Illustration by Hannah Robinson
Iranians have been peacefully protesting an unprecedented hike in fuel prices since November 15. Since then, protests have spiralled into desperate calls for regime overhaul, as at least 100 protesters have been murdered, and a near-total internet block has been rolled out, nationwide. Amnesty International, on the behalf of the silenced Iranians, are calling on the EU and UN to intervene; the Iranian authorities must be held accountable for these unlawful killings.
“According to the NGO NetBlocks, Iran’s connectivity to the outside world has fallen to 4% of ordinary levels since the protests began. All mobile networks have been disconnected and there is a near-total national internet and telecommunication blackout, although some users have still been able to access the internet through the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) and other means” – Amnesty.
Iranians are not only being isolated from the rest of the world, but they are being isolated from each other. They can’t mobilise, they can’t check their loved ones are safe, they can’t use their voices to gain help. Imagine seeing these protests, knowing your entire communications have been shut off, no news reports, no status updates, no text messages; you have no idea how many are unofficially dead, and you have no idea who they are.
What is happening in Iran is terrifying, unsettling, and unequivocally wrong. It must be condemned by every single authority possible. And yet, why is this condemnation taking so long? At the time of publication, Iran have suffered an internet blackout of four days, and it’s not possible to know just how many protesters have been killed after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei instructed security forces to crush the protests. Though it is also plainly obvious from his countless other actions, this man does not care about Iranians, their human rights, or their home.
Crushing peaceful protests with lethal force is illegal, obviously. Senselessly killing your own people because they object to your decision only adds to both national and international awareness that the Iranian regime is cruel, inhumane, and lives to serve the very, very few. Iranians are not stupid, they do not want this regime, they do not want to live like this; this is not choice, this is not culture, and this is not religion – it’s barbaric. People are dying because they chose to speak out; they chose to speak out about their government pricing them out of affordable fuel, and now they are being killed for it.
We have to act. Iranian people are having their voices silenced for a reason – because what they have to say would topple the regime. The UN cannot sit back and do nothing. The EU cannot sit back and do nothing. Donald Trump cannot Tweet about ‘the Great Iranian people’ and yet sit back, and do nothing.
The Iranian Regime has given the world mandate to intervene. It is now not only imprisonment for hijab removal, oil tanker seizures, political abuse of dual nationals, countless other horrendous wrongs being done, it is also the explicit murder of its own citizens, explicit concealment from the public eye, denial of any kind of voice for its own citizens. We cannot continue to pretend the Iranian Regime is anything but evil, and it is our duty as human beings to help Iranians get rid of it, once and for all.