IRAN ROUNDUP Jan. 30th – Feb. 7th: Corona Virus Spreads into Iran, as Khomeinist Regime Brass Safeguards Trade with Their Chinese Masters

By Editors of The Free Iran Herald 

Updates on events unfolding in Iran

Chinese travelers arriving in Tehran’s airport

Corona Virus Spreads into Iran, as Khomeinist Regime Safeguards Trade with Their Chinese Masters

As the Corona virus spreads from China around the world, Iranians are incensed that the Khomeinist regime is not doing enough to protect them from the disease. The regime’s Ministry of Health claims that no cases of the virus have been detected in Iran, but that two tourists, one Chinese and one German, are being quarantined in Yazd after displaying possible symptoms.
However, video clips were diffused on social media claiming to show cases of the virus in Kordestan and Hormozgan provinces. Two men were arrested on charges of “spreading fake news” for posting these videos, but in the context of a notoriously lying regime, the veracity or falsehood of these claims is still unclear.
An alleged case of the virus in Ahvaz

Despite multiple airlines around the world temporarily suspending flights to and from areas affected by the virus in China, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)-tied Mahan Airways is still continuing Chinese trips, including to and from Wuhan, where the outbreak first erupted. Regime officials, including foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, have publicy stated messages of support for China, leading many Iranians to feel that the regime cares more about preserving their trade and arms deals with China, instead of being concerned about the lives of the Iranian people. Iranians have also reported that it is nearly impossible find protective face masks in the country, because the expatriate Chinese in Iran have requisitioned Iran’s whole supply of masks for themselves.

Syrian Mercenaries Working for the IRGC Admit they Killed Iranian Protestors in November 2019!

IRGC/Hezbollah mercenaries and terrorists called DEFENDERS OF THE SHRINE

A statement on a website set up by the Defenders of the Shrine, a militia group of Shi’a fighters from around the Middle East that was created by the IRGC to fight for them in the Syrian Civil War, has confessed that members of the militia were brought from Syria to Iran in November, to help suppress the popular uprising.
Criticizing the regime for not paying them on time, the militia’s statement read, “As we witnessed last November, economic protests led to violence, and many of the Defenders of the Shrines were forced to step in.” The militia claimed that “several defenders,” including Morteza Ebrahimi”, were killed during the clashes that resulted in the deaths of over 1,500 protestors.
Concurrently, Israel again struck several IRGC and militia targets in Syria last night, killing 12.

More Human Rights Abuses

A number of human rights violations have been reported in Iran over the past few days:
On January 31st, 60 people were arrested in the city of Tabas for drinking alcohol, while around the same time, another 60 people were arrested in the village of Khoshk’e Bijar for attending a mixed-gender party.
On February 3rd, eight activists were sentenced to multi-year prison terms for having signed an open letter last summer calling upon Ali Khamenei to resign, and for the regime to be changed. They are; Hashem Khastar, Mohammad Nourizad, Abdol Rasoul Mortazavi, Mohammad Hossein Sepehri, Fatemeh Sepehri, Hashem Raja’ee, Morteza Qasemi, and Mohammad Hosseinpour.
Last week, seven teachers were also sentenced to multi-years of incarceration for opposing the regime.

New Round of Labor Protests Begin, As Regime Officials Candidly Admit that Iran Pays some of the Lowest Wages in the World

7,000 Iranian railway workers, employed by a private contractor named Travers, went on strike February 5th after not having been paid in several months. The workers’ union issued a statement saying that they will not resume working until all back wages are paid, and the company acknowledges their right to collective bargaining.
Strikes have been widespread throughout Iran for the past two years, as companies across multiple economic sectors have simply not paid their employees. Labor activists blame the regime’s pseudo-privatization program for this state of affairs, as regime officials shifted formerly state-owned enterprises into their own hands, and embezzled their capital for themselves, while leaving the workers to their own fate.

Meanwhile, Hassan Habibi, the secretary of Tehran provincial council, has admitted that Iranian workers are paid the lowest average wages in the region. According to him, the average Iranian earns $6 a day, or $2,160 a year (and his numbers are higher than many other estimates), much less than workers in every other country in the Middle East, despite Iran having a much more developed economy than some of those other countries.
Labor activists are now organizing to demand the regime double Iran’s minimum wage when it issues its next government budget in March. By the activists’ calculations, a minimum decent quality of life in Iran costs $364 a month, while the current minimum wage is only $146 a month.

New Regime Hacking Scheme Exposed

The computer hacking group “Charming Kitten” – known in recent years as a part of the Khomeinist regime’s intelligence cyber operations – has been caught attempting to hack the computers of exiled Iranian journalists, and various Western academics and analysts, by posing as well-known journalists seeking interviews.
As revealed by the “Computer Emergency Response Team in Farsi,” (CERTFA) the regime agents stole the identity of New York Times reporter Farnaz Fassihi (who herself is viewed by Iranians as being sympathetic to the Khomeinists), and sent out fake interview requests to Baha’i religious organizations (one of the faiths persecuted by the regime), an Iranian-German professor (Erfan Kasraie), and an exiled Iranian film director, Hassan Sarbakhshian.
Interestingly, the data analyzed by CERTFA indicates ties between the regime hackers and the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), the regime’s Washington D.C. lobby.
Other journalists who had their identities stolen by Charming Kitten phishers include Samantha Vinograd of CNN, Michael Hartlep of Deutsche Welle, and Azadeh Shafiee of Iran International.
Behzad Mesri, who is believed to run the Charming Kitten group, is currently wanted by the US FBI.  In 2018, the group had attempted to hack the US Treasury Department.

Iran Cuts Oil Production, As Unsold Barrels Pile Up

Tehran’s supply of unsold oil remains around 100 million barrels – practically the same figure it was six months ago – a new sign of just how effective the US’s maximum pressure sanctions campaign is. As the regime has been unable to find any new purchasers of Iranian oil, it has decided to cut production down to 2.1 million barrels per day. 1.8 million of those barrels are consumed internally, while 300,000 barrels are exported to the regime’s two remaining customers- the Bashar Asad regime in Syria, and China. Neither one of these importers is a source of profit for Tehran, as China does not pay for the oil, but instead accepts the deliveries from Iran as payment for debts Tehran owes Beijing. The limited Chinese imports of Iranian oil are now even beginning to decrease, after Beijing signed a preliminary trade agreement with the USA last month.
Thus, the Trump administration can claim a success in its aim to stop the regime from selling oil.


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