Economy & Politico

Crushed in the West Encouraged in Iran

Facing new, possible cost-of-living protests, the UK government is looking at a set of controversial suppressive measures ranging from army deployment to unleashing the powers of law enforcement forces.

Nadhim Zahawi, the chairman of the governing Conservative Party, has said that the UK government is considering deploying the army to help ease possible strike disruption over Christmas.

Zahawi told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday program that military personnel could be “driving ambulances” and working on UK borders under the proposals.

The government has said that military personnel, civil servants, and volunteers are being trained to support a range of services, including the Border Force at airports and ports, amid fears of Christmas chaos.

The new measure come at a time when the UK is grappling with a recession and the cost of living crisis.

Tens of thousands in various sectors are expected to take strike action to demand improvement of living standards at a time when Number 10 is believing that now is not the time to go on strikes.

Zahawi told Sky News that “this is not a time to strike”.

“If you chase inflation or above inflation, in some cases pay, then you will embed inflation for longer and hurt the most vulnerable,” he said, adding, “In fact, our message to the unions is to say, you know, this is not a time to strike. This is time to try and negotiate.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak took a tougher stance, describing protesters as a “selfish minority,” that breaks the law and that should be dealt with decisively.

“My view is that those who break the law should feel the full force of it,” he said.

Speaking after the meeting at No 10, he said the police had his support, according to British media.

The prime minister said the police were already being given new powers to clamp down on illegal protests and would have his full support in acting decisively to end “the misery and disruption” caused to ordinary families.

“I’ve said to them [the police] whatever they need from the government they will have in terms of new powers, we’re already giving them some, and I want to back them to use them,” he said.

The British approach toward protest astonished Iran observers who drew a comparison between how Tehran and London dealt with unrest. Over the last two months, Iran has been gripped by unrest that broke out after the death of Mahsa Amini.

The Iranian authorities have said that Iranian security forces exercise maximum restraint in dealing with the unrest that has gone violent. Iran also restricted the powers of the police in order to contain the unrest.

However, the West heaped human rights criticism on Iran for allegedly suppressing what they call protests. The West, particularly Germany, also pushed for a human rights resolution against Iran at the United Nations.

Iran rejected the West’s criticism as an abuse of the human rights issue.

On Sunday, Nasser Kan’ani, the spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, lambasted the West for its double standards on human rights.

Commenting on the UK government’s decision to give new powers to the UK police, Kan’ani quipped on Twitter, “The people’s protests in England, Germany, France, Canada, and Australia are bad and deserve to be dealt with decisively. But riots in their targeted countries are good and deserve support!!”

He added, “The leaders of these regimes are now presenting their desired definition of rioting and protesting after classifying terrorism into good and bad ones.”

He also used a famous Persian proverb that reads “Death is good but only if it happens to the neighbor.” It refers to a situation where people rejoice at something bad that happens to others.

By Mehran Shamsuddin

First published in Tehran Times


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