Iran: Protests Escalate Following New Wave Of Gas Attacks Targeting Schools – OpEd

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Iran’s nationwide uprising is witnessing its 207th day on Monday following more chemical gas attacks targeting at least six all-girls schools in Saqqez and another in Sanandaj, both located in Kurdistan Province. People in Saqqez responded with protests against the mullahs’ regime and locals in the city of Mahabad in northwest Iran took to the streets on Sunday night to voice their anger at the ruling dictatorship.

People throughout Iran continue to specifically hold the mullahs’ Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei responsible for their miseries, while also condemning the oppressive the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and paramilitary Basij units, alongside other security units that are on the ground suppressing the peaceful demonstrators.

Protests in Iran have to this day expanded to at least 282 cities. Over 750 people have been killed and more than 30,000 are arrested by the regime’s forces, according to sources of Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The names of 675 killed protesters have been published by the PMOI/MEK.

MEK Resistance Units portrayed a large image of Iranian Resistance Leader Massoud Rajaviand opposition coalition NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi in the capital Tehran’s Evin Expressway at 11 pm local time on Sunday night.

Initial reports on Monday morning indicate that store-owners and bazaar merchants in the city of Saqqez are on strike. Reports indicate that teachers and students are boycotting their classes in this city in an act of protest following the regime’s systematic targeting of schools with chemical gas attacks and poisonings.

Authorities in Saqqez have stationed anti-riot units outside the local governor’s office as concerns escalate about popular protests over the ongoing chemical gas attacks by regime operatives targeting schools.

Regime operatives have launched more chemical gas attacks targeting all-girls schools, including even elementary schools, in various cities across the country.

– An all-girls elementary school in Urmia, northwest Iran
– The all-girls Bent al-Hoda School in Tehran
– The all-girls Sadr School in Karaj, west of Tehran
– The all-girls Farzanegan School in Sanandaj, capital of Kurdistan Province, western Iran
– The all-girls Narges High School in Khoy, northwest Iran

Nurses and medical staff members from across Qazvin Province held a gathering on Monday  outside the local governor’s office in Qazvin, northwest Iran, protesting the regime’s unjust policies that are delaying and decreasing their paychecks and pensions.

The regime’s new wave of chemical gas attacks targeting schools continued on Sunday. The targets included at least six all-girls schools in Saqqez of Kurdistan Province, western Iran. The schools are Taleghani, Somayeh, Me’raj, Bent al-Hoda Sadr, Esteghlal, and Esmat.

At least 47 students have been transferred to the Khomeini Hospital of Saqqez and 20 of them are reported to be in critical condition. Local activists are reporting that authorities have dispatched anti-riot units in streets across the city and people are chanting anti-regime slogans. At the city’s Me’raj School some of the students were seen chanting “Down with Khamenei!” in reference to regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Other reports indicate regime security forces opened fire on the people gathered around the city’s Shahnaz district. Protesting these chemical gas attacks, locals were seen tearing down the regime’s flags from the roofs of some schools.

Reports also indicate the Jamaran School in the city of Sanandaj, the provincial capital of Kurdistan in western Iran has also been targeted in a chemical gas attack launched by regime operatives. A number of students have been transferred to a hospital for medical care.

Iranian opposition coalition NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi praised the people of Saqqez and Mahabad on Monday for protesting the regime’s chemical gas attacks against innocent schoolgirls.

“I commend the brave people of Saqqez and Mahabad who began demonstrations and strikes yesterday, last night, and today to protest the poisoning of innocent girls by the mullahs’ regime. Their resistance in the face of repression epitomizes the Iranian people’s unwavering determination to overthrow the oppressive religious dictatorship. For four decades, the clerical regime has squandered Iran’s wealth on anti-patriotic nuclear and missile programs and warmongering, leaving the majority of Iranians living below the poverty line. Workers, retirees, and healthcare professionals are protesting for their basic right to receive their meager salaries. Only through an uprising and revolution can the vicious cycle of poverty, oppression, and injustice be brought to an end,” the NCRI President-elect explained.

On Sunday morning, retirees and pensioners of the regime’s Social Security Organization in the cities of Shush and Shushtar in southwest Iran held gatherings and launched marches in their city streets, protesting high prices, inflation, low pensions, and other economic woes. They were chanting different slogans, including:
“We will only obtain our rights through street protests!”

Pensioners and retirees are among the worst-hit segments of Iran’s society. They depend on government stipends to make ends meet, but the regime has refused to increase their pensions in correspondence with growing inflation and the depreciation of the national currency.

The government has long provided many hollow promises of increasing pensions. It was also supposed to settle unpaid pensions remaining from previous years. So far, it has yet to deliver on both demands.

Interestingly, the regime’s own media reported that The Social Security Investment Company (SHASTA), the financial institution that is supposed to fund retirees, has seen a significant increase in its profits in the past years. However, these profits have yet to materialize in the lives of pensioners and retirees.

Workers of the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Company in the city of Shush of Khuzestan Province in southwest Iran held a rally on Sunday protesting their extremely low paychecks determined by the regime’s Supreme Labor Council. These oppressed workers have long been holding rallies, including one on March 30, another on March 25, and also on March 11, protesting the company officials’ refusal to address their demands.

Regional electricity operators rallied outside the provincial governor’s office in Ahvaz, southwest Iran, on Sunday seeking answers to their long-raised demands.

Expelled workers of a pipe company in Bandar Mahshahr, southwest Iran, rallied outside the local governor’s office on Sunday protesting being fired from their jobs.

On Sunday, retirees and pensioners of the regime’s telecommunications industry from Tehran and numerous other provinces rallied in their provincial capital cities protesting their low pensions and poor economic conditions. These rallies were held in Ahvaz, IsfahanYazdArak, Tabriz, Tehran, MashhadMarivan, Hamadan, Khorramabad, QomSanandaj, Kermanshah, and Ardabil, among others. This continues previous rallies held during the past few weeks in Tehran and other cities across the country.

In the past few years, retirees across Iran have been protesting to their deteriorating living conditions, especially as the government refuses to adjust their pensions based on the inflation rate and fluctuations in the price of the rial, Iran’s national currency.

The protests in Iran began following the death of Mahsa Amini. Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, a 22-year-old woman from the city of Saqqez in Kurdistan Province, western Iran, who traveled to Tehran with her family, was arrested on Tuesday, September 13, at the entry of Haqqani Highway by the regime’s so-called “Guidance Patrol” and transferred to the “Moral Security” agency.

She was brutally beaten by the morality police and died of her wounds in a Tehran hospital on September 16. The event triggered protests that quickly spread across Iran and rekindled the people’s desire to overthrow the regime.

Mahmoud Hakamian writes for PMOI/MEK

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