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Interview from Iran about the protests

Interview with 'R,' 33, from a religious family in Isfahan, participant in protests.

- What do people think in religious cities such as Qom, Kashan and Mashhad think about the current events in Iran?

People in Kashan have jobs and good salaries. They are vilayat al-faqih mercenaries (ie people loyal to the current regime in Iran, because they have gained materially from it - ed) . But Qom and Mashhad right now are anti regime and it is important. These days we have a unique opportunity. Because of the United Nations General Assembly session. They can not suppress without consequences. People in Tehran should act decisively. If all major cities like Shiraz, Tabriz, Isfahan continue the protests, the regime cannot put all its focus on Tehran. The usual situation is that 50 percent of forces need to remain in Tehran. That way we anticipate that the fall of the regime is on the way. - What are the reasons that people of Qom and Mashhad that used to be pro regime and religious are now turning against the government now?

During last years the regime has turned Mashhad into a prostitution house for Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis and Lebanese that advocate Hashd Al shabi (Iraqi Shia militia), Hamas and Hezbollah interests. Religious people don’t tolerate that anymore. They can’t accept that women in need in Mashhad become prostitutes of those people. We have honour. We don’t let them break it anymore. We don’t allow them anymore to sell our honour. We are aware last year in an Iraqi stadium during a football match of Iran vs Iraq, the Iraqis showed a 10 thousand Iraqi dinar ( less than 15 dollars -ed). and told the Iranians that by this amount of money we sleep one night with your women.

In Qom clerics have a monthly salary. There’s many revealed stories that they raped young boys. Many of the families preferred to stay silent. Some cases had been published on the internet. Our hearts has have become filled by hate. - What do you think about the current protests?

They must be continuous. This consistency is important. We have experienced more violent demonstrations in the past but it was not continuous. - Why were the protests not continuous in the past?

Because western countries and the United States disappointed our youth. We can’t fight with empty hands. No country is helping us. They start talking about human rights whenever it is in their favour. But name a country that claims for humanistic values and did something for Iranians?

We don’t need to hear sympathetic words from international leaders and empty words of UN for condolences on the martyrdom of our youth. we need real help. That is something that they are not man enough to do. - If the current protests lead to a revolution, what kind of political system would work better for the Iranian People?

The solution for Iran is federal democracy. Iran has ethnic diversity and there should be federal laws. There should be seats in parliament for all ethnic groups and minorities according to population. - I want to know a little about the general economic situation and the situation of graduated students like yourself. The economy has no prospects, and only because of the circulation of money, it has not completely collapsed yet. otherwise all the banks would be completely bankrupted by now. In the past protests people didn’t want to pay for freedom either. But this time it is different. My 60 years old mother has joined the protests. I am a graduate of electrical engineering from *Teheran University. But I want to apply to go to an English speaking country. Not just me, almost all the technical graduates have done or are doing it.

Personally, even though I have relatively good work experience compared to my colleagues and I have just finished my service in the army, and I have left behind the cumbersome issues of education, etc - my biggest goal is just to leave, to run, run from Iran. With all the responsibility that an engineer has the salary is about 300 USD. A bit less.

So what is the hope for someone like me?

I Run..

(The last phrase was spoken in English. this is a common phrase used by Iranian youth - ed.)

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