Elika Jouibari: "We are hopeful that we are going to put an end to the Iranian regime"

The Iranian activist took to the microphones of 'De Cara al Mundo' to explain the situation the country is going through in the midst of the "veil revolution"
Elika Jouibari

PHOTO/ATALAYAR  -   The Iranian activist Elika Jouibari

In the latest edition of 'De Cara al Mundo', on Onda Madrid, we had the participation of Elika Jouibari, Iranian student and activist, who spoke about the protests in Iran after the death in police custody of the young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini for wearing the veil incorrectly, which has led to the so-called "veil revolution".

Question: Can the protests bring down the Ayatollahs' regime? 

Answer: It is clear that since the death of Mahsa Amini we have seen protests that have been going on and on for months. We have never experienced this situation before, so we can say that we are hopeful that something is going to happen and that we are going to end the regime. 

Q: Elika, tell us your story. Your parents are the ones who have to emigrate, to leave Iran, why? 

A: Yes, first my father came because he wanted to go to another country, but he ended up in Spain. After a few years, he married my mother and my mother came to Madrid. Finally we stayed here. We go to Iran every summer to see our family, because they are all there. But, of course, since these protests started and I started doing interviews with different media... logically I won't be able to go back. 

Q: Are you afraid of reprisals against your family in Iran? 

A: Yes, that's why, if I tell a personal testimony, I don't give the names or the city in particular, because I'm afraid that something might happen to them. Nothing will happen to me here, but if I were there, I would no longer be alive. 

Q: Why did your father leave Iran, because he didn't agree with the regime? 

A: Like all Iranians who emigrate, he did not agree with the political conditions in his country. In society, the citizens who live there are happy, the only thing that destroys their lives is precisely these conditions. That's why they look for a better life abroad. 

Q: Going back to the first question, do you really believe that, despite the fact that the regime controls all the levers of power, the protests can bring it down? 

A: I think that with all the deaths that have occurred in these months and with all the daily protests that are taking place, the authorities are terrified of their own citizens. The protests are not going to end until they achieve their goal, which is to overthrow the regime. 

Q: Do the citizens have the necessary capacity, or do you think that, within the government, the army or elsewhere, change can be brought about? 

A: I would like to think not. One of the reasons why they have not yet deployed the army in the demonstrations is because they are afraid that the army is in favour of the demonstrators. That's why they hire people from other countries to kill people in the protests. 

Q: From which countries, which people do they hire? 

A: Well, for example, from Afghanistan. One of them, when he was running away from the protesters, his wallet fell out and his ID card was from there. 

Q: What do people who are in Iran tell you, have they overcome their fear? Could the recent killings in the underground be a lesson or are many Iranians ready to end this regime? 

A: As we have seen, the shooting in the metro was a symbol of courage on the part of the protesters. A woman filmed the event, risking her life for it. The protesters are getting used to what is happening, and sadly there are a lot of deaths, but to achieve something they have to keep going. That's why they don't give up. 

Q: How many people do you think have died as a result of the repression of the protests? 

A: More than 1,000. 

Q: They talk about 200... 

A: Yes, but most of them are not counted. They say they committed suicide or had a heart attack. 

Q: When you talk about a woman daring to record a video in the underground, how does that video get out of Iran? Is there any outside support for that kind of footage and information to get out of the country? 

A: A lot of people have been filming videos in protests and then have been arrested. In that case, this woman has sent the video abroad to a foreign media that publishes all these videos. As I said before, she is taking a risk, but she has to do it so that the rest of the world can see what is going on. 

Q: How do these videos get out? 

A: They hardly get out, because as we know, the internet now works very badly. It is true that it has been cut, but there is a minimum connection that allows these videos to be shared and for us to see them. 

Q: Elika, in addition to the political issues, we have heard that living conditions in Iran have been precarious for years. In the south there are many villages and towns without running water, there are electricity restrictions. Even petrol is rationed, young people in universities are tired of repression... What is life like there? 

A: What everyone thinks is that all these protests are only for the freedom not to wear the veil. But, as you explained, it's not just about the veil, it's about all these living conditions that don't allow people to live in dignity. Speaking, for example, about petrol, these last three days there has been a general strike all over Iran because of the protests that took place in 2019 about the increase in the price of petrol. It's a reminder of the 1,500 people who died in those three days of protests. 

Q: Does the political opposition have a chance? Some people say: "well, the ayatollahs' regime falls, but then what? 

A: That's what everybody wonders. Nobody knows what will happen. 

Q: It would be necessary to avoid a power vacuum that could be used by criminal gangs or other circumstances that could plunge Iran into chaos, as has happened, for example, in Libya, right? 

A: There is talk of the son of the former king, of the Shah [Reza Pahlavi II]. I think it would be him or even the activist Masih Alinejad, who now lives in the US and has for many, many years supported the destruction of the regime.