The US 1-0 defeat of Iran at the Qatar World Cup 2022 sparked scenes of jubilation across the nation, as young Iranians, who have taken to the streets in a nationwide uprising for the past three months, celebrated what they saw as the trouncing of the fascist regime’s team. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and their thuggish Basij militia cohorts responded in their usual violent way, brutally suppressing the scenes of public elation. Social media posts showed security forces beating a woman in Qazvin, west of Tehran, just for expressing her joy at the loss by the regime’s team. In Bandar Anzali, northern Iran, a man who was honking the horn of his car in celebration at the Iranian team’s defeat, was shot dead by security forces. 27-year-old Mehran Samak was killed by a shotgun blast. Crowds who gathered at his funeral the next day shouted: “Death to Khamenei,” echoing the chants heard in mass protests across Iran, where mostly young Iranians are demanding the overthrow of the theocratic regime and its elderly and unstable supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The nationwide uprising, which is rapidly developing into a full-scale revolution, has raged in more than 277 cities since the murder in custody in September of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, the young Kurdish girl beaten to death by morality police for not wearing her hijab properly. So far, more than 680 protesters have been killed by the mullahs’ security forces, including 60 children and 29 women, while over 30,000 have been arrested. Young women are at the forefront of the insurrection, casting off their hijabs in open defiance of the law and chanting slogans such as “Women, Life, Freedom.” The mass protests have been joined by strikes in the commercial and industrial sectors, with merchants, store owners, truck drivers and factory workers downing tools in solidarity with the students and young protesters. The Iranian economy, already crippled by punitive sanctions and years of corruption and mismanagement, has buckled. The mullahs’ regime is now cornered and desperately clutching at straws for survival.

In retaliation, Iranian courts issued three more death sentences for violence linked to the protests, bringing to five the total handed down in three days. Those sentenced have been accused of “moharebeh” or “corruption on earth,” an offense punishable by death. The fascist regime has also rounded up journalists accusing them of spreading propaganda against the state and conspiring against national security. A female journalist, Nastaran Farokheh, who worked for the reformist newspaper Shargh, was arrested at her home on Sunday 27 November. Security forces confiscated her laptop and phone, as well as the phones of her family members. Farokheh is the third female reporter from Shargh arrested since the protests broke out. The first, Niloufar Hamedi, was arrested on September 20 after she visited the hospital where Mahsa Amini spent three days in a coma before her death. Hamedi was charged on November 8 along with another female journalist, Elaheh Mohammadi of Ham Mihan newspaper, with anti-State propaganda offences. Mohammadi was taken into custody on September 29 after she travelled to Amini's hometown of Saqez in Kurdistan province to cover her funeral. The second female journalist at Shargh to be arrested was Marzieh Amiri, who was detained on November 1. Meanwhile the reformist newspaper Sazandegi reported in late October that more than 20 of its journalists were being held following their reporting of Amini's death and the subsequent uprising. Last week, the business newspaper Jahan-e Sanat was closed down after it published accusations against the security forces. On October 30, more than 300 journalists issued a joint statement criticizing the detention of their colleagues and the denial of their rights, including access to lawyers.

In Geneva last week, the United Nations Human Rights Council decided by a comfortable majority, to establish a new investigative mission to probe Iran’s suppression of the nationwide insurrection. With 25 votes in favor and only 6 against and 16 abstentions, the result was met by cheers from activists and even some diplomats attending the session. During the debate, Volker Turk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, provided a review of what has been happening since the mid-September protest ignited into a countrywide uprising against the regime, criticizing the killing of protesters, including scores of teenagers and minors, and the detention and torture of thousands, Volker Turk lamented the lack of accountability for the perpetrators of atrocities. He condemned the violent crackdown on the demonstrators as “unnecessary and disproportionate”, informing the session that: “The security forces have used live ammunition, birdshot and other metal pellets, tear gas and batons,” against the mostly young and unarmed protesters. 

The regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has commanded security and military forces to carry out a sickening killing spree against the protesters, deploying helicopters, armoured vehicles, and heavy calibre machine-guns, in a vain attempt to put an end to the uprising. According to a report by Amnesty International “The organization possesses proof of widespread, illegal use of lethal force and weapons by Iranian security forces who either intended to kill protesters or should have known with a high degree of certainty that their use of weapons would result in deaths.”

The on-going perseverance of the protests has debunked suggestions that the insurrection is leaderless. Courageous Resistance Units of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) have coordinated the mass demonstrations and the torching of regime banners and posters since the start of the unfolding revolution, forcing the regime’s senior military commanders and even the notorious president Ebrahim Raisi, dubbed ‘the Butcher of Tehran’, to acknowledge their role. According to a recent report in the state-run Mehr News Agency, Raisi’s legal advisor - Mohammad Dehgan, said: “The MEK had fully entered the scene. They sought to take advantage of the victims and use their full media potential. Unfortunately, some naïve people fell into this trap, and the system received major blows.” 

Now the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization has issued a public warning that states: “If suspicious communications are established with you, requesting actions such as carrying out sabotage actions, setting fire to places, signs, and symbols or writing graffiti, taking photos and filming specific military and religious places, or holding gatherings and demonstrations and so, (be aware that) the MEK has established these communications. Therefore, inform the nearest IRGC intelligence unit or the News Headquarters of the IRGC Intelligence Organization”.  The Iranian regime’s defeat in the World Cup may be the clearest sign yet of the imminent toppling of the mullahs’ fascist tyranny.