Iran Crisis Update, October 25
Nicholas Carl, Zachary Coles, Johanna Moore, and Frederick W. Kagan
October 25, 5:00 pm ET
The Iran Crisis 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). To receive Iran Crisis Updates via email, please subscribe here.
Protest activity will likely increase—possibly significantly—on October 26 to commemorate the 40th day since the regime killed Mahsa Amini. Protest organizations such as the neighborhood youth groups have continued to call for countrywide demonstrations on October 26. Many protest organizations continue to use revolutionary rhetoric in describing the planned demonstrations. Iranians commonly hold a commemoration on the 40th day after a death. Anti-regime protests similarly erupted 40 days after security forces killed Neda Agha Soltan—a young Iranian protester—during the Green Movement in 2009. Security forces killed Agha Soltan on June 20, 2009, and the commemoration was on July 30, 2009.
The regime has likely prepared to preempt and crush the planned protests on October 26, especially given their potential to strengthen the protest movement. The regime will likely disrupt internet services and telecommunications in the early morning throughout Iran to stymie protester coordination and organization. The regime will also likely deploy security forces ostentatiously throughout major cities to deter and intimidate demonstrators and use force if the protests gain traction.
Protesters may coordinate further demonstrations against the Islamic Republic for the 40-day commemorations of other secular martyrs, such as Nika Shakarami and Sarina Esmail Zadeh, in this protest movement. Forty days after Shakarami disappeared is October 30, and 40 days after Esmail Zadeh died is November 2.
- Protest activity will likely increase—possibly significantly—on October 26 to commemorate the 40th day since the regime killed Mahsa Amini.
- Anti-regime protests occurred in at least 13 cities in 11 provinces.
- University students heckled a senior Raisi administration official attempting to engage student protesters for the second consecutive day.
- The IRGC announced that unidentified militants killed one IRGC member and one Basij member in Zahedan, Sistan and Baluchistan Province.
Anti-regime protests occurred in at least 13 cities in 11 provinces on October 25. CTP assesses with moderate to high confidence that protests occurred in the following locations:
- Karaj, Alborz Province (Several dozen Karaj Technical and Vocational Girls’ University students protested on campus and chanted “students are in prison, our professors are suffering”)
- Ardabil City, Ardabil Province (A dozen Ardabil University of Medical Sciences students chanted “freedom, freedom, freedom” in the university cafeteria)
- Shahr-e Kord, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province (50-100 Shahr-e Kord University students protested on campus)
- Esfahan City, Esfahan Province (100-200 Azad University of Esfahan students protested on campus and chanted “Sanandaj and Zahedan [are] the eye and lamp of Iran”)
- Rasht, Gilan Province (Several dozen high school students protested and chanted “freedom, freedom, freedom” in Rasht streets)
- Hamedan, Hamedan Province (Several dozen Bou Ali Sina University and Hamedan University of Medical Sciences students protested on campus; security forces reportedly beat Bou Ali Sina University students who removed their headscarves)
- Kerman City, Kerman Province (Several dozen Azad University of Kerman students protested on campus and chanted “neither Gaza nor Lebanon, I sacrifice my life for Iran”)
- Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi Province (Mashhad firefighters protested against low pay in Mashhad streets; 50-100 Mashhad University students protested on campus and chanted “it’s not the only day, it’s going to be every day)
- Qom City, Qom Province (Qom University students heckled a regime spokesperson speaking on campus and chanted “freedom, freedom, freedom”; plainclothed security forces reportedly clashed with protesters)
- Tehran City, Tehran Province (50-100 Azad University of Tehran students protested in Tehran streets; a dozen Allameh University students protested on campus; several dozen Soroor University students protested on campus; 50-100 Markaz University students chanted “freedom, freedom, freedom” on campus)
- Qods, Tehran Province (50-100 Azad University of Qods students protested on campus and chanted “freedom, freedom, freedom”)
- Yazd City, Yazd Province (100-200 Yazd University students protested gender segregation and chanted “woman, life, freedom” in the campus cafeteria)
CTP assess with low confidence that protests occurred in the following locations:
- Sabzevar, Khorasan Razavi Province (Undetermined number of Hakim Sabzevari University students protesting on campus)
University students heckled a senior Raisi administration official attempting to engage student protesters for the second consecutive day. Khajeh Nasir Tousi University of Technology students chanted anti-regime slogans while Raisi Administration Spokesperson Ali Bahadori Jahromi attempted to deliver a speech on October 24. Qom University students heckled Jahromi while he attempted to deliver a similar speech on October 25.
The IRGC announced that unidentified militants killed one IRGC member and one Basij member in Zahedan, Sistan and Baluchistan Province on October 25. It is unclear whether protesters or anti-regime insurgents killed the security officers.
Axis of Resistance and Regional Developments
IRGC Telegram channels reported anti-government protests in Baku calling for regime change and improved human rights in Azerbaijan on October 25. CTP cannot verify these reports. Local Azerbaijani media reported that the Azerbaijani Popular Front Party (AXCP) organized protests in Baku on October 24 and 25.
Tensions have increased between Iran and Azerbaijan in recent weeks over the latter allegedly hosting Israeli agents and trying to establish a land corridor connecting Azerbaijan proper to its Nakhchivan autonomous enclave. An IRGC Telegram account called for the regime to economically and militarily support separatist movements in the Nakhchivan republic to join Iran on October 23.
An IRGC Telegram channel advertised a new VPN service on October 25 likely to identify and monitor individuals seeking to circumvent regime internet restrictions.
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