Large protests erupted in Esfahan last November, with chants against the Islamic Republic. November 26, 2021

Large protests erupted in Esfahan last November, with chants against the Islamic Republic.

Iranians Demand Fundamental Changes, Secularism, Says Official

1/17/2022

An Interior Ministry official has warned that Iranians are increasingly demanding "fundamental changes in the country," and a secular government and lifestyle.

Deputy Interior Minister Taghi Rostamvandi said in a conference in Tehran on Sunday, [January 16] that social trends in the country are largely alarming. Some of these trends indicate an interest in a secular government, he said.

"This will be extremely alarming if we find out that as a result of the incompetency of the government, people feel that the religious government is incapable of solving the country's problems and that a secular government can be effective," Rostamvandi added.

The official did not explain how four decades of Shiite clerical rule have made the people turn their backs to the Islamic Republic government

A study published in September showed that only 32 percent of Iranians identify themselves as "Shiite Muslim," and nearly half of the population have moved on from religiosity and are "atheists."

The official said that rising tendency toward immigration among Iranian of all walks of life indicates that there are too many reasons to leave the country. One of the main reasons, he said, was the difficult economic situation and the rise of unemployment.

Last January, a study conducted by the Iranian Immigration Monitoring Agency indicated that the number of Iranian students in Turkey has risen by 1,300 percent during the past few years. There were 438 Iranian students in Turkey in 2013, but the number rose to 6,099 in 2017, the agency said.

In December 2017, an adviser to the Roads and Transportation Minister said that 5.1 million Iranians, mainly educated individuals and skilled workers, were in the waiting list for immigration to Australia and Canada.

This comes while President Ebrahim Raisi (Raeesi) has said recently that "Western cultures and political systems are not attractive for the Iranian youths. No young Iranian would want to live in a Western cultural atmosphere.

According to Rostamvandi demand for fundamental changes in Iran are on the rise.

During the past years over 100 Iranian cities have been the scene of nationwide protests that were eventually violently suppressed by the security forces.

Expounding on the reasons for the rise in protests, the official said, "There has been a decline in the people's resilience during recent years as there has been a rise in economic and financial difficulties."

The Islamic Republic has described the protests in recent years as "riots" and has violently cracked down on civil rights and women activists. Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, an IRGC general, said last month that the most serious blow to the Islamic Revolution is likely to come from among the country's female population."

Highlighting Iranians’ defiance against the government and the clerical rule, the Interior Ministry official said while the consumption of Alkohol in Iran has been banned since the 1979 Islamic revolution, around 10 percent of the population between 15 to 64 years of age drink alcohol.This is more than five million people, he said.

Meanwhile the ban on alcoholic drinks in Iran has made smuggled and bootleg booze popular and every year dozens of drinkers lose their sight or their lives to contraband alcoholic drinks.

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