December 26, 2019
Farashgard Foundation urges the world leaders, international press, non-governmental organizations, and human rights advocates to monitor and take a stance on the developments in Iran today and in the coming weeks.
In Iran, it is customary to observe the 40th day since a family member’s passing. Dec 26th marks 40 days since some ~1500 protesters of the Islamist regime were brutally murdered in the streets and upwards of 10,000 people were detained, kidnapped, tortured and disappeared with next to no justice and recourse. Families of many victims have sworn to revere the memory of the victims on this day in peaceful acts of dissent and protest. Needless to say, many relatives and acquaintances of the victims as well as other members of the Iranian populous have vowed to show support by taking to the streets. The new round of protests indeed commenced last night (on Dec 25th) in many cities and towns across Iran. The protesters voiced grievances on forty years of abuse, injustice, and pillage of Iran’s national wealth by the Islamist regime and its officials.
Last month when the “Iran Protests” commenced, for a period of at least seven days, the regime shut off the Internet access for the majority (90%) of the population except for some elite regime officials and handpicked regime-approved “journalists”. The Iran Protests turned into a massacre of ~1500 people (as recently reported by Reuters). The victims were unarmed men and women as young as 14 years old peacefully protesting per their supposed right in the constitution of the ruling Islamist regime. Some victims weren’t even protesters, they were bystanders who ran to help wounded protesters. Detentions and disappearances continue to this day. Parents of the victims have been arrested for grieving the loss of their children. Sisters, brothers, grandparents, and cousins have been threatened, detained or summoned for questioning. Empathetic hospital staff advised families who brought in their injured loved ones to turn away as security guards would seize the wounded or ensure their death by depriving them of medical attention once the protester was admitted to the hospital. Corpses have been found in lakes, rivers, trash bins, and factory refrigerators. It has been reported that Khameneie, the “Supreme Leader”, has ordered his forces “to do whatever it takes to suppress the protests”.
It has taken just less than 40 days for a definitive report to come out of an international news source--Reuters. Previously, many other newspapers made announcements but many took a conservative approach in publishing the number of victims or the gruesome reality of what happened. While traditional journalism encourages verification methods such as witnesses on the ground and direct contact or access to the victims and perpetrators, it is nearly impossible to rely on such methods given the restrictions that the Islamic Regime has imposed on the media and journalists. A rich pool of video footage and data from citizen journalists on the Internet has been published and will continue to be published. News outlets such as Iran International, Kayhan London, and credible social media influencers do have access to the authentic data and footage from inside Iran. However, during the last round of protests back in November 2019, the mainstream international media such as Reuters or AP failed to swiftly cover the flood of news that was being sent from inside Iran. It is very likely that the same scenario of protest and dissent will play out in the coming days as Iranians commemorate 40 days since the death of their compatriots.
Farashgard hereby urges international influencers of media, politics, and society to respond in a timely and effective manner that merits the urgent situation and the efforts of the Iranian people in pursuing their right to liberty and justice. It behooves credible news outlets, human-rights organizations, and world leaders to condemn the atrocities committed by the Islamic regime of Iran without any hesitation, and more importantly, take swift and tangible steps to ensure that the dissidents’ voices are heard and their fundamental right to protest is safeguarded. The world has a second chance to respond properly to the continued #IranMassacre.