Protests in Iran raged on streets into Thursday, November 10, 2022, with demonstrators remembering a bloody crackdown in the country’s southeast, even as the nation’s intelligence minister and army chief renewed threats against local dissent and the broader world.
The protests in Iran, sparked by the September 16 death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, after her detention by the country’s morality police, have grown into one of the largest sustained challenges to the nation’s theocracy since the chaotic months after its 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Unrest and deaths
At least 328 people have been killed and 14,825 others arrested in the unrest, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that’s been monitoring the protests over their 54 days. Iran’s government for weeks has remained silent on casualty figures while state media counterfactually claims security forces have killed no one.
In Frames | Iran protests: Bare heads, steely hearts
Rising high: Thousands making their way towards the Aichi cemetery in Saqez, Mahsa Amini’s home town in the western Iranian province of Kurdistan, to mark 40 days since her death, defying heightened security measures as part of a crackdown on women-led protests.
Burning issue: People light a fire during a protest against moral policing in Tehran.
Locks off: Nasibe Samsaei, an Iranian woman living in Turkey, cuts her hair during a protest outside the Iranian Consulate in Istanbul.
Taking a stand: A demonstration outside Iran’s Consulate in London.
In solidarity: People holding placards at the Acropolis archaeological site in Athens, Greece.
Loud and clear: A woman raising slogans in front of the Iranian Embassy in Madrid, Spain.
In one voice: A protester in the German capital Berlin gives a clarion call for freedom.
In memory: Syrian Kurdish women taking part in a demonstration in Syria’s northeastern city of Hasakeh.
Support for regime: Iranians taking part in a pro-hijab rally in the Tajrish Square, north of Tehran.
As demonstrators now return to the streets to mark 40th-day remembrances for those slain earlier — commemorations common in Iran and the wider Middle East — the protests may turn into cyclical confrontations between an increasingly disillusioned public and security forces that turn to greater violence to suppress them.
Online videos emerging from Iran, despite government efforts to suppress the internet, appeared to show demonstrations in Tehran, the capital, as well as cities elsewhere in the country. Near Isfahan, video showed clouds of tear gas. Shouts of “Death to the Dictator” could be heard — a common chant in the protests targeting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
It wasn’t immediately clear if there were injuries or arrests in this round of protests, though Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency acknowledged the demonstrations near Isfahan.
They commemorated the September 30 crackdown in Zahedan, a city in Iran’s restive Sistan and Baluchestan province, in which activists say security forces killed nearly 100 people in the deadliest violence to strike amid the demonstrations.
Meanwhile, Iranian officials have kept up their threats against the demonstrators and the wider world. In an interview with Khamenei’s personal website, Iranian Intelligence Minister Esmail Khatib renewed threats against Saudi Arabia, a nation along with Britain, Israel and the US that officials have blamed for fomenting unrest that appears focused on local grievances.
Khatib warned that Iran’s “strategic patience” could run out.
“Throwing stones at powerful Iran by countries sitting in glass houses has no meaning other than crossing the borders of rationality into the darkness of stupidity,” Khatib said. “Undoubtedly, if the will of the Islamic Republic of Iran is given to reciprocate and punish these countries, the glass palaces will collapse and these countries will not see stability.” Iran blames Iran International, a London-based, Farsi-language satellite news channel once majority-owned by a Saudi national, for stirring up protesters.
The broadcaster in recent days said the Metropolitan Police warned that two of its British-Iranian journalists faced threats from Iran that “represent an imminent, credible and significant risk to their lives and those of their families.” Last week, U.S. officials said Saudi Arabia shared intelligence with America that suggests Iran could be preparing for an imminent attack on the kingdom. Iran later called the claim “baseless,” though the threats from Tehran continue.
The commander of the ground forces of Iran’s regular army, Brig. Gen. Kiumars Heydari, separately issued his own threat against the protesters, whom he called “flies.” “If these flies are not dealt with today as the revolutionary society expects, it is the will of the supreme leader of the revolution,” he reportedly said. “But the day he issues an order to deal with them, they will definitely have no place in the country.”