Protests in Iran: The regime is escalating

At least eight people have died in the nationwide protests in Iran. The President accuses the West of “double standards”.

Several men dressed in black on motorbikes in a street

No biker gang, police officers: security forces break up protests in Tehran on September 19 Photo: Wana/reuters

BERLIN taz | At least eight people have died in Iran since the current protests began. This is reported by the Reuters news agency, citing local media and a local prosecutor. Among them are said to be a police officer and a member of a pro-government militia.

According to the Kurdish human rights organization Hengaw were alone in the night from Wednesday to Thursday 3 people were killed and 43 injured in the western Iranian city of Shno. Earlier, 7 protesters had been killed by Iranian security forces. According to Reuters, Tehran disputes these numbers.

Seriously injured people can always be seen on videos circulating on social media that are said to be from the protests in Iran. The violent actions of the state forces are also repeatedly documented online.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard on Thursday reportedly called on the country's judicial system to prosecute people who spread "false information and rumours" according to Reuters.

Well-trained counterinsurgency fighters

The massive protests ignited over the violent death of Mahsa "Zhina" Amini, a 22-year-old who was beaten by the morality police during a stop and fell into a coma, eventually dying.

However, a rapid overthrow of the Islamic regime is unlikely. Azadeh Zamirirad, who researches Iran at the Science and Politics Foundation, explains: "The state is relatively well prepared for protests." place complete state control, block the Internet for a long time.” There are also special units that are well trained when it comes to counterinsurgency and the suppression of demonstrations.

The Iranians protest against the regime again and again. The Iran expert Ali Fathollah Nejad explained in the "Tagesschau": In the last year alone there were 4,000 protests, in the first half of 2022 already 2,200.

Zamirirad says: One difference between the past protests and the current ones is that so far they have mostly affected isolated concerns, and thus only a small part of the population. “What we are seeing now are protests whose subject matter directly affects half of society, namely women.”

The fact that the young woman who was killed is Kurdish - a group that is subject to discrimination in Iran - also adds another dimension to the case. "This is how different groups in society find each other, on one thing." That is exactly what the previous protests in Iran have often lacked: solidarity that transcends classes and social strata.

In his speech to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York, Iranian President Raisi took the opportunity to accuse Western nations of “double standards” – the world would say nothing about women killed in the West.

The German government, and above all Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, was accused of being too reluctant to criticize Iran. On the fringes of the UN General Assembly, she criticized the Iranian government's actions and declared: "If women are not safe, nobody in a country is safe." But her criticism does not go far enough, said the Hamburg MP and SPD member Danial Ilkhanipour of the newspaper World. Baerbock later announced in New York that Germany would bring the Mahsa Amini case before the UN Human Rights Council.

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