Iranians’ cold anger at the authorities

A portrait of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, June 20, in Tehran. MORTEZA NIKOUBAZL / AFP

They are election posters torn in the middle of the street in front of a foreign television camera; spontaneous political debates in transport, the streets, on social networks… strikes and social movements which are on the increase.

It is a cold anger which is expressed in the streets of the Iranian capital, before and after the presidential election of June 18, massively boycotted in Tehran, which saw the ultraconservative Ebrahim Raïssi come to power, with a 74% abstention level in Tehran (51.8% nationally). And a word that is released, a year after the murderous demonstrations of the year 2019, where, already, self-censorship and fear had given way to anger.

If the authorities half-heartedly admit that the population has reason to be unhappy, the link between part of society and the regime appears to be broken. Those are the ” barefoot “, the disadvantaged Iranian class, traditional support of the Islamic Republic, who today express their frustration with the poor state of the economy and the political deadlock in the country. Already in 2019, when thousands of Iranians rose up against the negligence of the authorities after the announcement of an increase in gasoline prices, the majority of the hundreds of demonstrators killed had the same profile: young and belonging to the poor layers.

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In the weeks leading up to the ballot, once-unimaginable scenes were seen by Iranians, widely broadcast on social media. These “open forums”, organized throughout the country, in parks and in the streets, were so many indictments against the regime. Filmed up close on a cell phone, they testified to a liberation of speech and a decline in fear.

“You are all the same shit”

“The children of those who chant ‘Death to America!’ themselves live in the United States … with the money that belongs at people, said a woman, face uncovered, who called the assistance to witness, in a park in Tehran, facing a member of the clergy who had come to bring her the contradiction. Raïssi himself was the head of justice. Which thieves has he punished, when he now talks to us about wanting to wage a war on corruption? You are all the same shit. “

Or this young man, at the beginning of June, who described the Iranian political system as “Dictatorship”. “In November 2019, they raised the price of gasoline and 1,500 people were killed in the streets [chiffre rapporté par l’agence Reuters, alors qu’Amnesty International parle d’au moins 304 victimes]. M. Khamenei [le Guide suprême] said, for only answer, that he was not an expert on the question. I’m not going to vote. In Memory Of Navid Afkari [un lutteur exécuté en septembre 2020 après avoir été arrêté et condamné pour avoir manifesté], who was murdered in his prison and buried in the middle of the night. I will not vote for his brothers, who are still in prison. I may also end up in a bag at the end of my speaking session… ”

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