Three months into a nationwide uprising, Iranian protesters have turned their fury against the founder of the Islamic revolution and of the country’s theocracy, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Protesters set ablaze the museum of childhood home of Mr. Khomeini, who died in 1989, in his hometown, Khomein, on Thursday night, videos showed. Crowds of men smashed and stomped on a street sign bearing his name in the town of Khash, according to a video posted online. And parts of the Shia theology center where Mr. Khomeini nurtured the seeds of the revolution, in the city of Qom, were shown to be attacked and set on fire.
Despite a lethal crackdown and mass arrests by the authorities, Iranian demonstrators have maintained intense protests against the country’s theocratic rulers and domineering security forces for months now, in a movement that has cut across ethnic, class and political differences.
Women, in particular, have been at the forefront of the protests since their start in September, set off by the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, while she was in the custody of the country’s morality police after supposed violations of Islamic dress restrictions.
In recent days, work stoppages and strikes have also become more widespread, in a sign of intensifying pressure on the government. In more than a dozen major cities, including the capital, Tehran, commerce came to a near halt on Friday for a fourth consecutive day, with shops shuttered and the traditional bazaars, the heart of trade, closed. Many Iranians joined the boycott this week by not shopping.
“This is a taboo-breaking moment,” said Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iran expert who teaches international relations at Columbia University, speaking of the attacks on Mr. Khomeini’s legacy and the shutting of bazaars and shops. “Whether this leads to toppling the regime or not, we have crossed a line of public discourse unlike ever before, and there is no going back to the way things were.”
Protests and clashes continued on Friday across the country as a fresh wave of anger erupted over the security forces’ targeting of children and teenagers. Videos posted on social media showed people chanting on streets and rooftops: “We don’t want a child-killing regime!” [Continue reading…]