Is the Iranian regime on the brink of collapse?

Revolutionary fervor against the ruthless strongmen who rule the Islamic Republic of Iran has gripped large swaths of the vast Middle Eastern nation.

Social and labor unrest entered its fourth week after vice police allegedly murdered a young woman for failing to “properly” wear a hijab to cover her hair.

The pressing question is: will this latest wave of protests drive the regime into oblivion?

“We are witnessing the beginnings of a revolution in Iran,” said Alireza Nader, an expert on Iran and US policy in the Middle East. JNS. “The scale of popular anger against the regime is unprecedented. Iran has not seen such large and intense anti-regime protests since 1979. It seems that people are intent on overthrowing the Islamic Republic.

So far, apart from a few strikes among students at a dozen universities and among owners of small shops, the social unrest has not spread to the main center of Iran’s struggling economy, the oil and gas sector.

That has now changed.

On Monday, work stoppages hit Iran’s vital energy sector in the oil-rich province of Bushehr in the Persian Gulf.

According to the US-based Center for Iran Human Rights in Iran, the Contractual Oil Workers Protest Organizing Council wrote on its Telegram channel: “To our colleagues in oil, gas and petrochemical projects, in all refineries and petrochemicals; in oil rigs as well as on drilling sites, we declare that the time has come to demonstrate on a large scale and to prepare for nationwide and grueling strikes.

London-based news organization Iran International provided links to Twitter accounts posting video footage of workers saying, “This year is the year of blood, Seyed Ali Khamenei is over!” referring to the “supreme leader” of Iran.

Nader, who has written about the possible role of unions and labor unrest in ousting the clerical regime, said the United States and other Western countries should “create a strike fund to help workers and their families”.

Students at Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran demand an end to compulsory hijab and the Islamic Republic, October 12, 2022. Credit: Darafsh/Wikimedia Commons.

Sheina Vojoudi, an Iranian dissident who fled the Islamic Republic for Germany and is closely following the unrest in her native country, said JNS, “We have never been so close to overthrowing the Islamic Republic. The new Iranian generation has risen up against the tyranny of the ayatollahs. It is the schoolchildren who want regime change in Iran. They send videos and ask all Iranians to join them because they don’t want to live under the Islamic Republic.

She continued, “This time it’s different; the people defend themselves. [Maj. Gen.] Hossein Salami, the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps] commander, expressed concern for Basij [IRGC militia] forces beaten by the revolutionaries. It’s the first time they can’t hide their fear. The collapse of the regime in Iran is imminent. People know that if they go back home the regime will come after them, so they have to stay on the street.

The US government under the Trump administration has designated the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

The Islamic Republic continues to benefit from Western governments not calling for an end to the theocratic state. President Joe Biden’s special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, recently said the administration was not interested in a change in Iran’s government. He told NPR that the United States wants “a government in Iran that respects the basic rights of its people,” but not regime change.

The U.S.-based National Union for Democracy in Iran (NUFDI) sent a letter to the Biden administration on Tuesday stating, “Recalling President Biden’s mantra that ‘Personnel is policy’, we encourage administration to specifically examine whether members of its Iran team — particularly U.S. Special Representative for Iran Rob Malley and his deputy Jarrett Blanc — grasp the current reality of Iran and have the country’s expertise and the ideological flexibility to adjust US policy as the situation in Iran evolves.

Malley is controversial for his efforts to appease Tehran with a nuclear deal that would inject $275 billion into its coffers in the first year of the deal, according to research by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

In exchange for the massive injection of cash, the Iranian regime would promise temporary restrictions on its development of nuclear weapons.

NUFDI said, “As an Iranian-American community organization, we urge you to recognize the historic nature of this moment and seize the opportunity it represents for the United States, Iran, and the international community. . The people of Iran say loud and clear and with one voice that they reject the regime, that they aim to end their reign of terror in Iran and beyond, that they seek to reclaim both their country and his place in the community of nations and that he needs our support in their continuing struggle for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

When asked what the West could do to help Iranians, Vojoudi replied: “Iranians inside and outside Iran expect Western governments to cut their ties with the murderous regime in Iran. Democracies are witnessing the mass murder of Iranian revolutionaries by direct bullets but they still maintain diplomatic relations with this criminal regime. The regime brought tanks to Sanandaj [the capital of Kurdistan Province] and Kermanshah [the capital of the province of the same name and the largest Kurdish-speaking city in the country] to kill civilians.

She added: “We expect them [the West] refer to the IRGC and its militias as Fatemiyoun [an Afghan Shia force]Hashd al-Shaabi [the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces]Hezbollah and Zeynabiyoun [a Pakistani Shia militia]who help the regime kill unarmed Iranians, as terrorist organizations, ban all Iranian officials and their families from entering their country, expel Islamic Republic lobbyists like NIAC [the U.S.-based National Iranian American Council] and all family members of Islamic Republic officials who already live in Europe and the United States

“We will not stop until the collapse of the Islamic Republic. It will happen,” Vojoudi said.

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