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“We hope the Ayatollahs are swept away” - Bahrainis discuss Iran protests

The people of Iran have once again risen in the face of their brutal regime. Protests have erupted in around 80 cities across Iran and violence has led to 21 deaths in the past few days. While the world watches in interest and many await an end to the Islamic Republic, Citizens for Bahrain asked Bahrainis for their views on the protests in Iran. 

These developments have been a big issue of discussion, with almost all Bahrainis supporting the right of Iranians to protest against their regime. Many Bahrainis saw that after years of Tehran wasting billions of dollars meddling in Arab states, including Bahrain, it was good to see Iranians taking a stand. Many Bahrainis were simply glad to see this hated regime becoming a victim of popular anger, although several people pointed out the dangerous consequences of protests turning violent:

“This is going to be a rough journey”

 “The people of Iran deserve to be liberated from the Ayatollahs. This regime has given them nothing but increasing poverty, curbs on freedoms and isolation from the world. They should stand strong as this is going to be a rough journey;” said Abdullah, age 28, from Manama.

“We hope that Iran doesn't end up becoming like Syria where the army massacres people just to stay in power. If a crackdown takes place then it’s going to get ugly. I hope the people of Iran will be able to overthrow this brutal regime and join the world in fighting terror;” said Fatima, age 32, from Isa Town. 

“If you watch Al-Alam TV and Press TV; basically for the last five years they spent the whole time shouting about the rights of ‘peaceful protestors’ and ‘freedom of expression’ in Bahrain. Now let’s see what happens in Mashhad, Isfahan and Tehran;” said Noora, aged 28, from Budaiya.

 “People need to restrain from violence, it will be very easy for the government to crackdown on them if they continue in acts of violence. A major change in the regime in Iran will reflect on the whole region, the Iranians should study their moves and not end up with a greater mess than the one they are currently in” Ali 32, Budaiya.

“The people have woken up”

“The international community should put more pressure on the Islamic regime in Iran to step down and for free and fair elections to take place in what is supposed to be a democracy. The people have woken up and it does not seem like they will put back to silence” Mariam 30, Manama. 

“The poverty and lack of opportunities within the Iranian society has resulted in this uprising. Iranians seem to have nothing to lose anymore. Their government has sucked them dry and they simply don't want to continue living in poverty anymore” Khalid 36, Riffa.

“The 1979 Islamic revolution of Iran was one of the most disturbing incident that took place in the Middle East. Iranians were fooled by Khomeini who led their country and the region into chaos... From meddling in the affairs of other countries to exporting an extremist ideology, this regime has done no good to its people or the world in the past 39 years. We hope the Ayatollahs are swept away forever;” said Abdulrahman, age 40, from Manama.

 “Getting a taste of its own medicine”

“Why aren’t Iranians even richer than Saudis and Emiratis when they have so much oil? Because all their national wealth has been spent on Hezbollah, the Houthis and terrorist groups in Bahrain. I’m not surprised Iranians are angry. The real question is why they’ve tolerated this terrible system for so long;” said Fatima, aged 27, from Manama.

“The Islamic Republic in 2011 stirred up trouble in Bahrain and brutally suppressed protests in Syria. It is now getting a taste of its own medicine;” said Rawan, age 34, from Muharraq.

“We in the Arab world should watch this very carefully. Khamenei is already blaming Saudi Arabia and they may use this as excuse to take revenge against Khaleej states; particularly easy targets like Bahrain. A more aggressive confrontation with Arab states would also distract public opinion in Iran. We should be prepared;” Mohammed, aged 39, from Riffa.

“Victims of their regime’s corruption and brutality”

“The one thing this protest movement in Iran lacks is leadership. We have not seen any leader and hence the movement seems fragmented in a way. All they need is a leader who would lead them to the right direction” Mona 29, Saar.

“Perhaps the lack of a leader is a good thing. In 2009 the protests died off as soon as all the Green Movement leaders were put in jail. These protests are very different. Many of the protestors are working-class Iranians from smaller towns who once supported the regime, but now realise that it does nothing for the people;” said Salman, age 41, from Saar.

“Millions of Iranians have migrated due to curb on freedoms and terrible economic conditions. These Iranians were victims of their regime’s corruption and brutality. The people should stand strong in the face of their government, it’s time for change in Iran. The regime has done so much damage to its own people and the people of neighbouring countries” Hassan 32, Muharraq.

“The Islamic regime has taken Iran back into the dark ages”

“Lack of jobs, increase in corruption, high inflation, unemployment, are all good reasons for this movement not to take a step back. The Islamic regime has taken Iran back into the dark ages and it’s time for change” Hala 32, Budaiya.

 “The wealth of Iran is being spent on Hezbollah, Al Hashd Al Shaabi and other militias involved with acts of terror. This wealth belongs to the people who have been living in dire conditions for four decades” Ahmed 28, Isa Town.

 “It’s interesting to see that many protesters are chanting against both the hardliners and the reformists like Rouhani. They’ve had enough of the whole system and want real change – another revolution… Leaders like Trump should be careful about simply positing dumb comments on Twitter. It gives the regime an excuse to say the West is interfering and it gives the protestors false hope that Americans will support them. The West isn’t going to do anything useful when the blood starts to flow on the streets and the regime starts to crack down. The Revolutionary Guard and the Basij don’t play around;” said Ali, age 41, from Aali.

“I hope the Iranians succeed in overthrowing the Ayatollahs”

“I hope that these protests lead to positive change. The region needs a peaceful Iran that behaves properly towards its neighbours. The world understand how evil the Islamic regime is and it seems that neither the people of Iran nor the world powers have tolerance for this corrupt regime that supports terrorism” Maryam 34, Riffa.

“It will be very difficult for the government of Iran to contain the situation this time. Things are different than how they were in 2009. The rise of social media outlets makes it very difficult to silence the people and the protests are more widespread” Hanan 38, Saar.

“It is a brutal regime that needs to go away for a better future for both Iran and the world. I hope the Iranians succeed in overthrowing the Ayatollahs and the movement does not get disenfranchised. The people need to be more organised and they will succeed in seeking development and change for their country” Isa 35, Riffa.

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