I’ve lived in New York City for 12 years, and this is the second time I’ve watched from afar as protests erupted in Iran.
The first was in the wake of the 2009 presidential election, when millions of Iranians demonstrated in the streets, giving birth to the Green Movement.
And now we’ve witnessed nearly a week of protests all around Iran, the country where I was born and raised and where all of my family and friends still live.
On the second day of the recent rallies, a former colleague from Iran sent me a short clip of people in a small city in northern Iran chanting, “Death to Khamenei” — meaning Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader.
In another clip, protesters chanted “Leave Syria alone, and think about our life.”
“What is going on Roozbeh!” my colleague asked in wonder. “It has been a long time that I have ever seen this kind of anger. They don’t care how the police will react.”
A friend in another city said these protests feel different than the ones before.
“People are angry about mismanagement and corruption,” he said. “Every time the president appears on TV, he describes our country as a paradise, where everything is fine and everyone is happy.”
But many people are without jobs — and the price of basic goods has increased dramatically. For instance, the price of eggs, milk, potatoes and rice recently skyrocketed by up to 50 percent. Same goes with gas, the price of which is also expected to rise by 50 percent.
My friend said he knows someone working for a company under government control who hasn’t received his full salary for the last three months. Many Iranians have been left wondering how to meet the basic needs of their families.
Sitting here in New York and watching your friends, family members and former colleagues face suppression and neglect from authorities is one of the hardest experiences that an immigrant can face.
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
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