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Politics

Day 34: More Activists Detained As Protests Continue

October 21, 2022
Shohreh Mehrnami
5 min read
More arrests were made as part of a brutal crackdown by security forces that has killed at least 215 people, according to one human rights organization.
More arrests were made as part of a brutal crackdown by security forces that has killed at least 215 people, according to one human rights organization.

Hundreds of Iranians have gathered in Tehran, Tabriz, Isfahan, Piranshahr, Mahabad and other cities across the country for a 34th straight night of anti-government rallies, chanting slogans against Iran’s clerical rulers. 

More arrests were made as part of a brutal crackdown by security forces that has killed at least 215 people, according to one human rights organization.  

In one of the boldest challenges to the clerical establishment since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the protesters have expressed grievances over social restrictions, political repression, and the decimated economy.  

The burst of public anger was triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in hospital on September 16, three days after her arrest for allegedly wearing a hijab, or head scarf, improperly.  

** 

Reza Pahlavi, the exiled former crown prince of Iran, on Thursday, 28 October, urged people in the country to unite and engage in actions of civil disobedience, particularly strikes. 

During a press conference in Washington, IranWire asked Pahlavi whether he was in touch with opposition groups and others inside Iran. He said that the Iranian elites living in exile and foreign groups were looking at ways to support forces of change inside the country. 

Pahlavi’s father, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, ruled Iran until the 1979 revolution. 

More activists detained, prisoners subjected to pressures  

In the south-western province of Khuzestan, civil rights activists announced the arrest of a large number of activists, poets and journalists in the cities of Ahvaz and Abadan on the evening of Wednesday, 27 October. 

According to information obtained by IranWire, security agents stormed the home of Saeed Helichi in Ahvaz, arrested the poet and translator, and transferred him to an unknown location. Some of his personal belongings were also confiscated.  

Security forces also detained Aydin Jafari, a resident of Pars Abad city in the north-western province of Ardabil, and transferred him to an unknown location. 

The day before his arrest, he was summoned by the Suabad border police post in the city, which is illegal since a summons can only be issued by judicial authorities. 

Meanwhile, photographer and political prisoner Aaliya Matalzadeh was transferred from Tehran’s Evin prison to hospital due to her “deteriorating condition,” her daughter wrote in a tweet. 

She added that another inmate, human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, was also “not well".  

There was no information available about social-political activist Mehdi Safaei since a massive fire broke out at Evin prison over the weekend amid reports of an uprising. Safaei was arrested and beaten last week during a raid by armed forces on his father's house. 

The authorities have increased pressure on Hossein Razzaq, a media activist imprisoned in Evin prison, and his family, according to information received by IranWire. The latest measures imposed on Razzaq include a ban on face-to-face meetings and an order to delete his personal Instagram account, which had nearly 58,300 followers. Security forces have also issued threats to his family over the past few days.  

Soran Azizi, a student from Javanroud city in Kermanshah province, has been detained by the security forces for about two weeks and transferred to an unknown location, “The Coordinating Council of Cultural Organizations of the Country" announced on Friday. 

Ali Jalili, the headmaster of the Muzafar Brothers high school in Tehran's 4th district died of a stroke after being summoned several times to the Department of Information and Protection of Education.  

The fate of Zahra Karimi, a blogger and resident of Urmia, remains unknown one month after her arrest. 

Medics call for accountability 

A group of medics in Mashhad protested against the violent treatment of the protesters by security forces, the presence of security agents in hospitals and the use of ambulances to suppress protesters. 

One of them said that the era of "eat, take and kill" was over and that the Iranian officials should be held responsible and accountable for their actions. 

A number of Azerbaijani writers, journalists and political activists outside Iran expressed support for a planned rally in Berlin on Saturday, October 22. The demonstration will aim at showing support for the popular protests in Iran. 

"We as a part of the community of Azerbaijanis living in Europe consider the Berlin protest rally to be a symbol of a fresh start for a democratic and equal Iran and a stage for dialogue between all ethnicities, genders and multiple classes of Iranian society”, they said in a statement. 

"Fars, Kurds, Arabs, Baloch, Turkmen, Lor, Gilaki and Mazani are standing side by side in the first line of the fight against oppression, discrimination and inequality, and this time they will die until the complete restoration of freedom and equality." 

Meanwhile, judicial officials closed an Azerbaijani dance school in Khoy after young students participated in the shooting of a video clip in Azeri language. 

In a statement seen by IranWire a group of Iranian law professors said Mahsa Amini’s “questionable and fatal death…hurt our hearts”. 

“The tragic death of Mahsa at the age of 22 during detention not only made the abuse of anti-freedom laws and their improper implementation more visible, but also overflowed the patience of fair and righteous observers […]”, the statement reads. 

The truck drivers union announced that its members were joining a strike launched by other professionals such as tradesmen, marketers and teachers.  

Climber Rekabi is "sorry" 

Iran's sports minister has claimed climber Elnaz Rekabi was "sorry" for appearing without a hijab in an international competition on Sunday.  

"She explained to me how she had forgotten her hijab during her competition due to stress and that she was very sorry. She said she is ashamed,” Hamid Sajjadi told reporters on Thursday. 

Rekabi was questioned by two of Iran’s political and sports institutions upon her arrival in Tehran the previous day.   

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