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Guest Post: Iran's 'Deep State' Arrests More Prominent Critics

July 11, 2022
Mehrdad Khonsari
3 min read
The reformist figure Mostafa Tajzadeh was arrested alongside two filmmakers on Friday
The reformist figure Mostafa Tajzadeh was arrested alongside two filmmakers on Friday

The hated "Deep State" led by Khamenei in Iran, isolated and despised as a consequence of its continuous failure to provide any kind of solace to the suffering lives of millions of Iranian people – 80 percent of whom are now living below the "poverty" and "extreme poverty" lines - has now resorted to more violence and repression to silence all manner of criticism.

Clinging on to misplaced and self-serving pontifications such as Khamenei’s so-called "resistance economy", which, in the aftermath of his successive foreign policy failures that have isolated and left Iran beholden only to the likes of Russia and China, gives no solution for the suffering people of Iran other than acceptance of poverty and hunger. Workers, teachers, retirees and other disenchanted classes of people are left asking why, and for what reason and for what possible outcome, should they endure the impact of these damaging and misguided policies?

In response to the raised voices, the only response on the part of the "Deep State" is to ruthlessly arrest and silence any attempt at moderation and non-violence stemming from the different political and artistic spectrums and unions. The latter display courage in questioning the wisdom of such destructive policies, borne of an inept and highly corrupt leadership that has literally smothered the future prospects of all Iranians.

To intimidate and scare people, the Deep State has already arrested a number of prominent protesting figures such as Nasrin Sotoudeh, Narges Mohammadi, Keyvan Samimi and Saeed Madani. The arrest in recent days of Mostafa Tajzadeh, a well-known face of the reformist movement (and former deputy minister of interior under President Khatami), Mohammad Rasulof, a famous Iranian director, and Mustafa Al-Ahmad, another politically active artist, and the initiation of charges against Faiza Hashemi Rafsanjani, only confirms the Deep State’s resolve to opt for a policy of further repression and brutalisation, something that will lead to greater intensification of the current public protests.

With ongoing daily protests throughout the country,  and a highly disgruntled public united by its disdain for the Deep State, the need for peaceful change under the banner of "national reconciliation" has never been more acute. Different sections of Iranian society have signalled that they will not be intimidated by these methods as they become more focused against the Deep State, unified in a single demand for a new, democratic constitution free of theocratic aberrations and diktats, and respecting instead the rights of all Iranians to equality, justice and peaceful co-existence.

In these critical circumstances, in place of empty and gratuitous threats to bomb or further sanction the country, it is also incumbent on the international community to put an end to its expedient silence regarding to the plight of the oppressed and suffering people of Iran. Unacceptable excuses such as the ongoing  process of nuclear talks, or the war in Ukraine, are no longer valid or justified for not holding the Deep State to account for its brutal suppression of Iran’s suffering population.

Mehrdad Khonsari, a former Iranian diplomat, is a senior consultant at the Iranian Centre for Policy Studies (ICPS).

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The Guards Arrest Two Filmmakers in Iran

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The Guards Arrest Two Filmmakers in Iran