Protest Report No. 2


While the ongoing protest in the streets is on a decline in most regions of Iran, the demonstrations in Baluchistan every Friday after prayers have become well-established. The connection between the protests and the mosques contributes to the accusation that the movement in Baluchistan is conservative and focused on religion. But the people in the streets convince us otherwise: progressive slogans like “Down with all oppressors – be it Mullah or Shah” and feminist demands dominate the weekly protests. 

Yesterday (January 20th) again, despite the massive deployment of repressive forces, numerous people gathered in Zahedan. 

Petrochemical Workers’ Strike

via @sarkhatism

Historically, these strikes are of great importance: in the Revolution of 1979, strikes in the oil industry, one of the central pillars of the Iranian economy, were among the most important forces to topple the regime of the Shah. Unlike then, however, today there is no joint and inter-firm organization of workers, which is why so far only the official employees have stopped working, and there has not yet been a general strike throughout the entire sector. 

The ongoing strikes must be seen in the context of the general situation in the oil and gas industry. Even though Iran has one of the largest oil and gas reserves in the world, there have been gas cuts in the country in recent weeks. There have been massive protests in cities such as Torbat-e-Jam in the northeast of Iran due to gas supply outages, which are life-threatening in the prevailing sub-zero temperatures. One reason for the gas cuts, in addition to the existing sanctions imposed by the West, is that international investors and buyers such as China and South Korea are beginning to withdraw. This and the general economic crisis (see Protest Report No.1) are causing difficulties in production.

Classification of the IRGC as terrorist organization

The EU Parliament is working towards putting the IRGC on the terror list, but at the moment the approval of some member states is still missing. Even if this would be a politically important signal, we must nevertheless be aware of one thing: In the past, military interventions by Western states or NATO in regions of the Middle East were usually legitimized by the argument of “fighting terrorism,” but it was obvious that the focus was actually on expanding their own sphere of economic and political influence. 

Especially in the context of the war in Ukraine and the resulting loss of Russia as a cheap source of oil and gas for the West , we must not delude ourselves that Western states are supporting “democratic”, neoliberal forces in Iran for moral reasons, and are opposing, albeit very hesitantly, the Islamic regime. But if the IRGC are classified as a terrorist organization, that also opens the door for direct interventions.

Collapse of right-wing coalition?

via @blackfishvoice

The coalition of conservative and liberal forces, announced at the beginning of the year, could not even keep up its cohesion until the end of the month. Over the last few days, part of the coalition is trying to empower the Shah’s son, Reza Pahlavi, as the leader of this movement with a hashtag. On the one hand, this approach, as well as the fascist forces at the base of the monarchist wing, is probably too radical for the neoliberals after all, and they are beginning to turn away. On the other hand, this “coalition,” which only wants to change the face but not the political and economic power structures in Iran per se, is experiencing significant resistance, especially in the movement on the ground. 

While they can occasionally mobilize large crowds in Western cities and on social media platforms, no significant crowds have rallied behind them on the streets of Iran, even after more than 120 days of protest. Even when the regime tries to use them to distract from the emancipatory demands of the protests, for example by infiltrating demos with posters in support of Pahlavi, they repeatedly experience open rejections from the people there. We are happy that these counterrevolutionary forces expose themselves and hopefully can soon disappear back into their insignificance again.


Still, it is neither any liberal coalitions and celebrities of the diaspora, nor Western states that have any say in the Revolution in Iran or will change anything for the better. It is in the nature of every state to act imperialistically to keep its own economy going – we must never forget that.

The revolution is on the streets of Iran, the people in Baluchistan, in Kurdistan; the workers, the women and LGBTIQ, the youth and the students. The self-organized local committees and organizations, the networks supporting the families of prisoners and martyrs. 

They are the voice of the future. Let’s listen to what they say and support them where we can!

Committee Mahabad International, 

Jan 21st, 2023