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Iranian Infected with Hep A after Drinking Water Mixed with Sewage

Many Iranians in Khuzestan province have contracted Hepatitis A after drinking water contaminated with sewage due to recent floods and authorities’ mismanagement.

Mohammad Reza Izadi, the head of the Ahvaz City Council Investigation, Supervision and Inspection Commission, said Tuesday: “For several months, I was provided with confidential documents from the ABFA company’s archive stating that the health center had reported people contracting Hepatitis A. In other words, the mixing of water and sewage caused intestinal diseases, but these cases were not addressed.”

These floods, which also destroyed many houses, came at a time when Iranians were already being made sick by the out-of-control Covid-19 pandemic and dangerous levels of air pollution.

It’s not even the first time that sewage has contaminated the water in Khuzestan, due to the non-standard sewage systems, and made people sick. In 2018 Khuzestan Health Centre chief Shokrallah Salmanzadeh reported 34 cases of Hepatitis A in two cities because of water pollution.

A couple of years earlier, Karun River National Conference’s scientific committee member Ebrahim Rajabzadeh advised that most cancers in the province were linked to lead and mercury in the water.

Locals are denied safe water, even though this province contains the majority of Iran’s natural resources, including gas, because of mismanagement.

This was confirmed by Inspection Organization head Hasan Darwishian on December 8, who blamed predictable “infrastructural shortages” for the problem, saying that the drainage plan began in 2006, but only 40 percent was completed.

Regarding the other health crises faced by the Iranian people, these are also caused by mismanagement and a general disregard for the people.

Air pollution in Iran has been exacerbated recently by the burning of mazut fuel in factories, supposedly because of a shortage in gas, but they actually have 33.2 trillion cubic meters in gas reserves. Authorities just want to sell that to fund their malign activities.

The government tried to blame the people for overconsumption and actually caused a blackout in several cities on Tuesday, saying that it was blackouts or air pollution.

Meanwhile, coronavirus deaths surpassed 200,000, and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei vaccines from the US or UK.

Khamenei Bans Importing COVID Vaccines, Leading Iran to More Deaths

“On the one hand, the inhuman clerical regime squanders the Iranian people’s wealth on the unpatriotic nuclear, missile, and terrorism projects. On the other hand, it kills people through the consumption of fuel oil,” said Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

“The mullahs’ only concern is to preserve their regime. For them, the lives, health, and well-being of the people are worthless. As long as this regime is in power, there will be no attempt to buy vaccines, no clean air, and no solutions to contain the damage caused by floods and earthquakes,” she added.

Why Iran Does Not Purchase Covid-19 Vaccines

In Iran, media outlets controlled by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei try to justify the government’s refusal to purchase Covid-19 vaccines. For instance, on January 14, Asr-e Iran daily quoted a letter signed by ‘2,500 physicians’ as explaining irreparable consequences of U.S. and British vaccines.

In response, during political rivalries, outlets linked to President Hassan Rouhani revealed parts of the truth. “Who would believe your words?” wrote Arman daily, affiliated with the ‘reformist faction.’

Why Iranians Don’t Trust the Ayatollahs?

“Recent remarks raised by some authorities and officials have intensified skepticism over the effect of political reasons on the Covid-19 vaccine issue. These remarks either prompted the people to mock them or question the [government’s] strategy,” the daily wrote on January 14.

“Obviously, several individuals just reiterate or raise comments to make someone happy. However, these remarks lack a scientific basis,” Arman added.

In this context, Iranian officials have raised strange comments. For instance, Ali Asghar Annabestani, member of the Parliament (Majlis) Social Affairs Commission, said, “American and British vaccines will make its users sterile and they are carcinogenic.” This is while according to Iranian officials, Tehran has yet to receive any shot of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and certainly has yet to make scrutiny.

On the other hand, Hossein Kan’ani Moghaddam, a figure close to Khamenei, claimed that the U.S. and UK have planned to install a GPS tracker in our bodies, which would make us such iron men. “Remarks such as these are nothing but a shot in one’s own foot,” Arman wrote.

“Earlier, officials had announced that the sanctions have blocked the country from procuring vaccines. This is an issue and contradiction that needs to be questioned… However, GPS trackers, sterilizing, and carcinogen consequences, or survey results are not a helpful answer,” the daily added.

Also, Mardom Salari, daily another media aligned with ‘reformists’, quoted the remarks of an anonymous South Korean official in its January 14 edition. “This [South] Korean official claimed that Seoul has fulfilled all required procedures for transferring the money, including taking a special license from the U.S. However, it is entirely at Iran’s discretion how this country would like to purchase the Covid-19 vaccine,” the daily wrote.

However, the Iranian government still refrains from procuring reliable Covid-19 vaccine while the virus claims more lives every hour. Furthermore, back on January 8, Reuters reported an agreement signed between Iran and Cuba to carry out the last stage of the vaccine clinical tests in Iran.

The fact is that while Khamenei has prohibited the government from procuring necessary doses of Covid-19 vaccines from credible companies, Iranian officials put the lives of Iranian citizens at risk by testing unsafe vaccines on the people to gain political advantages.

Iran: Covid-19 Vaccine and Ayatollahs’ Dirty Business

This is the flipside of Iranian authorities’ horrible policies at the expense of Iranians’ lives and health. Such decisions have not only prompted people’s anger but have also prompted officials to oppose high-ranking officials openly.

“The priority to procure and purchase the vaccine is a dire necessity that must be carried out solely based on a scientific approach and according to national interests, going beyond any political reservations,” wrote the head of the Medical Apparatus Organization and chair of the National Scientific Associations in a joint letter to Rouhani on January 11.

Meanwhile, on December 10, a member of the National Covid-19 Task Force Minoo Mohraz said in an interview with Ruydad24 that she does not recommend the Chinese and Russian vaccines. Both vaccines are made up of a weak vaccine and are similar to the Iranian vaccine, according to the website.

The Ayatollahs Devastate Iran’s Car Manufacturing Industry

Upon releasing their latest model, called ‘Tara’, in late December, Iran’s largest car manufacturing company, Iran Khodro (IKCO), came to discover that the car would not start when it was unveiled for the first time in late December 2020.

This was recently reported by Iranian dissidents, including the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI) who also said that the same incident with the same car happened when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tried to start it up in front of the press.

The MEK went on to say, “The ayatollahs’ policy is nothing but plundering Iran’s resources and they are not about to improve Iran in any field except those strengthening their dictatorship with terrorism, costly missile, and nuclear programs. This is the main reason that Tara doesn’t start…its why Iran’s vehicle manufacturing industry has not yet started and has been broken apart.”

Iran Khodro was founded in 1962. When the ayatollahs seized power in the revolution of 1979, IKCO was sheltered by the governmental National Industries Organization and the ayatollahs and the newfound Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) continued to produce the cars after they took over the company.

White-Collar Criminals in Power in Iran

The latest model, Tara, is similar to the Peugeot 301, but it’s wasting Iranian’s money due to the poor quality of the build. This failure can be said for its predecessors.

The MEK reported that Paykan was Iran’s national vehicle until 2005. The ayatollahs said that they would replace it with the new Paykan using the design from the Peugeot 405 chassis, but after spending an estimated $2-3 billion, the car never reached the production line.

Another estimated $1 billion was spent on designing a new “national car” called Samand, which used the same Peugeot model, but it failed the safety tests conducted by Thatcham Research, a European New Car Assessment program at its London testing facility.

“In this day and age, all the knowledge and technology are available to produce decent, safe vehicles,” the MEK went on to say. “The regime just couldn’t produce anything that could match modern safety standards.”

In comparison, South Korea car manufacturing companies began just 5 years after Iran, but today they have become one of the most successful cars making industries in the world.

According to the dissidents, in both the Shah and ayatollah eras, IKCO and other major factories were under the influence of corrupt policies of the government.

“The Shah did not want the industry to be independent, and the ayatollahs completely ruined the industry,” they said.

In 2017, Iran’s state-run TV revealed that Iran’s vehicle parts manufacturing industry is quite simply, a mafia gang.

An IKCO employee reported that gangs directed the operations of the business and when a new president came into power, he brought his own gang and much of the profits went into their pockets.

To date, IKCO has continued to change the designs of their pre-made cars or combine different parts of various vehicles whilst claiming they are making new designs, when in fact only the names of the models are changing.

Iran’s IKCO Raises Price of Eight Automobiles

Iran’s Prisons: A Coronavirus Vector in 2020

Iran’s unsanitary and overcrowded prisons were a vector for infections long before the Covid-19 outbreak, so everybody could plainly see that they were going to become disease epicenters through 2020 and likely 2021. However, the authorities did not take the needed precautions to protect prisoners and this resulted in more deaths.

They could have released non-violent prisoners, provided cleaning supplies (i.e., soap and bleach), medical equipment and supplies, and even increased the ability to spend time outside.

They could have ensured clean water for drinking and bathing, as well as safe and adequate food. None of this happened, even though international human rights institutions repeatedly urged Tehran to release political prisoners and protect those in their care.

Iran: Covid-19 Patients Are Deprived of Treatment in Prison

“The Iranian authorities must stop denying the health crisis in Iran’s prisons and take urgent steps to protect prisoners’ health and lives,” Amnesty International said in July.

In fact, the government only increased the number of people detained, especially political prisoners, which shows that they took advantage of the pandemic to kill their opponents. Although, given the government’s secrecy, accurate statistics are impossible to find.

Let’s look at what happened in the prisons.

Evin Prison

In Evin Prison, the majority of prisoners in wards 4, 7, and 8 got coronavirus, but the prison dispensary only gave them tranquilizers before sending them back, saying they wouldn’t be allowed to stay in the clinic even if they tested positive. This led to more infections.

Great Tehran Penitentiary

The dispensary lacked essential medical resources and nurses and doctors were often absent. The clinic was also contaminated, with infectious waste left for days, something which caused a protest.

In November, several political prisoners were denied medical treatment for coronavirus symptoms.

Qarchak Prison

In July, three women died from suicide, one of them – Monireh Bahrami – because she had coronavirus and feared the symptoms, for which she was unlikely to receive treatment.

Female Political Prisoners Suffering in Iran

Adilabad Prison

Coronavirus spread through the prison, but inmates were denied suitable medical treatment or transfer to an outside hospital. The government tried to cover it up, but the news got out.

One inmate said: “The quarantine method in this prison is just a formality. New arrivals are supposed to be quarantined for 14 days but they are discharged to the wards before the end of this period. Some inmates are brought to the ward right after arrest and do not go through the quarantine… The air we breathe in this closed area is unhealthy. There are too many prisoners and the prison is overcrowded.”

Central Prison of Urmia

This prison has one of the highest coronavirus infection rates, with not one doctor to visit the sick and only one nurse who was unable to see every patient, especially those more seriously ill.

Vakilabad Prison

The inmates are denied medical treatment for anything more serious than a headache, with sick prisoners merely quarantined until they start to feel better.

An informed source reported in November that there were several coronavirus deaths here daily, but they are listed as “natural death” to prevent the truth from leaking and no COVID tests are done here.

Sepidar Prison

In Sepidar Prison, sanitary conditions are so bad that the toilets don’t flush, cells are filled with insects, and meals are barely edible.

“There is no doctor or nurse in the center for women’s health on most days of the week. The number of suicide attempts among female prisoners is seriously on the rise. The women who attempt to take their own lives hope to be transferred to the medical center so that they could spend several days in a place with better conditions or eventually die,” said one former inmate.

Why Iranians Don’t Trust the Ayatollahs?

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While the Iranian government has been surrounded by enormous crises and dilemmas inside the country and abroad, officials inevitably make damning confessions. In recent days, officials from both factions of the establishment have admitted to massive distrust toward the ruing system among citizens. Their remarks, however, reveal the officials’ illegitimacy and instability.

Officials have also been stuck in an awkward corner. On the one hand, they blame each other for skyrocketing embezzlement, corruption, and secrecy, reckoning these facts to be the main reasons for the “erosion of the state’s human resources.”

Simultaneously, they attack the opposition, particularly the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI), blaming it for improving society’s knowledge and awareness.

However, they intentionally admit to the dissidents’ credibility among citizens and the failure of their 41-year effort to demonize and discredit them. In other words, the ayatollahs and their agents implicitly acknowledge the people’s trust in the MEK and distrust in the government.

“We must note that if there is no trust, even if we inject the [domestic Covid-19] vaccine into ourselves, film, and broadcast the scene, somebody is bound to say that ‘Officials have used foreign vaccines or injected water into themselves.’ Look, there are 4,000 MEK members in Albania. They provide content in Persian [language] against us every day,” said Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi in an interview with the state-run T.V. Channel One on December 13.

Iranian Media Admit to MEK Position

On January 8, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei‘s announcement of a ban on the import of foreign Covid-19 vaccines shocked everyone. In its January 10 edition, the state-run Mostaghel daily provided a considerable view of the state’s stalemate. In this respect, the daily obliquely admitted the decision had prompted a massive wave of fury among citizens.

To justify the supreme leader’s criminal decision, which will undoubtedly lead to many more deaths, the daily reiterated the ayatollahs’ accusations against the MEK. In fact, it tried to invalidate information and revelations provided by the dissidents. However, it was another implicit acknowledgment of public distrust toward the state and of citizens’ belief in the MEK and their news.

Inside Iran’s Coronavirus Crisis– Provided by MEK and NCRI

Why Do Iranians not Trust the Ayatollahs’ Establishment?

Following the warnings about public distrust and the nitrate of disappointment—referring to the Beirut explosion in August 2020, the officials tried to restore the regime’s relationship with society. This is while the establishment has responded to any grievances—even economic demands—with lethal force.

For instance, in November 2019, Khamenei bluntly ordered oppressive forces, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its paramilitary Basij Force, as well as the State Security Forces (SSF) and agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), to do whatever it takes to end social protests. The latest cruelty raises deep distrust and fury among citizens, while officials cannot ignore this reality.

“If we hear that an Iranian person has become the chief of NASA or an Iranian individual has invented a new technology in Germany, we will believe it. However, if the technology were invented inside Iran, many would not believe it,” said the spokesperson of the National Covid-19 Task Force Alireza Raisi in an interview with the IRGC-controlled YJC on January 3.

Nonetheless, Raisi did not clarify why the Iranian people no longer trust the government and its statements, because doing so would lead to him losing his position.

Since the beginning of the Islamic Republic, the ayatollahs have not kept any of their promises. The regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini vowed that the government would bring the oil revenue to the people’s food basket. However, in the past 41 years, food baskets have only shrunk due to officials’ economic crimes, embezzlement, nepotism, corruption, and mismanagement.

He had promised that urban services like running water and electricity would be provided to the people for free. However, not only have the prices of water and electricity increased, but also many citizens have lost their homes and been forced to take refuge in slums, on rooftops, and in cars to spend the nights.

In the past year, the ayatollahs intentionally covered up the coronavirus outbreak inside the country to mark the 41st anniversary of the establishment. They continued this fatal policy to hold the Parliamentary elections in February, which was confronted with unprecedented apathy.

The Islamic Republic and both of its factions insisted on holding crowded ceremonies during the Shiite Muslim ritual of Muharram. President Hassan Rouhani flagrantly said, “We must hold Muharram ceremonies at all costs.” It forced millions of students to attend places contaminated with the coronavirus to take college entrance exams.

Rouhani and his Education Minister Morteza Haji-Mirzaei reopened the schools while many health professionals warned that the government could not ensure Covid-19 protocols in schools.

Why Iran Reopens Schools Despite the Coronavirus Risk?

Furthermore, Khamenei and Rouhani sent millions of workers to workplaces – and factories – tainted with the coronavirus to restart the country’s economic cycle. They pushed many citizens to use public transportation services while they could not implement social distancing protocols.

Meanwhile, they blamed the people for not observing health recommendations and laid the blame for the coronavirus’s resurge on citizens. Also, officials claimed that family gatherings were the main reason for the rising number of fatalities.

Officials also resorted to any excuse to avoid purchasing credible Covid-19 vaccines. Initially, they claimed that U.S. sanctions do not allow them to procure vaccines. Then, they announced that they do not have enough money to purchase vaccines.

Later, they resorted to banking transaction dilemmas and even raised the issue of the lack of appropriate refrigerators as a barrier. But eventually, Khamenei directly appeared on state-run T.V. and prohibited the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines from the U.S., U.K., and even France while the World Health Organization (WHO) had approved these vaccines.

Khamenei Bans Importing COVID Vaccines, Leading Iran to More Deaths

In a nutshell, the Iranian government has a notorious record of secrecy and hypocrisy. It increased the gasoline price in November 2019 and killed 1,500 peaceful protesters, reckoning that the plan would offset the country’s massive budget deficit. However, a few weeks later, it sent several flotillas of gasoline to Venezuela for free.

Furthermore, in January 2020, the government shot down a Ukrainian civil airliner, killed all 176 passengers and crew on board, and denied that the IRGC had a role. However, only three days later, reliable evidence and documents forced the IRGC Aerospace Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh to admit to the crime.

“At the first hour of downing the plane, I informed my superiors about IRGC mistake in the incident,” he said. The government also uses mazut for power plants while confiscating a South Korean oil tanker in the Strait of Hormoz for polluting the Persian Gulf waters.

All the facts mentioned above lead us to the main question that is, “Why should the Iranian people trust the ayatollahs?” In fact, the officials’ actions have left no place for any confidence in the current ruling system.

In practice, the government’s horrible record is the main reason for public distrust and the widening gap between rulers and people, which has pushed citizens to resort to protests and uprisings as their last recourse.

U.S. Designates Two Pillars of Khamenei’s Economic Empire

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On January 13, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two key entities of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s economic empire, their leaders and subsidiaries.

These economic conglomerates include Astan-e Quds Razavi (AQR) and the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO), which play crucial roles in the government’s aggressive and oppressive policies.

“EIKO and AQR control large swaths of the Iranian economy, including assets expropriated from political dissidents and religious minorities to the benefit of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and senior Iranian government officials,” the U.S. Treasury Department stated.

Iran: A Glance at the Supreme Leader’s Mafia

“These institutions enable Iran’s elite to sustain a corrupt system of ownership over large parts of Iran’s economy,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, adding that these entities and individuals “enrich themselves while claiming to help the Iranian people.”

Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in February 1979, the ayatollahs have either founded or confiscated giant conglomerates to achieve their goals. In this respect, the first Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini added the AQR to his subsidiary organizations. Furthermore, his successor Ali Khamenei founded the EIKO on April 26, 1989, based on Khomeini’s two-paragraph order.

EIKO Monopolizes Iran’s Economy

The EIKO is a business juggernaut under Khamenei’s direct supervision. It has expanded its activities in nearly every sector of the Iranian economy, including energy, telecommunications, and financial services.

In 1979, Khomeini appointed three individuals, including Habibollah Asgaroladi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Hassan Sane’i, to manage, maintain or sell properties confiscated or abandoned during the chaotic years following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Since its establishment, the EIKO has been involved in systematic violations of dissidents’ rights by confiscating land and property from opponents, including political opponents, religious minorities, and exiled Iranians. EIKO chief Mohammad Mokhber was directly appointed by Khamenei. He is tasked with implementing the Supreme Leader’s ‘resistance economy’ path.

The EIKO is also activate in the field of medicine and in cooperation with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) controls the medicine market in Iran. Recently, Khamenei tasked EIKO with producing domestic Covid-19 vaccines while the company lacks basic infrastructure. In this respect, to control the Covid-19 vaccine production, the government prohibited the import of foreign and credible coronavirus vaccines, which put the lives of many Iranians at risk.

Khamenei Bans Importing COVID Vaccines, Leading Iran to More Deaths

Tehran Exploits AQR to Fund Terrorism

On the other hand, the AQR is a tax-exempt conglomerate that engages in underground and illicit activities with impunity. According to Khomeini’s order, Iranian authorities exploit the institution’s mind-blowing revenue for funding terrorism and warmongering abroad.

The organization is one of the major financiers of the New Horizon seminars and meetings used to recruit foreign agents for the IRGC-Quds Force.

In such meetings and seminars, the ayatollahs’ agents gather from across the globe. According to reports obtained through the Iranian government, these agents provide security intelligence from different countries, particularly Western states, to Iran. The ayatollahs and their security apparatuses use the information for terror attacks.

In summary, the designation of these two giant economic firms that monopolize the Iranian people’s assets for improving the ayatollahs’ ominous proposes is a vital action for restricting Tehran’s malign and terrorist activities in the Middle East and across the globe.

In this respect, dissidents argue that it is imperative that the rest of the world recognize these entities as they are and blacklist them while Ali Khamenei has bluntly announced his decision for more contraction and suffocation inside Iran and export of terrorism abroad.

EU Ministers Must Address Tehran’s Terrorism and Human Rights Abuses during Nuclear Talks

Iranian Authorities Insist on Corporal Punishments

While international law bans corporal punishment, like flogging and amputation, branding them as torture, it’s commonly used in Iran and is just one of the reasons that the United Nations has condemned the Iranian government 67 times.

In 2020, at least 19 floggings sentenced were carried out, while dozens more were issued, mostly against people charged with non-violent or political crimes, like drinking alcohol or criticizing the government.

UN General Assembly Condemns Human Rights Violations in Iran

Let’s look at some of those carried out.

In June, two protesters arrested in the November 2019 nationwide protests– Ali Azizi and Elyar Hosseinzadeh – were lashed 20 times each for “disrupting public order”, while Mohammad Baqer Souri was given 80 lashes for taking part in the protests. In July, protester Foad Enayati, arrested in October 2019, was lashed 72 times, while Ahmadreza Ha’eri was flogged 74 times.

A Glance at Iran’s Human Rights in 2020

There are dozens of more protesters who were sentenced to flogging, including:

  • Ali Nanvaii
  • Saeed Dashtaki
  • Amir Hossein Moradi
  • Saeed Tamjidi
  • Fatemeh Kohanzadeh
  • Mohammad Rajabi
  • Mohammad Eghballi Golhin
  • Siavash Norouzi
  • Seyed Mostafa Hashemizadeh
  • Marie Mohammadi
  • Ayyub Shiri
  • Vahid and Habib Afkari
  • Mohammadreza Heydari
  • Amir Bavi
  • Jabbar Fiyouji
  • Ali and Reza Akbarnejad
  • Salar Fiyouji

Iran’s judiciary has also issued flogging sentences against a whole raft of religious minorities, ethnic minorities, political activists, and people using free speech.

This included, but was not limited to, the following.

Christian converts Mohammadreza (Yuhan) Omidi and Zaman Fadaii for drinking communion wine in mass, each given 80 lashes. Variya Delangiz was given 24 lashes for celebrating following a referendum on an independent Kurdistan, while ten other Kurds were given 250 lashes for protesting the murder of porters.

While labor activist and member of the Syndicate of the Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (SWTSBC), Rasoul Taleb Moghaddam was lashed 74 times for taking part in a protest on Labour Day.

Bakery worker Rouhollah Barzin was given 55 lashes for posting an article critical of the Friday Prayer Leader in Cheram to social media, Mehdi Khayyeri was given 35 lashes for insulting a Judiciary official, radio anchor Sajjad Sadeghi received 74 lashes for publishing information about bribes given to the Intelligence Ministry, and athlete Seyed Ali Mir-Miran was given a flogging sentence for criticizing Sport Ministry officials.

Three doctors were given 60 lashes each for insulting President Hassan Rouhani, political activist Qassem Ataii Azimi was given 74 lashes for criticizing the North Khorasan Governor, and a teacher was given 45 lashes for drawing a caricature.

Meanwhile, eight prisoners are currently facing amputation of their fingers. They are Kasra Karami, Shahab Taymouri, Mehdi Shahivand, Arash Ali Akbari, Mehdi Sharafian, Reza Hadi Rostami, and Mehrdad Taymouri.

Iran’s November Protests Are Not Over

Iran’s Poor Economic Outlook

The Iranian economy is shrinking and showing negative growth, according to statistics from the latest World Bank report. They wrote that the Iranian economy has shrunk by 16.5 percent over three years, which means that the already deprived populace only saw their purchasing power shrink.

This was to be expected, but a strange part of the report predicts economic growth of 1.5 percent in 2021, something the state-affiliated experts and the Parliament Research Centre have rejected.

Economic analysts there have advised that there is no sign of the problems facing the country resolving themselves, which will only mean more financial stress to come for the country and ordinary Iranians.

One expert told Donyay-e Eghtesad daily in December that the situation is different in Iran, compared with most other countries, with “corruption” resulting in “unfavorable” conditions.

“We should not pursue economic growth and production boom and inflation at all, which are nothing more than a mirage at the moment, but what is possible, and desirable is ‘economic predictability and stability,’” the Parliament (Majlis) Research Center said about the 2021 budget.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Main Figure Behind Regime Corruption

Given that the Research Centre has historically published falsely optimistic reports over the economy, this should show how bad things are, with the Donyay-e-Eghtesad saying the report predicts “hyperinflation” should things continue. The Centre’s report advised that even in the case of “significant positive economic growth,” there would still be no like-for-like improvement in living conditions for the poor.

“Studies and evaluations of international institutions and government centers show that the expectation of growth and the dream of overcoming the incurable economic crisis is nothing more than a crude fantasy. It means that, under mullahs’ rule, there is no window of hope for improving the living conditions of the millions of poor people who are suffering from hunger and disease,” the Iranian Resistance wrote.

Therefore, if even the state-affiliated experts and research center do not believe there will be an increase in economic growth or an improvement in people’s livelihood, then what’s next?

Quite simply, the people are expected to rise up against the political establishment, as they have done on multiple occasions when triggered by the economic situation.

The likelihood is that this will soon turn into a political thing, with protesters targeting the ruling system as a whole for the situation and other crises. This may well lead to major changes inside Iran.

During recent months, Iranian authorities frequently warn each other about the army of hunger and unemployed citizens, who see the ayatollahs as the country’s main barrier toward progress, glory, and welfare.

Iranian Officials fail to Address Problems; Protests Imminent

Power Outages in Iran as China Extracts Its Bitcoins

In coordination with a ‘military institution’ in Iran, the Chinese use Iran’s low-price electricity to extract bitcoin while many Iranians suffer from power outages.

While power outages have swept many Iranian urban and rural areas, reports indicate that China is extracting the digital currency Bitcoin at the Rafsanjan Special Economic Zone in Kerman province, southeastern Iran.

According to details obtained from local reports and media outlets, the government grants low-price electricity to the Chinese-held center to extract bitcoin at the time that the power outages have disrupted people’s lives and employment.

Electricity Industry spokesperson Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi has recently confirmed that the ‘miners of digital currency’ are among the reasons for the increase in power consumption. However, the government has announced that the power plants’ fuel shortage is the main reason for expanded power outages across the country.

Massoud Nouri, a ‘reformist’ journalist, unveiled a deal between the Chinese and a military institution over holding a cryptocurrency mine. He tweeted that in coordination with a ‘military body,’ ‘the Chinese’ have established a cryptocurrency mining center in the Rafsanjan Special Economic Zone. They use the country’s low-price electricity with cheap tariffs.

Selling Off Iran to Preserve the Regime

According to Nouri, they have started the plan’s phase one with around 10,000 devices of very low-efficiency M-3. Currently, these devices are extracting bitcoin in this center.

Iran’s blockchain association reported that the Chinese had established a cryptocurrency mining center in the vicinity of 230/33-kilovolt ferrochrome for Rafsanjan power transmission and station. The association also announced that this center consumes 175 megavolts of power per day.

The extraction of each bitcoin is equivalent to the annual power consumption of 24 houses in Tehran. On January 12, each bitcoin was estimated to be worth above $36,000, which tempted many individuals and entities to get involved in the extraction of this digital currency. In this respect, Iran’s Electricity Industry spokesperson confirmed the increase in the number of bitcoin miners inside the country.

There were numerous reports of an increase in the electricity price and unnotified power outages in recent weeks. In videos circulated on social media, citizens show that the roads’ lights were turned off during the night, which raises the risk of road accidents in Iran’s unsafe commuting ways.

On the other hand, to decrease the country’s budget deficits, the government has recently used mazut for power supply plants instead of gasoline and proper fuels. This issue dangerously intensified air pollution in Tehran and several major cities. Iranian dissidents say mazut and diesel pollution increase the coronavirus death toll to six times the national rate.

The Margins of the 25-Year Iran-China Contract

In response, the Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh and the Chief of Environment Organization Isa Kalantari have laid the blame on the people, saying, “to stop using mazut [for plants], the people must decrease power consumption.”

In 2019, an advisor to President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated the Rafsanjan Cryptocurrency Mine under a data center’s banner. At the time, Rafsanjan Governor Aliar Eskandari described this facility as the Middle East’s greatest datacenter. However, several media reported that it is a cryptocurrency mining center.

Later, cryptocurrency experts revealed that Tehran had granted the ferrochrome factory’s electricity to the Chinese Top Echo company in return for an insignificant price. Surprisingly, at the inauguration ceremony, the CEO of Rafsanjan Special Economic Zone Majid Kohnavi had spoken about ‘excess electricity.’

“Today, we witness excess electricity, and the electricity is not a preservable good. Therefore, the Energy Ministry sells this electricity to miners based on the export price,” he said, adding that this project is a money-maker source for the Energy Ministry.

Notably, in 2019, Tehran extended its economic deal with the Chinese government for 25 other years, prompting many objections inside the country and abroad. In a nutshell, the government granted uncountable privileges in different fields to the Chinese in return for nothing. Now, it seems that Rafsanjan Cryptocurrency Mine is another part of the ayatollahs’ 25-year deal with Beijing.

Auctioning Iran, for a Dirty Vote at the UN Security Council

Iran’s Hostage Taking Must Be Met with Firmness

Iran seized a South Korean-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on January 4, something they tried to blame on the tanker polluting Iranian waters. However, many suspected that the government was attempting to use the tanker and its crew as bargaining chips in upcoming negotiations with a South Korean envoy about $7 billion in Iranian assets frozen because of U.S. sanctions.

Iran’s New Piracy and Blackmail

Tehran denied this, but still publicly commented on the money dispute and tried to justify the seizure by suggesting that South Korea was holding Iranian property hostage. Then, a state-run newspaper confirmed Iran’s true motives, but no one was really surprised.

After all, Iran had done basically the same thing last year with the British vessel Stena Impero and has a long history of taking vessels and personnel hostage, dating back to the U.S. embassy siege in 1979, which the Iranian government actually celebrates every year.

Not to mention the dozens of foreign or dual nationals held in Iran’s prisons as leverage, including Iranian-Swedish academic Ahmadreza Djalali, who is under imminent threat of execution and has had hardly any contact with his family since November.

Given all this, are the crew of the South Korean Hankuk Chemi in danger? Well, Iran is unlikely to want an international incident, but then we would have never expected that they’d risk plotting a terrorist attack on European soil and yet an Iranian diplomat was put on trial for that last month.

Proof Iran Is Responsible for 2018 Bomb Plot

Assadollah Assadi is accused by European prosecutors of trying to bomb the Resistance rally in Paris in June 2018, which was attended by 100,000 people. While Europe tends to use an appeasement strategy, they have put Assadi and his accomplices on trial and this firm policy are probably the reason that Djalali is still alive.

The Belgian parliament threatened to end all ties with Iran if Djalali was executed. While Sweden is set to begin the trial of Hamid Nouri, accused of taking a major role in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.

“This latest move appears to be a sign that growing numbers of European policymakers are not only willing to adopt an assertive posture with the Islamic Republic but also willing to go on the offensive in their fight against the regime’s tactics of intimidating both foreign and domestic voices into silence,” wrote the Iranian Resistance.

“No doubt those policymakers are beginning to recognize that that silence has always proven to be counterproductive in the past, and has only reinforced Tehran’s every impulse toward malign activity,” the NCRI added.