For several months, Iran has been gripped by widespread protests — the first of their kind driven by women — that erupted following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was in the custody of the regime’s so-called morality police over not wearing her hijab in accordance with government standards.
Meanwhile, U.S. and Israeli military chiefs are discussing exercises that would prepare for a joint mission to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities if diplomacy fails to revive the arms control agreement has faced multiple stumbling blocks, including Iran’s nuclear advances and geopolitics related to the war in Ukraine.
The uprising is heading into its 11th week with the theocratic regime helpless to stop it, despite ordering a savage crackdown that has resulted in more than 660 deaths and more than 30,000 arrests.
Students in universities across Iran are demanding the release of young protesters packed inside the mullahs’ medieval prisons, which are said to be bursting at the seams.
But if those jails are crammed to breaking point with political prisoners, the number of protesters outside their walls continues to grow but it would be a mistake to think the outrage is are response to one woman’s death in a nation where ongoing US sanctions, Covid-19 and corruption deepened Iran’s economic crisis, characterized by high inflation, job losses and low or unpaid wages.
Strikes and rallies punctuated the year as authorities failed to prioritize adequate wages, housing, healthcare, food security, and education in public budgets.
Environmental experts criticized the authorities’ failure to address Iran’s environmental crisis, marked by the loss of lakes, rivers, and wetlands; deforestation; water pollution from raw sewage and industrial waste; and land sinking.
A joint US-Israeli military drill practiced an attack on Iran, simulating strikes on the Islamic Republic.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) published footage and details of a series of joint aerial exercises it held with the US military last week, simulating strikes against Iran and its regional terror proxies.
In a statement, the IDF said that during drills, which took place over Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, four IAF F-35i fighter jets, accompanied four American F-15 aircraft and an American KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft, refueled several IAF F-16i fighter jets.
The IDF said the drills also “simulated an operational scenario and long-distance flights.”
“The Intelligence Directorate conducted an extensive simulation that replicated a campaign against distant countries,” the IDF said, apparently referring to Iran. “This exercise tested the IDF’s abilities at gathering intelligence, researching and outlining targets, and making intelligence available to the operational forces.”
“These exercises are a key component of the two militaries’ increasing strategic cooperation in response to shared concerns in the Middle East, particularly those posed by Iran,” the IDF added.
Defiant young people with Molotov cocktails have targeted bases used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and their thuggish cohorts the Basij militia.
To be caught in the act of throwing a Molotov cocktail would mean almost certain death at the hands of the clerical regime, but young Iranians have lost their fear of the mullahs, torching the regime’s billboards and posters of the elderly and delusional Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Chants of “Death to Khamenei,” and “Death to the oppressor, be it the shah or the supreme leader,” and “College students would rather die than live in infamy,” can now be heard in towns and cities across Iran. Truck drivers, factory workers and shopkeepers have gone on strike in solidarity with the nationwide protests.
The Iranian economy is in free fall. The combination of economic decline and social repression has caused widespread poverty in Iran with the majority of the 80 million population living below the international poverty line.
There are rumors that Khamenei is seriously ill, while splits are beginning to appear in the ranks of the corrupt IRGC, between the fundamentalist hardliners and the profiteering opportunists. It took 400 days for the revolution to overthrow the Shah in 1979, and the new revolution in Iran may depose the fascist mullahs’ regime even faster.
The sham election last year of Ebrahim Raisi, the so-called ‘butcher of Tehran’, notorious for his key role in the 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners, was the last straw for many Iranians.
Indeed, it was Raisi’s order to tighten up on the wearing of the mandatory hijab that led to the death in custody of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September, when she was arrested by morality police for not wearing her hijab properly.