In an interview with an Israeli television station on Sunday, an Iranian anti-regime protester said that the brutally suppressed protests of 2009 have shown the Iranian people that the only way in which they can gain the rights they deserve is if the ayatollahs’ regime falls.
The protester, who was shown with his features blurred and used the pseudonym Muhsan, told Channel 10 TV that the Iranian people were “taking to the streets spontaneously in most cities in Iran” and have concluded that they must “get to the root” of Iran’s problems — “the regime and the leadership.”
Iranian authorities have alleged that the US, UK and Israel have been fomenting unrest in the country. Muhsan, evidently undeterred, said he wished the viewers in Israel “a good life wherever they are.”
Speaking as anti-regime protests continued for a fourth day, amid unconfirmed reports of further fatalities and much of the internet closed down as the leadership seeks to contain the demonstrations, Muhsan said the protests had initially erupted because of public anger at financial abuse. He said some of the country’s banks had stolen public money, and then declared bankruptcy, “and the worst thing is that the regime silenced protests over this.”
Exacerbating public anger, he said, was that the 2018 budget recently passed by parliament “will raise the cost of living by a great deal.” The people, he said, “can’t take it any more.”
Iranians “are very smart,” Muhsan told the Israeli viewing audience. “They know there’s a reason for the rising cost of living. Iran is a very wealthy nation. If they [the leadership] claim that sanctions today affect the economy, that’s a lie. Everything stems from the theft of the public’s funds. That’s the real reason for poverty in Iran.”
Mohsen dismissed Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani as “like a puppet; he’s just a symbol so that they they’ll say there’s democracy in Iran.”
Complete control in the Islamic Republic, he said, is in the hands of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his group of advisers.
“All basic products and gas have got more costly” of late, Mohsen said, “and at the same time, the salaries of members of parliament went up. Ordinary people’s salaries haven’t changed at all.”
Therefore, he said, “the people are taking to the streets and demanding their rights.”
Asked if he thought that real change would be achieved this time, in contrast to the last major anti-regime protests in 2009, Muhsan said that past experience had shown that “only if the regime falls, will the people [of Iran] get what they ought to get.”