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Why the Iranian regime is spreading news of arresting protest leaders?

Iranian regime displays arrested protesters in State-TV to intimidate the public
Iranian regime displays arrested protesters in State-TV to intimidate the public

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, November 30, 2019—In the past few days, the Iranian regime’s media have been widely spreading news of identifying and arresting what they call “the leaders of recent unrests and riots” in different cities. In nearly all instances, senior state security officers in different provinces interview the regime’s media, declaring that they have arrested these young leaders while also threatening others who have participated in Iran’s uprising with arrest and torture.

A few examples follow:

“Commander [Ayub] Soleimani [Deputy Commander of the State Security forces] stipulated, ‘Presently, the security forces are working day and night to identify the leaders [of the protests] to arrest them and expose the culprits of the recent riots,” state-run Entekhab wrote on November 26.

Tasnim website, run by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force, reported on November 26, “The commander of State Security Forces in Ilam informed that seven of the main leaders of riots were arrested in Chardavel town.”

Tasnim added, “The commander of security forces in Gilan reported that, in Rudbar, one of the culprits in the unrests of Tehran and Alborz provinces was identified and arrested.”

Tasnim also quoted Rahambakhsh Habibi, the commander of state security forces in Fars province, as saying, “Through intelligence operations, the public security police discovered the hideout of eight of these people and, in coordination with the judiciary, they apprehended them in a surprise arrest.”

Forced confessions under torture

The regime’s next move was to broadcast forced confessions extracted from the youth under torture.

 This is an old tactic of the regime’s intelligence and suppression apparatus and has long been a topic of discussion and criticism among international human rights organizations, who have condemned the regime for violating the most basic rights of political prisoners.

Aside from international human rights bodies, the regime’s forced confession tactic has also been the source of anger and resent among the Iranian people, who don’t believe a word of what the regime broadcasts on its national television. Even the regime’s own pundits are voicing concern over the continued use of forced confessions on State-television.

According to Abdulsamad Khoramshahi, senior attorney, who wrote a column in the Arman website, “These days, we are witnessing televised confessions in national media from people who have been arrested during the recent protests. These confessions are in violation of the criminal code and the constitution and can’t have a judicial basis… According to the law, the defendant must be able to speak and meet with his lawyer within 48 hours [of being arrested]. But whether these people made these confessions in the presence of their lawyers or not is a big question regarding the televised confessions. Since years ago, these defendants, who are in the process of preliminary investigations and while their charges have not been processed in court yet, are brought before the camera to speak against themselves. We must ask, under what circumstances were these confessions extracted?”


Why is the regime after the protest leaders?

What is the goal behind the ceaseless statements of the senior security authorities pertaining to chasing and arresting the key players in the recent uprising, and creating TV programs in which they show pictures and videos of protest leaders?

  • First, the regime wants to show that it has controlled the situation.
  • Second, and more importantly, the regime aims at preventing the extension of the uprising and to create an environment of terror and despair in the Iranian society and among Iranian youth.

Iranian officials hope that they can thus prevent the eruption and spread of further protests.

According to information obtained by the Iranian resistance, the regime has arrested more than 10,000 people in the wake of recent protests. According to the regime’s own authorities, most of the arrested people belong to the impoverished and unemployed sectors of Iranian society. The protests took place in more than 180 cities. These figures and characteristics show first and foremost the popularity of the November uprising and how it had expanded to all the segments of the Iranian population. This was a nationwide movement by a population that is utterly fed up with the ruling regime. And the regime knows full well that its main threat comes from the same people it has disenfranchised in the past 40 years and the organized resistance that has been supporting the people’s rights during this period.


The expansion of the protests to dozens of cities in less than 24 hours and the protesters’ attacks on the regime’s centers of suppression and corruption indicate an undeniable truth: The people of Iran, especially the youth, no longer want to live by the outdated rules of the mullahs’ regime, and they want to replace the tyrannical rule of the mullahs with one of freedom and justice. And this is why they use every opportunity to hoist the flag of uprisings, even in the most remote locations of the country.

Presently, the people of Iran and their organized resistance, represented inside Iran by the resistance units, have become more united than ever to overthrow the dictatorship of the mullahs. Therefore, the old tactic of spreading news of arresting protest leaders will not help the regime, because today, every Iranian has become a protest leader.