Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Undated

Intensity Of Protests In Iran Seen In Profanities Against Khamenei

Sunday, 10/09/2022
Maryam Sinaee

A British Iranian journalist and political analyst and a regular contributor to Iran International

Current protests in Iran are quite unique this time as people from every walk of life vow not to go back to their homes before they oust the Islamic Republic.

Despite curfew-style restrictions on mobile internet service that 90 percent of the population depend on to access social media and the global web, there was sufficient footage of protests that began in universities and secondary schools Saturday morning and spread to streets in the afternoon, lasting well until the early hours of Sunday.

“Hey you, this is not a protest, It’s a revolution,” young protesters are seen chanting to the police in Shahr-e Qods in one of the videos posted on Twitter. The youth also chanted “Down with the Dictator” while older protesters honked their car horns in approval.

Shahr-e Qods is an industrial and agricultural town of around 300,000 about 30km from the capital Tehran. Residents of the town are mainly migrant workers.

In the November 2019 unrest, the area was a bastion of protests. Many government offices, banks, and supermarkets were torched, and many were shot dead by security forces. There were allegations at the time that government agents were responsible for much of the destruction which gave security forces an excuse to suppress the protests with military ammunition.

This is the first time in recent years residents of working-class areas like Shahre-e Qods and Nazi Abad in the south of Tehran, have taken to the streets demanding freedom and revolution. Sources inside Iran say so many protesters had turned out that the riot police had to avoid confrontation with them.

Young protesters taking over the streets at night in Tehran. September 27, 2022

There have been a lot of unbelievable footage of brutality against protesters by police and security forces including the ever-present plainclothesmen. A video taken Saturday in Mashhad, Iran's second most-populous city, shows several riot police beating up a protester, a “child” according to the narrator.

But there is also a video from Nazi Abad protests in southern Tehran that includes an extremely rare scene of a few riot policemen walking alongside protesters, instead of attacking to disperse them, and apparently guiding them to the middle of the street to keep them away from the sidewalks and shops.

Protesters in the same video are chanting “Mortars, Tanks, Fireworks: Khamenei is a [profanity]”.

Profanities against the Supreme Leader which were only chanted in the worst protest-riot situations in the past are quickly becoming mainstream. Protesters are continuously coming up with new and ingeniously rhyming slogans with even stronger profanities, and this time the angry slogans have spread everywhere, even to universities and schools.

Students at Sharif University of Technology, one of the country’s most prestigious, chanted a slogan of this type against Khamenei on October 3 that quickly became popular among all protesters. “You are ‘dirt and rubble’: You deserve this [profane word],” students at another prestigious university in Isfahan chanted a few days ago while all raising their middle fingers.

This degree of profanity is unprecedented in Iran where four-letter words are normally avoided in most social and even private contexts, particularly in the presence of women and children.

“In our society sexually charged swearwords are only uttered when conflicts are at their highest and most serious levels … One should ask the authorities to explain what they have done to make the other side [people] so angry and uninhibited,” Asr-e Iran, a moderate conservative website said Sunday in a commentary entitled “Why Sexually Explicit Slogans Are Chanted On Streets, Universities, And Schools.”

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