The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Iran Protests:
“For Every Person You Kill, A Thousand Others Will Rise”

Jan 23, 2023

This article is translated from the January 11th issue, #2841 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

On January 7, Mohammad Karami, 22, son of a street vendor and Mohammad Hosseini, 39, a worker, were hanged in Iran. Mohsen Shekari, 23, a waiter, and Majid Rahhnavard, 22, a vendor, were executed in December.

More than a dozen other young protesters, sentenced to death after mock trials, are awaiting execution. Threatened for four months by street protests, the Islamic regime would like to break the revolt by terrorizing those who dare to defy it.

In a sign that the regime considers its survival threatened, it strikes hard and in broad circles. The four executed came from poor and pious backgrounds, long supporters of the Islamic Republic. Well-known personalities were arrested, such as Toomaj Saheli, a popular rapper, who was tortured in prison while awaiting trial, or the Oscar-winning actress Taraneh Alidoost, who was released on bail in early January, but prevented from leaving the country. Even Ayatollah Khamenei’s niece was sentenced to three years in prison for having denounced a "murderous and child-killing" regime!

The French newspaper Le Figaro wrote on January 9, in a tone of rejoicing, "There has been a decrease in the number and size of demonstrations." But the videos coming in show that these barbaric executions are fuelling the determination to overthrow the dictatorship. Thus, rallies were held in several cities, especially in the region of Isfahan, Bandar Abbas in the south of the country and Tehran. In addition to the slogan “Death to the Dictator", there also appeared the slogan “Every person killed has a thousand others behind him.” In Baluchistan, large demonstrations continue every Friday. Clandestine networks of doctors have been organized to treat, and even operate on, protesters injured by the police. The protesters don’t dare enter hospitals, where they would be rounded up. These doctors take the same risks as all opponents of the regime. One such doctor was kidnapped and beaten to death by the police in Tehran.

In Bandar Abbas, the demonstrators also shouted “Poverty, corruption, high prices, we are advancing until we fall.” Since the beginning of the revolt, between September and December, the economic crisis has deepened, the Iranian currency has lost 40% of its value and prices have risen by 50%. The government refuses to sell dollars to support the rial, the national currency, as it regularly did. This is a cynical calculation to pit the working classes, caught in the throes of high prices, against the protesters. There is no evidence that it is working.

At the same time, strikes to demand wage increases continue. In Mashad, striking courthouse workers wrote in late December, "Our salaries are in rials, our fees in dollars. No justice in Justice." In Khuzestan, retirees from the Haft-Tapeh sugar factory protested on January 1 in front of the Social Security against the abolition of their supplementary pension.

If terror allows the leaders of the Islamic Republic to gain time, their social base is shrinking and the rage against their abuses is building up day by day. The fall of this infamous regime will be a deliverance. But for the lives of the tens of millions of Iranian workers and poor people to really change, it will take a real revolution.