Letter from Iran: September 2022 

Finally, the inevitable clash between the religious sector of Iranian society and the “awake” sector is taking place. Over the past two decades the latter has been growing in size and is now probably the larger of the two. With greater access to information not generated by the theocracy there now exists an entire generation that has broken free of the brainwashing process, and will never be “re-educated” or “re-programmed”. Mahsa Amini was bludgeoned to death during her “re-education”.

It is extremely unfortunate that the only option available to the theocracy is a brutal crackdown, which is underway. Apparently, Ali Khamenei has declared the protestors “moharab”, which means “enemies of God”. This means that the fanatical elements within the security forces have been given the greenlight to kill, and because they are killing enemies of God, they are performing a religious duty and are therefore not murderers. September 27th a young woman of twenty-one years of age was murdered in Karaj by being shot six times.

A split between the “khodi” and the rest of Iranian society has been growing wider and wider. The “khodi” are the insiders, the privileged, the connected, the offspring and extended family of those in power. They more or less consider themselves the owners of the country, which includes the upper ranks of the Revolutionary Guard. Included within this group is the mercenary clerics as apposed to the real clerics who disprove of the behavior of the clerics drunk on power.

A large segment of the “khodi” believe they have been invited to a feast and can eat as much as they can carry away. Corruption is not corruption to them. It is not a crime, immoral, or traitorous. To them it’s their right and part of their privileges. Actually, it’s closer to a pack of hyenas tearing apart the carcass of Iran.

If we are able to shift our eyes away from the anger and turmoil that has engulfed Iran and look into the future a few vague outlines begin to take shape. Already the number of women not wearing their veils has greatly increased. On shopping trips over a couple of months ago I would maybe see two or three women out of a hundred without a headscarf. Today it is closer to ten to fifteen out of hundred. It is no longer something others will stare at or be surprised by. It’s becoming accepted, though not by the fanatical holdouts.

The other noticeable difference from a few months ago is how almost everybody is angry and voicing their opposition to how things are in Iran. There exists a united opposition that crosses age, income, and geography. Of course, none of this can be supported by polling or sociological studies because they will not allow such activity. But when Tweets, Instagram posts, personal observation, Facebook posts, and various media reports indicate the same, a more or less accurate picture develops.

The next barrier that Iranian have to cross, and are in the process of crossing, but have not yet fully done so, is to understand that most of Iran’s problems are rooted in Shiite Islam as interpreted by those monopolizing power. More and more Iranians are beginning to realize that a vast sector of the “khodi” are using Islam for their own personal benefits. These are fake Muslims as well as traitors to Iran.

Regrettably these protests will most likely be bought under brutal control simply because the regime is fighting for its own survival and knows if they lose control, they will face very dire consequences. This fear now pervades the “khodi”. Yesterday the Internet was completely cut whereas before it was slowed down and various applications blocked. Cutting off the Internet causes huge damage to the economy and disrupts what has now become normal everyday activities; online purchases, class registration, government Web site activities, and a vast number other online interactions and exchanges. Such a level of disfunction is not sustainable beyond a day or two.

If a general strike takes place then change becomes a possibility but I doubt this will happen because eighty percent of the economy is government controlled and the financial dependency of employees is a huge hurdle. What broke the back of the Pahlavi regime was the strike that took place in the oil industry.

The question that needs to be addressed is what can Iranians do so as to bring about peaceful change. One idea that has been on my mind for some time and which I’ll explain below could be effective if conducted in conjunction with a campaign of education of the principles of participatory democracy. Learning how to  arrive at good decisions through meetings where all participants are heard and a fair and open voting system is conducted are skills that can be mastered and will have the most important impact. Many countries have evolved out of dictatorship, tyranny, and theocracy, and are now a free open democracy where coalitions exist within government institutions. There is no reason why Iranians cannot do the same.

At the moment it has become clear that a country cannot be administered properly when superstition is its central foundation. Or attempt to force the population into heaven at the point of a gun. When a minority grants itself an exclusive monopoly on how God should be imagined then it is no different to idolatry — and this creates a government that is inherently dysfunctional and has planted the seed of its own destruction.

What Iranians can do and have the power to do is to expose and bring into the light those that hold the levers of power; the elite “khodi”. Let’s assume they number no more than ten thousand. All of them own property, a national ID number, a bank account, an address, phone number, email address, social media presence, office address, a car or two, children and family, tax records, medical records, and other records that all Iranians have. They don’t live on another planet, or in some special compound separate from other Iranians. They live and work within Iran. What needs to take place is for all of this information on these ten thousand elite “khodi” to be made public.

Once ordinary Iranians can identify their cars, their homes, their bank records, and other identifications, they are in a position to conduct civil disobedience. For example, let’s say they want to sell one of their properties but their files are “lost” in the offices where deeds are recorded. Or, let’s say they want to access their bank account but there has been a “mix-up” and their account has been emptied. Or, their private phone numbers become unusable because they are receiving so many calls every minute. Or, the electrical supply to their home is cut due to unpaid bills and each time it is restored it keeps getting cut off. All of these events of civil disobedience can take place once the elite “khodi” are exposed. Almost all Iranians know somebody within “the system” and have some information on them. What needs to take place is for all this information to be gathered on Wed sites and social media accounts where all Iranians can access it and start to use it to conduct civil disobedience. For the elite “khodi” to protect all this information from the rest of Iranians will be a huge undertaking and very difficult to do.

If you are an Iranian and agree with this campaign of civil disobedience then please forward this to others or even better translate it into Farsi and then forward it to all your contacts or social media followers. The real power is held by ordinary Iranians not those hiding behind hired guns.

A good future exists for all Iranians and can be created as long as we don’t make the mistake of viewing each other as enemies and attempt to exclude others through intolerance. Iranians have to learn to sit around a very large table where there are royalists, clerics, traitors, leftist, capitalists, Bahia, students, and ordinary Iranians and to arrive at peaceful solutions for all of the problems Iran faces. This is not an impossible vision. All that is required is for all of us to first create this reality in our minds. Once we have done that the changes will start to take place.

Dariush X is the pen name for an Iranian living in Iran who due to the current conditions is not able to identify himself.