Marking the anniversary of the Iran Uprising, 600 women were arrested in Tehran alone
September marked the anniversary of the Iran Uprising on September 16, 2022, sparked by the death of innocent Zhina Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman from Saqqez, who was viciously brutalized by the guidance patrols (or the Morality Police) in Tehran for not abiding by the strict government dress code.
The clerical regime, considerably weakened by the uprising last year, started a wave of arrests and rearrests of rights activists, student activists, former political prisoners, and families of the protests’ martyrs a few months earlier.
It also embarked on a nationwide purge of universities and even schools of professors and teachers who had supported the student protests, which continued into September.
Meanwhile, student activists were either temporarily deprived of continuing their education or expelled from the university. Many were also arrested and imprisoned.
The clerical regime mobilized its repressive forces massively to prevent the outbreak of any protest on September 16. However, the determined people of Iran, women and youth, marched in protest and clashed with the IRGC in some cities.
In step with the repressive measures that surged in September, the Iranian regime’s parliament passed its new Hijab and Chastity bill into law for a three-year trial period. The measure gave a freer hand to the security forces to clamp down, especially on female students who spearheaded the protests in universities and high schools last year.
Finally, September came to a close with the courageous protests by the Baluch minority in southeastern Iran on the anniversary of the Bloody Friday in Zahedan on September 30, 2022.
This NCRI Women’s Committee monthly report will review the above developments.
Intimidating the families of martyrs and arresting the opponents
Following months of intimidating rhetoric, the State Security Force Commander went on state TV on September 12 and threatened the youth. Ahmadreza Radan said, “They will experience tough times if they dare to question people’s security… We fundamentally cannot tolerate this, so those who are receiving my voice and my image should learn if they make any mistakes, they will certainly be dealt with according to the law, which they would never forget.”
Concurrently, the series of arrests persisted until the anniversary day, resulting in the apprehension of numerous political activists and former political detainees, who were either rearrested or summoned. This also impacted numerous supporters of the main Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization (PMOI/MEK), including Zahra Safaei, Parastoo Moini, Forough Taghipour, Marzieh Farsi, and Massoumeh Yavari.
The clerical regime continued its campaign of intimidation, coercion, and apprehension against families who lost their loved ones during the nationwide uprising the previous year. The regime’s crackdown extended to cemeteries, with pathways leading to martyr’s shrines, such as Mahsa Amini, being barricaded and controlled, and her father facing arrest.
On Thursday, September 21, repressive security forces launched an attack on the residence of Javad Heydari in Qazvin, deploying tear gas and subjecting even children to brutality. They also arrested the sister and two brothers of the young man, an agriculture graduate who security forces had fatally shot on September 22, 2022.
Families like those of Nika Shakarami, Hannaneh Kia, Ghazaleh Chalabi, and Erfan Rezaii also faced intimidation, forcing them to cancel planned memorial ceremonies for their loved ones.
Presently, the parents and fiancée of Hannaneh Kia are in detention.
Meanwhile, Ms. Farzaneh Barzekar, Erfan Rezaii’s mother, has been incarcerated in Qaemshahr Prison since September 3. Erfan Rezaii, who was 21 years old, met his demise at the hands of security forces in Amol, northern Iran, on September 21, 2022.
As of September 23, reports indicate that authorities at Gorgan Prison in northern Iran summoned Ms. Fereshteh Mahdavi to deliver clothing for her imprisoned 23-year-old son, Mohammad Reza Showqi. However, upon her arrival, State Security forces detained and incarcerated her.
In other news, security forces arrested Sulmaz Hassanzadeh on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, at a checkpoint between Bukan and Saqqez. Sulmaz Hassanzadeh, 29, is the sister of Mohammad Hassanzadeh, 28 years old, from Bukan, who was killed by the clerical regime’s repressive forces during the nationwide protests on November 16, 2022.
Detention of student activists
On September 11, Mahsa Saeedi was arrested by IRGC Intelligence agents in Yazd and subsequently transferred to an undisclosed location. No information regarding her fate has surfaced. Mahsa Saeedi, originally from Kerman, pursued her studies at the University of Yazd in central Iran and holds a Ph.D. in economics.
On September 14, 2023, security forces apprehended Samaneh Asghari at her residence in Tehran, subsequently transporting her to Ward 209 of Evin Prison, operated by the Intelligence Ministry. Samaneh Asghari, a student of Industrial Engineering at Kharazmi University in Tehran, is also a children’s rights activist. Her initial arrest occurred in October 2022 during the protests of that year. While initially sentenced to 18 years and three months in jail by the 15th Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, she was released in April from Qarchak Prison under a so-called general amnesty issued by Ali Khamenei.
Meanwhile, Mehrnaz Khorrami continues to be held in one of the detention facilities of the IRGC Intelligence in Sari, the capital of Mazandaran Province, in northern Iran. Her arrest occurred on September 22, 2023, at her family’s residence in Nowshahr.
The clerical regime’s arrests of Iranian student activists persisted, even at the outset of the new academic year. On the first day of school, security forces detained Sahar Salehian, a student activist in Saqqez, Iranian Kurdistan. Sahar Salehian is enrolled in a nursing program at the University of Medical Sciences of Kurdistan. Her arrest transpired on Saturday, September 23, 2023, at her Saqqez residence, after which she was transferred to an undisclosed location.
Lastly, Armita Pavir, a student activist majoring in cell and molecular biology at the Madani University of Azerbaijan, was apprehended by security forces on September 21. She was then transferred to the women’s ward of the Central Prison of Tabriz. Regrettably, no details regarding the charges against her are available. Armita Pavir was arrested on October 31, 2022, during the 2022 Iran protests but was released on bail on December 8, 2022.
Geared up to crack down on any dissent
Terrified by a resentful populace ready to erupt like a volcano, the regime mobilized some 44,000 intelligence agents, IRGC guards, Basij militants, plainclothes agents, and state security forces in Tehran alone to readily stifle any protest.
In some areas of Tehran, security forces would not even tolerate a congregation of three people.
Security forces blocked the streets leading to Enghelab Square in downtown Tehran. Helicopters were hovering over the city, and security forces shot people with pellet guns.
Despite the regime’s heightened security measures and internet restrictions, Iranians once again showed their determination to overthrow the regime. Protests and nightly skirmishes with security forces took place in various cities, including Tehran, Kermanshah, Mashhad, Sanandaj, Junaqan, Arak, Hamedan, Rasht, Karaj, Sabzevar, Lahijan, and Dehdasht on Saturday, September 16. This occurred while the regime’s military and paramilitary forces were on high alert for several weeks.
At least 600 women were arrested in Tehran alone
At least 600 women were arrested in Tehran on the anniversary of the Iran uprising and the murder of Zhina Mahsa Amini.
According to this report, 130 women are detained in the quarantine ward of Qarchak Prison. The authorities have filed cases against these women with the Judiciary. (The state-run Baharnews.ir, September 21, 2023)
Earlier reports indicated that 360 women arrested during Tehran’s September 16, 2023 protests had been transferred to Qarchak Prison. Among those arrested was the 14-year-old Yekta Dodangeh.
Business and shop owners in dozens of cities in Iranian Kurdistan closed their shops and markets. They went on strike to mark the anniversary of the Iran uprising and the murder of Mahsa Amini.
In Mashhad, anti-riot vehicles were stationed along the streets in huge numbers. Basij mercenaries and plainclothes agents were roaming the streets on motorcycles to create an atmosphere of terror. Nevertheless, many women and youths took to the streets and chanted anti-regime slogans.
Heavy clashes were also reported from Kermanshah between young protesters and security forces, which started at dusk and continued through the night, forcing the repressive forces to retreat.
The official IRNA news agency reported on September 16 that some norm-breakers who had covered their faces with masks had tried to incite riots in some districts of Tehran from Enghelab to Ferdowsi avenues. Organized in groups of three to seven, they tried to chant slogans downtown near Tehran University, Valiasr intersection, and Enghelab Square. Other groups tried to assemble in Shariati Ave., Sattarkhan, Sadeghieh, and parts of east and north Tehran. IRNA wrote the SSF used tear gas to disperse the crowds of protesters. (IRNA, September 16, 2023)
The following photos show the brutality of security forces towards those who dared to go to the streets.
Violent Attack on Women Detained in Qarchak Prison
At noon on Saturday, September 16, 2023, Khamenei’s mercenaries launched a violent attack, opening fire on defenseless women detained in Qarchak Prison. The harrowing incident resulted in at least 20 inmates being wounded.
These incarcerated women had gathered to commemorate the first anniversary of the Iran uprising following Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and to protest against the inhuman conditions prevailing within the prison. Tragically, their peaceful demands were met with a vicious and unprovoked raid by prison guards. The guards callously fired pellet guns at the protesting women, injuring at least 20 individuals. At the same time, many prisoners suffered harm due to the blows inflicted by the guards.
In the wake of this horrific attack, numerous inmates were beaten, forcibly removed from the general ward, and placed in solitary confinement. The situation escalated to where parts of the prison caught fire, subsequently spreading to several other wards.
Eyewitnesses reported smoke billowing from the prison grounds, accompanied by the ominous echoes of gunshots within its confines. The severing of phone lines has compounded the situation, leaving the public uninformed and in the dark regarding the specifics of these alarming incidents.
The detainees in Qarchak were deprived of boiling water, food, and medicine. Many of the prisoners face new cases. A notorious judge, Mohammad Reza Amouzad, was stationed in Qarchak to expedite the issuing of sentences for the women detained in this prison.
On Sunday, September 17, 2023, there were widespread confrontations between women and youths in Hamedan on the one hand and the regime’s brutal IRGC and security forces on the other, with chants of “death to Khamenei” and “death to the Republic of Executions.”
Young women and youths in Hamedan chanted, “We will kill whoever killed my sister,” in the face of security forces. The protests took place in District 13 of the city.
In a shocking scene, dozens of security forces surrounded a lone young woman in the street to arrest her.
Video footage from the city shows one-on-one clashes between youths and security forces and the sound of shooting.
Brave women came out to the streets of Rasht (N. Iran) and Mashhad (NE Iran) and chanted anti-regime slogans in bright daylight.
Young people rallied courageously in Lahijan, in Gilan province (N. Iran), on Saturday, September 16, the anniversary of the Iran uprising.
People chanted anti-regime slogans calling for the overthrow of the “child-killing” regime and the “bloodthirsty Khamenei” from their rooftops in various districts of Tehran, Urmia, Karaj, and other cities on Sunday, September 17.
An occupied country
The stringent security measures and the atmosphere of terror had escalated to a level where even former members and insiders of the regime felt compelled to speak out.
On September 17, an article by Rahim Ghomeyshi, a retired IRGC member and a former POW during the Iran-Iraq war, was posted on various social media outlets.
“What I witnessed today on Tehran’s streets, and by no means am I exaggerating it, if a foreign nation would invade and take control of Tehran and Iran, they couldn’t have amassed this many forces on the streets to convince the people that their country is occupied, claiming that resistance is futile. The sheer number of black and brown motorbikes ridden by the occupying forces throughout the city is astounding….
“The prisoner transport vehicles they brought could potentially carry tens of thousands of people. The resources and display of force I witnessed today could account for a significant portion of the country’s oil revenue consumption.”
The IRGC veteran concluded, “I forgot to mention the brave girls marching in groups. Some with veils, some without, some with their mothers, some with their fathers, and some with their friends. So spirited, so carefree. I shivered with fear, but they boldly smiled in front of the security forces. I wish I could have taken a photo or a video.”
Resistance Units keep the flame alight despite high risks
The IRGC Intelligence, the Intelligence Ministry, and the State Security Force announced the arrests of 357 individuals in Tehran, Karaj, Marvdasht, Boein Zahra, West Azerbaijan, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad, and Kurdistan, as announced by various media outlets on September 17.
They also reported the arrests of dozens of individuals affiliated with the opposition PMOI.
Nevertheless, the PMOI Resistance Units carried out 414 anti-repression operations in Tehran and 40 other cities at the height of repression in just two days.
Approving the new Hijab bill to crack down on students
On the eve of the new academic year, the clerical regime’s parliament adopted the controversial and suppressive Hijab and Chastity Bill in an open session on Wednesday, September 20, 2023.
On Monday, September 25, social media posts showed images of camouflaged vehicles on parade inside Tehran University and playing anthems from the Iran-Iraq wartime.
Some state-backed student councils also posted banners indicating the new regulations for students on how to dress for school. The councils have also sent text messages to students indicating the new regulations.
Female agents check female students’ clothing at the entrance. They warn students and allow female students only if they wear the Maghnaeh, a head covering that covers the shoulders and the chest. Female students are also required to wear knee-long fatigues.
The Hijab patrols also roam around the central campus and give warnings to students.
Similar reports have emerged from Amir Kabir, Al-Zahra, Allameh Tabatabaii, and Kharazmi universities in Tehran and Isfahan’s University of Art.
The Medical School of Kerman has also posted a banner on the regulations for the clothing of its students.
In the University of Shiraz, they have installed facial recognition technology in the university’s restaurants to impose more restrictions on students. The Shiraz University management has spent 700 million Tomans to install this technology and identify the students who breach the regulations.
Even the “coffee shops” surrounding universities are not spared from these extensive security measures.
The president of Tehran University has ordered the closure of coffee shops around the university. According to Ali Mobini Dehkordi, the director of the City of Knowledge of Tehran University and the School of Medical Sciences, the measure is part of the plan to organize the central campus of Tehran University and the School of Medical Sciences on September 29, 2023.
There were 150 coffee shops around Tehran University in September 2022. One of the websites affiliated with the Headquarters of the Armed Forces said on September 29 that the coffee shops are growing like mushrooms and are not being monitored or are weakly monitored. They have, therefore, turned into centers for actions against security and religion. It said in these coffee shops, people set up networks against national security and the Islamic Republic.
All evidence shows that Khamenei is concerned about potential protests taking place in schools. However, extending the purification project in universities and applying it to schools under the guise of “transformation” indicates merely the regime’s fear of an imminent uprising.
The uprising in Zahedan – more than 50 arrested
On Friday, September 29, 2023, the first anniversary of Zahedan’s Bloody Friday massacre, Baluch people in several cities across Sistan and Baluchestan province held anti-regime protest rallies. These rallies took place despite extensive security measures by the regime and heavy security presence in cities, especially in Zahedan. The regime had dispatched anti-riot forces and heavy weapons to prevent any protest.
In Zahedan, a large group gathered around the Makki Mosque to commemorate the victims of the grim massacre, chanting anti-regime slogans.
Courageous Baluch women participated in the Zahedan uprising, rallying with slogans such as “Death to the oppressive Khamenei” and “Death to the dictator.”
At the same time, protests took place in other cities, including Khash, Suran, and Taftan. In Kahsh, many people gathered and chanted, “Death to Khamenei!” and “IRGC and Basij are our murderers!”
The regime responded with repression. According to NetBlocks, an organization that tracks internet connectivity worldwide, the regime restricted access to the internet in Zahedan and other parts of Sistan and Baluchestan.
In Zahedan, security forces attacked protesters, opening fire and shooting tear gas. Several videos from Zahedan show security forces firing at protesters.
But the brave people of Zahedan resisted with bare hands and forced the security forces to retreat. According to initial reports, dozens of people were injured by security forces, including several children. More than 50 were arrested during the uprising.
On Saturday, September 30, on the anniversary of the Zahedan Bloody Friday, merchants and traders in Zahedan, Chabahar, Saravan, Dashtiari, Sefidab-e Nimruz, and other cities initiated a strike. The shared market in Zahedan remained completely closed. Simultaneously, courageous Baluch youth, during the night and today, illuminated the streets with fire and barricaded roads throughout various areas of Zahedan, paying homage to the martyrs of September 30th last year.
A group of young Iranian women in a high school in Tabriz marked the anniversary of the bloody crackdown on worshipers in Zahedan on September 30, 2022, and commemorated their martyrs.
They sat on the floor in a symbolic gesture reminiscent of the popular martyr of Zahedan protests, Khodanoor Lojeii. Other women held similar gestures in other cities.
At least 113 individuals, including dozens of minors and two elderly women, were killed in the bloody Friday of Zahedan.
Amnesty Iran posted tweets that wrote, “No official has been held accountable for the unlawful killings of scores of men, women, and children from Iran’s oppressed Baluchi minority on 30 Sept 2022. On the solemn anniversary of #bloodyFriday, we remember the victims and stand together in the pursuit of justice.
“States around the world MUST pursue pathways for justice at the international level to address systemic impunity for a litany of crimes under international law committed by Iranian officials to suppress the #WomanLifeFreedom uprising.”
It is only a matter of time before another uprising erupts in Iran. And the regime’s measures to prevent it are proving more futile by the day.