Iran anniversary: ​​How the regime is tackling the protests

Iran anniversary: ​​How the regime is tackling the protests
Syrian women show solidarity with Iranian women.

Amini’s father had just left his home in Saghes when Revolutionary Guard units arrested him, the Norway-based human rights organization Hengaw reported on Telegram. The power apparatus wants to prevent new street protests on Saturday with strict security precautions in the Kurdish areas.

The father is at large again. Shortly after his arrest, the man was brought back home, the Paris-based group Kurdistan Human Rights Network reported on Saturday on X, formerly Twitter. Hengaw had previously reported the arrest. The Iranian state media then dismissed this news as a “false report”. The state news agency IRNA reported, citing “informed circles,” that Amini’s father was at home. According to the Kurdish activists, the man was briefly interrogated. Amini’s family is said to have been intimidated in recent weeks.

Video: first anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death

Memorial service at Amini’s grave prevented

Apparently, the temporary arrest was intended to prevent a memorial service planned by Amini’s family at her grave. According to human rights organizations, Amini’s father was temporarily arrested as he left his home on Saturday and again warned not to hold a memorial service. He was then detained at home. There was no sign of a memorial at Amini’s grave in Saghes cemetery on Saturday. Human rights groups said security forces blocked access to the cemetery.

According to Iranian intelligence, there were several arrests in the Kurdish areas. In the early hours of Saturday, several people were arrested for taking photos and videos of shops, the Tasnim news agency reported. Tasnim is considered the mouthpiece of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), which forms the second pillar of the armed forces alongside the regular army. “These people (…) tried to create insecurity and were arrested by the security and intelligence services of the Kurdistan Province,” it said.

Worst uprisings in decades

This Saturday marks the first anniversary of Amini’s death, which triggered the worst uprisings in Iran in decades in autumn 2022. Islamic moral watchdogs arrested the then 22-year-old because she was allegedly wearing a headscarf incorrectly. What exactly happened afterwards remains unclear to this day – the young woman ultimately fell into a coma and died in a hospital.

Amini’s parents early on expressed doubts about the state’s claim that their daughter had died as a result of an illness. They gave numerous interviews to local and international media and thus found themselves in the crosshairs of the judiciary. Thousands of people flocked to Amini’s funeral. Starting in the Kurdish regions, the protests spread like wildfire.

Military units and surveillance cameras in action

Eyewitnesses reported on Friday that military units and other emergency services had been relocated to towns around Amini’s hometown of Saghes. Many new surveillance cameras have also been installed. Residents of the Kurdish areas also spoke of increased controls.

Video: Human rights activist on protests in Iran

After the death of Jina Mahsa Amini, the young generation in particular took to the streets against the repressive policies of the Islamic leadership under the slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom”. The state authorities violently suppressed the protests that had kept the country in suspense for months. At the behest of the Iranian judiciary, seven men were executed in connection with the demonstrations. As a sign of silent protest, many women still ignore the obligation to wear a headscarf – this has never happened to this extent in Iran before.

There were initially no calls for protests out of concern that the emergency services would again resort to violence on the day of his death. People in the Kurdish areas still wanted to mark the day, for example by closing shops. In other cities, too, the power apparatus took precautions against possible new protests. While everyday life has largely been the norm in the past few days, more police officers were seen around public places, especially after dark.

Sanctions imposed

While demonstrators in Iran fear for their safety, rallies and demos are planned in Austria and other countries to mark the anniversary. Ahead of the explosive date, the USA and the EU imposed new sanctions in connection with the brutal suppression of the protests. Washington announced on Friday punitive measures against 25 Iranian individuals, three Iranian state-backed media outlets and an Iranian company that conducts internet research.

The US acted in coordination with Great Britain, Canada, Australia and other partners who also wanted to impose sanctions this week, the Foreign Ministry said. In addition, visa restrictions were imposed on 13 Iranian officials who were involved in the arrest or killing of peaceful demonstrators and in restricting freedom of expression and assembly. US President Joe Biden had previously assured the protesters of continued support on the first anniversary of Amini’s death.

According to information from Friday, four people and six institutions and companies are affected by the EU punitive measures. These include two high-ranking police officers, a representative of the elite unit of the Iranian armed forces, as well as several prisons and the Tasnim news agency, which the EU accuses, among other things, of publishing false confessions from protest participants.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) condemned violence by security forces against peaceful demonstrators in Iran on the anniversary of the death of Iranian resistance icon Jina Mahsa Amini. The perpetrators of such violence must be held accountable, Schallenberg demanded in a broadcast on Saturday. “Women’s rights apply worldwide and therefore also in Iran,” emphasized the minister.

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