A snap solidarity action organised by a network of Iranians brought more than 100 people together in Parramatta on January 6 to declare their support for those protesting in Iran.
Mansour Razaghi from the Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People (Sydney) told the rally that those protesting were workers, teachers, women, students, nurses and many others who are fed up with high unemployment, extremism and religious tyranny.
He said the protests which started in Mashad in late December and which took off in small towns across the country, have been heavily supressed by the regime and the government has stepped up its intimidation.
Razaghi said people were continuing to protest with the demand to “overthrow the regime”. He said, like the former Shah, who was deposed in 1979, the regime is relying on the military to cling to power.
There have been mass arrests of students and others; the government itself says that more than 1000 people have been locked up and more than 30 people killed.
Other spokespeople warned against accepting help from the West, pointing to the destruction carried out by imperialist countries in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
Susan Price from the Socialist Alliance gave greetings, saying when you realise that 70% of Iranians live in poverty you understand why people cannot take it any more.
“While [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani claims to be a reformer, his regime has cut the minimum wage and introduced policies that have led to skyrocketing prices for basic foods. Meanwhile, trade unionists are still imprisoned for organising to demand unpaid wages, and the death penalty is still in place,” Price said.
She criticised the Australian Coalition government for locking up Iranian refugees fleeting the regime's brutality and refusing to accept UNHCR refugees from Iran waiting in third countries. Worse, she added, the minister for foreign affairs Julie Bishop has attempted to negotiate with the regime to have refugees returned to Iran.
NSW CFMEU president Rita Mallia pledged her union's support. Greetings were also given by Socialist Alternative, Solidarity and the Latin American Social Forum.