Iran Protests: the use of lethal force / shutting down of the internet

Written by admin in 19 November 19

It is inconceivable that the regime did not foresee the kind of nationwide protest and demonstrations that such a decision would create. Having learnt from previous demonstrations, without a shadow of a doubt, the security forces were ready and the order to use lethal force against the most vulnerable of the Iranians was sanctioned at the highest level making the deaths premeditated murder at the hands of the regime’s forces.

European Commission President 

Jean-Claude Juncker 

European Commission 
Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200 
1049 Brussels 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 

Dear President Juncker 

Iran Protests: the use of lethal force / shutting down of the internet 

As I am sure you are aware, since Friday 15 November 2019 nationwide demonstrations are taking place in Iran sparked by the sudden increase in petrol prices of 300%. Peaceful demonstrations turned violent when the security forces used tear gas and live ammunition to disperse crowds. Unconfirmed reports put the number of dead at around two hundred, further three thousand people injured and over one thousand arrested since Friday.  The Revolutionary Guards have also threatened ‘decisive’ force against protesters and ongoing demonstrations. The indiscriminate use of lethal force was followed by the shutting down of internet on Saturday, cutting off means of communication nationally and internationally.  This attempt at news blackout is of grave concern and indicates on going protests and further brutal crackdown. At the time of writing Iran remains offline. 

The ongoing protests in Iran are similar in nature to recent protest in Iraq and Lebanon in rejecting the political system as a whole. In Iraq and Lebanon protestors demand an end to Islamic regime’s interference in their internal affairs and in Iran the slogans reflect the frustration of Iranian people in the Islamic regime’s political and financial intervention in regional affairs. However, as always, the regime attributes domestic unrest to foreign intervention.  

Almost 40% of Iran’s population is below forty years of age; a quarter of the population (over twenty million) is less than fifteen years old. The present economic crisis in Iran, unemployment, inflation and poverty may be affected by the sanctions but were not created by them. The mismanagement of Iran’s affairs in the last forty years has created an unjust, unequal and fractured society leaving little or no room for any hope for the future of Iran’s young population. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Revolutionary Guards’ stranglehold over the nation’s economy has tightened, numerous multi-million-dollar ‘charitable organizations’ engaged in trade and construction owned by the regime’s rulers and their dependants are exempt from paying any tax, corruption is endemic in the ranks and file of the regime and its organizations and institutions – one of the reasons FATF cannot be ratified by the regime, and huge chunks of the nation’s income is paid to maintain Islamic religious organizations and institutions leaving a small proportion of the country’s income for the people that together with the devaluation of the national currency and inflation adversely impact the income and quality of life of the majority of Iranians. The sudden increase in the price of petrol affects the most vulnerable of the society. 

It is inconceivable that the regime did not foresee the kind of nationwide protest and demonstrations that such a decision would create. Having learnt from previous demonstrations, without a shadow of a doubt, the security forces were ready and the order to use lethal force against the most vulnerable of the Iranians was sanctioned at the highest level making the deaths premeditated murder at the hands of the regime’s forces. 

In view of the fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran desperately needs EU support, we ask you to rise to the defense of the Iranian people and offer them international protection. We demand: 

  • an immediate end to the use of lethal force, sharp shooters and violent crackdown of unarmed protestors; 
  • An immediate end to the internet shutdown that is hindering free flow of information; Iranians must be able to access the Internet in order to exercise and enjoy their rights to freedom of expression and opinion; State sponsored murder is taking place under the dark veil of news blackout. 
  • An independent investigation into the number of the dead and injured as a result of unjustifiable use of lethal force. Based on previous experience, many injured are not seeking medical attention in hospitals fearing identification and arrest further endangering their life; 
  • An independent investigation into the number of those arrested and detained and the conditions under which they are being kept. In view of deaths in custody following the 2017/8 nationwide protests and prevalence of the use of torture and degrading inhuman treatment to extract false confessions in official and unofficial detention centers the situation of those arrested is of urgent and grave concern. 

Iran is rich in its human and natural resources. With proper and careful management of these resources, Iran and Iranians will be a positive, productive and contributing member of the international community. This is our just and rightful demand.  

Dr Hossein Ladjevardi 

President – ACI