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The regime’s latest effort to evade its crimes against humanity: Blame the protesters for their own deaths

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran and the supreme leader Ali Khamenei-File photo
Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran and the supreme leader Ali Khamenei-File photo

Iran, December 13, 2019After killing more than 1,000 protesters during the November uprisings, Iranian officials are terrified of the consequences and the inevitable domestic and international backlash at their brutality.  

On December 4, regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei ordered to consider “civilians who, under legal frameworks, did not have any role in protests and riots" as "martyrs." The supreme leader also stipulated that “the families of victims who lost their lives in any way during the protests be given restitution for the loss of their loved ones.” 

Khamenei’s order was in response to a request made by Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), who had demanded the regime leader to take measures to contain the public outrage against the regime’s killing of civilians.  

The regime’s latest effort to dampen the effects of its crimes came from Shamkhani himself, who recently visited the towns west of Tehran province, where the regime’s security forces brutally cracked down on demonstrations that erupted after the government-imposed gas price hike

According to the official ISNA news agency, Shamkhani met with “the families of the victims of November’s incidents,” and, while expressing his condolences, said, “More than 85 percent of the victims of the recent events in the counties of Tehran [province] were not present in any of the protest rallies and were suspiciously killed with unofficial cold weapons and firearms. We are confident that the opponents [of the state] are carrying out a project of fabricating victims.” 

Shamkhani also said, “It is obvious that there should be a difference between those who will be considered ‘martyrs’ and those who were killed in armed confrontation with the system.” 

What Shamkhani didn’t explain, however, is that how is it that after a month, the regime still refrains from declaring the names of the victims? Why don’t Iranian officials even declare the number of people who died in the protests and the number of injured and arrested protesters? 

 

Contradictions in remarks made by Iranian officials 

What stood out in Shamkhani’s remarks was the fear that he had from the anger of the people at the regime’s crimes. “The protests of the people was based on livelihood problems that we, the servants of the people, must listen to,” Shamkhani said in a ridiculous effort to endear himself with the people whose children his regime's security forces have killed. “It was my duty to respond to the concerns of the leadership and the officials of the Islamic Republic and to speak with these people and to quickly respond to the people’s needs,” Shamkhani added. 

Regarding Shamkhani's remarks, A spokesperson for the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) pointed out that "the suppressive forces were the only party that was armed, and social media is awash with footage of the regime’s suppressive forces and plainclothes agents firing directly at defenseless protesters."

Shahin Gobadi, who spoke for the MEK, added, "Shamkhani’s remarks are indicative of intense social pressure on the regime which fears another public outburst. Its fear has prompted top regime officials to make such ludicrous announcements." 

Shamkhani isn’t the only official to have implicitly or explicitly revealed his terror of the consequences of killing innocent civilians by the orders of Khamenei. Officials are either trying to justify the regime’s crimes or distance themselves from the decision to kill protesters. 

In a press conference on Wednesday, when questioned about the massacre of protesters in Mahshahr, southern Iran, Mahmoud Vaezi, the chief of staff of regime president Hassan Rouhani, tried to justify the killing by saying, “In Mahshahr and Assaluyeh, they had set up makeshift bunkers and had weapons, and some of the victims were killed by these people.” Ironically, the reports that came out of Mahshar indicate that the regime’s security forces surrounded protesters in marshes and massacred them with heavy machine guns.  

Amir Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi, member of the Iranian regime’s Majlis (parliament), confirmed the brutal slaughter of the citizens of Mahshahr during the protests, on Wednesday. 

“A lot of people were killed in Mahshahr,” Ghazizadeh said. Ghazizadeh tried to justify the killing by accusing the protesters of “trying to damage the main energy lines of the country.” But he admitted, “A group of innocents might also have been hurt in the incident.” He also criticized “security authorities” for not having taken preventative measures. 

 

The meaning of contradictory remarks 

The contradictions in remarks made by Iranian officials clearly point out to the disarray in the regime. In their futile efforts to justify their crimes, regime officials are inevitably confessing to having killed a large number of people. 

As far as Khamenei is concerned, he is clearly terrified of the consequences of the savage killing of the people and is doing anything he can to contain the ensuing outrage, or at least extricate himself from the swamp that is sucking in his regime. Many of his closest officials are questioning the integrity of his decision to save his regime at the price of slaughtering the Iranian youth. Testament to the fact are the disgusting praise that officials such as Shamkhani and IRGC commander Hossein Salami are directing toward Khamenei to restore his reputation among his own base. 

These remarks also show that instead of causing fear, the regime’s crimes have only exacerbated the anger of the people toward Iranian authorities. Other reports indicate that the regime’s own forces are faced with lowering morale and are afraid of the wrath of the people, who want to avenge the death of their children and loved ones. In several cities, members of the security forces who were involved in the suppression of the protests have fled their homes and taken refuge in other cities. Despite efforts of Iranian authorities to put up a show of stability and security, they know the destiny that awaits the entirety of the regime. 

 

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