Shops close doors in Iran and signal adherence to general strike against regime

Shops close doors in Iran and signal adherence to general strike against regime

Shops in dozens of cities across Iran closed on Monday amid calls for a nationwide general strike in protest against the country’s theocratic rule.

Videos on social media show closed establishments in cities including Tehran, Karaj, Isfahan and Shiraz. In testimonies to the Reuters news agency, witnesses said that riot police and the Basij militia, linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, were deployed to the center of the capital.

In a statement, the Guard said on Monday that security forces “will show no mercy to rioters, bandits and terrorists”, reiterating the classifications given by the regime to the thousands of protesters who have taken to the streets of Iran for almost three months.

Smaller cities such as Bojnourd, Kerman, Sabzevar, Ilam and Ardabil also appear to join the strike, according to content linked by social media profiles monitoring Iran’s biggest wave of protests since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The Kurdish-focused human rights group Hengaw counted at least 19 cities aligned to the general strike in western Iran, where most of the Kurdish population is concentrated. The minority, historically marginalized in the country, has been at the center of protests since the death of one of its members.

Mahsa Amini, 22, died in September in the custody of the moral police, the unit responsible for enforcing the regime’s strict religious codes of conduct. Amini was detained for allegedly incorrect use of the hijab, an Islamic headscarf that is obligatory for women to wear. The official version of the regime is that she died as a result of previous health problems, but family members and activists claim that she was attacked and killed by agents while she was arrested.

On Sunday (4), Iran’s attorney general, Hojatolislam Jafar Montazari, indicated the suspension of the so-called moral police. The statement would be a nod to the demonstrators, but there was no confirmation about the dissolution of the unit, subordinated to the Ministry of the Interior and, according to the local press, outside Montazeri’s purview. Nor is there any sign of changes in the law that requires the use of the hijab.

The NGO Human Rights in Iran estimates that more than 450 protesters and 60 agents have been killed since the beginning of the acts. In response to the repression, Western countries, notably the US, announced a series of sanctions against the regime, which, in turn, blames “vandals” for the escalation of the demonstrations and says that the violence of the repression is a response to the violence of the people themselves. demonstrators.

In addition to the general strike, Iranians are expected to take to the streets in a new protest at Azadi (Freedom) Square, one of the main squares in Tehran. The demonstration should take place on Wednesday (7). On the same day, President Ebrahim Raisi is expected to address students, a group that has been the main catalyst for the acts.

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