Two months into widespread protests throughout Iran that call for freedom and fundamental human rights for women, the Islamic Republic’s ayatollah regime fears a possible burgeoning revolution against the regime. 

The Iranian protests began in September when the Islamic regime’s “morality police” arrested and beat to death 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for not adhering to the regime’s strict hijab requirement. 

Iranians are also facing a worsening economic situation; but, instead of demanding social and economic reforms, the protesters are demanding the end of the ayatollah regime, which has ruled the country since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. 

Last week, angry Iranians protesters allegedly set fire to former Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s ancestral home in the city of Khomein. Khomeini, who led the Islamic Revolution and died in 1989, is widely seen as the founder of the Islamic Republic. Behnam Nazari, deputy governor of the local Markazi province, denied that there was a fire in the house. 

Nazari claimed that Khomeini’s house was a source of “spiritual value” to the Iranian people. 

“The counter-revolutionary media tries to create turmoil by spreading lies and false information. The burning down of Imam Khomeini’s historic house, a place with spiritual value to Iranians, was one of those lies,” Nazari reportedly told the Iranian state-controlled Tasnim News Agency. 

While the protests are mainly on the grassroots level, a growing number of prominent, public Iranian figures are expressing support for the anti-regime protests. 

Several Iranian TV presenters recently resigned from their posts, in solidarity with the protesters. These include Farhad Fakhrbkhsh, the host of a show on the Islamic Republic’s broadcasting network, for the past four years. In a video message on social media, Fakhrbkhsh said that “the people of Iran are not in a good mood these days.”

Kimia Gilani, another Iranian TV host, resigned after beginning to cry on live television while talking about Kian Pirfalak, a 10-year-old boy who Iranian forces killed recently in the city of Izeh. 

Hossein Soori, the head of the Iranian boxing federation, defected last weekend while attending a tournament in Spain. 

“I have decided not to return to Iran, so that I can be the voice of those whose voices aren’t heard by the authorities,” Soori announced in a video on social media on Saturday. 

Soori said he supported, “in particular, the residents of Sistan-Baluchestan,” a poor Iranian province with many minorities, stating that “dozens of innocent people have been killed.”

 

President of the Iranian Boxing Federation, Hossein Souri (Photo: MEHR)

 

“I could no longer serve my dear country in a system that so easily sheds the blood of human beings,” Soori said. 

Meanwhile, Islamic Republic authorities arrested two prominent actresses who expressed public support for the anti-regime protests and removed their headscarves. Authorities detained both Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi after examining their “provocative” posts on social media, Tehran’s state-controlled IRNA news outlet reported. 

Defying the ayatollah regime at great personal risk, Ghaziani published a video on social media without wearing a hijab. 

“Maybe this will be my last post,” Ghaziani wrote. “From this moment on, whatever happens to me, know that, as always, I am with the Iranian people until my last breath.” 

A week earlier, the celebrity actress accused the “child-killer” ayatollah regime of “murdering” more than 50 children. 

The actress Riahi was also arrested in the same regime-initiated crackdown on celebrities supporting the protesters. 

Like her colleague Ghaziani, Riahi opposes the regime’s hijab mandate and expressed solidarity with the protest movement. In September, Riahi gave an interview without wearing a hijab to Iran International TV, a London-based news outlet that is critical of the ayatollah regime. 

Ehsan Hajsafi, the captain of Iran’s soccer team, expressed hope that the national soccer team would represent a force for change at the World Cup in Qatar. The Iranian soccer team will face England on Monday and, later, the American team. 

 “The situation in the country is not good and our people are not happy,” Hajsafi said. 

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