June 15, 2019 will be the 10th anniversary of the Green Movement. As you know, the movement and its consequences changed my life forever. This week we publish an article about recordings of Revolutionary Guards bosses discussing how they “engineered” the 2009 election. The talks were for the internal use of the Guards, but our colleague Shahed Alavi obtained the recordings through his sources in Iran.
This week is also the anniversary of the Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane Factory protests in Khuzestan, when hundreds of workers made international headlines and exposed the misdeeds and injustices perpetrated by their employers. A year on, despite promises, little has changed, so a group of the factory’s workers have now appealed to the UN. One of the steelworkers who lost his job during last year’s unrest has made a powerful bid for solidarity, urging his fellow workers not to give up.
The US recently added Iran’s petrochemicals industry to its anti-terrorism sanctions list — another devastating blow to Iran’s suffering economy. The sanctions target the Islamic Republic’s largest source of revenues outside the petroleum sector, and in particular the profits raked in by the Revolutionary Guards, which the US now classifies as a terrorist organization. The military institution is unaccountable to no one apart from the Supreme Leader and has gained staggering amounts of power over the last decades, especially in terms of the economy and in its bid to bypass sanctions. Corruption breeds more corruption, and in fact sanctions are doing nothing to stem this vicious cycle.
Meanwhile human rights continue to be torn away from Iranians day by day. Being allowed to watch a football match shouldn’t really be too much to ask for, but as the FIFA Women's World Cup kicked off in France, women football fans were once again refused entry to the stadium hosting a friendly between the Iranian and Syrian men’s football teams. Any attempts to show that authorities had lifted the controversial ban were exposed as a complete sham to try to fool FIFA, which has spoken out against it. The charade continues, and it appears FIFA and other international sporting authorities are letting it slide, at least for now.