A police motorcycle burns during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's "morality police", in Tehran, Iran September 19, 2022.

Iran Activists Blame Regime For Any Violence On Protest Anniversary

Thursday, 08/31/2023

Amid intensified pressures on the anniversary of the Iranian protests, 12 political activists have warned the government to avoid igniting the people's anger. 

In a statement issued on August 30, the dissidents condemned the government's scaremongering ahead of the anniversary and called for sympathy with young protesters. 

During recent arrests, including the detention of popular singer Mehdi Yarahi, the government posted pictures of his harsh treatment with the obvious intention of scaring others who might support the protests. Social media activists called on others to avoid reposting the pictures and frightening potential protesters and their supporters. 

Also reports on Wednesday said that security forces used violence while they arrested Iranian journalist Nazila Maroufian for the 4th time this year. 

Iranian journalist Nazila Maroufian

The joint statement, signed by activists including Mehdi Nasiri (the former editor of Kayhan newspaper who is now a staunch critic of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei), former student leader and political prisoner Abdollah Momeni, dissident cleric Shahabeddin Haeri Shirazi, and reformist figure Abdollah Naseri, among others, emphasizes that any security, military, or judicial measures taken against protesters on the anniversary of the Women, Life, Freedom movement will only further fuel the accumulated anger of Iranians.

The statement additionally asserts that protesting "erroneous policies that have brought the country to the brink of collapse" and expressing dissent toward "the government's detrimental actions" are integral aspects of Iranians' rights as citizens. The statement also emphasizes the importance of holding the government responsible for its "harmful policies," and suggests that the government should not avoid its duty towards the nation.

The signatories strongly denounced the harassment faced by the families of individuals who were either killed or injured during the protests. They emphasized that subjecting these families to such treatment would equate to a violation of the citizenship rights of the Iranian people. Moreover, the signatories also criticized the parliament for passing new legislation concerning hijab, deeming it illogical and a means to infringe upon the rights of the people.

Quoting several political analysts on the subject, Iranian Lawyer Pegah Bani-Hashemi told Iran International television that "Even those who do not believe in regime change predict that the government might start a period of unprecedented bloodshed in Iran."

Meanwhile, Iranian journalist Reza Haji Hosseini, in a conversation with Iran International TV, found it peculiar that the activists who aimed to show solidarity with the Women, Life, Freedom movement through this statement did not include any women among their ranks. Nevertheless, he acknowledged the courage exhibited by the signatories. They boldly cautioned the government against potential severe actions on the movement's anniversary, especially as the government appears resolute in quashing any form of protest.

In another interview with the Iran International TV, political activist Damoun Mohammadi said: "Not only scaring the people and political and human rights activists will not have any positive result for the regime, but it is more likely to flare up further protests." 

Iran International journalist Siamak Ghaderi highlighted that the statement serves as evidence that despite the government’s efforts to suppress activists and protesters, the movement remains vibrant and active within the fabric of Iranian society. 

The statement from Iranian activists warns that any attempt to suppress protests on the anniversary could pose a significant threat to Iran. It emphasizes that the government and its decision-makers will be held accountable for all repercussions stemming from any acts of violence.

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