Iranian protests enter second month

ByTalal Wasif Qavi

A barrister


October 22, 2022

Iranian Protests

Talal Wasif Qavi talks about proliferating protests

The current Iranian protests are unprecedented and are proliferating by the day and have now started to put pressure on influential international actors to condemn the harsh policies of the clerical regime of Iran. The pressure is also mounting on the regime internally as became evident by the acknowledgment of Iran’s Education Minister Yousef Nouri that school students had indeed been protesting and the government has been responding by detaining and sending them to mental health facilities.

He confirmed that the establishments are meant to reform the protesting students and rid them of their anti-social behaviors though, in actuality, mental health facilities act like detention centers and within them, psychologists and social workers follow strict government agenda and are not allowed to work independently with the children. Their aim is to brainwash them and often intimidate or threaten them and they come out worse than when they entered.

Many human rights groups claim that a large number of children are at risk as the protests have heavy youth participation. Rear Adm. Ali Fadavi, the deputy commander of the IRGC, placed the average age of those arrested in recent riots at 15 years old and he attributed the phenomenon to the neglect of education.

Rights groups say the crackdown on children has been brutal with the government responding to child protesters with arrests and even violence reporting that most of the boys were killed by security forces unlawfully firing live ammunition at them and three girls and a boy died after fatal beatings by security forces adding that two boys died after being shot with metal pellets at close range.

Tehran’s Narmak Area Iranian Protests

It is reported that overall 16% of deaths are children while a video obtained by CNN showed high school students in Tehran’s Narmak area protesting and chanting “Death to the dictator.” Iran also witnessed protests in October by high school students in the northern city of Rasht, as well as in Ghaleh Hassan Khan, a town east of Tehran.

The United Nation’s children agency UNICEF has also called for the protection of children and adolescents amid Iran’s protests. After years of enforced ideological education, authorities are now faced with a generation that is particularly defiant. It is a generation standing up to them.

Despite the major disruption to internet traffic protesters were seen pouring onto the streets of the northwestern city of Ardabil. Shopkeepers went on strike in the killed girl Mahsa Amini’s hometown Saqez, in Kurdistan province and Mahabad in West Azerbaijan. Schoolgirls in Ney village in Marivan began the protests by setting fires on the ground and yelling anti-government chants.

Youths were also seen demonstrating at universities in Tehran, Isfahan, and Kermanshah as they were responding to an appeal for a huge turnout for protests under the catch-cry “The beginning of the end!” The protest movement has started to elicit international support and the most crucial came from US President Joe Biden who said that he wanted to know the Iranian women that he stands by them and that he salutes their bravery.

He added that he was stunned by what it awakened in Iran and it awakened something that he does not think will be quieted for a long, long time. He also said that Iran has to end the violence against its own citizens by simply exercising their fundamental rights.

International Crackdown

The crackdown has drawn international condemnation and sanctions on Iran from Britain, Canada, and the United States. EU countries agreed this week to level new sanctions, and the move is due to be endorsed at the bloc’s foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg.

In response to the protests, the clerical state’s security forces have also launched a campaign of mass arrests of artists, dissidents, journalists, and athletes. Iranian filmmaker Mani Haghighi said the authorities barred him from traveling to the London Film Festival over his support for the protests. The British Film Institute said Haghighi had been due to attend the festival for his latest film “Subtraction” but the Iranian authorities confiscated his passport.

In their struggle for self-determination, Iranians are displaying a level of courage and cohesion that was not seen before. The unrest has underlined pent-up frustrations over freedoms and rights in Iran, with many women joining in. The deaths of several teenage girls reportedly killed while demonstrating have become a rallying cry for more protests.

Although the latest protests have persisted for weeks, the Iranian authorities have experienced quelling much longer bouts of unrest. In 2009, nationwide demonstrations that erupted over a disputed election lasted for about six months before finally being brought under control. The clerical regime is adept in handling such matters and has the patience to bear with it. Moreover, it is ruthless enough to go to any extent to quell it unless some external pressure is brought to bear on it.  The Weekender


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