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Iran: Judiciary and security forces on high alert on anniversary of nationwide protests

Iran's judiciary and security forces are ramping up repressive meausres across Iran
Iran's judiciary and security forces are ramping up repressive meausres across Iran

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, November 13, 2020—As Iran prepares to mark the first anniversary of the largest nationwide uprising since the 1979 revolution, Iranian officials are terrified of the possibility of another round of mass protests. To prevent such rallies from taking place, the regime has resorted to various tactics and policies to terrify the public and intimidate potential protesters.

On Thursday, judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi said on national television: “Prosecutors must act with power and there should be no reduction in the general prosecutor’s powers. Lawbreakers must be handled with power. We must carry out our legal duties without any intervention.

“The issue of security is no joke. It is our red line and we will not tolerate any unlawfulness. It is the duty of all our colleagues to cooperate with security forces and all sectors to prevent thugs from doing evil things.”

Raisi contradicted his own previous remarks, in which he tried to distance himself and the judiciary from the state security forces after videos surfaced on the internet showing the police beating and humiliating youths in public. The video caused public outrage across Iran and the world.

 

 

On Tuesday, the state-run Vatan-e Emrooz newspaper quoted Gholamhossein Esmaili, the spokesperson of the judiciary, as saying, “The security of citizens and the people is our red line and we will not allow thugs and people with criminal histories and thugs to endanger the security of our citizens.”

The regime’s references to “security” and “citizens” are, of course, proxies for its own hold on power. And street gang and thugs are umbrella terms and loosely interpreted concepts that will apply to protesters as well as real criminals. In recent months, the regime has increased the persecution of dissidents, including the arrest of political activists and executing protesters arrested during nationwide uprisings.

On November 10, Esmaili was interviewed by the internet TV Edalat, in which the reporter asked him about the goal of establishment of a new garrison in Tehran for quick response to protests.

“This garrison will improve coordination, will accelerate procedures, and will bring together different perspectives. It will help us gather evidence faster, and by bringing together the judges, we’ll be able to show a firmer response to these people,” Esmaili said.

At the same time, security forces are increasing their presence across the country and are engaging in widespread arbitrary arrests. These measures are often publicized and touted by security authorities in interviews with state-run media to cause fear in the society.

On Tuesday, Hossein Rahimi, Tehran’s police chief, spoke of the arrest of 146 people in “the sixth step of the ‘power plan.’” Rahimi also reported the closure of 24 workshops and nine websites used by “street gangs.”

Meanwhile, according to reports obtained from Khuzestan province in recent days, there is a heavy presence of security forces in the several counties, including Baghmalek, Sarbandar, and Mahshahr. Mahshar is the city where security forces carried out a massive carnage during the November 2019 protests.

 

 

Khuzestan is also home to Behbehan, one of the focal points of the November 2019 uprising and a center of many protests since.