Hardliner cleric Ahmad Khatami

Iranian Cleric Threatens Physical Violence Against Future Demonstrators

Tuesday, 08/15/2023

A member of the Iranian Assembly of Experts issued a stern threat against any future protestors, saying that they would be met with forceful suppression.

Ahmad Khatami's remarks were made in response to last year's nationwide demonstrations after the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody, which he said were a "failure".

Addressing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces and police units on Monday, Khatami emphasized the imperative of safeguarding the Islamic Republic. “Preserving the Islamic Republic is one of our obligations,” he said, as well as praising the Basij militia forces for their actions in the previous protests. "Basij militia forces were persecuted during these events and sacrificed their lives so that the Islamic Republic would pass through this stage," Khatami said.

However, Khatami's statements sharply contrast with reports from independent media outlets and human rights organizations saying that Basij forces, in particular, were responsible for violent aggression against the protests. The Women, Life, Freedom protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, were met with severe and deadly oppression by the security and military forces of the Islamic Republic.

Although a precise tally of casualties is unclear, some media sources have verified and disclosed the identities of 373 individuals who lost their lives. Meanwhile, human rights entities such as the Iran Human Rights Organization and the US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) have placed the estimated death toll at over 500.

In his address, Ahmad Khatami summarized the various challenges that have beset the Islamic Republic over the past four decades. He remarked, "Many dangers have threatened the Islamic Republic during the past four decades and many of these dangers have been the danger of overthrow.”

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