WANA  (Nov 2022) – Protests have been going on in Iran for almost two months now. The news of these protests has been widely covered in social media and news networks. Although the grounds for these protests had arisen several months ago in disputes related to morality police at the national level, the incident that started one of the biggest protests in Iran in recent decades was the death of Mahsa Amini. In the following, we will review the main events that have occurred during the protests in the last two months.

People attend 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 21, 2022. WANA (West Asia News Agency) / Handout

14 September

The first photo of Mahsa Amini, also known as Jina Amini, in a coma on a hospital bed is published. News agencies and police report that Mahsa Amini, a girl from Saqqez, a city in the Kurdish region of Iran, who was on a trip with her family in Tehran, was arrested by the morality police for wearing an inappropriate hijab. While she and other girls were taken to the police station for a briefing class, she fainted and was taken to the hospital.

The hospital’s report indicates that Mahsa Amini fell into a coma due to a heart attack and cerebral infarction. Opposition groups inside and outside Iran are seeking to prove that Mahsa Amini suffered this accident as a result of being beaten by the police.

Mahsa Amini’s first photo from Kasra hospital (Right), Tehran – WANA / Social Media

 

Mehsa Amini’s family in Kasra Hospital located in Tehran. Many see the dishonesty of Mahsa’s father in stating his daughter’s underlying illness as the reason for the start of these riots. – WANA / Social Media

16 September

With the announcement of Mahsa Amini’s death, some people gathered in front of the hospital and chanted against the mandatory hijab. The Information Center of Tehran Police Command, in a statement, denies any beating by the police in relation to Mahsa Amini.

The President of Iran, Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, ordered the Ministry of Health and Forensic Medicine to investigate the cause of Mahsa Amini’s death as soon as possible. Also, the Iranian police force was asked to collect the reasons that caused this incident.

CCTV footage is released from the moment Mahsa Amini enters the police station and also the moment she faints. The release of this film caused some protesters to distance themselves from those who wanted to intensify the atmosphere.

A picture of Mahsa Amini in the building of moral police training classes in Tehran. Mahsa seems to have had a stroke or heart attack before starting this class. – WANA / Police released this Photo

The narrative of the Iranian government and the police about Mahsa’s death is that he probably suffered from underlying diseases that she had since childhood and due to the stress caused by detention. Mahsa Amini’s family, however, denies the existence of an underlying disease.

From the very first days, the Persian-language media opposing the Islamic Republic of Iran have changed their regular programs and are covering the issue of Mahsa Amini’s death full-time. Other news media of the world devoted part of their programs to the news coverage of the protests in Iran from the day after the funeral of the Queen of England.

The start of the media operations by Persian language outlets abroad immediately after the death of Mahsa Amini. These media are supported by Saudi Arabia and some western and Hebrew governments.

17 September

Mahsa Amini’s funeral was held in her hometown of Saqez, one of the cities of Kurdistan province. Many people participated in this event. Some women took off their headscarves and chanted against the mandatory hijab. Also, protesters chanted the slogan of women, life, freedom, which later became the main slogan of the protests.

A picture of Mahsa Amini’s grave, Saqez, Kurdistan province – Iran – WANA / Social Media

Social media users use the Mahsa Amini hashtag to criticize the Islamic Republic of Iran. They try to use this hashtag as much as possible to make it the most used hashtag on Twitter. and by using sentences that begin with “for…”, they raise the problems that they believe are caused by the mismanagement of the Islamic Republic of Iran. (The song “For…” was sung by a singer named Shervin Hajipour using these tweets and it went viral very quickly)

18 September

The President of Iran immediately calls the family of Mahsa Amini and expresses his sympathy and tells the Amini family that “the most important issue for us, in this case, is transparency and the implementation of justice.”   

In this call, Mr. Raisi states that “Your daughter is like my own daughter, and I feel that this incident happened to one of my loved ones. Consider me as your partner and sympathizer in your grief.”

Mahsa Amini’s family, while thanking the president for his immediate order to deal with the incident, as well as calling and expressing his sympathy, demanded to follow up on the issue until the various aspects of the issue are clarified.

Protests start in different cities of Iran such as Tehran, Isfahan, Sanandaj, Rasht, etc. And they happen in different streets of the city in an unconcentrated manner.

The official authorities invite the people to calm down and ask them to wait for the forensic answer regarding the cause of Mahsa Amini’s death. If the forensic report shows that Mahsa Amini went into a coma due to a beating, the judicial authorities will deal with the culprits.

Many are being pressured on Instagram and Twitter to participate in the strikes. Many digital media activists devote part of their activities to covering protests.

 

People light a fire 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 21, 2022. WANA (West Asia News Agency)

19 September

Student protests begin in various universities. And in the following days, conflicts arise between opposing students and defenders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The slogans in the gatherings are becoming more radical day by day and the main goal of the protests is not to oppose the mandatory hijab anymore but to change the entire regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Some slogans contain insults and sexual slogans against the armed forces and supporters of the regime, which provokes the anger of a group of people who are pro-government or neutral. They believe that these ugly slogans to a large extent reveal the nature of the protesters and show their anger at the lack of people’s support and their inability to achieve the result they want, which is the overthrow of the Islamic Republic. 

Some protestors seem to be looking to incite the police into more violent confrontations in the street, so that the Iranian police may lose control of the situation and resort to extreme violence against the rioters, and as a result, the protests will have more global news coverage.

 

21 September

Internet in Iran is cut off on this day and only servers inside Iran can be accessed. Apps such as WhatsApp, which is the main messenger used by Iranian people, as well as Instagram, which is the digital business platform of 9 million Iranians, are filtered. The Iranian government declares the reason for this filtering is the rioters’ use of these social networks to promote violent behavior, such as making Molotov cocktails and using them against the police. Clashes between the people and the police forces increase, and there are reports that several policemen and protesters have been killed in the protests.

Opposition groups attack celebrity pages on social networks, pressuring them to join this movement and publish subversive posts. A number of these celebrities are accompanying these protests for different reasons. Despite these restrictions, a large volume of content on the issue of forced hijab and the death of Mahsa Amini is still produced on social networks by Iranians inside Iran with the help of VPNs or Iranians abroad.

While Ebrahim Raisi was giving a speech at the UN General Assembly, protesters gathered near the UN headquarters, chanting slogans against the Iranian government.

Iran’s President Seyed Ebrahim Raisi holds up a picture of Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated in a U.S. attack, as he addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, U.S., September 21, 2022. WANA (West Asia News Agency) / President office

 

Documents related to Mahsa Amini’s medical history are presented, which show that she had an operation for a neurological condition (possibly a brain tumor) at the age of eight. Mahsa Amini’s father, who denied any underlying disease in the past, confirms the brain surgery, but still believes the condition was unrelated to Amini’s death

Many believe that Mahsa Amini’s father is getting dragged into the political environment of foreign news media that opposes the Islamic Republic of Iran. Like Iran International, which is led by Saudi Arabia. He denies the facts regardless of the harmful results of fanning the flames of protests. This is also true for many other protestors’ families.

22 September

CNN reporter Christian Amanpour, who was supposed to interview Ebrahim Raisi in New York, says the interview was canceled because she refused Raisi’s team’s request to wear a hijab.

WANA / Twitter

23 September

Groups of people in different cities gathered in support of the Islamic Republic and chanted slogans of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” considering foreign enemies to be the main cause of the recent disturbances. The images show the presence of a large number of Iranians in these marches.

WANA News Agency – Majid Asgaripour 

26 September

The president of Iran, who personally followed the case of the late Mahsa Amini from the very first days, believes that “for some, the main issue was not Mahsa Amini… The destruction of public property has started in some areas.”

27 September

Iranian singer Shervin Hajipour, who became famous for the first time by participating in the TV talent show “asre Jadeed”, made a song using people’s tweets that started with “For…” about the mismanagements of government. The video of him singing the song got 40 million views on Instagram within 24 hours. This song became the main song of the protests. The singer of this song was arrested two days later and was released on bail.

30 September

During the Friday prayer in Zahedan, some people were killed and injured as a result of the clashes that broke out in the police station near the place where the Friday prayer was held. The opposition groups of the Islamic Republic tried to use this incident to intensify ethnic differences and violence to achieve their political goals.

Creating division between Sunnis and Shiites has been one of the main plans of the opponents of the government in order to overthrow the Islamic Republic.

Molavi Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi, Iran’s  Sunni Cleric / Social Media

1 October

Protests continue in different cities of Iran. Demonstrations were held by Iranians in other major cities of the world. In Toronto, Canada, according to local reports, around 50,000 people participated in the protest rally.

2 October

In Sharif University, which is one of the most prestigious universities in Iran, there are clashes between the police and students, and as a result, some students are arrested. This conflict ended with the intervention of several university professors and the presence of the Minister of Science at the university. The students and professors of this university go on strike and announce that they will not attend classes until all the arrested students are released.

Sharif University, one of the most famous universities in Iran – Tehran. Protest gathering of students in the university campus. The harsh slogans and use of obscene words by some protesters had surprised many -WANA News Agency / Social Media

3 October 

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, in his first reaction to the protests, declared foreign enemies as the main cause of the unrest in Iran and condemned violence against the police, and insults against the sanctities of the people. The silence of the leader of Iran during this time angered many opponents of the Islamic Republic. Many believed that the silence of the leader of Iran is to humiliate domestic and foreign rioters. It is to say that we do not attach importance to these childish games of yours on the street and on social networks and we are not afraid of your riots.

In this speech, the leader of Iran says: “I say clearly that this planning is the work of the United States, the work of the usurping and fake Zionist regime and their followers; they have sat down and planned. Their workers and mercenaries and their salary earners and some traitorous Iranians who are outside the country have helped them.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reviews armed forces during a graduation ceremony for armed Forces Officers’ Universities at the police academy in Tehran, Iran October 3, 2022. Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/WANA (West Asia News Agency) / Handout Photo

 

The family of a teenager named Nika Shahkarami after 10 days without hearing from her claimed that their daughter was killed by the police after attending the protests. The Islamic Republic of Iran Radio and Television and the police also showed photos and videos of Nika Shahkarami’s body proving that she fell from a building near her residence and that it took 10 days to identify her because she did not have identification documents with her.

Nika Shahkarami’s family, however, rejects the police’s claims. The case of Nika Shahkarami and the cause of her death is still under investigation.

A picture of Nika ShahKarmi’s mother (Left) – WANA News Agency / Social Media

4 October

In a speech, Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi invited the people to unite and confirmed the words of the supreme leader about the interference of foreign countries in inciting people and managing riots.

There are many videos of teenage girls who take off their hijab and chant slogans against the Islamic Republic in schools. Perhaps one of the reasons for encouraging girls and women to participate in this movement is to exploit the population and capacity of Iranian women in this matter. They know that Iran’s military forces rarely deal with women in street protests, and on the other hand, the presence of women in these protests attracts more international attention.

A picture of a girl who takes off a scarf as a sign of protest against the mandatory hijab / WANA / Social Media

8 October

Channel 1 of IRIB is hacked for a few minutes and an image of the girls allegedly killed in the protests and the slogan “Women, Life, Freedom” is broadcasted. Contrary to the opinion of many people who think that Iranian TV is in the hands of fundamentalist parties, most of the employees of this national media are from reformist parties and it is possible that this happened with the help of some people inside the IRIB organization.

 

 

Image of the moment of the hacking of Iran’s national television by the opponents of the Islamic Republic of Iran – WANA 

 

Protests continue in universities and cities in Iran.

12 October

The police chief says that rioters wearing police uniforms are shooting at people to destroy the image of the police.

Police efforts to inform people not to be deceived by fake policemen. According to Iranian police, a number of people were killed or injured by fake policemen during the protests – WANA News Agency / Social Media

13 October

Clashes occur between the police and students in a girls’ high school in Ardabil. 12 students are taken to the hospital. One of these students named Asra Panahi dies in the hospital. As in other incidents, the protestors consider the main cause of his death to be beating by the police, but the police deny it.

Picture of a girls’ high school in Ardabil – WANA / Social Media

14 October

In one of his speeches, Ayatollah Khamenei compares the Islamic Republic to a strong tree that no one can uproot.

Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei (left) & President Ebrahim Raisi – WANA News Agency  / Handout Photo

15 October

Parts of Evin prison, where most political prisoners are kept, caught on fire. Officials consider the fire to be planned. During this fire, 8 prisoners were killed due to suffocation caused by fire smoke and conflicts with police forces.

A view of Evin prison, which is located in the north of Tehran. Most political prisoners are kept in this prison – WANA / Social Media

17 October

The European Union imposes sanctions against individuals and organizations in Iran under the pretext of human rights concerns.

22 October

According to the opposition, around 80,000 Iranians from various European cities held a rally in Berlin against the Islamic Republic of Iran in support of the Women, Life, Freedom movement. The German police estimated the number of participants in these gatherings to be around 38,000. Demonstrations were held in other cities of the world in support of Iran’s protests. Many experts believe that this gathering was planned and implemented with the help of all security services of European countries, Mossad, the CIA, and some Arab countries. It is said that a large number of attendees appeared in these gatherings with various threats and using various methods.

26 October

13 people were killed and 10 were injured during the terrorist attack in Shahcheragh, Shiraz. The attacker entered the Shahcheragh shrine with a Kalashnikov and shot people. ISIS took responsibility for this attack in a statement published in the Al-Amaq news agency affiliated with this group.

People carry the coffins of the Shah Cheragh Shrine attack casualties during a funeral ceremony in Shiraz, Iran October 29, 2022. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency)

 

In addition to condemning this terrorist attack, the authorities of the Islamic Republic blamed those who facilitate such incidents by creating disturbances in the country.

Iran considers Saudi Arabia and Israel to be involved in this bitter incident.

After the attack on pilgrims in Shahcheragh, most of the people of Iran demanded severe punishment for the terrorists. This incident increased the distance between the people and the rioters, and the number of protesters in the streets decreased day by day.

A bullet hole is seen after an attack at the ShahCheragh Shrine in Shiraz, Iran October 26, 2022. Amin Berenjkar / WANA (West Asia News Agency)

 

During these riots, in Ekbatan town of Tehran, some rioters stole a person named Arman Ali Verdi from the Basij supporters of the government, injured and tortured him with multiple stabs, and left him in the street. Arman Ali Verdi died of his injuries after being transferred to the hospital. The images of his tortured body angered many people over this violent behavior.

 

Rioters brutally killed one of supporters of Islamic Republic of Iran, named Arman Ali Verdi in Ekbatan town area in Tehran. They wanted this supporter of the system to insult the values of the IRI and Islam. Rioters killed him because he was not ready to insult the supreme leader of Iran. WANA News Agency / Social Media

 

A picture of Arman Ali Vardi’s funeral, who was brutally murdered by rioters – WANA / Social Media

28 October

In a joint statement, the Ministry of Intelligence and the IRGC Intelligence Organization pointed out the various aspects of the involvement of the spy services of hostile countries in the formation and management of riots. In a part of the said statement, Niloufar Hamedi and Elaha Mohammadi, two journalists who published the first reports about Mahsa Amini and were arrested by the security forces in the early days of the protests, were introduced as reporters who were “trained in the courses of the American mafia regime in foreign countries”.

Most of the employees of the Persian-language media outside Iran, as well as many political activists who have left Iran and are seeking to overthrow the Iranian government, belong to the left wing or the reformists. The reformist party, especially its radical forces, is famous for seeking to westernize Iranian society.

 

Nilufar Hamedi and Elaha Mohammadi were arrested for collaborating with the CIA during the recent riots – WANA / Social Media

In different cities, people held demonstrations after Friday prayers to condemn the attack on Shahcheragh and the rioters who were disrupting national security.

2 November

Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized in his speech to a group of students that the protesting youths are “our own children and we have no argument with them”. “But the important thing is the original directors who came in with the plan.” And once again emphasized the role of foreign forces in directing the riots.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gestures during a meeting with a group of students in Tehran, Iran November 2, 2022. Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/WANA (West Asia News Agency)

 

Artin, an Iranian child who was injured in the Shah Cheragh shrine attack and whose family members (Father, mother and his brother) were killed in this attack. Iran November 2, 2022. Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/WANA (West Asia News Agency)

3 November

Joe Biden emphasized in his speech in an election campaign that the protesters in Iran will soon succeed in liberating Iran. The US State Department withdrew from this position and declared that the US does not seek to overthrow the Iranian government. An opinion that Tehran never accepts and believes that the plan to change and overthrow the Iranian regime has always been and will be on the agenda of the Americans.

Joe Biden, President of USA / Social Media

4 November

On the anniversary of the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran, many rallies were held in different cities. Millions of people participated in these rallies. In Tehran, Ebrahim Raisi responded to Biden’s words in his speech and emphasized, “Mr. Biden! Iran has been freed from your clutches 43 years ago and is determined not to fall into your captivity again.” The President of Iran announced in this ceremony, “Today, anyone who incites unrest, mayhem, uproar, unrest anywhere in this country, whether they know it or not, whether they want it or not, has moved in the direction of the strategy of the Americans and the enemy.”

 

A demonstrator holds a placard with a caricature of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. expulsion from Iran, in Tehran, Iran November 4, 2022. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency)

protests in the cities of Zahedan; Khash and Saravan lead to conflict. Some people in Sistan and Baluchistan are protesting the government’s response to the killing of worshipers in the September 30 incident in Zahedan and believe that there was no proper response in dealing with the perpetrators of this incident.

Molavi Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi who is an Iranian Sunni Muslim cleric and is regarded as a “spiritual leader for Iran’s Sunni Muslim population” asked the government to hold a referendum to resolve the protests. Some people in Iran believe that his words make the situation more complicated and the statements of this famous Sunni cleric in Sistan and Baluchistan are in line with the goals of Saudi Arabia.

These people believe that Abdul Hamid, as someone whose records show that he places the most restrictions on women, cannot support the wishes of Iranian women.

Using the potential of Iran’s Sunnis in the recent riots seems to be still on the agenda of the opponents of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Molavi Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi, Iran Sunni cleric. It is said that this Sunni figure played a big role in the recent riots, especially in the issue of ethnicities – Photo, Twitter

6 November

227 parliamentarians, who are mainly from fundamentalist groups, demanded severe punishment for the rioters.

Moinuddin Saeedi, one of the representatives of Sistan and Baluchistan province in the parliament, criticized the harsh treatment of the police against the people in this province and demanded the sympathy of the officials with the bereaved people of this province and punishment of the perpetrators of the events of September 30 in Zahedan. He also condemned the activities of separatist groups and emphasized that the people of Sistan and Baluchistan do not support these activities.

Parliament of Iran – WANA News Agency

The next days

Street protests in Tehran have decreased significantly.

Videos of turbans being tossed off the heads of clerics in the streets are being circulated on social networks. There are different reactions to these films. For a big part of society who believe that Muslim clerics have respect and a place beyond politics, this act is considered offensive.

Iran’s military and security forces believe that they have tried not to react harshly to the street protesters. They ordered the military forces not to carry military weapons dealing with riots. Paintballs and batons have been the main equipment used by the police to deal with the recent riots.

The government believes that the desire of the majority of Iranian people is to deal with violent rioters and to forgive ordinary protesters. Iran’s security institutions arrested many rioters in recent days and released a large number of them temporarily and on bail.

Experts believe that the number of protesters was much smaller than what the foreign media claimed. They are of the opinion that the riots were greatly exaggerated in the foreign media for specific purposes, while this was not the true picture of Iran.

The exact statistics of the number of those arrested and killed in recent events have not been officially announced by the Iranian government. But it is certain that some people have been killed on both sides of this conflict.

 

Tehran has threatened to take revenge on the actors behind the recent riots in Iran and will carry out this threat. The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, General Salami, announced that “the enemies are on alert and are sending messages through different countries that we should not respond (i.e., do not take revenge).” General Salami further stated, “They want a non-independent and religionless Iran.” Enemies should know that the Iranian nation is alive and they themselves make their own destiny..”

 

15- 17 November 

Opposition groups outside Iran are still trying to keep protests alive inside Iran. For this purpose, they have called to close markets and shops on November 15-17 as a sign of protest. In these three days, the rioters faced a limited company. Marketers have not welcome this call . It has been observed that many times the rioters threatened the shopkeepers to close their shops.

Protesters have increased violence these days and have entered the military phase.

Rioters have attacked police and ordinary people with guns in Izeh city of Khuzestan province of Iran. In Isfahan and Mashhad, rioters killed a number of Basiji forces with knives and guns.

 

The Iranian side claims that these days, Arab, Hebrew and Western intelligence services are trying with all their efforts to deliver weapons to the protesters inside Iran.

footage shows armed rioters in the Iranian city of Izeh firing guns and terrorizing the city – UGC

It seems that the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, is still against the harsh treatment of rioters. He underestimates the number of troublemakers and does not want to play in the field of opponents of the Islamic Republic of Iran by killing protesters.

 

Another deadly terrorist attack in Iran – Izeh city – Khuzestan province

 

We have to wait and see what will be the political and security arrangement of the Iranian side and the opponents of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the coming days.


Written by: F & R Ganji