Iran October 2022-March 2023

Written by  //  March 17, 2023  //  Iran, Middle East & Arab World  //  Comments Off on Iran October 2022-March 2023

Iran on Diana’s Wednesday
Institute for the Study of War (ISW)
Al Jazeera: Iran news

Eurasia Group’s 2023 Top Risks Report
Risk 5: Iran in a Corner
By Ian Bremmer, Cliff Kupchan
….nationwide anti-government protests continue. At the same time, Tehran has escalated its nuclear program in dramatic ways, all but ending any chance of reviving the nuclear deal. And now Iran has wedded itself to Putin’s imperial ambitions in Ukraine. Facing convulsions at home while lashing out abroad, this year will feature new confrontations between the Islamic Republic and the West.
The demonstrations are explicitly anti-government, with protesters calling for the fall of the clerical regime.
The protests are leaderless, dispersed, and attract relatively small numbers—all factors that make them unlikely to overthrow the Iranian regime. But they’ve also been remarkably persistent, with security services so far unable to crush the protesters as they did in previous rounds of unrest. The demonstrations will accordingly erode what’s left of the regime’s legitimacy and lead Iran to lash out against countries that support the protesters.
Then there’s the nuclear program. The mood in Tehran has shifted decisively against compromise, given the protests and the government’s perception that the deal won’t deliver enough sure benefits.
… Iran’s material support for Russia’s war in Ukraine has added another dimension to its failed relations with the West. Tehran has sold Moscow hundreds of drones used to attack civilians in Ukrainian cities, and it is poised to build a drone production factory in Russia and ship short-range ballistic missiles. Combined with repression at home (supported by Russia), Iran’s involvement in a European war has swung public and elite opinion on the continent sharply against the Islamic Republic; it will also lead the United States to impose additional economic sanctions and otherwise disrupt Iran’s supply chains, with Europe likely to step up its own measures over human rights concerns and Tehran’s military cooperation with Moscow.
What will 2023 bring for Iran and its protest movement?
Iran is heading into 2023 amid continuing protests and fraught relations with the West as it tries to entrench its regional influence and manage an ailing economy.
(Al Jazeera) Iran is not on the verge of regime change, but the protests have fundamentally changed the relationship between the state and the population, according to Sina Azodi, a non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council think-tank.
“I believe the protests will continue in one way or another because the Iranian government has failed to address the root cause of the protests,” he told Al Jazeera. “I don’t think that the situation is sustainable because if the government doesn’t address the population’s grievances every once in a while, it has to show the same level of brutality to quell the protests. It is unclear at this point whether the state has any interest in addressing the grievances of the people.”
The protests have also significantly deteriorated relations between Tehran and the West, as the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have imposed human rights sanctions in response to what they have called a “brutal suppression” of protesters.
Two major Western-led efforts to punish Tehran at the United Nations also garnered majority votes, leading to the establishment of a fact-finding mission on the response to the protests and Iran’s expulsion from the Commission on the Status of Women.

The Backstory: Iran’s Long History of Unrest
(Foreign Affairs) Against all odds, protests continue in Iran, almost five months after they first began in September. The protests’ resilience—and the brutal crackdown employed to stop them—have raised profound questions about the stability of the Iranian regime. Many observers wonder whether the Islamic Republic, which has been in power since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, can survive in the face of such widespread public outrage. “I would argue that never before in its 43-year history has the regime appeared more vulnerable,” Karim Sadjadpour remarked on a recent episode of “The Foreign Affairs Interview.” The leadership in Tehran has sought to quell dissent by cracking down on protestors—but “violence and repression will not snuff out the will of a nation so roused against its government,” Masih Alinejad writes. As Iranians continue to call for political change, it is time for the international community to “think seriously about a world after the Islamic Republic.” (The Beginning of the End of the Islamic RepublicIranians Have Had Enough of Theocracy 18 October 2022)

Iran Update, March 17, 2023
The Iran Updates are produced by the Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute with support from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Some Iranian leaders continue to refuse to make the necessary changes that will meaningfully address popular frustrations. They are instead reaffirming their efforts to “Islam-ize” Iranian society and suppress public displays of behavior they perceive as unreligious during the upcoming Persian new year celebrations. Regime officials have emphasized the “Islamic” part of the “Iranian-Islamic identity” in recent days by suggesting that Ramadan—an Islamic holiday—must take precedence over Nowrouz—the Persian New Year holiday with Zoroastrian origins.

US accuses Iran of cruel false prisoner swap claims
(BBC) Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Sunday told state media a deal had been struck, which would probably be carried out soon. … While insisting the claim was false, the US spokesperson said Washington was committed to securing the release of Americans held in Iran – naming Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi and Morad Tahbaz.

10 March
Iran and Saudi Arabia agree to restore ties after China-brokered talks
Embassies to reopen in move that could have wide implications for Iran nuclear deal and Yemen war
(The Guardian) Iran and Saudi Arabia, the two great oil-producing rivals of the Middle East, have agreed to restore ties and reopen embassies seven years after relations were severed.

6 March
Iran says it’s discovered what could be the world’s second-largest lithium deposit
“For the first time in Iran, a lithium reserve has been discovered in Hamedan” in the country’s west, an official at Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade said.
The ministry believes the deposit holds 8.5 million tons of lithium, which is often called “white gold” for the rapidly growing electric vehicle industry

28 February
Iran investigates poisoning of hundreds of schoolgirls with toxic gas
(BBC) Almost 700 girls have been poisoned by toxic gas in Iran since November, in what many believe is a deliberate attempt to force their schools to shut.
The prosecutor general announced last week that he was opening a criminal investigation. However, he said that the available information only indicated “the possibility of criminal and premeditated acts”.
Some Iranians have speculated that if the schoolgirls are being poisoned as “payback” for their role in the unrest. Social media was flooded with videos showing schoolgirls ripping off their headscarves and chanting anti-establishment slogans.
Others have speculated that the poisonings are the work of hardliners who want to “copy” the Taliban in Afghanistan and the militant Islamist group Boko Haram in Nigeria by terrorising parents to stop sending their girls to school.

18 February
The son of Iran’s last shah says the Islamist regime is splintering
In an interview, Reza Pahlavi says the United States and Europe should help the Iranian people and a newly unified opposition exploit cracks in Iran’s leadership.
By Sonja Gillert, Christine Kensche and Nahal Toosi
(Politico) Reza Pahlavi, the son of the last shah of Iran, has often been seen as a solo actor determined to bring about the end of the Islamist forces that took over his native country more than 40 years ago. But recently, as a wave of protests inside Iran threatened the regime there, Pahlavi has united with other top Iranian opposition figures with the same goal. The group is working on a charter for a future democratic Iran. On the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, Pahlavi offered a glimpse of what it will include and called on the West to do more to help Iranians desperate for freedom.
We are very happy that after 43 years, this is the first time that the world is really engaging with the people who represent an alternative to this regime. The paradigm has changed — and the way we see governments taking action — including Germany. For the oppressed, this is incredibly empowering. We want to explain that everything is tied to this regime: whether it’s the nuclear threat, terrorism, Iranian-made drones attacking Ukraine or more and more refugees coming to an already saturated Europe. Not to mention that Iran could be the exporter of gas for your energy needs, so you wouldn’t have to worry every winter what Putin is going to do next. But that depends on us winning this fight. …
The next level would be to target the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to go after specific individuals and their assets abroad. However, you should also start building a policy of maximum support. For instance, one of the most vital elements for Iranians is access to internet to bypass the censorship of the regime. That kind of technological assistance must be sent in. Another idea is creating a strike fund to compensate Iranian workers who go on strike, because this is the quickest way to paralyze the system.

10 February
Iran frees dissident Farhad Meysami after photos of his emaciated condition cause outrage online
(CNN) An Iranian doctor and rights activist has been released from Tehran’s infamous Evin prison one week after photographs of his severely emaciated condition emerged on social media.
Farhad Meysami was released from prison on Friday, according to the Iranian pro-reform outlet Shargh Daily. News of his release came as France announced that the French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah had also been released from Evin.
Meysami was jailed in 2018 after voicing his support for women protesting the compulsory hijab law. He was charged with “assembly and collusion to act against national security” and of “propaganda against the regime.” according to a group focused on Iran, Human Rights Activists (HRANA)

9 February
Iran Update, February 9, 2023
(ISW) Prominent Sunni cleric Moulana Abdol Hamid escalated rhetorically against the regime on February 9, expressing support for reformist calls for “fundamental” change in Iran. Abdol Hamid tweeted criticizing the regime for placing reformist politicians Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi under house arrest for leading the 2009 Green Movement. Abdol Hamid added that Mousavi has demonstrated that he “understands the realities of society” and urged regime officials to do so as well. .

2 February
The Long Twilight of the Islamic Republic
Iran’s Transformational Season of Protest
(Foreign Affairs) The Islamic Republic is now where the Soviet Union was in the early 1980s. The system is ideologically bankrupt, at a political dead end, and incapable of addressing its structural economic and societal troubles. It still has the will to fight, as evidenced by its brutal response to the uprisings. But no amount of force will end the standoff with its people, which is primarily the result of the regime’s failures across the board. …
The regime’s primary failure is to understand and evolve with its own society, which has grown in size and sophistication. In 1976, Iran was home to 34 million people, more than half of whom lived in rural areas. In 2016, the country had a population of 80 million, with 75 percent living in cities. In 1976, one in every 230,000 Iranians was a university student; in 2016, that ratio was one in 20. Today, more than half of university graduates are women, but their unemployment rate is twice that of men. This more urbanized and educated population is facing dire living conditions as a result of calamitous mismanagement, rampant corruption, and stifling sanctions. One in every five Iranians now lives under the poverty line. Economic growth in the past decade has been the worst the country has experienced since the 1950s. The Iranian Parliament’s research center has projected that even if Iran’s economy were to grow at a rate of eight percent—which is nearly impossible to fathom—it would take until 2026 for it to return to where it was in 2011. Not surprisingly, hopelessness has become endemic.
… The Iranian people have changed over the past 44 years. But the Islamic Republic has not kept up. It is incapable of admitting its mistakes and rectifying itself because it fears that conceding under pressure will only invite more pressure—both from the bottom up and from the outside. For its part, the exiled opposition admits that the struggle against the regime is likely to be a marathon, not a sprint. This opposition seeks a campaign of ultimate pressure and isolation in the hope of accelerating the regime’s demise. What all this pressure on the Iranian people—from above, by the regime, and from outside—will do to the fabric of the country’s society seems to be an afterthought to either side. There are also no obvious off-ramps from Iran’s deteriorating relations with the West, as both sides continue to climb the escalatory ladder: Iran by ratcheting up its nuclear program and assisting Russia in its war of aggression against Ukraine, and the West by tightening sanctions.

29 January
Israel Launched Drone Attack on Iranian Facility, Officials Say
(NYT) A drone attack on an Iranian military facility that resulted in a large explosion in the center of the city of Isfahan on Saturday was the work of the Mossad, Israel’s premier intelligence agency, according to senior intelligence officials.
The facility’s purpose was not clear, and neither was how much damage the strike caused. But Isfahan is a major center of missile production, research and development for Iran, including the assembly of many of its Shahab medium-range missiles, which can reach Israel and beyond.
Weeks ago, American officials publicly identified Iran as the primary supplier of drones to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine, and they said they believed Russia was also trying to obtain Iranian missiles to use in the conflict. But U.S. officials said they believed this strike was prompted by Israel’s concerns about its own security, not the potential for missile exports to Russia.

26 January
‘Killing spree’ in Iran as government crushes dissent
{Al Jazeera) Iran recently executed a British-Iranian national, Alireza Akbari, a former deputy defence minister, on charges of spying for the United Kingdom. Akbari’s execution came as Iranian authorities crushed anti-government protests and carried out four other executions. Western countries, including the US and the EU, have denounced Iran’s death sentences and trials as flawed.

23 January
‘Terrorist’ designation for Iran’s IRGC would harm EU security
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is a leading counterterror force and essential to Europe’s security interests in the Middle East.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Foreign Minister of Iran
Recent disturbances in Iran, ignited under the pretext of protesting Mahsa Amini’s death, have found a disproportionate echo in the West, mainly due to the security context created by the Ukraine crisis, leading the European Union to assume a biased position and make unjustified decisions informed by a deluge of disinformation, faulty logic, and fake news.
Attempts are being made within the EU to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as “a terrorist organisation”. … Branding the IRGC a “terrorist organisation” would be a colossal mistake on the part of the EU – a mistake Iran cannot be expected to ignore.
EU imposes new Iran sanctions, won’t brand Guards ‘terrorists’ for now
(Reuters) – The European Union on Monday imposed sanctions on more than 30 Iranian officials and organisations, including units of the powerful Revolutionary Guards, blaming them for a “brutal” crackdown on protesters and other human rights abuses.

19 January
Iran protests: 15 minutes to defend yourself against the death penalty
(BBC) Four young men have been executed in connection with the nationwide protests that erupted in Iran four months ago, while 18 other people have been sentenced to death. Human rights groups have said they were convicted after grossly unfair sham trials.
Mohammad Mehdi Karami, a 22-year-old karate champion, was hanged on 7 January, just 65 days after his arrest.
Sources have told BBC Persian that he had less than 15 minutes to defend himself in court.
Iran Human Rights reports that at least 109 protesters are currently at risk of execution, having been sentenced to death or charged with capital offences. It has established the ages of 60 of those protesters, and says the average is 27, with three under 18.
After Seyed Mohammad Hosseini and Mohammad Mehdi Karami were hanged, Western countries and human rights groups demanded that Iran immediately halt executions.

14-15 January
Analysis: Akbari execution signals rising Iran tensions with West
The execution of the former deputy defence minister has led to a backlash from the UK, where Alireza Akbari had held citizenship.
{Al Jazeera) Iran’s announcement of the ex-official’s hanging on Saturday, after he was convicted of spying for British intelligence services, could be a precursor to significant changes in how Tehran and the West manage their relations and has bred speculation that more potential changes are coming within the Iranian establishment.
UK set to brand Iran’s revolutionary guards as terrorists after Akbari execution
Britain and EU expected to coordinate response to hanging of British-Iranian accused of spying
(The Guardian) The UK and the European Union are expected to coordinate moves to brand the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation after the execution of Alireza Akbari, a British-Iranian dual national who was lured back to Iran by the security services three years ago.
… The timing of the execution suggests its significance in several aspects.
For one, it comes as top Iranian authorities, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, regularly accuse the West of being behind the country’s ongoing unrest. Dozens of foreign nationals have been arrested since protests erupted across Iran.
…with the EU imposing sanctions on Tehran for allegedly supplying drones to Russia for the war in Ukraine, and the dim prospects for restoring the nuclear deal, the political landscape has significantly changed.
Iran hangs former defence ministry official for spying for UK
Akbari was a former deputy defence minister, who Iran alleges shared information on senior officials.
{Al Jazeera) The judiciary’s official news outlet confirmed on Saturday morning that Alireza Akbari…was hanged after being convicted of “corruption on Earth” and acting against national security by spying for British intelligence.
According to the Iranian judiciary, Akbari began working with British intelligence in 2004 for five years before leaving the country. In 2009, he was allegedly advised by the UK to leave Iran.

7 January
Here Are the People Iran Sentenced to Death in Its Protest Crackdown
An updated look at the Iranians marked for execution in the government’s attempt to curb a monthslong uprising.
By Farnaz Fassihi and Cora Engelbrecht
(NYT) They are a doctor, a rapper, a karate champion, a barber and an actor, sons, grandsons and fathers. They are among the 13 people Iran has hurriedly sentenced to death in its campaign to quash the months-long uprising against the Islamic Republic.
In December, two men were hanged in quick succession. On Jan. 7, two others met the same fate, while nine others remain at risk of execution, according to the human rights group Amnesty International. …
Most of the men have been charged with “moharebe,” a broad term that means waging a war on God and typically carries the death penalty in Iran.

6 January
Death row reporter Mehdi Beik arrested
(BBC) An Iranian journalist who interviewed families of protesters who had been sentenced to death has been arrested, his wife and Iranian media say.
Mehdi Beik was detained on Thursday night, reformist newspaper Etemad, which Mr Beik works for, said.
The reasons for his arrest are not known, but it comes amid an ongoing crackdown on anti-government protests.
In a tweet on Friday, Mr Beik’s wife, Zahra, said he had been “detained by agents of the Ministry of Information and his cell phone, laptop and belongings were seized”.
Mr Beik is the head of the politics desk at Etemad. According to US-funded Radio Farda, he is the third journalist whose arrest has been reported in the past week. At least 73 journalists and photojournalists have been arrested since the protests began, pro-reform Faraz news site reported.


28 December
“No mercy” in Iran
The anti-government protests that have now rocked Iran for more than 100 days, the most intense since the creation of the Islamic Republic in 1979, show no sign of abating, and Iran’s leaders show no sign of softening their response to them. On Tuesday, Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s president, announced that his government will show “no mercy toward those who are hostile” toward their government’s right to rule. International rights groups estimate that more than 500 people have been killed since protests began. An estimated 18,400 have been arrested. Two have been executed, and nine others have so far been sentenced to death.
Iran’s Raisi Vows ‘No Mercy’ For ‘Hostile’ Protest Movement
By AFP – Agence France Presse
President Ebrahim Raisi said Tuesday Iran would show “no mercy” towards “hostile” opponents of the Islamic republic, gripped by more than 100 days of protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death.
Addressing a crowd in Tehran, Raisi accused “hypocrites, monarchists and all anti-revolutionary currents”.
Dozens of Iran protesters facing charges punishable by death – rights group
At least 100 detainees identified by Oslo-based Iran Human Rights [IHR] face capital punishment, including at least 11 already sentenced to death
(AFP) Earlier this month, Iran executed two men in connection with the protests, an escalation in the authorities’ crackdown that activists say is meant to instil public fear.
In a report released on Tuesday, IHR identified 100 detainees facing potential capital punishment, including at least 11 already sentenced to death. Five detainees on the IHR list are women.
The report said many of them had limited access to legal representation.
“By issuing death sentences and executing some of them, [the authorities] want to make people go home,” said IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.
“It has some effect … [but] what we’ve observed in general is more anger against the authorities. Their strategy of spreading fear through executions has failed.”

22 December
Iran’s clerical leaders to grapple with deepening dissent in 2023
By Parisa Hafezi
(Reuters) The turmoil, with women and youth in the forefront, poses a grave threat to the priority that has defined Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s rule since 1989 – the survival of the Islamic Republic and its religious establishment, at any cost.
However, the persistent unrest does not mean the four-decade-old Islamic Republic will disappear any time soon given the power wielded by its security apparatus. The protest movement is leaderless, a challenge to forcing a new political order.
But the unrest has shown the establishment’s vulnerability to popular anger, raising concerns among top leaders that a misstep could mean more trouble ahead, even if current protests subside.
There is no guarantee greater force will end the unrest, as so far the violent crackdown has only stoked more protests.
The clampdown on the protests and Iran’s suspected transfer of drones and missiles to Russia to help Moscow in its war in Ukraine have made Western leaders reluctant to push for the revival of a 2015 nuclear pact that would provide Tehran billions of dollars worth of extra resources.
Alarmed by popular discontent, the clerical leaders fear economic misery could alienate core supporters among middle and lower-income Iranians should the nuclear deal remain on ice.
The Islamic Republic will be engulfed by what analysts call a “revolutionary process” that will likely fuel more protests into 2023, with neither side backing down.
With Khamenei, 83, believing compromise on the republic’s ideological pillars such as hijab would bring its collapse, the establishment will double down on repression, resulting in more anger among the 85 million population, 70% of whom are under 30.
The question of who will eventually succeed him as supreme leader, a role with vast power, may intensify jockeying among the elite, potentially widening rifts in the establishment.
Four years of sanctions have not stopped Iran’s expansion of its nuclear programme or curtailed its support for proxies abroad. But its domestic crisis will likely give Western powers more scope to increase pressure on Tehran.

21 December
U.S. slaps sanctions on Iran officials over protest crackdown

17 December
Iran authorities arrest actress of Oscar-winning movie
(AP) — Iranian authorities arrested one of the country’s most renowned actresses Saturday on charges of spreading falsehoods about nationwide protests that grip the country, state media said.
The report by IRNA said Taraneh Alidoosti, star of the Oscar-winning movie “The Salesman,” was detained a week after she made a post on Instagram expressing solidarity with the first man recently executed for crimes allegedly committed during the protests.
The announcement is the latest in a series of celebrity arrests, that have included footballers, actors and influencers, in response to their open display of support for anti-government demonstrations now in their third month

14 December
Iran ousted from UN body tasked with empowering women
Twenty-nine of 54 members vote to expel country over regime’s bloody crackdown on protests calling for gender equality
Activists and rights groups have said Tehran’s role in the 45-member commission on the status of women was a farce, considering the regime’s forces have beaten and killed women peacefully calling for gender equality.
The US representative to the UN said female Iranian activists – some of whom were in the room in New York during the vote on Wednesday – had appealed to Washington to present a resolution that would expel Iran from the body.

13 December
Iran sentences 400 people to jail terms of up to 10 years over protests
Figures from Tehran province indicate extent of clampdown on protests sparked by killing of Mahsa Amini.
(The Guardian) In comments quoted by the judiciary’s Mizan Online website, Ali Alghasi-Mehr [the judiciary chief for Tehran province] said: “One hundred and sixty people were sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison, 80 people to two to five years and 160 people to up to two years.”
Tehran is one of 31 provinces in the country, meaning the total number of jail sentences is likely to be several times higher. UN human rights experts estimate that more than 14,000 people have been arrested across the country since mid-September

8 December
Iranian forces shooting at faces and genitals of female protesters, medics say
Exclusive: Men and women coming in with shotgun wounds to different parts of bodies, doctors say
While an internet blackout has hidden much of the bloody crackdown on protesters, photos provided by medics to the Guardian showed devastating wounds all over their bodies from so-called birdshot pellets, which security forces have fired on people at close range. Some of the photos showed people with dozens of tiny “shot” balls lodged deep in their flesh.
Iran Carries Out First Execution Of Amini Protester Despite Outcry From West, Rights Groups
By RFE/RL’s Radio Farda
Iran has carried out its first execution of a protester from the unrest sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, carrying out a death sentence handed to a man who was accused of “warfare” for allegedly injuring a security officer.
The Mizan news agency, which is affiliated with the judiciary, said Moshen Shekari was hanged on December 8 after his appeal against his sentence was rejected by Iran’s Supreme Court.
Shekari was accused of brandishing a weapon with the “intention of killing and causing terror and depriving the freedom and security of people,” as well as “intentionally injuring” a security officer with a weapon and “blocking the street.”
Amnesty International says at least 28 people, including three children, could face execution in connection with nationwide protests as the Iranian authorities use the death penalty “as a tool of political repression to instill fear among the public and end the popular uprising.”
“At least six people have already been sentenced to death in sham trials…The 28 individuals have all been denied fair trials including the rights to access lawyers of their choosing; to be presumed innocent; to remain silent; and to receive a fair, public hearing,” it said in a statement on December 2.

7 December
Sister of Iran’s leader condemns his rule, urges Guards to disarm – letter
(Reuters) – A sister of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has condemned his crackdown on nationwide protests and called on the widely-feared Revolutionary Guards to lay down their weapons, according to a letter published by her France-based son.
Iran’s former president urges government to be more lenient with protesters
(CNN) Iran’s former president Mohammad Khatami has urged the current government to be more lenient with protesters. …
“I advise the officials to appreciate this presence and instead of dealing with it inappropriately, take a softer approach and listen to them and with their help, recognize the wrong aspects of governance before it is too late for them to move towards good governance,” said Khatami.

6 December
Ilan I. Berman: Chinese Tech Is Powering Iran’s Repression
Even as it grapples with its own domestic unrest generated by an unsustainable “zero-COVID” strategy, Beijing is playing a major role in helping Iran’s ruling ayatollahs repress that country’s captive population.
The extent of that role is laid out in a new study by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). “Iranian government representatives have publicized plans to leverage smart technologies, including AI-powered face recognition, to maintain regime stability and neutralize dissent,” the report highlights. “Enhanced cooperation with China is central to those efforts.”
… Back in 2010, Chinese tech firms like ZTE played a significant role in allowing the Islamic Republic to throttle its political opposition in the aftermath of a failed protest wave the previous year. They did so by selling Iran’s government surveillance technology to monitor the landline, mobile, and internet communications of ordinary citizens. Iran’s rulers, in turn, used this tech to “coup proof” their government, tracking down political opponents and agitators to prevent a repeat of the political ferment that fueled the so-called Green Movement in 2009.
Since then, other Chinese tech firms have found a receptive client in Iran’s clerical elite, and their business within the Islamic Republic has boomed. When surveyed last year, no fewer than eight major Chinese technology companies—including Tiandy and the better-known Huawei—were actively lending their expertise to building a surveillance state for Iran’s ayatollahs.
This repressive partnership is poised to grow still further. Last year, the Iranian and Chinese governments came to terms on an enormous 25-year strategic pact worth a projected $300 billion. Under that agreement, the PRC has gained preferential access to infrastructure projects throughout the Islamic Republic,

Iran’s moment of truth: what will it take for the people to topple the regime?
Three months after the uprising began, demonstrators are still risking their lives. Will this generation succeed where previous attempts to unseat the Islamic hardliners have been crushed?
by Christopher de Bellaigue
Iran’s protest movement: ‘The tipping point isn’t far away
As the protest movement in Iran continues to grow in intensity following calls for another three-day strike, the prosecutor general made the surprise announcement on Saturday that the country’s morality police, the group responsible for the death of Mahsa Amini which sparked the protests, had been abolished. The declaration was initially seen as a retreat by the regime but has done little to pacify dissent.
(France24) …while the scale and duration of protests are already unprecedented, the tipping point that turns dissent into full-blown revolution has not been reached – yet. “Young people aren’t afraid anymore, unlike previous generations. The fear has switched sides, as they say today in Iran,”
Dissolving Iran’s morality police won’t change much of anything
By Jason Rezaian
(WaPo) Even if the morality police stop patrolling the streets, that alone would have no bearing on the hijab laws that govern women’s dress. Plenty of other agencies exist that could enforce hijab if ordered to do so. In fact, the moral enforcement spokesman also reportedly said Monday that government officials are already busy weighing the creation of what would be a Morality Police 2.0 — taking advantage of “newer, more updated and detailed methods” to impose hijab and other draconian values.
Meanwhile, actually consequential things are unfolding there. Look at the three-day strike of thousands of retail businesses underway right now, or at the mass trials of protesters that are beginning to lead to death sentences. These events are much more important — and much less noticed — than the non-story of the morality police.
Long read Iran’s moment of truth: what will it take for the people to topple the regime?
Three months after the uprising began, demonstrators are still risking their lives. Will this generation succeed where previous attempts to unseat the Islamic hardliners have been crushed?
by Christopher de Bellaigue
Iran sentences five to death over killing of paramilitary member
Eleven others received lengthy prison sentences after being charged with the killing of a Basij troop amid ongoing anti-government protests.
(Al Jazeera) Iran regularly arrests and sentences people on charges related to espionage and has accused Western countries of driving the protests. So far, at least 473 people have been killed and 18,200 arrested in the demonstrations and the security forces crackdown that followed, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group monitoring the protests.
There has been growing confusion over the past few days about the fate of the country’s morality police and Iran’s enforcement of its strict religious dress code. On Sunday, chief prosecutor Mohamed Jafar Montazeri said the morality police had been shut down, in a report published by the semiofficial state news agency ISNA.
Khamenei calls for overhaul of Iran’s cultural system
(Reuters) – Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Tuesday called for “revolutionary reconstruction of the country’s cultural system”, state media reported, as nationwide protests kept up pressure on the authorities.
“It is necessary to revolutionise the country’s cultural structure… the supreme council should observe the weaknesses of culture in different fields of the country,” Khamenei said during his meeting with a state cultural council.
Iran reviewing mandatory headscarf law amid ongoing protests
Struggling to quell more than two months of protests linked to the dress code, Iran’s attorney general says the parliament and judiciary looking at the issue

4 December
Iran protesters call for strike, prosecutor says morality police shut down
Protesters call for economic boycott from Monday to Wednesday
Raisi visits Tehran University on Wednesday for Student Day
Interior ministry silent on the morality police’s status
(Reuters) – Protesters in Iran called on Sunday for a three-day strike this week, stepping up pressure on authorities after the public prosecutor said the morality police whose detention of a young woman triggered months of protests had been shut down.
There was no confirmation of the closure from the Interior Ministry which is in charge of the morality police, and Iranian state media said Public Prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was not responsible for overseeing the force.

3 December
Iran morality police status unclear after ‘closure’ comment
(AP) — An Iranian lawmaker said Sunday that Iran’s government is “paying attention to the people’s real demands,” state media reported, a day after a top official suggested that the country’s morality police whose conduct helped trigger months of protests has been shut down.
The role of the morality police, which enforces veiling laws, came under scrutiny after a detainee, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, died in its custody in mid-September. Amini had been held for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress codes. Her death unleashed a wave of unrest that has grown into calls for the downfall of Iran’s clerical rulers.
Iran’s chief prosecutor Mohamed Jafar Montazeri said on Saturday the morality police “had been closed,” the semi-official news agency ISNA reported. The agency did not provide details, and state media hasn’t reported such a purported decision.
Iran says more than 200 killed in country’s continuing unrest
A security body in Iran has provided its first official assessment of continuing unrest across the country, saying more than 200 people have been killed since September.
(Al Jazeera) In a statement published on Saturday, the state security council of the Iranian interior ministry provided its first death toll that it said has come as a result of “riots”.
It said the deceased include security forces, those killed in “terrorist acts”, those killed by foreign-affiliated groups and framed as killed by the state, “rioters” and “armed anti-revolutionary elements who were members of secessionist groups”.
The security body also cited “innocent people who have died in conditions of security disarray” but did not disclose how they were killed.

24 November
UN rights chief: full-fledged crisis underway in Iran
(Reuters) – The U.N. human rights chief on Thursday made a strong appeal to Iranian authorities to stop their “unnecessary and disproportionate” use of force against protesters in Iran in a speech to the Human Rights Council on the ongoing crisis.
The body is debating a motion brought by a group of some 50 countries led by Germany and Iceland to create a new investigative fact-finding mission to probe alleged abuses since [the] wave of protests began.
The meeting is seen as a key test of the West’s clout within the council following a thwarted attempt to create greater scrutiny of China’s human rights record last month. over the death in custody of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16.
Iran arrests soccer player Voria Ghafouri amid scrutiny of World Cup team
A prominent Iranian soccer player was arrested Thursday on charges that included destroying the reputation of the country’s national team, which is competing in the World Cup, state-linked Iranian media outlets reported Thursday.
The player, Voria Ghafouri, is a former member of Iran’s national squad and a frequent critic of the government. His arrest occurred at a moment in which Iranian soccer players are under close scrutiny for their statements about a nationwide uprising in Iran that has continued for months.
Iran’s national team, during a match against England Monday, declined to sing during the country’s national anthem, in what was widely seen as a silent acknowledgment of the protests. Iran’s national broadcaster showed select images of spectators cheering for Iran during the match, but not the political signs carried by spectators.
In the spotlight, Iran’s World Cup team silently nods to protests at home
As their country’s national anthem was played at the World Cup on Monday, Iran’s players appeared silent and stone-faced, declining to sing in what was widely seen as an acknowledgment of — or even a show of solidarity with — a popular uprising unfolding at home.
The appearance of Team Melli, as the Iranian squad is known, is being closely watched, and not just for how it performs in the stadiums in Qatar. During widespread unrest in Iran…Iranian sports figures — including revered current and former players for the national soccer team — have assumed a central role.

Iran expands uranium enrichment at underground nuclear site amid violent crackdown on protesters
“Enrichment to near-weapons grade levels … is a serious escalation and raises the risk of a nuclear-armed Iran,” said one expert.
Iran has started expanding uranium enrichment to 60 percent purity at an underground site in Fordow days after foreign governments accused Tehran of failing to cooperate with a U.N. investigation into its past nuclear work.
The decision puts Iran a step closer to having uranium enriched to the weapons-grade threshold of 90 percent and flouts the limits of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers.
The move came amid growing international condemnation of anti-regime protests in Iran, with U.N. human rights officials saying a rising death toll reflected Tehran’s use of lethal force to try to put down the demonstrations.
Iran media blames humiliating World Cup loss on protests
(AP) — Iran was reeling Tuesday from the humiliation of starting the World Cup with a lopsided 6-2 loss against England in a match overshadowed by protests on and off the field.
Hard-line Iranian media sought to blame the defeat on the unrest that has gripped the Islamic Republic since the Sept. 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s morality police. Iranian newspapers turned to the familiar tactic of accusing foreign enemies, including the United States, Britain and Israel, of stirring up protests to throw the national team off its game.
“Iran – 2; England, Israel, Saudi and traitors – 6,” read the headline in hard-line daily Kayhan. The newspaper, whose editor-in-chief is appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Iran’s rout came after “weeks of unfair and unprecedented psychological warfare against the team … from domestic and foreign-based traitors.” It added that a “political media current” has sought to “damage the spirit of Iran’s team by attacking them.”
Iran fans in the stands on Monday chanted Amini’s name, held signs and wore T-shirts with protest slogans and booed during the national anthem. Many fans appeared conflicted over whether to even support their national team against the backdrop of security forces’ violent crackdown on demonstrations

22 November
Iran enters ‘critical’ phase as it tries to quash anti-regime protests
Activists accuse state forces of deploying heavy weaponry, as attacks on Kurdish areas intensify
Iran’s repression of anti-regime protests appears to have entered a dangerous new phase, with activists accusing state forces of deploying heavy weapons and helicopters and a UN official describing the situation as “critical”.
Government attacks on rallies escalated at the weekend in predominantly Kurdish areas of Iran, with videos showing scenes reminiscent of a war zone.
Hengaw, a Norway-based rights group that monitors abuses, posted footage on Monday of what it said were state forces travelling to the cities of Bukan and Mahabad. The armed convoy included pickup trucks with mounted machine guns.
Iran attacks positions in northern Iraq targeting Kurdish groups
Iran says Kurdish separatist groups based in northern Iraq are destabilising Kurdish-majority provinces in western Iran as anti-government protests continue.
(Al Jazeera) Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has attacked positions in northern Iraq held by Kurdish groups, as anti-government protests continue in Iran’s Kurdish-majority western regions and elsewhere.

Fears grow Iran players may face reprisals for not singing national anthem
Politician says no one will be allowed to ‘insult our anthem and flag’ as loyalist media vent fury over protests during England game
Iran’s footballers could face reprisals if they fail to sing the national anthem in their remaining World Cup group games, after a politician said the country “will never allow anyone to insult our anthem”.
The football team stayed silent while the anthem was played before their 6-2 defeat to England on Monday, in a symbolic show of support for the protest movement that has roiled Iran since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody in September.
‘We are all Mahsa’: Iranians in Doha for World Cup voice anger at regime
Signs of uprising were everywhere outside the stadium hosting England v Iran

16 November
Iranian police open fire at Tehran metro station and beat women on train
Video footage shows people running for exits and police with batons beating women in metro carriages
Metro stations and public transport – often patrolled by morality police – had become a site of state violence and surveillance of female citizens in the summer during a crackdown on female clothing.
At the beginning of September, the secretary of Iran’s headquarters for promoting virtue and preventing vice, Mohammad Saleh Hashemi Golpayegani, announced that the government was planning to use face recognition technology to target women recorded on public transport security cameras.
At least 326 people, including 43 children and 25 women, have been killed by security forces over the two months of protests, according to Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR). The group says 15,000 people have been arrested, a figure the Iranian authorities deny.

11 November
Rapper who protested over death of Mahsa Amini faces execution in Iran
UN calls for international action as regime announces public trials for protesters and Iranian lawmakers seek harsh punishment
His fate, which will be decided in the coming days by the Iranian courts, could be shared by thousands of other young protesters being held in detention as human rights organisations warn that the regime may unleash a bloody campaign of revenge in an attempt to quash continuing protests.
According to the UN, an estimated 14,000 people, including children, have been detained by the regime since the protests began more than eight weeks ago, after the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in custody having been arrested by Iran’s morality police.

9 November
Iran teaches Russia its tricks on beating oil sanctions
By Matthew Karnitschnig
The West has been unable to beat the smokescreens Tehran uses to rake in oil income. The danger is Putin will be equally successful.
(Politico Eu) Iran is preparing to hand the Kremlin the blueprints for its most effective weapon against the West: the underground financial network it relies on to evade sanctions.
For years, the Islamic Republic has frustrated American efforts to isolate it and starve its economy by constructing a parallel universe of front companies and foreign banks — including major financial institutions based in Europe and the U.S. — that Iranian companies use to evade international controls and conduct business abroad.
As Russia faces increasing international isolation over the war in Ukraine, Iran, which is already providing Moscow with weapons, has offered to share its expertise in the art of sanctions evasion,

8 November
The global pressure on Iran is mounting
By Jason Rezaian
The Islamic republic is a gender-apartheid state. That structure means the regime would be incapable of addressing the demands of its female population even if it wanted to. It also leaves the government horribly unequipped to understand the pulse of the modern world.
(WaPo) At a campaign speech Thursday, President Biden briefly promised that “we’re gonna free Iran.” While that isn’t actually part of his administration’s agenda, a growing number of U.S. officials and foreign governments are signaling their intent to further isolate the Islamic Republic of Iran. …
This movement in Iran is about many marginalized groups vying for long-denied rights and representation. But it’s the struggle of the women and girls who are demonstrating — and their unwillingness to back down — that have most captured the world’s imagination.

The Naked Ayatollah
Reza Aslan
The role of Iran’s Supreme Leader, based on a claim to embody the same infallible, divine authority as the Prophet Muhammad, contradicts centuries of Islamic doctrine. It is a wholly made-up office, and its legitimacy has never been more in doubt.
(Project Syndicate) The nationwide protests in Iran over women’s rights and abuses by the religious morality police have once again shined a light on the country’s ruling clerical class and the seemingly limitless powers of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has a two-tier government. The first tier, ostensibly representing the sovereignty of the people, includes a president who serves as the executive of a highly centralized state, a parliament charged with creating and debating laws, and a judiciary that vets and interprets those laws. The second tier, representing the sovereignty of God, consists of just one man: the Supreme Leader, or Faqih. The Faqih has an absolute monopoly over state power. He appoints the head of the judiciary and can dismiss the president at will. He is the commander-in-chief of the army, and he can veto any law passed by Parliament. The office is both anachronistic and utterly unique, allowing for the institutionalization of clerical control over all aspects of government. It is also heretical. Far from being the foundation of Shia Islam, as Iran’s clerical regime claims, the concept of the Faqih represents neither the historical consensus nor the current majority view of Shia political thought. It is a wholly made-up office, concocted by the man who first claimed the position for himself: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. (Oct 19)

31 October
Iran indicts 1,000 over unrest, plans public trials-report
Iran steps up crackdown on persistent wave of protests
Revolutionary Court to hear cases against suspects
Analysts say heightened warnings show authorities worried
Iran to continue blocking Instagram, WhatsApp, official says
Judiciary denies sentence issued against man

Iran’s Guard warns protesters as more unrest roils country
(AP) — Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard issued a new warning on Saturday to antigovernment protesters, even as demonstrations continued in cities and university campuses across the country for the sixth straight week.
Also on Saturday, authorities reported that the gunman who killed 15 people at a major Shiite holy site in southern Iran earlier this week died in a hospital from injuries sustained during his arrest. Tehran has not disclosed details about the man who carried out Wednesday’s attack on Shah Cheragh in Shiraz, Iran’s second-holiest Shiite shrine.
The militant Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the shooting. But Iran’s government has tried to blame the attack on the largely peaceful protests roiling the country, without offering evidence
Iran and US set for UN confrontation over Mahsa Amini protests
A rare Iranian joint intelligence report claims arrested journalists who reported on Mahsa Amini’s death were trained by the US abroad.
(Al Jazeera) Tehran and Washington are clashing again over weeks-long protests in Iran as the United States is organising a meeting of the United Nations Security Council over the unrest that erupted after 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini died in the custody of morality police last month.
The US and Albania – another major critic of the Iranian government – will hold an informal UNSC gathering on Wednesday, as first reported by Reuters and also confirmed by Iranian state media

26 October
Will Iran’s women win?
Their uprising could be the beginning of the end of Iran’s theocracy
(The Economist) In 1978 Iran’s corrupt, brutal, unpopular regime was besieged by protesters and led by a sick old shah. The next year it was swept away. Today Iranian protesters are again calling for the overthrow of a corrupt, brutal regime; this time led by a sick old ayatollah, Ali Khamenei. As Ray Takeyh, a veteran Iran-watcher, put it, “History…is surely rhyming on the streets of Tehran.”
Pessimists caution that mass protests have rocked Iran’s theocracy before, notably in 2009 and 2019, and the regime has always snuffed them out by shooting, torturing and censoring. Yet there are reasons to think that this time may be different; that the foundations of the Islamic Republic really are wobbling.
Iran’s security forces reportedly open fire as thousands mourn Mahsa Amini
Teargas also used against protesters gathered in home town of 22-year-old Kurdish woman, says rights group
Iranian security forces have clashed with protesters who had gathered in their thousands in Mahsa Amini’s home town to mark 40 days since her death, with reports that shots were fired.
“Security forces have shot teargas and opened fire on people in Zindan Square, Saqqez city,” Hengaw, a Norway-based group that monitors rights violations in Iran’s Kurdish regions, tweeted without specifying whether there were any dead or wounded. It said more than 50 civilians were injured by direct fire in cities across the region.
Witnesses confirmed shots were fired, while the Iranian government said security forces had been forced to respond to riots. Iran later tried to block internet access in the region.

21 October
Growing Russia-Iran ties pose new dangers
For years the headlines have covered the controversies over advanced Russian air defence systems heading to Iran. But now the arms traffic is very much in the other direction, writes Jonathan Marcus of the Strategy and Security Institute, University of Exeter.
(BBC) Iranian-supplied drones are being used by Moscow to terrorise Ukrainian civilians and to strike at the country’s electricity generating and distribution system.
Russia’s predicament in Ukraine has prompted Moscow to turn to Tehran for stocks of precision-guided weapons. Its own arsenals are fast running out.
Transport flights have been monitored heading from Iran to Russia. Reports from US sources suggest that Iranian trainers from the IRGC – the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps – have deployed to a base in Crimea to teach Russian personnel how to operate the systems.
Wreckage from drones that have been shot down – both Iranian Shahed-131 loitering munitions (colloquially known as kamikaze drones) and the larger Shahed-136 – has been analysed. There is no doubt that Tehran, despite its denials, is compensating for a significant shortfall in Russia’s arsenal.
… wider ramifications of this deepening relationship between Moscow and Tehran?
There could be implications for the future of the moribund nuclear agreement between the international community and Tehran. Furthermore the delicate balance of forces in Syria could be altered with significant consequences for Israel and, in turn, for its relationship with Moscow.
Russia is facing economic sanctions due to its aggression against Ukraine, a war which is not going well for Moscow. Iran’s regime is also under sanction for its nuclear programme and human rights record, and it is facing massive discontent at home.
They are both part of a small “club” of authoritarian nations, along with China, that seek not just to pursue their own regional strategic goals but also, more broadly, to strike back against what they see as a US-dominated global order.

16-19 October
The Beginning of the End of the Islamic Republic
Iranians Have Had Enough of Theocracy
By Masih Alinejad
(Foreign Affairs) The government has endured major protests before, notably in 2009, 2017, and 2019, but these demonstrations are different. They embody the anger that Iranian women and young Iranians feel toward a regime that seeks to stifle their dearest desires. And they promise to upend Iran’s establishment.
The Islamic Republic rests on three ideological pillars: vehement opposition to the United States, obdurate antagonism toward Israel, and institutional misogyny, especially in the form of compulsory hijab rules requiring women to wear coverings in public spaces. If any of these pillars weakens, the whole edifice of the Islamic Republic falls down.

At the center of Iran’s uprising, Kurds now face a mounting crackdown
(WaPo) Security forces with heavy weapons roam the streets of Sanandaj, the provincial capital of Iran’s Kurdistan region, in armored vehicles. They fire into the homes of terrified residents, who are living under a near-total communication blackout.

Explainer: Iran and Russia’s growing drone alliance amid Western outcry
(Reuters) The weapons could provide a significant boost for Russia’s failing war efforts against Ukraine but Iran’s clerical rulers face mounting international pressure over their military alliance with Moscow.
The Islamic Republic’s clerical leaders are keen to strengthen strategic relations with Russia against an emerging, U.S.-backed Gulf Arab-Israeli bloc that could shift the Middle East balance of power further away from Iran.
Emboldened by high oil prices since the Ukraine war, Iran is betting that with Russia’s support it could pressure Washington to offer concessions for the revival of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Forming a real alliance with a superpower which shares anti-Western views and is not afraid of pushing such views on the battlefield is a strategic move designed to show Iran is not isolated.
Western powers are expected to impose more sanctions on Iran. European Union governments have provisionally agreed to impose sanctions on eight people and entities over the use of Iranian-made drones in Russian strikes on Ukraine, three EU diplomats said.
The Islamic Republic has learned to survive decades of sanctions and has tight control over its supply chains.
Ukraine moves to cut diplomatic ties with Iran after drone attacks
Russia launched dozens of “kamikaze” drones on targets in Ukraine on Monday, striking energy infrastructure and killing several civilians.
Ukraine says the attacks were carried out with Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones. Tehran denies supplying the drones.

16-17 October
Iran’s Loyal Security Forces Protect Ruling System That Protesters Want to Topple
The Revolutionary Guards — the country’s most powerful military force — have become so deeply woven into Iran’s economy and power structure that they have everything to lose if the system falls.
(NYT) The fate of this protest movement — the biggest challenge to Iran’s ruling system since 2009 — rests largely on the cohesion and loyalty of the Revolutionary Guards and the rest of the country’s multilayered security forces. These forces have remained a formidable roadblock to toppling the country’s hard-line clerical rulers.
The Revolutionary Guards boast a formidable arsenal that includes ballistic missile and drone programs. Their senior commanders hold key political positions, including the speaker of Parliament, Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf. Their much-feared intelligence branch arrests and intimidates dissidents and opposition political activists. Their overseas arm, the Quds Force, has recruited, trained and armed a network of proxy militias, including from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen that could come to their aid.

Iran’s Uprising Gains Steam
After one month of unrest, Tehran’s brutal crackdown has done little to quell the outpouring of anger.
(Foreign Policy) A month after Iran’s protest movement first erupted, it appears to be gaining steam in the face of Tehran’s violent crackdown, which human rights groups say has killed at least 233 people—including 32 children.
To crush dissent, security forces have pulled from a brutal playbook, including firing assault rifles at demonstrators, forcibly shipping dissenting students off to psychiatric institutions, and even sexually assaulting a protester. Authorities have also cut internet access and punished celebrities who back the demonstrations with arrests and travel bans.
Iran accuses ‘Great Satan’ US of ‘inciting chaos, terror’
President Raisi joins Supreme Leader Khamenei in blaming the US for instigating deadly protests against the death of a woman in government custody.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi accused United States President Joe Biden of “inciting chaos” after he expressed support for demonstrations against the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died in Iranian government custody nearly a month ago.
Dozens of people have died in the protests. Most have been protesters, but members of the security forces have also died. Hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested.
How Two Teenagers Became the New Faces of Iran’s Protests
The 16-year-old girls were killed by the Iranian security services in a crackdown on the protests that have rocked the country for the past month.

14 October
With U.S. nudges, Google and others aim to help Iranian protesters
an elite research team at Google, known as Jigsaw, is focused on aiding oppressed populations as well as fending off attacks on more open societies.
(WaPo) Now one of the unit’s products, a free virtual private network (VPN) that lets users hide their internet tracks better than most paid versions, is surging in Iran, helping participants in the most widespread protests there in years evade a growing crackdown on communications.

11 October
Can Protests in Iran Topple the Regime?
By Cornelius Adebahr
Demonstrators continue to defy the security forces and deface the insignia of the Islamic Republic. But to succeed, the protests need a leader and a political agenda.
(Carnegie Eu) If anything, the way the revolution of 1978–79 against the Shah unfolded to become an Islamic one, is a cautionary tale. Other examples from the past decade of attempts to topple a ruthless dictator, from Belarus to Syria to Venezuela, aren’t particularly encouraging either.
Still, that is not to say that people and governments across the world shouldn’t show their solidarity and do what they can to support Iran’s peaceful transition toward a free, democratic, and prosperous society. It just takes a lot more than continued street protests and calls for sanctions for positive change to set in.
Clearly, the current protests differ from previous waves as they unite people from all walks of life in cities across the country, not asking for reforms but showing their outright contempt for the Islamic Republic. However, in contrast to the Green Movement of 2009, for example, and similar to the hardship-driven riots between 2017 and 2019, they lack any sort of leader or political agenda.

3-6 October
Braced to crush unrest, Iran’s rulers heed lessons of Shah’s fall – analysts
Clerics believe weakness in face of unrest would be fatal
Rapid fall of Islamic system is unlikely, analysts say
If protests persist, tough crackdown looms – analysts
Most Bazaar merchants stand aside from revolt
Elite Guards control oil industry, wield immense power
(Reuters) – Iran’s clerical rulers will likely contain the country’s eruption of unrest for now, and prospects of the imminent dawn of a new political order are slim if history is any guide, four analysts said.
Tactics of repression: How Iran is trying to stop Mahsa Amini protests
A visual forensics analysis shows authorities using indiscriminate force, making violent arrests and throttling internet service to crush demonstrations.
(WaPo) Iran’s bold and bracing protests, stretching across an unsettled nation for more than two weeks, have been marked by defiant acts and daring slogans that challenge the country’s clerical leadership and its stifling restrictions on all aspects of social life. Government security forces have responded with deadly, uncompromising force. At least 52 people have been killed, according to Amnesty International, including women and children.
A barrier of fear has been broken in Iran. The regime may be at a point of no return
(CNN) Iran’s protesters, and their supporters, are defiant. For weeks, a nationwide protest movement has relentlessly gathered momentum and appears to have blunted the government’s decades-old intimidation tactics. Slogans against the clerical leadership echo throughout the city. Videos of schoolgirls waving their headscarves in the air as they sing protest songs in classrooms have gone viral, as have images of protesters fighting back against members of the formidable paramilitary group Basij.
Iran arrests musician as anthem for protests goes viral
(The Guardian) As demonstrations against the death of Mahsa Amini enter their third week in Iran, a protest song by one of Iran’s most popular musicians has become the soundtrack to the biggest civil uprising for decades, channelling the rage of Iranians at home and abroad.
The lyrics to Baraye by Shervin Hajipour are taken entirely from messages that Iranians have posted online about why they are protesting. Each begins with the word Baraye – meaning “For …” or “Because of …” in Farsi.
Iran protests: riot police use teargas on students at Sharif university
Unverified social media videos show security forces firing teargas amid reports some students are trapped in campus car park
Iran protests: Supreme leader blames unrest on US and Israel
In his first public comments on the unrest, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said “riots” had been “engineered” by Iran’s arch-enemies and their allies.
The protests are the biggest challenge to his rule for a decade, and he urged security forces to be ready for more.
…  The ayatollah, who has the final say on all state matters, asserted that foreign powers had planned “rioting” because they could not tolerate Iran “attaining strength in all spheres”.

Comments are closed.