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Iran Diplomat on Trial for Terrorism

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Friday, November 27, 2020, is a day that will go down in the history books as the first time that an agent of Iran has gone on trial in Europe for terrorism. According to reports, the Belgian Judiciary demanded a sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment for Assadollah Assadi for orchestrating a bomb plot against the Iranian opposition rally in Paris on June 30, 2018.

While there will be four defendants in the dock, it will essentially be the Iranian government on trial because a high-ranking diplomat will be tried for the attempted bombing of the 2018 Free Iran rally in Paris, something he did under the orders of the highest levels of the government.

Assadi, who was then serving as the third counselor at the Iranian embassy in Vienna, not only masterminded the operation but also arranged the delivery of an explosive device into Europe, personally handed it off to an Iranian-Belgian couple in Luxembourg and gave them instructions to drop it off at the rally site in Paris.

Trial of Iranian Terrorists Should Restrict Tehran’s Terror Machine

European investigations tracing the device back to its origin determined that the plot was known about and approved of by Iran’s top officials, including President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Belgian state security service’s chief said the plot was “not a matter of Assadi’s personal initiative” but instead “conceived in the name of Iran and under its leadership”, while the Belgian judiciary spokesperson said that “practically all” Iranian embassy employees are members of the Iranian Secret Service.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), whose rally Tehran targeted, wrote: “The June 2018 terror plot simply stands apart from others of its kind because the fingerprints of higher authorities are more clearly impressed upon the evidence. This is apparently a testament both to the perceived value of the target in that case and to the vulnerable situation that the regime found itself in when attempting to confront that target.”

That vulnerable situation was the threat of overthrow by an angry populace, who had staged nationwide protests in December 2017 and January 2018 with help from the pro-democracy group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI), something that even Khamenei was forced to admit.

The rally, attended by 100,000 people and hundreds of dignitaries, was a prime place for the regime to target because of the horrific damage that could have been done, not just to NCRI members but also its President-elect Maryam Rajavi and those sitting near her, like former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani and former US Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson.

This was a big risk that Tehran took as if Western countries would not respond to the assassination of their dignitaries on Western soil by the ayatollahs. It shows that mullahs were desperate and vulnerable.

The international community will be able to (and should) exploit that because they have the moral imperative to react strongly when their own is targeted by terrorists. The West can use this trial as an impetus to dismantle diplomatic relations between Iran and themselves, knowing that Iran’s embassies are the breeding grounds for terrorism. They must close the embassies and expel Iranian diplomats.

Iranian Officials Deceptively Play with Unemployment Statistics

The Iranian government’s corrupt and incompetent officials have presented a new show with their lies about the statistics of unemployment.

Experts from the Parliamentary Research Center and analysts outside the government circle have concluded that the Iranian labor market’s situation is very different from the figures of the Government Statistics Compilation Chamber.

According to official statistics, the unemployment rate has dropped by 1.1 percent this spring compared to last spring. How is it possible?

Will the unemployment rate fall by one percent when many state-owned enterprises have been closed as well as shutters of market shops?

Of course, officials would deceive society; however, no one would be duped but themselves.

Therefore, according to the spring study of Iran’s labor market affiliated to Hassan Rouhani’s government, the country has experienced a 1.1-percent drop in unemployment compared to the spring of 2019. However, it is worth noting that the inactive population has increased significantly in the same period.

“Therefore, the decrease in the unemployment rate was due to the reduction of the participation rate, and the improvement of this index cannot show progress in the labor market situation,” Eghtesad News website wrote on 22 November. “In fact, in such a situation, the unemployment rate is a completely misleading indicator for analyzing the labor market.” 

The study of the active and inactive population of the working-age community is always a crucial indicator in the labor market. The unfavorable situation of the labor market and the closure of some businesses, as well as the deep economic crises left over from the years of stagflation, have had the most significant impact on the active population’s developments.

In this context, the demand for the working force decreased, which means that the active population has also reduced. This summer, the government registered more than 26 million working-age people—either employed or unemployed—as the workforce population.

“Also, in the summer of 2020, compared to the same period of the previous year, more than 1.7 million people left the labor market, over 1.1 million of whom were women… In turn, these demographic changes have reduced the rate of economic participation compared to the same period last year,” Shargh daily wrote on 22 November.

Suffocating Iranians Under the Burden of Inflation

Increase in Inactive Population; Reduce the Unemployed Population!

“Evaluation of the Summer 2020 Labor Force Survey shows that the employed population has decreased by about 1.209 million people and the unemployed population has decreased by 417,000 people, while the inactive population has increased by 2.311 million citizens,” Eghtesad Online website reported on 28 October.

Of course, the decline in the working population in the economy’s all sectors has not been alike. Labor market findings show that the share of the active people in the service sector decreased by 819,000. Also, the working population in the agricultural and industrial sectors decreased by 347,000 and 432,000, respectively. Meanwhile, this summer’s employed population of the farming industry had negative growth of 7.4 percent, and the industrial and service sectors’ population had a negative decline of 5 percent and 6.7 percent compared to last year’s same quarter.

“Statistical studies also show that 73.2 percent of the total unemployed in the country in the summer of 2020 were in the age group of 18-35 years. If we consider the population under 18 years of age, a total of 74.2 percent of the total unemployed were under 35 years old and only 25 percent of them were over 35 years old,” Donya-e-Eghtesad daily wrote on 28 October.

In its spring report, the Parliamentary Research Center outlined a glimpse of today’s economic realities in Iran. A significant proportion of young people looking for a job until last year, but due to failure in this endeavor, have abandoned the job search altogether.

In other words, many young men, and women, became frustrated and hopeless and do not search for a suitable job anymore. This unfortunate situation, of course, in government statistics, shows that the unemployment rate has fallen.

Iran’s government gracefully publish such misleading statistics in its media. Previously, there was a debate about who is basically employed. According to official indicators, the government did consider each person who works one hour a week as employed. However, now the debate has passed over these deceptions and statistics.

According to the Research Center, 8.41 percent of the population aged 15 and over are economically active, i.e. they are in the employed or unemployed job-seeking group. Also, more than 58 percent of Iran’s working-age population do not seek a career at all.

Also, the summer of this year’s economic participation rate decreased by 3.2 percent compared to the same season last year. Therefore, in every aspect and calculation, unemployment in Iran is many times what the government is trying to insinuate.

Iran’s ‘Economic Collapse’ Has Not Happened So Far!

Mandatory Hijab State-Sponsored Violence Against Women in Iran

The Iranian government’s most prevalent form of violence against women is the mandatory hijab. In this respect, 100 percent of women forced to veil themselves every time they step out of their homes or face arrests or attacks by the State Security Force (SSF). Furthermore, there are 27 agencies in Iran charged with enforcing hijab.

SSF Commander Hossein Ashtari has actually bragged that 2,000 women are arrested every day for making their own decisions about what to wear, which would be bad enough. “But the small amount of eyewitness footage that we have of these arrests shows extreme violence,” Ashtari said.

Female Iranian MP Parvaneh Salahshouri once told a parliamentary session about the “undesirable psychological consequences” that women and girls are left with because of these attacks, which then lead to other ailments.

The punishment for failing to abide by the hijab is up to two months in prison or a 500,000 rial fine. The government applies these sentences to girls as young as nine. Also, those who encourage others to flout the sexist law can be sentenced to ten years in prison.

Sadly, the reality is that many punishments are often harsher, with Saba Kord Afshari sentenced to 24 years in prison for removing her veil. Women who are “improperly veiled” can also be denied an education or social services

The punishments are not solely doled out to those who choose not to wear the hijab at all. Although it would be bad enough, but also those who wear it too far back, exposing their hair, or even those who have a hair out of scarves.

So where does the money for the multiple task forces dedicated to women’s clothing come from? Has poverty in Iran been eliminated? Have all citizens been vaccinated against coronavirus? The answer is, unsurprisingly, no.

Iran: Khamenei’s Lieutenants Order Their Thugs to Carry Out Acid Attacks

This money, stolen from the Iranian people, is not being used to cushion the blow of the pandemic by paying unessential workers to stay home or paying health workers full stop. It is being used to monitor the clothing of women in public, at work, in shops, in cars, online, and even in the hospital to ensure that they meet the clerics’ strict standards.

Meanwhile, 166,000 people have died from coronavirus and not one person died from seeing a woman in jeans and a t-shirt with nothing covering her hair.

It’s important to note that 70 percent of women oppose the compulsory head-to-toe black veil (Chador) and only observe it to avoid violence. According to a 2018 report by the research center of the Parliament (Majlis), the true number was much higher.

Former chief editor of Keyhan daily newspaper Mehdi Nassiri said that “support for the hijab goes down 5 percent each year, despite the government’s efforts.”

Therefore, why is this issue as much as important to the authorities? Simply because they know that women are ready to overthrow the religious dictatorship. In this regard, they see women’s repression as a solution to stop further protests. However, it will not work as the experience has proven so far. Women will rise and continue resistance.

Why the World Rejects Iran as an Economic Partner?

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It took ten years for 15 Asia-Pacific countries to agree on a trade agreement. Last week, China and 14 other countries signed a deal to form the world’s largest free-trade zone at the end of the 37th ASEAN Summit; Countries that make up one-third of the world economy. In addition to powerful countries such as China, Japan, and Australia, other powerful economic countries such as South Korea and New Zealand are also members.

 The treaty is one of the most significant free trade agreements in the world’s history, affecting the lives of 2.2 billion people on Earth and accounting for 30 percent of its economic output.

Most of these countries are Iran’s allies and friends. However, why did they not allow Tehran to become a member of such an agreement?

In such circumstances, regional and global agreements are becoming extremely important. Practically, no country can even think about its existence without being a member of such contracts.

However, when it comes to the Iranian government, no country desires to be even close and cooperate with the ayatollahs because of their malign activities, from their controversial nuclear case to involvement in terror activities and proxy conflicts.

“ECO”, an Example of Iran’s Apparent Failure

One of the few regional organizations formed around Iran was the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). It included Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Nonetheless, Iran’s membership prevented the agreement from achieving the minimum acceptable expectations.

“According to some experts, the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) has not yet achieved its goal of expanding cooperation between member countries,” wrote Asr-e-Eghtesad website on November 17, 2018.

“In recent years, industrial and trade relations in this organization are not at the desired level. Experts believe that given the weak economic power of member countries and also the vulnerable credit position of Iran, to achieve its vision should consider membership in other treaties such as the Shanghai Agreement,” the website added.

Of course, a wish has not been fulfilled for Iran for the reasons stated, and its adverse economic effects are evident.

“Due to Iran’s non-membership in reputable and powerful organizations such as Shanghai, Iran’s economy has benefited less from the benefits of globalization and international relations. This issue has made many foreign investors reluctant to enter the Iranian market,” Asr-e-Eghtesad added.

With or Without FATF Approval, Iran’s Economic Crisis Won’t Be Resolved

“Financial Connection with the World” or “Iran’s Economic Isolation”?

When all Iranian officials believe in joining the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei preferred the interests of money laundering and circumventing sanctions. Furthermore, he favored the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)’s corporate cover companies to foreign trade, isolating Iran globally, and labeling the entire country with terror financing, fraud, corruption, and organized crime.

So far that even his officials expected an answer from him:

“Regardless of any political debate, we must decide between one of two paths:

  1. Joining the whole world and entering the FATF and continuing economic life as a member of the international community or
  2. Rejection of FATF and being left alone in the world financial system, disconnection of all banks in the world with Iran, and economic isolation.

“Interestingly, the main reason for the opposition is that if Iran joins the FATF, we can no longer support Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas. In fact, they say to suspend the entire Iranian financial system and close the doors of all the world’s banks to ourselves and put the Iranian people in a thousand troubles so that we can continue our foreign aid,” the semi-official ISNA news agency wrote on October 1, 2018.

Iran’s Economy Does not Tolerate Financial Isolation and Blacklists

At least Iran’s heads decided not to join the FATF, but officials who were well aware of the consequences warned the leaders:

“Failure to cooperate with the FATF will result in the isolation of the country in question. In the case of Iran, these consequences will be twofold. Because Iran’s economy is not in a normal situation. Unprecedented economic instability and the return of sanctions against Iran, along with financial isolation due to non-cooperation with the Financial Action Task Force, will bring a new shock to the country that the economic strength will not be tolerated,” wrote Otagh-e-Iran website on March 11, 2020.

Supporting proxy groups and sending war cargos to them is something that the ayatollahs’ government cannot refrain from because they see these issues as the principal elements for their survival. However, parallel to this, government-linked experts cannot hide the destruction of such policies and the losses that the Iranian people are experiencing.

“The question for Iranian civilization is: Iran, without being part of the global economic exchange network, or being part of international agreements to be included in the global value chain, without any pipeline, land, air or sea corridor passing through Iran, without being on the world’s major trade routes, without banking connections, without having any critical airports or ports in the global economic relations, without entering into a growing number of regional trade development treaties, what will be the consequences?

“Is that enough to just be on the world map? Will we not be removed from the contemporary world by continuing this situation? In a world where even our oil is no longer needed, is it enough to be on the map? Is it satisfying to be on the map and not in the relations of the contemporary world?” wrote Eghtesad News website on November 20, 2020.

“We have lost decades, but if we move later, we will be removed from the contemporary world and lost somewhere in history. Now that we are half-lost, you have identified sixty million people in need of livelihood assistance, when we are lost,” the website added.

Iran’s Mass Arrests of Activists and Their Families

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Iranian authorities have continued to arrest political activists and relatives of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI) members as tensions grow across the country around the first anniversary of the November 2019 protests.

The state has so far shut down 150 cities and counties under the pretext of coronavirus restrictions and arrested dozens of people to prevent nationwide protests from springing up.

Iran Media Acknowledges Ayatollahs’ Plan to Use COVID Against People

Detained Activists Include:

  • Pouria Vahidian, 27, is a relative of MEK martyr Saeed Moghimi executed in 1988 by the government and previously spent two years in prison until May 2020.
  • Sina Zahiri, who was previously sentenced to five years imprisonment for supporting the MEK, of which he served two. He was arrested in Tehran and taken to Evin prison.
  • Hamid Sharif is a former political prisoner and was also arrested in Tehran and taken to Evin.
  • Saeid Asghari, 51, Saeid Samimi, 24, and Kasra Bani Amerian, 24, all of whom are former political prisoners initially arrested in February 2018, taken to prison where they were subjected to two months of interrogation on Ward 209 of Evin Prison, before being released on bail.
    They were sentenced to five years in prison for supporting the MEK. In November 2020, intelligence agents raided their homes in Songhor county, Kermanshah province, and rearrested them, even though Bani Amerian suffers from blood cancer and would likely be denied medical treatment in prison, as many political prisoners are.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has urged human rights organizations, including the United Nations, to “take immediate action to secure the release of political prisoners to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe at the height of the coronavirus outbreak” in a recent statement.

“The Iranian resistance reiterates the need to establish an international commission of inquiry to visit Iran’s prisons and meet with prisoners, especially political prisoners,” the NCRI statement further read.

After all, these arrests are happening at a time when the conditions in Iranian prisons are especially appalling. Not only will they be subjected to a lack of sanitation, food, safe drinking water, medical care, and even beds, but they will also face the threat of the coronavirus.

It is worth noting that the government’s failure and oppressive policies against inmates lead to the rapid spread of the deadly virus through Iranian prisons. According to rights groups and activists, several prisoners have lost their lives to the Covid-19. However, this issue did not hamper the authorities from sending more people behind the bars.

Crime Against Humanity: Iranian Regime Kills Political Prisoners With the Coronavirus

Other disgraceful ways in which the government is dealing with political prisoners include the establishment of military garrisons in cities, public humiliation of youth, and the murder of youths in the streets.

Trial of Iranian Terrorists Should Restrict Tehran’s Terror Machine

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Four terrorists of the Islamic Republic of Iran will be going on trial in Belgium on November 27. They are accused of plotting to set off explosives at a gathering of Iranian expatriates that was organized in June 2018 by a coalition of Iranian democratic opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

There is no serious doubt about the defendants’ guilt, especially given that the plot’s mastermind, Assadollah Assadi, threatened further terrorism in the event that he was not acquitted or otherwise released from custody. 

Friday’s trial must result in substantial prison time for all those who were directly involved in the plot. But these cannot be the only consequences, and the four defendants cannot be the only ones who are held accountable.

The 2018 terror plot is only one symptom of a much larger sickness that can only be cured by the removal of Iran’s theocratic dictatorship. That cure is something that the Iranian people are working on, as evidenced by the circumstances underlying Tehran’s decision to target the “Free Iran” rally.

But in the meantime, the international community can alleviate the symptoms by isolating their cause to the greatest extent possible, through economic and diplomatic pressures.

Tehran’s Terror Activities Must Be Stopped

The June 2018 rally, which took place just outside Paris, was part of an annual tradition dating back to the early 2000s. But as far as is known, that year’s gathering was the only one to be directly targeted by Iranian terrorists.

To some extent, this may have been a reaction to the event’s ongoing growth. In recent years, attendance has been estimated at around 100,000, including hundreds of dignitaries representing foreign policy, scholarship, and intelligence circles in the United States, Europe, and much of the world.

But what specifically set the 2018 rally apart from its predecessors was the fact that it took place while the Islamic Republic was still reeling from a virtually unprecedented nationwide protest. 

Free Iran Summit Widely Supported in Iran

That movement emerged in the final days of 2017 and continued through much of January 2018 while its initial economic focus transformed into chants of “death to the dictator” and explicit calls for regime change.

The dictator himself, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, blamed that message on the organizing efforts of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI), thereby breaking with decades of propaganda that portrayed the group as too small and cult-like to pose a real challenge to the ayatollahs’ hold on power.

That propaganda was further undermined in subsequent months as the pro-democracy activist community promoted a loosely-connected series of follow-up protests in response to the NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi’s call of a “year full of uprisings.” 

The recurring unrest compounded the regime’s anxiety by demonstrating that the thousands of arrests and dozens of killings it had carried out since last November were insufficient to silence the public’s demands.

Iran: Public Murder and Torture to Halt Protests

This anxiety quickly prompted the regime’s highest authorities to approve of plans for an attack on the MEK’s foreign base of support, including Mrs. Rajavi herself. In her capacity as the NCRI President-elect, Mrs. Rajavi delivered the keynote speech at the June 2018 rally, and she sat throughout the event in the company of foreign dignitaries and other NCRI officials. 

Investigations leading up to Friday’s trial confirm that Mrs. Rajavi was the primary target of the Paris terror plot. Belgian and French authorities also separately confirmed that the efforts to implement that plot had gone forward with the full knowledge and approval of the regime’s highest authorities.

Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani apparently signed off on its in hopes that Assadi’s role would not be exposed, but also on the understanding that if it was, it would pose a unique threat to Tehran’s relationships in the Western world. 

However, Iranian officials may also have determined that that risk was worth taking, firstly because success could mean disrupting the Resistance movement for years to come, and secondly because Western powers have rarely been assertive in their dealings with the Islamic Republic.

If this latter point was part of the Iranians’ decision-making, it has only been further justified by international reactions up to this point. Yes, Assadi and his co-conspirators are likely to face punishment, but the trial should be addressed the larger issue of the plot having originated at the top of the regime. 

This is a particularly egregious oversight in view of the fact that relevant recommendations have been offered by a number of individuals and groups that were at risk of being affected by the 2018 plot, and may yet be affected by the larger phenomenon of Iranian terrorism. Some of these recommendations have been offered alongside evidence to be used in Friday’s trial. 

Various Western nationals who were present at the Free Iran rally have provided affidavits to the Belgian court. In one of these, Robert Joseph, a former official in the U.S. State Department, offered a word of warning to anyone who may have a role in determining the penalties for the attempted bombing. “If the leaders of free societies fail to hold the perpetrators responsible, we will only encourage more attacks and be complicit in them, he said.

He, like many fellow supporters of the NCRI, understands “the perpetrators” to be an entire body of Iranian lawmakers and officials, whose interests and malign objectives are represented to the world by terrorist agents operating in the guise of diplomats and other professionals.

While planning the bombing of the Free Iran rally, Assadollah Assadi was also serving as the third counselor in the Iranian embassy in Vienna. Following his arrest in Germany, Tehran made every effort to block his extradition, even suggesting that his Austrian diplomatic immunity meant he could not be subject to arrest anywhere in the European Union. 

Fortunately, such arguments fell on deaf ears, and there doesn’t seem to be much chance of Assadi himself escaping justice. But the value of his punishment is limited if it does not lead to broader changes that might prevent other terrorist operatives from taking his place and continuing to facilitate terrorism either directly or through any of the regime’s numerous proxies. 

The simplest way of preventing these activities is by closing Iranian embassies in their entirety. While some Western policymakers are sure to regard that as an extreme measure, it is well and truly justified by the fact that the regime has plainly revealed its willingness to use those embassies at the staging ground for mass murder, and specifically for the assassination of democratic activists and Western lawmakers. 

Beginning the Trial of the Iranian Diplomat Terrorist Assadollah Assadi

We now have a clear sense of the 2018 terror plot’s potential impact. The 500 grams of TATP explosive that Assadi provided to his operatives were capable of killing hundreds of people with its initial shockwave, to say nothing of those who might have been killed by the ensuing panic.

It is right to punish terrorists on the basis of a potential death toll, and it is also right to recognize that that potential still exists in other places, under other circumstances. If the international community addresses the potential attack in Paris, it cannot turn a blind eye to the potential attacks that loom in every place where Tehran has extended its reach. 

Female Peddlers in Iran Risking Death

Female peddlers in Iran are facing humiliation and the risk of death to make ends meet in these trying times.

Battling poverty and institutionalized misogyny, these women are forced not only to work long hours for meager money but also to avoid taking the spaces occupied by their male counterparts. Thus, they must work in the most crowded spaces, where the risk of contracting coronavirus is highest.

There are at least 4 million female heads of household in Iran, with the Iranian regime admitting that 82 percent of them are unemployed and living under the poverty line, which is astonishing because the regime likes to hide statistics that make them look bad. These women are doing whatever they need to so that their family stays alive.

However, the government is doing its best to ensure the opposite it seems, with insanely strict rules around welfare services. To qualify, a woman must be earning less than 60 percent of the minimum monthly wage or they are considered ineligible. But if they are making less than the Labour Ministry’s determination of a minimum wage, how can they be considered to be okay without welfare?

Even those who qualify for welfare will find that it does not provide for necessities for them, let alone their children, so they must peddle goods to survive.

Suffocating Iranians Under the Burden of Inflation

“I have to work in this high-risk subway station several hours a day; I have no other way to make a living. I am the head of the household and have two student children. My rent is more than one million Tomans. What should I do?!” a woman who sells scarves in the subway station told ILNA news agency.

“My husband is sick and lying at home. I have to work. Half of my income goes to renting the house! On the outskirts of Karaj, I rent for more than one million tomans a month. Can I afford to be unemployed?! I’m afraid of the Coronavirus, I’m very afraid, but I have no choice; prices have gone up, and I have to be on the subway more than before,” ILNA quoted a 60-year-old woman as saying.

Of course, the official information on peddlers is muddled at best.

Seyed Ali Mafakherian, CEO of the Tehran Organization and Jobs Company, said in September that Tehran had 10,000 peddlers, while Tehran City Council member Hassan Khalilabadi attributed the increase to the coronavirus and rising unemployment as a result, particularly among women.

The government, rather than help the impoverished people or, at the very least, stopping stealing from them, is blaming poor people for their problems and even violently attacking the most vulnerable.

“[Security] officers take us off the trains or do not allow us to work at the stations. They just say, ‘go, get away from here!’ In general, the agents do not treat us well,” a woman said.

“I have given the necessary warnings for this and the monitoring center provides reports … At the entrance of the stations, if we notice the women peddlers, their presence will be prevented. We will deal with the presence of female peddlers,” said Farnoush Nobakht, CEO of Tehran and Suburbs Metro Operating Company.

Of course, as economist and professor Zahra Karimi Moghari, points out, the only way to removed female peddlers is to create decent jobs that give them financial security.

However, the experience shows that the ruling system will not do this. Iranian authorities want to maintain power and they consider the suppression of women as an ideal way to stifle the entire society.

The Role of Iranian Women in Recent Protests

Iran: Four Protests in a Day

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Iranian authorities’ mismanagement and failures placed workers in dire living conditions. In this respect, there has been no day without protests and strikes across Iran. In fact, while the third wave of Covid-19 claims more lives every day, the army of hunger workers has no choice but to raise their voice for fundamental rights.

According to reports obtained by activists and tallied by Iran News Update, impoverished employees and workers hold at least four protests in different Iranian cities. The demonstrations follow as:

Protesting Rally by Workers of Technical Buildings of Southeastern Railways

A number of workers of technical buildings of southeastern railways held a protesting rally. They demanded employers to serialize the workers’ shift in the railway area of Kerman-Zahedan.

“There are 270 contract workers. In such a status quo, while the number of coronavirus patients is increasing every day, we have to attend the workplace due to the employer’s pressure and fear of dismissal. We must participate in our work without any preemptive equipment to make ends meet,” a worker said.

Notably, workers say the company directors and staff participate in the place every other day. Also, a day earlier, Abdolhamid Shahouzehi, 40, lost his life to the coronavirus after enduring pain and suffering for two weeks. He was an experienced contract worker in technical buildings of the southeast of Zahedan city, the center of Sistan and Baluchestan province.

Analysis: Iran and a Painful Week of the Coronavirus

Protesting Rally by Farmers in Isfahan

In the Khorasgan district, eastern Isfahan, farmers held a rally, protesting water transfer from the Zayandehroud river. They gathered in Pezoh square, demanding authorities to stop the process.

The government transfers the water of Isfahan’s main river while the province, particularly Isfahan city residents, experienced unprecedented drought in recent years. In this context, they time and again rallied and even destroyed transferring equipment and pipes. However, the State Security Forces (SSF) violently suppressed their protests every time.

Protesting Rally by Seasonal Workers of Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane Complex in Khuzestan

In the city of Shush, Khuzestan province, the managing board of Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane Complex fired many workers under the excuse of finishing the period of their contracts. The managers dismissed many workers without any financial support while they already protested unpaid salaries and pensions.

Following the managers’ orders, fired workers held a rally in front of the company’s bureau, although they were likely to be suppressed by the oppressive SSF. In fact, the complex took revenge on workers’ protests for several months, which attracted public attention to the complex’s unfair and unjust policies against workers.

“According to Amili Bahari, seasonal workers of the factory became unemployed. He told workers that ‘your contracts have been finished. Go to your homes. I’ll be calling you,’” reported the Workers’ Independent Channel, a non-profit Telegram Channel updates the workers’ conditions.

Rally of Job-Seeker Youths in Khuzestan

In the city of Behbahan, Khuzestan province, a number of youths, who were seeking a job, gathered in front of the Bidboland-No. 2 refinery’s gateway. They protested unemployment and the lack of jobs in the oil-rich province of Iran.

A Look Back at Last Year’s Protests in Iran

Iran Diplomat Tried on Terrorism Charges in Europe

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The Iranian government has tried everything to stop its agents from standing trial on terrorism charges in Europe, even threatening the Belgian authorities with retaliation from armed militias.

However, after a two-year investigation into the foiled bomb plot designed to blow up the 2018 Free Iran rally in Paris, Assadollah Assadi and his three accomplices will be tried on November 27 in Antwerp.

The Plot

Assadi, a diplomat at the Iranian embassy in Vienna, wanted to bomb the Free Iran gathering, organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which would threaten the lives of all 100,000 people in attendance, including hundreds of foreign politician and dignitaries.

He received the 1lb of TATP explosives and drove them to Luxembourg, where he posed as a tourist in a Pizza Hut restaurant to make the handoff to the two terrorists that he’d hired. They then headed for France, while he headed back to Austria.

European agents arrested the terrorist couple in Belgium, uncovering their car bomb quickly and detonating it safely, while more agents arrested Assadi in Germany.

This is important because has he crossed the border into Austria he could have claimed diplomatic immunity. It might not have worked because he committed the crime outside Austria and Austria could revoke that immunity, but he’d definitely have claimed it.

The Order

Assadi did not make this plan on his own. Indeed, he was acting on the direct orders of the highest-ranking members of the Iranian government, who wanted to punish the Iranian opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI), a popular pro-democracy group that is the main party of the NCRI coalition, for their role in the December 2017-January 2018 protests that threatened to unseat the ayatollahs.

Jaak Raes, the head of Belgium’s security service, said recently that the terror plot “was not a matter of Assadi’s personal initiative” but had been thought up and approved at the highest levels of the government.

This is evident from the open threats made by Iranian officials, which basically admit that all Iranian embassies are terrorist centers that threaten their host country and those around it.

The Outcome

This is not simply a terrorism trial, it is a state-sponsored terrorism trial and the penalty for getting the outcome wrong will be dire.

“In response to this terrorist act on European soil, the Western governments should increase relevant economic pressures as well as closing the embassies through which terrorist-diplomats like Assadi have been allowed to operate for so long,” the NCRI stated.

“They should also stop welcoming Javad Zarif, as the main person in charge of the regime’s embassies and their terror acts, on their countries and they should designate him and his ministry as a terrorist organization,” the statement reads.

Iran: 2021-22 Budget Bill and Economic Crisis

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Iran is going through its worst economic crisis. A devaluation of the countrys national currencyskyrocketing prices, low incomes, severe economic sanctions, and government mismanagement have overwhelmed Iran’s society. In the meantime, many officials accuse each other of the calamity and warn of mirage of the 2021-22 budget.   

On November 17, Irans deputy Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri warned the parliament about the new 2021-22 budget, saying, The Parliament (Majlis) is issuing new commitments for next year’s budget that cannot be met with even ten times the current budget. We cannot increase the country’s resources through imagination and fiction. 

Not even showing respect for the Majlis Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, he alluded to the fact that the latter needed education in financial matters before entering budget problems.  

Infighting by Iranian Officials Due to Massive Pressure

Increasing Taxes, Like Ancient Monarchs

For years, Iranian officials used tax increases, printing unsupported banknotes, and taking advantage of the exchange rate increases to compensate for their budget deficit and handle the economic crisis.

However, these methods are not responsive all the time and have been viewed by skepticism within the government because any increase in state taxes from any sector will inevitably increase inflation and increase prices in other sectors. 

“In these difficult times when the government is facing a lack of oil resources and heavy U.S. sanctions, it is not possible to increase customs duties and not face the consequences in society, Jahangiri emphasized and issued a warning, Some say we should increase customs resources. Such calculations increase the price of all goods in the country.

No doubt the countrys economic crisis is the responsibility of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani as the highest accountable officials. The countrys currency has started to devalue since 2012, and a brief review of Irancrises since the beginning of 2011 shows the acceleration of instability and the loss of control over the country’s problems. 

Peyman Molavi, Secretary of the Iranian Association of Economists, believes that to bring back the value of the countrys currency is as hard as moving mountains 

The devaluation of the countrys currency has started since 2012. If we want to go back to those years, we need to have an economic growth above 8 percent and $150 billion of investment,” he told Eghtesad Pouya website on November 17. 

The increase in liquidity must be prevented, and the budget deficit must be resolvedEven if sanctions were lifted and the lack of trade with foreign countries resolved, it would still take six years to reach the economic status of 2012. There is no short-term solution to restore the value of the national currency, Molavi added. 

One should, however, not forget that hundreds of billions of dollars of oil revenues in the time of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not have a more brilliant result for the Iranian people.

A Look at Iran’s 2020-2021 Budget

One should also remember that the protests back in January 2018, due to the economic situation of the country, broke out when the sanctions were not yet so severe, and the U.S. was still part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Therefore, the leading solution for Irans economy may not be economic first. The fact that the Islamic Republic’s officials in all factions have plundered the countrys wealth for more than 41 years.

To ensure their government’s survival, they spent Iran’s national resources on terrorism and proxy wars abroad, and domestic suppression has hardly any miracle solutions for the economy. In this respect, the people whose share of their natural wealth was merely poverty and misery see protests and strikes as the sole solution to take back their inherent rights.