There were 3,530 recorded Iran protests in 2019 with an average of 294 protests a month and 10 protests a day, according to sources affiliated with the Iranian Resistance.
November Nationwide protests
From the 3,530 protests, 265 were related to nationwide protests that erupted in November over an increase in the price of gasoline.
Cities and provinces involved – 191 cities and 30 provinces.
Recorded casualties –1,500 +
Arrests –12,000 +
Wounded and maimed civilians –4,000 +
The National Iranian oil products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) announced new gas prices hikes that would take effect as of Thursday November 14.
According to the NIOPDC, the price of rationed gas increased by 50% while the price of free gas tripled. The organization also said that every Iranian with one car was allowed 60 liters of gas a month.
Protests erupted on Saturday November 16 despite reports of rain and snow in several cities. The regime had put the fire department on alert and stationed groups of police and undercover agents at gas stations to quell possible protests.
Larger protests gradually erupted in other cities. Protesters initially turned off their cars in the middle of streets and at gas stations as a sign of protest. They chanted for other Iranians to support and join them. Security forces and undercover agents attacked and arrested a number of protesters.
Protesters targeted the regime’s president Hassan Rouhani and demanded that he resign. They also chanted, “Gas prices have increased, the poor have become poorer,” and “Iranians will die rather than surrender”.
Protesters torched tires and used them to block the streets. The chants quickly turned more radical, targeting the regime’s all powerful Supreme Leader.
“Death to Khamenei”, “Death to dictator”, “Mullahs must get lost”, protesters chanted. The protests spread to 160 cities as protesters torched banks, gas stations, police stations, governor’s offices, police kiosks, security force cars and motorcycles, bases belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its paramilitary branch the Bassij, IRGC owned chain stores, seminaries, offices of the heads of Friday prayers, ATM’s, and charity boxes lining Iran’s streets.
Protesters did not attack buildings owned by ordinary Iranians.
The most clashes between security forces and protesters were reported in the Shahriar (Tehran), Shahre Qods (Tehran), Shiraz (SW), Behbahan (SW), Isfahan (central Iran) and the city of Tehran.
The first person to be fatally shot by security forces was identified as Rohollah (Javad) Nazari Fath Abadi who was killed in Sirjan, southeastern Iran.
The regime’s security forces including the IRGC, riot police, Bassij forces, undercover agents, intelligence agents and the police were tasked with quelling unarmed protesters with tear gas, water cannons, shotguns and live bullets.
Iran also implemented an internet blackout on the evening of November 16 for one week to prevent amateur videos and reports of the atrocities being committed by the regime from reaching the world.
There were intense clashes in Shiraz, southwestern Iran, as locals reported that parts of the city were under the control of protesters. Locals attacked military bases and seized the guns. In Ma’ali Abad, protesters attacked and torched all the banks, ATM’s and gas stations. In Sadra, due to the intensity of the clashes, the regime shot down at protesters from helicopters.
The Mahshahr slaughter
During the first few days of protests in Mahshahr, southwestern Iran, locals gained control over much of the city. Security forces started the crackdown in Mahshahr on November 16, and also attempted to suppress protests between November 16 to 18 in the suburbs of Sarbandar and Jarahi. The majority of the violence however, started on November 18 when the IRGC were brought in to quell protests. Revolutionary Guard forces entered Shahrak Chamran, a suburb of Mahshahr, and indiscriminately began shooting at protesters with DShK or Dushkas mounted on armored vehicles. Protesters who escaped into a nearby marsh, were immediately encircled and fired upon, killing up to 100 people, according to the New York Times.
Ali Khamenei orders brutal crackdown
On the morning of Sunday November 17, the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei said he supported the recent gasoline price hikes and urged security institutions to quell protests. In comments broadcasted on state-run media, Khamenei blamed opponents of the Islamic Republic and foreign enemies for what he called “sabotage”. He went on to call protesters “hooligans” giving the green light for the brutal suppression of Iranians who were fed up with living in poverty under a theocratic regime.
“Some people are no doubt worried by this decision … but sabotage and arson is done by hooligans not our people. The counter-revolution and Iran’s enemies have always supported sabotage and breaches of security and continue to do so,” Khamenei said.
After Khamenei’s command “to do whatever it takes to end” protests, security forces used lethal force and brutally killed hundreds of protests.
Security forces even went to hospitals and clinics and transferred wounded and injured protesters to unknown locations.
On Monday, November 18, Tehran University students held a large protest gathering in support of nationwide protests. Security forces and the Bassij paramilitary forces were stationed outside the university entrances to quell the protests and prevent students from leaving campus grounds. In the ensuing clashes between students and security forces around 50 students were arrested.
Security forces used footage from security cameras and videos on social media platforms to identify protesters. A large number of people were arrested after security forces attacked their homes and offices. The arrests are still ongoing.
Iran’s officials have yet to announce the number of casualties and detainees of the November 2019 protests.
A large number of Iranians are still unaccounted for in various cities and officials refrain from giving information to their grieving families.
Reports from Iran indicate that many of those who were taken from hospitals while injured are languishing without any treatment in prison.
Despite the regime’s brutal crackdwon, reports indicate that Iranians have run out of patience and are waiting for another opportunity to start nationwide Iran protests.
Mourning ceremonies for fallen protesters
Iranians and especially the families of fallen protesters called for commemoration ceremonies for civilians killed during November protests. The regime carried out unprecedented security measures to prevent gatherings on December 26 which marked the 40th day of the death of a large number of protesters.
According to the state-run ILNA News Agency, home internet networks in some regions in Shiraz were disconnected. The report said that most ISPs in the southwestern province of Fars were having network issues while some were completely cut off on December 25.
ILNA has since taken down its report.
Social media reports said that around 15 cities including in Tehran and the southwestern province of Khuzestan were affected and that people had difficulties connecting to the internet.
A large number of security forces and riot police were dispatched to several cities. Videos circulated on social media platforms showed large police convoys in the northwestern city of Tabriz. Other videos showed heavy police presence in Qazvin, northwestern Iran, the western city of Sanandaj, and the capital Tehran.
Snipers were stationed on the buildings near police stations in Fardis, near Tehran on December 24. In Rasht, northern Iran, the regime sent former Bassij members summonses to join the Bassij on December 25 and be on alert for protests. Security forces paraded on the streets in various cities, intentionally making noise, to intimidate the public. In Tehran’s Ariashahr, helicopters were spotted flying overhead on the morning of December 26.
Security forces arrested a number of citizens including the parents and relatives of slain protester Pouya Bakhtiari and the brother of Ameneh Shahbazi, shot and killed by security forces in Karaj. The 36 year old women was a mother of three children and was shot on November 17.
On December 26, the day of the ceremonies, security forces tried to block the entrances to the area where Pouya Bakhtiari, the most well-known slain protester was buried and stationed snipers on nearby rooftops. Two DShK or Dushka 50 caliber heavy machine guns along with armored vehicles were also stationed at Karaj’s Beheshte Sakineh Cemetery, in the outskirts of Tehran.
Several people were detained and beaten by security forces for trying to hold mourning ceremonies. The presence of riot police and other forces was very heavy in the cemetery. Helicopters were even flown overhead at some point in an effort to intimidate mourners.
Despite this, a large number of people marched and chanted slogans against the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. They held him responsible for the brutal killing of at least 1,500 citizens in November protests.
Calling Khamenei a murderer they chanted, “The people did not die for us to compromise with and praise the murderous leader”.
Amateur video also showed mourners chanting, “Death to the Velayat (Khamenei) for his many years of crime,” in the cemetery.
According to Pouya Bakhtiari’s grandmother, security forces did not allow her to visit her grandson’s grave even for a short prayer. The grieving elderly woman said she was literally begging security forces but they refused to allow her to visit his graveside “even for one second”.
“Many people came but most of them were beaten by security forces and arrested,” she said.
According to another eyewitness report, Iranians came from other cities, including from the north, Ahvaz and Arak in southwestern Iran and from the western province of Lorestan to take part in Pouya Bakhtiari’s ceremony and that of other fallen protesters. The eyewitness confirmed reports that many people were beaten and arrested.
Important features of November’s nationwide protests
- Protests quickly spread to cities across Iran
- Chants were against the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei
- Despite having grown up under the direct influence of the regime’s propaganda, Iran’s newer generations were the main force behind the protests
- Women played an important role and led the protests in some instances. The fact that least 400 women were killed by security forces proves this point.
- Protesters attacked and torched an unprecedented number of government institutions and military bases but did not harm any buildings owned by ordinary Iranians. Security forces attacked private property including buildings, stores and cars.
Other Iran protests in 2019
Iranian workers held 1,411 Iran protests in 2019 in 151 cities and 30 provinces with an average of 118 protests a month and 4 protests a day.
Workers can barely make ends meet in Iran. Their meager wages, if paid on time, puts them squarely under the line of poverty. Most workers are the breadwinners of families with several children. Prices have also increased after the regime tripled the prices of gasoline in November putting more pressure on Iranian workers.
In 2019, workers protested months of delayed paychecks, widespread layoffs and the privatization of factories and companies.
Teachers held 350 Iran protests in 2019 in 48 cities and 17 provinces with an average of 29 protests per month. In March, teachers across Iran held a three day strike called on by the Coordination Council of Teachers Associations. They demanded the release of detained teachers, free education, justice in education, an increase in paychecks, a comprehensive insurance policy and better school facilities. Iranian teachers say they can barely make ends meet with the salaries they receive.
Defrauded creditors held 338 Iran protests in 2019 in 19 cities and 13 provinces in 2019 with an average of 28 protests per month. The creditors were demanding their savings stolen by mostly IRGC affiliated credit institutions. Most of the protests were held in Tehran, Mashhad in northeastern Iran and the northern city of Rasht.
Students held 108 Iran protests in 2019 in 33 cities and 23 provinces. Iranian students actively took part in November’s nationwide protests and a number of them were shot and killed or arrested. The most significant student gatherings were for Student Day on December 7.
Students in universities across Iran commemorated fallen protesters and demanded the release of arrested students. They condemned the regime’s brutal crackdown on protests and chanted “blood is running in the streets and freedom has been sacrificed”. Students at Amir Kabir University in Tehran chanted, “My martyred brother, I will continue your path”.
Iranian pensioners held 71 Iran protests in 2019 in eight cities and seven provinces. Like other Iranians, pensioners also suffer from very dire livelihood conditions because their meager pensions, not always paid on time, put them squarely under the line of poverty. Pensioners suffer from various ailments mostly due to their age but do not have comprehensive insurance or the money for treatment.
Pensioners held a number of large gatherings in 2019 which were in some instances, attacked by security forces.
Farmers held 75 Iran protests in 2019 in 27 cities and 13 provinces. They are angry that the regime denies them their water rights, rendering them unable to water their farms.
Iran’s bazaar merchants and shop owners held 19 gatherings in nine cities and eight provinces in 2019. The protests stemmed from the increase in the value of the dollar to Iran’s currency and lack of basic goods.
Flood victims held 77 protest gatherings in 30 cities and seven provinces. After severe floods beginning in mid-March that ravaged 25 provinces in Iran, Iranians protested the regime’s lack of aid to flood stricken areas.
Although state-run news agencies like Tasnim said that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Basij forces and other regime affiliated institutions were aiding flood victims in the worst hit areas of Iran, locals were furious and said that they had been abandoned by the government and that officials only came to flood hit areas for photo ops.
Locals in Ahvaz protested the regime’s policy of opening dams directing water to their farmlands, villages and cities. They said they did not have facilities to make flood barriers.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps blocked water from the Hawizeh Marshes to protect its oil interests in the region and instead directed water to cities and villages.
Angry flood stricken Ahvaz residents also verbally attacked a visiting senior IRGC officer.
Videos showed locals surrounding Mohammad Reza Naqdi, a former commander of the infamous Bassij forces, yelling at him and chanting, “Khuzestan has been swept away by water while officials sleep”. They also chanted, “get lost” in Persian and “Ahvaz will be free” in Arabic while pushing Naqdi’s bodyguards and police.
Other groups, including families of political prisoners and detained protesters, and drivers held 695 protests in 157 cities and 31 provinces.
This included protests by a large number of Arab-Iranians in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, following news on the suspicious death of a local poet. 29 year old Hassan Heidari passed away under suspicious circumstances in a hospital in Ahvaz, the capital of the oil rich province of Khuzestan.
Hundreds of Iranians in Lordegan, southwestern Iran, also took to the streets, clashing with riot police on October 5 due to an HIV outbreak after a local health clinic in Chenar Mahmoudi Village used contaminated needles to test hundreds of villager for diabetes.