Iran Project

Iran Crisis Update, October 31

The regime has begun indicting and sentencing arrested protesters as part of the increasingly harsh and uncompromising stance that the regime has adopted toward the ongoing protests. Tehran Provincial Chief Justice Ali al Ghasi Mehr announced the indictment of around 1,000 protesters on October 31. Shiraz Provincial Chief Justice Asadollah Jafari announced the indictment of 70 protesters, six of whom the regime has already found guilty. Mehr and Jafari both noted that the judiciary will open protester trials to the public. The regime will likely use these show trials to make an example of some arrested protesters and deter future demonstrations. If the regime shows trials, convictions, and then death sentences of teenagers, it may further fuel rather than diminish enthusiasm for demonstrations.

Iran Crisis Update, October 30

The regime is escalating its protest crackdown in a way that could fuel an enduring and increasingly violent uprising against the political establishment. Protests continued on October 30 despite the call from Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Major General Hossein Salami for the immediate end of protests on October 29. Protest organizations have called for more demonstrations from November 1-3. The regime will likely intensify its crackdown further in the coming days as protests continue. Such an escalation will likely cause protesters to either stop demonstrating or escalate further themselves in response.

Iran Crisis Update, October 28

Iranian security personnel fired live ammunition and tear gas at anti-regime demonstrators in Zahedan, Sistan Baluchistan Province on October 28 as protesters commemorated the regime’s brutal crackdown there four weeks earlier. Iranian security forces may have deployed snipers to help violently suppress dissent. Iranian social media users reported that security forces killed at least two protesters-- possibly including a 12-year-old boy--although the true figure is likely higher. Cybersecurity watchdog NetBlocks confirmed severe internet disruptions in Zahedan on October 28. Protests likely commenced during Friday prayer sermons at the Makki Grand Mosque in Zahedan, where hundreds of worshippers gathered to commemorate the regime’s violent September 30 crackdown on anti-regime demonstrations. Some worshippers carried signs with slogans unique to the Mahsa Amini protest wave, including ”woman, life, freedom.” Online footage shows significant crowds participating in anti-regime protests throughout the city later that day. Anti-regime demonstrations in Zahedan may become increasingly common on Fridays as residents seek to commemorate protesters killed by regime security personnel.

Iran Crisis Update, October 24

Some Iranian social media users are invoking the November 2019 gasoline protests as the ongoing, anti-regime protests enter the Persian calendar month of Aban (October 23-November 21, 2022). Some Persian-language accounts have described the ongoing protests as the continuation of the gasoline protests, which are often referred to as the Aban protests since they occurred primarily from November 15-19, 2019. Estimates of civilians killed by the state security services in November 2019 range from 304 to 1,500.

Iran Crisis Update, October 22

Anti-regime protests in Iran occurred in at least 24 cities in 18 provinces on October 22—a significant increase from the protest activity in recent days. Protest organizations called for countrywide demonstrations on October 22 as CTP previously reported. Protestors are continuing to organize demonstrations despite ongoing and severe internet and telecommunications censorship. The protest organizations have called for additional demonstrations on October 26—the 40th day since the morality patrol killed Mahsa Amini.

Iran Crisis Update, October 17

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) began a three-day military exercise along the Iran-Azerbaijan border on October 17 likely to threaten Azerbaijan for allegedly hosting Israeli intelligence agents. The IRGC is using this exercise to demonstrate its capability to attack Azerbaijan and strike targets in Azerbaijani territory. The exercise includes artillery, helicopters, tanks, and missiles. The IRGC announced plans to practice bridging the river that divides Iran and Azerbaijan for the first time during this exercise. The IRGC is using the Fateh-360 short-range ballistic missile, which has a reported operational range of 120 kilometers, in this exercise. IRGC-affiliated media boasted that the IRGC has previously used these missiles for cross-border attacks into Iraqi Kurdistan. An IRGC-affiliated journalist tweeted that the exercise signals the readiness of the IRGC to confront Azerbaijan.

Iran Crisis Update, October 16

The IRGC may resume attacks against targets in Iraqi Kurdistan in the coming days. IRGC and Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) media outlets blamed Kurdish militants’ presence in Iraqi Kurdistan for ongoing, anti-regime protests on October 16. LH-owned Al Ahed News recirculated an IRGC-owned media outlet article that claimed that Mossad agents have been working with Kurdish Komala militants to establish sabotage networks in Iran since 2021. IRGC Telegram channels also posted an October 16 statement from the chief of the Iranian Armed Forces General Staff, Mohammad Bagheri, warning that the IRGC will resume attacks into Iraqi Kurdistan if the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) fails to “deport or disarm the local militias.”

Iran Crisis Update, October 13

Expanding protests could strain Iranian state security services beyond their capabilities to respond in the coming days. Anti-regime protest organizations and social media accounts have called for protests in Khuzestan Province on October 14 and throughout the country on October 15. A group called the Youth of the Whole Country, which began tweeting on October 11, has repeated these calls and stated that it seeks to overthrow the regime. The group added that it has coordinated with local protest leaders throughout Iran. Numerous other Persian-language social media accounts with similar naming conventions are circulating on Twitter, claiming to represent Iranian protesters in cities across the country. The Youth of Tehran Neighborhoods tweeted that the October 15 demonstrations will be “the beginning of the end [for the regime].”

Iran Crisis Update, October 10

The ongoing, anti-regime protests could interact with and feed off of preexisting insurgencies in Iran. There are at least three active but low-level insurgencies in Iran’s northwestern, southwestern, and southeastern border regions. Iranian Arab, Baloch, and Kurdish militant groups have leveraged economic and political frustrations among marginalized minorities in Iran to fuel these groups’ anti-regime agendas for decades. These groups, which include the Kurdistan Free Life Party and Jaish al Adl, have historically conducted attacks into Iran and clashed with state security services regularly.

Iran Crisis Update, October 9

Iran may be preparing to escalate militarily against its foreign adversaries, including the US, in response to the ongoing, anti-regime protests. Likely Iranian-backed militants conducted a rocket attack against a US military base in northeastern Syria on October 8. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other senior political and security officials have accused the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia of coopting and stoking the protests in recent days. Senior Iranian military officers released a statement vowing to retaliate on October 6. Iranian forces or proxies may conduct additional attacks against US positions in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria, in response to what they claim is Washington’s role in the protests.