Growing protests in Iran; people pushed to breaking point

Iran Focus

London, 6 August - On Sunday, the Iranian people had been protesting for six days straight against the Mullahs’ Government that has destroyed the Iranian economy.

The Iranian people have been telling the world for a long time that the Government’s corruption and mismanagement has caused many problems in their country, from a lack of jobs to high food prices to severe water shortages. They advise that the Government spends the people’s money on foreign adventurism across the Middle East (i.e. Syria, Lebanon, Yemen), while ignoring problems at home. This negligence has caused the people to take to the streets, despite the threats of violence from the Government’s security forces and the risk of imprisonment or execution.


Iran Focus

London, 6 August - Iran is expected to take a series of actions this week designed to show strength at home and abroad, as nationwide protest rage on, the economy continues to fall, and US sanctions roll back into place.

An uprising that began in December has taken on new life in recent weeks as the Iranian people have taken to the street for strikes and rallies on a daily basis to protest the Government’s corruption and mismanagement that has caused so many crises in Iran.

One man in Karaj was shot dead for protesting against the failing economy, while hundreds were arrested in many cities from Eshtehard to Arak.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Iran Focus

London, 26 July - A state-run newspaper in Iran with close ties to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has quoted a warning from the spokesman for the Yemeni Houthi rebels stating that Western companies should leave Riyadh, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi because "missiles are on their way."

The Kayhan wrote on July 25, under the frontpage headline "Missiles On Their Way, Evacuate Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh", that this spokesman warned Western companies not to invest in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

These are two countries who are supporting the legitimate Yemeni government in their quest to take back control of the country from the Iran-backed Houthi rebels; a conflict that has been raging since 2014.

Fresh protests in Iran could soon spell Mullahs’ overthrown

Iran Focus

London, 4 August - Fresh protests broke out across Iran on Thursday in response to the failing economy, the drastic devaluation of the rial, and yet more economic problems ahead of returning US sanctions.

About 100 people took to the streets in Sari, northern Iran, according to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, as well as unspecified numbers in the cities of Shiraz, Ahvaz and Mashhad. IRNA reported that these protests were broken up by police.

This follows on from protests on Tuesday and Wednesday, when 200 people took part in a protest in Karaj, west of Tehran. Videos posted on social media, which were said to be filmed in Gohardasht, a suburb of Karaj, showed protesters shouting “Death to the dictator” as they set fire to police vehicles. The police were seen spraying the protesters with tear gas.

Donald Trump

Iran Focus

London, 25 July - It appears that Donald Trump has decided that he must get tough on Iran on Twitter, as well as through traditional diplomatic measures, in the same way that he did with North Korea.

Following a threat by Iranian president Hassan Rouhani about the US heading for “the mother of all wars” with Iran, Trump hit back with an all-caps warning about the consequences that Iran would likely suffer if they continued to push the US.

Iran protests

Iran Focus

London, 3 August - Protests continued across Iran on Tuesday night as striking workers and the impoverished people refused to leave the streets, where they were demonstrating against a failing economy and the Regime as a whole, after the rial’s sudden loss in. value over the weekend.

In the past six months, the rial’s value has dropped by more than 120%, while the cost of living has shot up and the country has been plagued by water shortages and power outages.

Iran does not have the leverage it thinks it has

Iran Focus

London, 24 July - Relations between the United States and Iran heated up over the weekend. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that war with Iran would be “the mother of all wars”. He said: “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

U.S. President Donald Trump warned Iran that he will not allow such threats to be made. His anger was evident in his message on social media that he posted in block capitals. His message on Twitter read: “To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”

Germany's Deutsche Bundesbank

Iran Focus

London, 3 August - Deutsche Bundesbank, Germany's central bank, passed a new financial policy on Wednesday that will effectively bar the transfer of nearly $400 million in cash to Iran.

The German daily newspaper, BILD, reported in July that Iran wanted to use the European-Iranian trade bank to transfer the nearly $400 million in cash to circumvent pending US sanctions. Now it has reported that the bank expanded its business conditions to include a section on "cash payment transfers" in order to reject financial transfers of partners of the Deutsche Bundesbank.

Iran threatens to close the Strait of Hormuz, but will they follow through?

Iran Focus

London, 23 July - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf and cut off a large section of the world’s oil supply in retaliation for sanctions levied against them by the US.

Rouhani, often wrongly described as a moderate by the US, was praised for these comments by General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, who is under sanctions from the US, the EU, and the UN.

Soleimani said: “I kiss your hands for these wise statements, and I am at your service to implement any policy that serves the Islamic Republic.”

US Secretary Mike Pompeo

Iran Focus

London, 3 August - The Trump administration has put high-level corruption in Iran under the spotlight as they increase their efforts to undermine the mullahs’ rule in Tehran.

US Secretary Mike Pompeo recently called the mullahs “hypocritical holy men” in front of an Iranian-American audience in California, who applauded his assessment.

On July 22, he said: “The Iranian economy is going great but only if you’re a politically connected member of the elite.”

Sanctions on Iran Broadcasting

Iran Focus

London, 22 July - In 2012 as part of the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act, the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), sanctions were imposed that designated IRIB for perpetrating serious human rights abuses and enforced secondary sanctions against any company connected to it. During negotiations for the 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), those sanctions were waived. This week, President Trump must decide whether the State Department will continue waiving the sanctions.


Iran Focus

London, 2 August - Donald Trump suggested on Tuesday that diplomatic talks with the leaders of Iran were imminent, but the Iranian Regime has dismissed and criticised the idea, with one lawmaker calling the proposed negotiations a "humiliation".

Trump, who has previously said that he would meet the Iranian leaders at "any time" with no preconditions, told a rally in Tampa, Florida, that he had a feeling that the talks would occur “pretty soon”, but that even if they didn’t, that was still okay.

Trump then addressed the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which he withdrew from in May, due to concerns that Iran had been cheating on the deal and that it did not address all of Iran’s malign behaviour.


Iran Focus

London, 19 July - Iranian teachers have launched a protest movement over their low salaries, which has gained momentum in recent days, according to social media reports.

The campaign, which has the slogan “No! to Payslips and Salaries”, was launched by several teachers’ rights activists following an announcement by the Ministry of Education that they would be increasing teachers’ salaries six to ten per cent for the 2018-19 school year, according to local news website Khabar Online.

Donald Trump And John Bolton

Iran Focus

London, 2 August - While campaigning for the American presidency, Donald Trump made a bold pledge on Iran’s prisoner taking, “This doesn't happen if I'm president!”

Still, over a year into his presidency, Iran holds at least five U.S. citizens and permanent residents’ prisoner, including one taken during Trump’s tenure.

Although the White House declined to comment, the State Department claimed that the United States works “tirelessly” to free Americans held in Iran.


Iran Focus

London, 18 July - The re-imposition of sanctions by the US, following President Trump’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal, will likely make it impossible to purchase any form of Iran insurance using a Lloyd’s of London platform. This will only worsen struggles for European insurers that have been providing Iranian coverage.

In May, President Trump announced that the US would be leaving the Iran nuclear deal. The other members of the P5+1 world powers that originally joined the United States in the Iran accord chose to keep their promise. They have also offered Iran the economic support to help the country to overcome the loss of income that will follow the sanctions that the United States reinstates.

Iranian people continue their water shortage protest

Iran Focus

London, 31 July - Every day, Iranian farmers drove their tractors to the entrance of Varzaneh town, stopping their vehicles next to the canal that once watered their crops, but has been dry for years, and protests against the government’s mismanagement of the water shortages.

One farmer, Mostafa Benvidi, chanted: “We are the people. Help the people. At night they go to bed hungry!”

Many demonstrators hold up signs with the names of officials that they blame for the crisis during their protest.

Iranian students

Iran Focus

London, 18 July - The recent crackdown on Iranian students has been heavily criticised by university professors and others who are calling on President Hassan Rouhani, who they believe is responsible for the pressure, to take action.

More than 100 university professors have signed an open letter to Rouhani criticizing the arrests and pointing out that it seems like the government is "trying to silence dissenting voices in the universities".

The letter read: "It seems that most of the detainees are individuals involved in legal activities, and perhaps some had criticized your government's work on campuses. We want you to act upon your promises to defend the rights of the people, support a [safe] space for students for criticism, and protect [them].”

Iran won’t close the Strait of Hormuz

Iran Focus

London, 27 July - US-Iran relations are at an all-time low after their presidents’ war of words last weekend, but could this really lead to Iran cutting off a key oil shipping strait?

On Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened the US with “to the mother of all wars”, to which Donald Trump responded with an all-caps tweet warning Iran not to threaten the US ever again.

Their exchanges have only intensified since the US pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal in May and promised extensive sanctions against Iran, the first of which come into place next week.

Iran's Surface Level Jamming of Foreign Satellite TVs Harmful to Health

Iran Focus

London, 16 July - Since 2003, Persian-speaking satellite channels have been periodically subjected to jamming in Iran. Despite warnings about the health risks of exposure to jamming signals from the Health Ministry, and Shiraz's representatives to the Iranian parliament, the Information and Ccommunications Technology Minister says that equipment for monitoring “jamming signals” has been installed in the city of Shiraz and several other cities across the country.

A jamming technique that sends counter beams to the satellite cannot target just one or two specific programs. Instead, it blocks many adjacent satellite channels, leading to international backlash.


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