Politicians from both political factions in Iran warned of widespread discontent and the possibility of a fresh round of anti-government protests in Iran.
A politician from the so-called “reformist” faction warned that popular discontent had increased since November 2019, when thousands of Iranians took to the streets in anti-government protests. His remarks came one day after a hardline politician said if not for the brutal crackdown against protesters in 2019, the regime would have been taken down.
Speaking to the state-run Etemad Daily affiliated with the regime’s “reformist” camp, Javad Imam, the head of the Baran Foundation said “current discontent had increased since November 2019” warning that the regime was in trouble.
Imam, who was the Deputy Energy Minister in Khatami’s government, said Iranians were under severe pressure.
“Some people have lost their jobs, some have had a severe cut in their wages and the unconstrained inflation on the other hand has increased discontent,” he said.
Imam warned that if the government did not “alleviate these pressures” there was a possibility that Iranians “would react” and take to the streets.
Javad Imam also warned officials that conditions were alarming for the regime because Iranians had lost hope and felt that even after the end of the COVID-19 epidemic, nothing would change.
A day before, former MP Mohammad-Reza Bahonar said that if more people had taken part in the November 2019 demonstrations, the protests “would have gone towards a revolution or a soft revolution”.
According to Etemad, Bahonar was implicitly warning about those who did not take part in the November anti-government protests did not vent their anger and could be a threat in future protests.
The former hardline Deputy parliament speaker said the regime had “taken care” of the protests by brutally killing at least 1,500 protesters in just days.
In fear of growing discontent, Iran’s security and law enforcement institutions are now cracking down on trade union protests. This week, security forces attacked retired employees of the Ministry of Oil who had gathered outside the Ministry in Tehran to express their economic grievances. Images of the injured men who are war veterans were published by human rights groups.
The regime has also stepped up its crack down on civil liberties, sending its Basij vigilantes on the streets to harass men and women who do not conform to its strict dress code and regulations.
In recent days, the police’s use of lethal force has made headlines in Iran. In October, the regime’s Law Enforcement killed at least four civilians including a 17-year-old teenager in the western province of Kermanshah.