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Protests against the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic of Iran continue to sweep across the vast country, sparked by a host of reasons including rising food prices, the collapse of a twin-towered apartment building killing at least 29 people (more dead feared under the rubble) and considerable hatred of the clerical regime.
As the protests continue to escalate and spread, US President Joe Biden has stayed on the sidelines and has not personally weighed in on the uprisings against the mullahs’ regime.
During Thursday evening protests in the southwestern city of Abadan, where the building had collapsed, people chanted slogans against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei himself, saying “Khamenei is a murderer, his rule is illegitimate”, despite the deployment of riot police.
Police fired tear gas into the air to disperse an angry crowd of hundreds of people near the construction site, online video analyzed on Saturday. Videos shared online showed a massive crowd near the Metropol building on Friday evening, with lights shining on its facade. In a second video, protesters are seen at street level chanting, “Our enemy is here; they’re lying that it’s America!” A third video showed an angry mob with a gunshot heard. The person filming turned around and ran shouting, “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!”
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According to human rights activists and Iranians meticulously documenting the regime’s violent crackdown, at least five people have been killed and dozens of protesters have been jailed.
The eminent Iranian expert Alireza Nader posted video footage showing protesters in the city of Bushehr, located on the Persian Gulf, also declaring: “Our enemy is right here [in Iran]they lie and say it’s America.”
The chant “Death to the Dictator!” was also expressed, referring to Khamenei.
The shocking deaths in Abadan prompted Iranian actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi to dedicate part of her acceptance speech to the suffering victims after she won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival in France on Saturday. Amir Ebrahimi lives in exile due to a smear campaign regarding his love life.
“The Biden administration and the EU keep talking about social justice, but that seems like cheap talk for the votes,” Banafsheh Zand, an Iranian-American journalist and human rights expert, told Fox News. Digital. “That social justice doesn’t seem to extend to everyone in the world.”
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“The fact that Biden hasn’t even addressed the catastrophe in Iran and the huge anti-regime protests is another sign of his willingness to cover up the Khomeini regimes’ crimes against humanity, just so he can make his disastrous [nuclear] deal,” she added. “The Iranian people, for the most part, now view both the Democratic Party and European leaders as hypocrites and enemies.”
Lisa Daftari, also an expert on Iran, wrote on her website, The Foreign Desk, “As protests enter their third week in provinces across Iran with protesters calling for the death of Iran’s Supreme Leader and the overthrow of the radical and radical regime, the Iranian opposition is taking to social media in droves to express their frustration at being generally ignored and unsupported by the international community.”
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She continued, “The protesters, whose platform is mostly centered on government corruption and lack of human rights, have a global message; they call on the regime to spend billions of dollars on its terrorist ambitions and leave the Iranian people without subsidies to buy basic goods and live a comfortable life.”
The United States government, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, has recognized the Iranian regime as the worst state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
Daftari, who is fluent in Farsi, quoted an anti-regime activist as saying, “I just want the international community to put themselves in our situation and explain how they would feel. If your whole life is ruined because of a group of terrorists and others don’t care about you, how would you feel?”
The lack of firm condemnation of the Iranian regime’s violent crackdown on dissent and of solidarity with protesters from the international community has, according to Daftari, “to do with the willingness of major Western countries to negotiate and relaunch the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. “
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The United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany are desperately trying to reach an agreement with the Iranian regime in Vienna to provide economic sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran’s promise to temporarily restrict its production of nuclear weapons.
Len Khodorkovsky, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Trump administration and Senior Advisor to the US Representative on Iran, tweeted: “I know what President Trump said to the people of Iran during #IranProtests. President Biden , to you.”
Khodorkovsky embedded a Donald Trump tweet from 2020 in which the former president said he stood with the people of Iran and added, “We are following your protests closely. Your courage is inspiring.”
May 16, US State Department spokesman Ned Price tweeted“Courageous Iranian protesters stand up for their rights. The people of Iran have the right to hold their government to account. We support their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression online and offline, without fear of violence nor retaliation.”
The Iranian regime follows its playbook used in past protests against the theocratic state. Iranians in Khuzestan, Isfahan and Tehran have reported significant and severe disruptions in internet access, including blockages when trying to upload images of protests to social media.
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Amir Taheri, a veteran Iranian journalist who has written extensively on the Islamic Republic, tweeted: “The Khomeini clique sees the use of force as the only method to quell public discontent. They send armed riot units to carry out large-scale arrests in the cities of Khuzestan. : Abadan, Ahvaz, Shadegan, Dezful & Izeh. Their incompetence is matched only by their violence.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.