5, 2019, the Supreme National Security Council Secretariat published Khamenei's response to the report submitted to him by council chairman Shamkhani, who had been asked to compile and submit a report accurately examining the roots of the unrest, the contributing factors and reasons, the statistics on the killed and wounded, and ways to quickly tackle the matter of the killed and their families. The report proposed classifying as martyrs ordinary citizens killed in the clashes who had not played a specific role in the protests, and added that their families should be placed under the auspices of the Institute of Martyrs' and Fighters' Affairs. It also suggested apologies and payments for the families of those killed in the protests.

For those shot to death during the clashes with security forces, the report stated that after verifying the victim's family information and past, there should be a distinction between the respectable families and those who committed crimes, and that the families should be handled with the appropriate attention and compassion.

Khamenei agreed with the recommendations and stated that "they should be carried out as quickly as possible for each of the groups" of those killed. He added that "if there is uncertainty as to anyone's role in their group, they should be treated as much as possible in accordance with Islamic mercy."[34]

Cultural Advisor To President Rohani On Those Killed In The Protests

Hossam Al-Din Ashna, cultural advisor to President Rohani, acknowledged that innocent people had indeed been killed, and called for the regime to take responsibility. On December 1, 2019, he said: "No one claims that all the protesters who thronged the streets were thugs. There is a clear distinction between the participants in the protests and the thugs... Every one of the senior regime officials who should respond to this issue will do so... The identity of everyone killed in the protests must be verified. I think that all of us [in the government] must take responsibility for those who were unjustly killed."[35]

Appendix: Blaming The U.S. For The Unrest

IRGC Commander Gen. Hossein Salami: "If You Cross Our Red Lines, We Will Annihilate You"

On November 25, 2019, IRGC commander Gen. Hossein Salami accused the U.S., Israel, Britain, and Saudi Arabia of being behind the unrest. Addressing the public, he said:

"Your presence here today in Tehran, in the heart of the Islamic world, is confirmation of the killing of the American efforts. I commend you for your steadfast steps. You have come here to support the imam of all the Muslims [Khamenei] in this great world war... The fate of any nation that loses its leader is catastrophe and destruction...

"Today we are in the midst of a great world war, and at this moment we are defeating all the forces of arrogance [i.e. the U.S.]. The war that began on our streets was an entire global scenario. This war is over, and the moment it was forbidden to join the enemy corps, you, [the Iranian people], differentiated yourselves. Today you return to the field to glorify Islam, to perpetuate Iran, and to bring down the enemy.

"Today you confirmed the killing of the enemy. The fitna [civil war] that raged over the past few days was the fruit of all the great defeats dealt by the Islamic ummah and the Iranian people to the enemy, in various arenas over 40 years [since the Islamic Revolution], and particularly in the past eight months. The enemy did not manage to create an event – it had to wait until an event took place so that it could exploit it... The fuel [price hike] was the catalyst, and the enemy attempted to harass the Iranian people...

"We monitored Trump. This time, he gathered all his capabilities, his pressure, his maximum psychological warfare, his mercenaries in Iran, and even his aircraft carrier which for months lay anchored outside the Persian Gulf because of the fear we instilled in them.

"And so I say to you [enemies]: It is already too late. I also say to the Zionists that they should not pin their hopes on America, which always comes late. It will arrive only after you have been annihilated.

"We are methodically present in all arenas, guided by the man of God [apparently Khamenei] – that same great man who at this moment is close to us and within our hearts. He is the man who penetrated deep into enemy-controlled territories and expelled the enemy from them. He has transformed the lands of Islam into an arena of jihad against the arrogance, in order to obtain freedom and expand the influence of our revolution for thousands of kilometers...

"Our leader dealt defeat to America's policy and to the arrogant in Lebanon; he established an army there that darkens the days and nights of the Zionists; he defended the Syrian people, linked up [the territories of] the Islamic world, and preserved a powerful dynasty of resistance. He rescued the Iraqi people from the evil of the satans, and from disintegration, and reassembled the [Islamic] ummah. [For proof of this,] look at the Arba'een pilgrimage. Every people that leaned on this man remains standing; all who distanced themselves from him fell. His artistry is defeating the great powers, humiliating America, and bringing victory to the Muslims... Rest assured that our enemies today can do nothing – they are defeated... We pursue them everywhere, and show them that we respond to every provocation. We will settle accounts with everyone, but it is we who will determine the time and the nature of our retribution... We have arrived at the tent of the enemy. The enemy has no more strength. Its policies and its military capabilities have no effect [on us]. No force can stand before the lions of the IRGC and the army of Islam...

"I warn the enemies of Iran, and put the leaders of America, Israel, England, and Saudi Arabia on notice: You tried us in the field and were slapped in the face hard, and you could not respond. The world has seen some of these slaps in the face, but not all. Just wait. If you cross our red lines, we will annihilate you. Anyone who wants to attack our soul, our honor, or our money will be aggressively punished, so that everyone learns their lesson. We have restrained ourselves and compromised – but beware, there is an end to our patience.

"Respect the Iranian people and be courteous. If this pent-up energy is released, no enemy is safe anywhere in the world..."[36]

To view a clip of Hossein Salami's speech on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

 

[1] Fars (Iran), November 23, 2019.

[2] Reuters.com/article/us-iran-protests-usa/u-s-says-iran-may-have-killed-more-than-1000-in-recent-protests-idUSKBN1Y926W, December 5, 2019.

[3] Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said on television on November 27, 2019: "Over 50 military bases have been attacked. We can point to attacks and arson against 34 ambulances, 731 banks, 140 public places, nine religious centers, 70 gas stations, 307 cars belonging to civilians, 183 military vehicles, and 1,076 private motorcycles... The number of security personnel who have been wounded is double [the number] of regular forces [who have been wounded]. IRNA (Iran), November 27, 2019."

[4] Farsi.khamenei.ir/news-content?id=44255, November 27, 2019.

[5] Fars (Iran), December 2, 2019.

[6] ISNA (Iran), December 24, 2019.

[7] Tasnim (Iran), December 24, 2019.

[8] For example; Twitter.com/Amirikhan123/status/1206071501511778304, bulletproof helmets; Twitter.com/Amirikhan123/status/1205830869916631047, bulletproof vests; Twitter.com/MobarezinI/status/1196762639399104513, face masks; Twitter.com/iraneman0000/status/1202230792149057538, firebombs.

[9] Khamenei.ir, August 29, 2018.

[10] T.me/drmsadeqi/3094, November 22, 2019.

[11] Fars (Iran), December 3, 2019.

[12] Mehr (Iran), November 22, 2019.

[13] Iranintl.com, November 20, 2019.

[14] Farsi.khamenei.ir, November 17, 2019.

[15] One of the most prominent of these was Majlis member Parvaneh Salahshouri, who announced that she was resigning from the Majlis in protest against the loss of Majlis authority and against it being used to rubberstamp decisions handed down from above. She also tweeted, on November 29, 2019, a response to former IRGC commander Jafari concerning the regime's violent suppression of civilians, big and small, including "torture and slaughter." Twitter.com/P_Salahshouri/status/1200492033724633088.

[16] President.ir/fa/112560 (Iran), November 27, 2019.

[17] IRNA (Iran), December 1, 2019.

[18] Farsi.khamenei.ir/news-content?id=44255, November 27, 2019.

[19] IRNA (Iran), November 17, 2019.

[20] President.ir/fa/112560, November 27, 2019.

[21] ISNA (Iran), December 8, 2019.

[22] Fars (Iran), November 27, 2019.

[23] IRNA (Iran), November 24, 2019.

[24] ISNA (Iran), November 24, 2019.

[25] ISNA (Iran), November 21, 2019.

[26] The reformist-leaning Amtadad Telegram channel, Telegra.ph, December 16, 2019.

[27] The Qajar dynasty (1794-1925). Its first Shah, Agha Mohammad Khan, was a notoriously cruel ruler, who slaughtered entire cities and did things like putting out the eyes of 20,000 residents of the city of Kerman because they had fought him. Against a backdrop of harsh economic conditions in Iran, in 1905 civil unrest broke out, and the people demanded limits to the powers of the Qajar Shah of that time, Mohammad Ali. Under a constitution ratified in 1906, the Shah's powers were limited, a Majlis was established, and separation of powers was instituted. In 1908, Shah Mohammad Ali ordered the Russian officers who led the Persian Cossack Brigade to bombard the Majlis building in Tehran, and that same year he annulled the constitution, banned political organizations and criticism of his regime, and restricted press freedom.

[28] Sahamnews.org (Iran), November 28, 2019.

[29] Kaleme.com (Iran), November 30, 2019.

[30] Shafaqna.com (Iran), December 2, 2019.

[31] Farsnews.com, December 2, 2019.

[32] Isna.ir, November 24, 2019.

[33] Mehr.com (Iran), November 22, 2019.

[34] Farsi.khamenei.ir/news-content?id=44322 (Iran), December 5, 2019.

[35] Ilna.news (Iran), December 1, 2019.

[36] Farsnews.com, November 25, 2019.

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