Truck drivers in dozens of Iranian provinces have reportedly gone on strike in the country over low wages and analysts are speculating this could usher in a wave of new protests throughout certain parts of the Islamic Republic.
The strikes arrive weeks after President Donald Trump announced the United States’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal.The Associated Press reported that “The semi-official ILNA news agency reported on Wednesday that the strike is taking place in Qazvin, Lorestan, East Azerbaijan and Mazandaran province.”
The truck drivers began striking on Tuesday and complained that their expenses have increased since last year. According to the Voice of America’s Iran news service, the increase in expenses include the costs for tires, air filters, insurance, road tolls, commissions, repairs and spare parts.
The strikes reportedly took place in 93 cities in 25 provinces, including the provinces of West Azarbaijan, East Azarbaijan, Kermanshah, Kurdistan, Isfahan, Ilam, Khorasan Razavi, North Khorasan, South Khorasan, Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiari, Khuzestan, Zanjan, Sistan and Balouchestan, Semnan, Fars, Qazvin, Kerman, Gilan, Mazandaran, Markazi, Hormozgan, Hamedan, Yazd and Bushehr.
The strikes have reportedly caused fuel shortage in some parts of Iran because the trucks are instrumental in delivering gas to fueling stations.
According to the VOA, “It was not clear how long the strike would continue. There was no immediate response to the truckers’ demands from Iranian authorities on state media.”
Nationwide protest took place on December 28 over rising costs, financial mismanagement, and the Iranian regime’s decision to use billions of dollars to finance terrorism and involvement in foreign countries like Syria and Libya, instead of taking care of its ailing people at home.
The December protests, which have carried on in varying stages, were the largest since the so-called “Green Revolution” of 2009 over the fraudulent re-election of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who won in a “landslide.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Just one day after the Democratic Latino Victory Fund released an anti-GOP ad featuring a man driving a pickup truck, with a Confederate flag and bumper sticker supporting Republican governor hopeful Ed Gillespie, chasing down a group of minority children, an immigrant from Uzbekistan plowed a rented pickup truck into a group of patrons, killing eight people and seriously wounding 11 others, including children.
Sayfullo Saipov, who legally entered the United States in 2010 under the “Chuck Schumer beauty” Diversity Immigrant Visa program from Uzbekistan, shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he drove into the crowd of innocents.
The Latino Victory Fund pulled their ad after the terrorist attack. But the damage was already done.
The ad was meant to paint the Republican party, and its supporters, as racist, anti-immigrant bigots whose immigration policies translate into disdain for minority children. The pickup truck touch appeared to be an attack on “rednecks.”
It was released just one week prior to the highly-anticipated November seventh Virginia gubernatorial elections.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie’s campaign decried the Latino Victory Fund’s ad as “disgusting” and an “attack on the people of Virginia.”
On Wednesday, President Trump pointed out over Twitter that the Diversity Immigrant Visa program was introduced in part by then-Rep. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in 1990. On Thursday, he called for its termination and said it was “a disaster for our country.”
Instead, Trump wants merit-based immigration; immigration that would reward points to applicants based on education, high-paying job offers, their past achievements, and their proficiency in English.
I am calling on Congress to TERMINATE the diversity visa lottery program that presents significant vulnerabilities to our national security. pic.twitter.com/tW4wOlI4vu
Democrat Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, who is running against Gillespie in Tuesday’s gubernatorial election, did not disavow the Latino Victory Fund’s attack ad on Gillespie and Trump supporters. In fact, he even approved of a Democratic mailer that sought to link Gillespie to white nationalists who marched in Charlottesville. Gillepsie repeatedly condemned white supremacism. In return, Republicans blasted Northam and accused him of exploiting the violence, that resulted in one death, for personal political gain.
The left-leaning Washington Post editorial board, which endorsed Northam, also slammed the Latino Victory Fund’s ad saying it “was vile” and had “no place” in the Virginia governor’s race. “Among other faults, it glossed over the fact that Mr. Gillespie condemned the white-supremacist violence in Charlottesville far more directly than did President Trump,” they wrote.
On November 7, the people of Virginia will decide who they believe better represents their values.
A high-ranking Iranian official issued a stern warning to Saudi Arabia, letting them know that if Iran is provoked by the Sunni Kingdom, they will “obliterate” them.
“Please realize that we are people who control our anger,” Mohsen Rezaee, the secretary of Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council and a former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said in a July interview on a state-run TV network that was posted on the Internet. “It takes a lot to make us angry. But the moment we are provoked, we will obliterate Saudi Arabia. We will not allow insecurities to continue.”
Rezaee added, “Therefore, we have told all our friends and supporters, such as Hezbollah to cool down and, for the time being, not to do anything against Saudi Arabia.” He said the Iranian regime has told their “supporters from Saudi Arabia to Yemen and many other places … to keep quiet for now.”
However, Rezaee predicted that a confrontation between both nations will likely occur. “But our prediction is that the path that Saudi Arabia has begun on is a harsh and painful path which may lead to a limited conflict. For example, Saudi will probably attack somewhere that will encourage us to respond.”
Saudi-Iran relations have deteriorated significantly, with each country supporting opposite sides in the conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Both countries have accused each other of destabilizing security in the region.
“If we face Saudi Arabia and even if they beg us to leave them alone, we will not leave them alone.”
Asked by the interviewer if he has ever warned Saudi Arabia, Rezai said, “Yes. My interview is a warning to them.”
The IRGC accused Saudi Arabia of being behind the Islamic State attack on Iran’s Parliament and shrine of the leader of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on June 7. The Islamic State officially took responsibility for the attack which left 17 dead and dozens wounded.
Syria, in particular, has been a point of contention between both countries. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is backed by the Iranian regime and the nation has no formal diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia.
Last month, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, Assad’s government slammed Saudi Arabia for “politicizing” the pilgrimage and blocking Syrians from visiting the holy city. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani responded by saying Saudi Arabia “should stop backing terrorists” in Yemen and Syria.
Last week, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir reportedly said Iran’s talk of a possible rapprochement with the kingdom was “laughable” after Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said the Islamic Republic would soon exchange diplomatic visits with Saudi Arabia.
“The comments of the foreign minister are laughable,” al-Jubeir said, according to Reuters. “If Iran wants to have good relations with Saudi Arabia, it has to change its policies. It has to respect international law.” He added, “at this time, we do not see… that they’re serious about wanting to be a good neighbor.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said, in prepared remarks delivered on the House floor, that he was “sickened” that the man who shot Rep. Steve Scalise (R-AL), and wounded four others, volunteered for his presidential campaign in Iowa.
Sanders condemned the shooting carried out by James T. Hodgkinson, 66:
I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign. I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in or society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs counter to our most deeply held American values.
I know I speak for the entire country in saying that my hopes and prayers are that Representative Scalise, congressional staff and the Capitol Police Officers who were wounded, make a quick and full recovery. I also want to thank the Capitol Police for their heroic actions to prevent further harm.
According to Politico, Sanders aides would not allow reporters to question the senator. Instead, they handed out the prepared statement Sanders read on the House floor.
Hodgkinson, who was neutralized by Capitol Hill Police, was a member of many left-wing, anti-Republican groups, including “Terminate The Republican Party.” Breitbart News also reported that other groups he was part of include:
BEVERLY HILLS — In an interview with Breitbart News on Monday, Iran’s exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi called for greater American and international support for Iran’s freedom-craving people.
The crown prince is the son of Iran’s last king, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. He is the president of the National Council for Free Elections in Iran.
“We realize that the current regime is not going to voluntarily leave the scene, which is why we have put together a campaign of resistance and civil disobedience,” Pahlavi told Breitbart News. “And that’s why we’ve been in contact with a variety of secularists within Iran representing all sorts of views from workers to teachers to labor unions” to other organizations.
Adelle Nazarian of Breitbart News interviews Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi. (Photo: Adelle Nazarian for Breitbart News)
Over half of Iran’s population is under the age of 40. The crown prince noted that the advent of social media and technology is a priceless tool in the quest for freedom. “And fortunately in this world of social media and Internet communication most of the give and take happens by means that were not available 20 years ago,” he said.
Pahlavi recently penned a letter to President Donald Trump congratulating him on his victory. Asked how he views Trump and his administration with regard to U.S.-Iran relations, he said, “I think the current president has indicated that he wants to be much more in support of strengthening the people’s hand and, at the same time, weakening the regime. And I think that’s exactly what we were hoping to hear.”
He said this rhetoric and support “should not be limited to the U.S,” adding that he’s “always advocated that the empowerment of any people is always the best solution at the end, especially when they have to fight very oppressive regimes. So, engaging with the people, helping civil society in these countries, is the quickest path to maximizing the success of such nations to overcome whatever struggle they are facing.”
Iran’s former recently died. The businessman had a checkered political past and was considered the father of Iran’s nuclear program. While some within the regime described his as a “man of peace,” he was better remembered by many of the Iranian people as an oppressor and for having orchestrated several international terrorist atrocities.
The crown prince also commented on the recent death of Iran’s former president, Hashami Rafsanjani, who was described in the media as a “man of peace” but who was the father of Iran’s nuclear program, as well as an oppressive ruler. Pahlavi compared Rafsanjani’s death to the passing of Cuba’s late dictator Fidel Castro: “It’s not the same anymore, no matter how many more junior cadres remain. And in that sense, more of a void will be created.” He noted the importance of making sure that “the void is filled with the proper alternative. That’s something everyone should be concerned with.”
Earlier Monday evening, Pahlavi addressed a private audience and urged “civil disobedience by means of non-violence.”
Although he did not mention President Barack Obama by name, the crown prince said, “When you fight extremely brutal regimes, such movements cannot succeed without having tacit support from other freedom-loving countries and governments.” His words evoked memories of the failure of the Obama administration to provide much-needed support to the ailing Iranian people during the 2009 Green Revolution and the stolen election that fueled it.
With Rafsanjani’s death, however, the crown prince noted that “the regime is pretty much beginning to show indications of fragmentation, going eventually towards their collapse.” He noted “the importance of making sure that the path to the alternative is as smooth as possible and that complete measures are taken to make sure that a dictatorship will not be replaced by another one. And that, indeed, it is the people who will triumph and nobody else.”
Asked if the crown prince would consider taking on an elected or lineal leadership role in his country of birth, and the land where his father reigned as its last king, Pahlavi said:
I’ve always said this is not about me. It’s about the Iranian people and their opportunity to finally get self-determination and freedom. That’s my only objective at this point. And the day that we have free elections will be the day I will consider my political mission in life accomplished. From that day on, I cannot tell you now what the circumstances will be. I’ve always said that I’m ready to serve my country, in whatever capacity that my constituents choose.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz
NEW YORK, NY — Donald Trump announced that he is the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee from his own Trump Tower in Manhattan, on Tuesday night following a clean sweep of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island in what has been dubbed the “Acela Primary”.
“I consider myself the presumptive nominee,” Trump said to the crowd of reporters and supporters who had gathered. “As far I’m concerned, it’s over. These two guys don’t have a path,” he said of his fellow Republican presidential contenders Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Tuesday’s primary was dubbed “Acela” because the five states that held primaries on that day coincide with the route of Amtrak’s speediest carrier.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) were among those present in the crowd.
In addition to thanking his constituents in the states he won, Trump jestfully extended his gratitude to the media for covering him “very fairly… for the past two hours.”
Trump’s wins in the Northeast were indicative of his ability to pander to a diverse constituency; a point he made no secret of during his victory speech.
“Every state is so different,” Trump said, noting that “this is one diverse victory.”
After he addressed Cruz and Kasich, Trump took direct aim at the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, while foreshadowing a more in-depth strategy for his foreign policy platform. Both during a press release and in his remarks on Tuesday evening, Trump said he will address national security and other pressing issues during a noontime Wednesday press conference at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.
“I will do far more for women than Hillary Clinton will ever do, including protecting our country” Trump said. “The only card she has is the woman’s card,” he added. “And frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man I don’t think she’d get five percent of the vote.” Clinton has benefited from support from females over her Democratic presidential rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who has far greater backing from millennials in addition to being the more popular candidate.
A McClatchy-Marist poll released earlier this month indicates that 25% of Sanders supporters say they would not vote for Clinton if she were to become the Democratic nominee.
In order for Trump to cinch the Republican Party’s nomination outright, he must achieve 1,237 delegates. After tonight’s primary, he is clocked in at 1,055 leaving him just 182 delegates away from achieving that goal.
Trump also addressed the issue of immigration in his speech. “And, by the way, I want people to come into our country. But I want them to come in legally. They have to come in through a process.”
(This post was originally published on November 2, 2014 by Adelle Nazarian)
Tonight, Anthony Bourdain asked the world to “put politics aside” as he provided viewers with a unique look inside a nation which has one of the richest and oldest cultures in history; a country that is beholden to one of the greatest dichotomies a population can exude. Iranians are extremists alright. Extreme in their ability to open their hearts and homes to complete strangers, yet tied inevitably to a regime which holds oppression at its core; deception is no stranger to this beautiful land which keeps many secrets, including recipes to some of the most delicious food one’s palette can indulge in.
As I watched Bourdain go through the process of sampling foods in Iran that I have grown up eating in America, I didn’t necessarily feel a sense of pride. After all, I AM AN AMERICAN. Then I watched him take a bite into Iranian takeout pizza which was served with ketchup and I seemed to better understand where my love for the great American condiment comes from (“I eat my ketchup with ketchup”). That scene also reminded me of my paternal grandmother’s first few attempts at making pasta, which she fed to me and my two younger siblings with ketchup! I didn’t understand it then, nor did I detest it, but somehow tonight it all seemed to make more sense. Maman Rachel started serving pasta with marinara sauce after that, but I made sure her homemade french fries were also present on Italian night ;).
The loyalty of an Iranian is unparalleled. But their loyalty will forever lie with “Vatan” (homeland). And Iran’s general population knows not the feeling of rejection, abandonment, years of blood, sweat and tears crippling right before their very eyes. That’s the experience my parents’ families had. And it’s precisely the experience that I know will be etched onto my heart in the coming days, months, and years. Especially with midterms just two days away (Nov. 4) and the potentially pivotal presidential election of 2016 drawing near.
Amid calls of “marg bar Umreeka!” (death to America!) and “marg bar Israeel!” (death to Israel!) the civilian population knows that a “friendship with America” is a priceless asset for the land which is home to Cyrus the Great; the king who created the first Charter for Human Rights known to mankind and who is praised in the Torah for bringing an end to the Jewish exile in Babylon.
Yet, as I look at the faces of the men, women and children on the television screen in front of me, listening to their voices crying out in unison “Ay delaam” (oh my heart), my own heart is filled with gratitude to my parents for providing me with the best of both cultures and worlds (Del is one of my nicknames). Yet it hardens as I recall the history behind my own story as a first-generation American whose parents were born in Iran and were forced to flee their homeland in search of a new one. The Iran of today is not the Iran of the Shah…nor is it the Iran of Cyrus the Great.
America is now Albert and Anita’s (dad and mom’s) “vatan.” It has been for the last 40+ years.
My parents chose the United States of America as their new home. They underwent a legal process to arrive in the States and became U.S. citizens soon after.
The chelo kabbab, deezee, beryani, polo, khoresht, and so many other delectable and palatable dishes served on screen were presented in portions that could feed an army twice over; after all, the culture of hospitality is no stranger to the people of Iran. But at the end of the day, it is Iran’s interests that lie at the heart of the Iranian people from start to finish; not America, nor American interests. And at the end of the day, the only way America can carry out its innate responsibility to defend its own people before it takes on its promise to aid the other nations of the world, is through exceptionalism… AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM. What the world needs is another Reagan of our time. Fifty years later, we are faced with another “Time for Choosing.”
No matter how we’d like to paint it, we can’t simply “put politics aside.” This is not the time nor the place to do so. Come November 4, we will all be faced with a choice and must prepare again for a potentially-pivotal election in 2016. Choose America. And choose someone who has America and American exceptionalism at their core. For a strong America leads to a stronger world.