Protesters firebombed a seminary in the Shiite religious center of Qom on Nov. 18, 2022

Protesters firebombed a seminary in the Shiite religious center of Qom on Nov. 18, 2022

WWII ‘Churchill Club’ Inspires Iranian Dissidents

Thursday, 12/15/2022

The WWII Danish schoolboys club that launched acts of sabotage against the Nazis has inspired the formation of similar groups among anti-regime protesters in Iran.

The Churchill Club (Churchill-klubben in Danish) was a group of eight teenage schoolboys who under the leadership of the sixteen-year-old Knud Pedersen began targeting German occupation forces in Aalborg in 1941 and succeeded in carrying out 25 acts of sabotage before being arrested some months later.

The idea of small, independent cells to target the government and security forces with acts of sabotage across Iran was proposed by an activist on Twitter only three days ago but has already become quite popular with others on social media, who have created the “Shekari Club” hashtag and are heatedly discussing it.

Mehdi Hajati who proposed the idea in a tweet Monday, also suggested that “honorable sabotage” groups be named after Mohsen Shekari, a 23-year-old protester whose execution Thursday has enraged many Iranians.

Already, acts of sabotage directed at the government have also been reported in the past three months including firebombing buildings belonging to the Basij militia of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), offices of government-appointed Friday imams and lawmakers, statues of Qasem Soleimani, the Qods Force commander who was killed by the US in Baghdad in January 2020, and banners of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in various cities.

The voice in the video says the governor’s office in Shandiz, near the city of Mashhad in northeast Iran, was set on fire Wednesday in retaliation for the execution of Mohsen Shekari and Majidreza Rahnavard.

Pundits in Iran have warned that as the government offers no olive branch to the disgruntled population and hangs young people who have no criminal record, it pushes the protests to a revolutionary phase, and one of the characteristics of this phase would be underground activities.

Hajati explained that ‘Shekari Clubs’ can consist of two to several members who act independently and have no connection with each other. They can destroy “anything that belongs to the government or serves it”. He argued that “honorable sabotage” could help in the war against the regime now that protester turnout on the streets has dropped “for whatever reason”.

He also suggested that these groups target urban CCTV cameras as a first step in their activities as security forces use them to identify and arrest protesters.

Both Mohsen Shekari and Majidreza Rahnavard, a second protester hanged December 12 were caught with the help of footage taken by urban and private CCTV cameras. He proposed to issue a warning to citizens to remove their CCTV cameras in public places within a certain period before targeting them.

Hajati, an expatriate former reformist member of Shiraz City Council, was known for his anti-corruption campaigns during his tenure. He left the country after a year of imprisonment for defending the rights of the outlawed Baha’i religious minority.

An expatriate former police lieutenant who says he had to flee Iran after refusing to suppress protests in 2018, Fariborz Karamizand, has also been encouraging protesters to target CCTV cameras, which he calls “Satan’s eyes”.

Using his own experience, Karamizand who has become extremely popular on social media regularly posts videos to teach protesters how to fight against security forces on the streets and how to target government buildings or carry out other acts of sabotage against it.

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