Since the early days of protests many Iranians say on social media: “If protests stop, regime will kill us all”. While unrest still continues, the government has stepped up “legal” killings.
Nearly 80 days into the protests, the regime seems exhausted and frustrated over its inability to quell the uprising, resorting to more executions, harsher sentences, extrajudicial detentions and intimidations.
Remarks by a member of the parliament national security committee, Shahriar Haydari, published on Friday show that the regime might be changing course in dealing with the unrest that convulsed Iran following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini. Trying to project the idea that the protests have come to an end, he said that about the 90 percent of the people who were out on streets were protesters and only 10 percent were “rioters” a term that the authorities, including the Supreme Leader and the president, have been using to describe the popular uprising.
The change in the discourse may seem like an acknowledgment of the demands of the people in face of the dire economic conditions and lack of freedoms, but it can simply serve as a pretext for the regime to execute the “10 percent,” whom Haydari described as “rioters, thugs, terrorists, and agents of foreign intelligence services.” The Islamic Republic has ways to bend the laws of the country to execute people for on trumped up charges in the absence of due process of law.
Despite growing warnings by foreign countries and international organizations over the crackdown on dissent, the Islamic Republic has intensified repressive measures with reports of accelerated death sentences and executions. The clampdown is especially harsh in Kurdish and Baluch majority regions in western and southeastern parts of the country.
Mohammad Rakhshani and Ali Rakhshani, who reportedly face danger of imminent execution
In recent days, Baluch local media reported that two minors – identified as Mohammad Rakhshani and Ali Rakhshani -- are in danger of imminent execution. However, the reports were denied by the prosecutor of Sistan-Baluchistan province. But there are other confirmed reports that at least seven residents of the province – all from the persecuted Baluch ethnic minority – were executed last week.
Social media is also full of audio footage or reports of prisoners who are in critical condition and the regime denies them the necessary medical care to keep them alive. Many of the protesters have been arrested after being injured by shotgun birdshots as well as being beaten by batons or suffering tear gas attacks. Almost none of them are taken to hospitals as there are numerous videos of ambulances transferring the injured directly to detention centers. Some of the protesters have been injured during interrogations and torture after they were arrested. One of the strategies of the regime forces is to keep them in such a bad condition for a long time that they cannot participate in rallies again, even after their probable release.
It seems that the regime has started to release celebrities or prominent dissident figures as a show that it is managing the situation but intensifying pressure on ordinary people whose arrest or deaths would not get a large media attention in the international community.