Revolution #186, December 20, 2009

Iranian Students and Others Defy Regime Once Again

Monday, December 7, thousands of students and other Iranians defied government threats and repression to demonstrate against their current rulers—the widely hated regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. The occasion was 16 of Azar—National Student Day, a commemoration of the 1953 murder of three Iranian students by the U.S.-installed monarch, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. On campuses and in nearby streets, alleyways, and squares in over a dozen Iranian cities—including Tehran, Mashad, Tabriz, and Isfahan—Iranian students and their supporters fought the regime’s massively deployed police and militia, responding to their truncheons, chains, teargas and stun guns with rocks, barricades and fires in the streets. Many protesters were beaten and over 200 were arrested, yet the protests continued the next day as well.

The current wave of upheaval began in June after Ahmadinejad’s apparent theft of the presidential election. Since then, people’s rage and protests have also been stoked by the regime’s naked and vicious repression. At least 36—and perhaps twice that many—have been killed and over 4,000 arrested. Prisoners have been raped and tortured; Iranians around the world have been spied on and harassed; and the regime executed 115 “criminals” between June and August alone.

The regime tried to block any Student Day demonstrations—threatening and arresting student leaders in the weeks before, and then shutting or locking down campuses in the days before the commemoration. The regime even arrested over 20 mothers who were protesting the deaths of their children.

Press reports noted a “new ferocity to the opposition movement’s confrontation with the state.” Many demonstrators more directly condemned the core institutions and leaders of the theocratic Islamic Republic, not just President Ahmadinejad, while the “green wave” movement and spirit of reforming the Islamic Republic (which has been led by former presidential candidates) was less in evidence. There were chants of “Death to the oppressor whether Shah or Supreme Leader”; protesters burned posters of Ahmadinejad, Khamenei, and even the regime’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini; others held up Iranian flags from which the “Allah” emblem had been removed. (New York Times, December 8, 2009 and December 11, 2009) Such actions break taboos enforced by Iran’s theocratic regime.

In response, Iran’s Islamic rulers mobilized thousands of clerics on Friday and Saturday (December 11 and 12) to condemn the political attacks on Iran’s theocracy and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Meanwhile, people in Iran and internationally are continuing to find ways to protest the regime’s arrests and attacks on student leaders.

Revolutionary forces led by the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) have been working within this volatile and evolving situation to bring forward a new, revolutionary path in opposition to both imperialism (from which the Islamic Republic has never ruptured) and religious theocracy. Recent communiques and leaflets from the CPI (MLM) can be found on our website at and

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