Campaign

Update

October 10, 2022

Iran Uprising Enters 4th Week:

Masses Respond with Great Courage—Regime Responds with Depraved Bloodshed—U.S. Responds with Hypocrisy, Maneuvering for Advantage

October 10, 2022

We are reposting this update from revcom.us because it provides much useful information and analysis for our readers. The views reflected are those of revcom.us.

Iranian girls remove their hijab in honor of murdered Mahsa Amini, September 2022. Photo: @DUALIPA

We are reposting this update from revcom.us because it provides much useful information and analysis for our readers. The views reflected are those of revcom.us.

Iranian girls remove their hijab in honor of murdered Mahsa Amini, September 2022. Photo: @DUALIPA

The just and inspiring uprising of the Iranian people is entering its fourth week. This mass, nationwide rebellion was sparked by the murder of one woman—22-year-old Mahsa (“Jina”) Amini. It came on September 16 at the hands of Iran’s hated morality police, over an alleged violation of the Islamic Regime’s compulsory hijab law—its medieval dress code. Apparently, Mahsa had a bit of hair showing, and she paid with her young life and entire future.

This one death broke the camel’s back and uncorked the rage of millions, not simply against the morality police, but against the whole regime, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and its oppressive, Dark Ages, fascist theocracy—in particular its daily, hourly, lifelong degradation of Iran’s 40-plus-million women.

Since Mahsa’s death, not a day has gone by without hundreds or thousands of Iranian people—in particular women, especially young women—demonstrating with extraordinary courage and daring. And not a day has gone by without the Islamic Republic demonstrating its utter depravity and illegitimacy.

Regime Unleashes Mass Bloodshed, Beatings, Imprisonment

On October 3, Iran’s “Supreme Leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in his first statement after Mahsa’s death, called on Iran’s murdering police and security forces to spill even more blood. He declared that they—not the dead, imprisoned, or beaten protesters—were the ones “who were wronged” and the “biggest victims.” He claimed this rising of people of all walks of life from across Iran had been orchestrated by America and Israel—not what his government had done to the people—and that anyone involved in the unrest deserved “harsh prosecution and punishment.”1

A new, comprehensive report in Farsi by Human Rights Activists News Agency identifies possibly 200 killed in 20 days of protest, among them 18 teens and children, and estimates 5,500 arrested.2

That includes at least 82 in the oppressed southeastern region of Baluchistan (close to Pakistan and Afghanistan). On Friday, September 30, sharpshooters fired down onto a demonstration in solidarity with Mahsa Amini protests and in protest of the rape of a 15-year-old Baluchi girl by a police commander. Amnesty International (AI) reports that armed forces shot directly down onto the peaceful protesters and into an adjacent Sunni Muslim worship service, aiming for heads and backs, killing at least 66 and wounding hundreds. In the following three days, military and police forces using military weapons, drones and helicopters have killed at least 16 more people whose identities AI has verified, although it states that evidence gathered suggests “the real death toll from Zahedan is likely to be higher.”

The regime continues to bombard Kurdish areas in Iraq, as a collective punishment for the powerful participation of Kurds in the initiation of the protests around Mahsa, as well as sparking some of the most militant actions so far of the uprising, such as driving out security forces from the town of Oshnavieh.3

Thousands have been arrested. “Iran’s prisons were already filled with political prisoners, and now the prisons and detention centers are swelled with protesters as the authorities move to crush the societal outcry over the government’s repression and brutality,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). The organization lists at least 92 Iranians who were arbitrarily detained at their homes or workplaces, including: 29 journalists; 20 human rights activists; 19 teachers’ rights and labor rights activists; 17 writers, artists and filmmakers; 4 defense attorneys, and 3 prominent athletes.

Iran, Sanandaj, protest October 8, 2022.  Photo: Instagram @burnthecage

16-Year-Old Murdered—Family Threatened for Reporting It

A particularly heartbreaking story which has brought home for many the lying, fascist depravity of the Islamic Republic is the murder of Nika Shakarami, an outgoing 16-year-old, in Tehran. On September 20, she burned her hijab in a protest for Mahsa Amini, then texted that she was being chased by armed security forces. That was the last anyone heard from her. Her phone was then deactivated, and her family searched for her for 10 days, until they finally found her body in a city morgue, with her skull crushed and multiple fractures.

Her aunt and uncle posted the news of her death on social media. They were both arrested and threatened that the security forces would kill other family members. The uncle and aunt were released only after making forced televised statements repeating the official version that Nika’s death was caused by falling or being thrown off a building. The video of her uncle, much shared on social media, shows the shadow of a person behind a wall next to him, whispering through a hole, “Say it, you piece of dirt.” Meanwhile, Nika’s mother, at great personal risk, continues to publicly denounce the murder of her daughter in police hands.4

Defiant Protests Continue in Face of Crackdown

The Islamic Republic is aggressively disrupting access to the Internet in order to prevent protesters from communicating with each other and prevent the world from witnessing the courage of the Iranian people and the crimes of its rulers. So it is difficult to assess the tactics, frequency and dimensions of the protests, as the crackdown has intensified this month.5

One thing that is clear is that widespread protests and resistance are continuing and hatred for the regime is spreading, with high schools, colleges and universities being a particular focus and women continuing to be a driving force. (See update on Sharif University.)

The Human Rights Activists News Agency reports that on October 4 alone, “On at least 26 universities campus, the students held protests. The students chanted slogans such as ‘Woman, Life, Freedom,’ ‘Jailed students should be freed,’ ‘We will fight, We will take Iran back,’ and ‘Death to the dictator.’ They also chanted slogans against the Supreme Leader, Khamenei.”6

Reuters, other news services, and social media report that in response to a call by activists for protests on Saturday, October 8, there were large protests in Tehran, including a large crowd of students in Tehran's Polytechnic University and that the traditional Bazaar was shut down. Protests were also reported in Esfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, Rasht, Mashhad, Sanandaj, Saquez, Kerman, Hamedan, Babol, and other cities, and that a worker’s strike has spread to the Abadan refinery near the Persian Gulf.

The Center for Human Rights in Iran reports that on October 7 and 8, students at Azad University of Mashhad chanted “Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!” Schoolgirls in Marivan chanted “Woman! Life! Freedom!” and held banners saying “Teachers don’t belong in prison,” “Imprisoned students must be freed.” At a protest in Lahijan in northern Iran, people chanted “Cannons! Tanks! Firecrackers! Clerics must get lost!”

Anti-regime actions took place in cyberspace as well. On Twitter, @YourAnonNews posted, “Unconfirmed: A state streaming TV source in Iran was hacked by Edalat-e Ali today." A video posted shows a news program apparently in progress of ruling clerics including Khamenei which is interrupted by a picture of Khamenei in flames and pictures of Mahsa and other murdered women below with the message “Join us and rise up! The blood of our youths is dripping from your claws.”

Young Women Students Rising Up

Female students, often supported by young men, at high schools and universities ranging from the capital, Tehran, to secondary schools in far-flung towns, are playing an outsize role at the front of large and small marches and in girls’ segregated schools, as well as directly confronting police and plainclothes paramilitary forces known as Basiji. (The average age of recent detainees is 15 years, according to the second commander of the Revolutionary Guard [police force]).7

One dramatic and courageous example was President Raisi’s visit on Saturday, October 8, to the all-girls Alzahra University in Tehran. Raisi addressed the professors and students and arrogantly denounced the protests, even reciting a poem calling protesters "rioters" and equating them with flies, and declaring, “They imagine they can achieve their evil goals in universities.” Rather than being intimidated, the women chanted “Raisi get lost” and “Cannons! Tanks! Firecrackers! Clerics must get lost!”8

Iranian schoolgirls tearing up pictures of Khomeini (the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran) from their textbooks and shouting down a Basiji paramilitary speaker at their school assembly: these are a few of the joyful and amazingly brave videos which continue to inspire people the world over.

Resistance Continues—From Inside Prison

Several women prisoners in Evin—Hasti Amiri, Sepideh Gholian, and Meliha Jafari—wrote a moving and poetic open letter, linking their sit-down strike that began on October 3 with the recent crackdown, in particular at the universities:

Monday morning is October 3, 1401 [2022]. A few steps from the building designated as the cultural section of Evin Prison, hundreds of detainees are being interrogated and tortured. We have staged a sit-in with a number of prisoners in the Evin Women's Ward and have raised our voices more clearly than ever against tyranny and repression. We sang together for our sisters, for the people, for our brothers, so that the smile of freedom, the cluster of happiness, perseveres until dawn...
Until the end of the crackdown on the university, the unconditional release of detained students and the guarantee of a ban on military, paramilitary and law enforcement forces entering the university, along with [release of] the students, the sit-in will continue. Our message is clear: we will preserve the university's stronghold until freedom and liberation day wherever we are.

Political prisoners Narges Mohammadi, Alia Matalzadeh, Hasti Amiri, Zhila Makundi, Sepideh Kashani, Sepideh Gholian, Maleeha Jafari, Elnaz Eslami, Mahnaz Desha, Nazanin Mohammadnejad, Raha Asgarizadeh and Gelareh Abbasi have all signed a statement announcing the sit-in at Evin.  (See Urgent: The wave of our rebels’ struggles reaches prisons—Burn The Cage.)

In the flames of the extraordinary continuing upsurge in Iran, the call by Burn the Cage/Free the Birds movement to elevate the demand to free all political prisoners to a worldwide storm is all the more urgent, as is the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now (IEC).

U.S. Concern for Human Rights: Hypocritical Tool to Maneuver for Imperialist Advantage

The U.S. rulers are continuing, as we analyzed last week, to hypocritically declare they’re on the side of the Iranian people, while seeking ways to pressure and weaken the Islamic Republic to advance their own imperialist agenda.  

For example, President Biden tweeted on October 4: “The United States stands with Iranian women and Iranian citizens who are inspiring the world with their bravery. This week, we will impose further costs on perpetrators of violence against peaceful protestors. We'll continue to support the rights of Iranians to protest freely.” And the U.S. did impose further sanctions.

Adding to this drumbeat, the New York Times Editorial Board (October 8) called on the U.S. to meddle more actively, impose more sanctions, and isolate the IRI internationally: “The U.S. can build on [actions Biden has already taken] by making joint declarations with its allies, with academics and with nongovernmental organizations in support of the protests. It can also impose more sanctions against those who act as agents or mouthpieces of governmental repression, produce more Farsi-language broadcasts, and push for a resolution at the United Nations Security Council.”

As we noted in greater detail last week:

"Right now, the U.S. rulers are maneuvering—in the current world situation and in Iran—to advance their own imperialist interests in a region of strategic importance to them, against a regime in the Islamic Republic they have sharp and ongoing contradictions with. So they see the necessity and the opportunity to take advantage of the Islamic Republic’s potential vulnerability in this situation and are pushing to advance their agenda to the greatest degree possible—including and up to regime change should that opportunity present itself.

"U.S. meddling is 'ominous' precisely because 'the U.S. regards Iran as a bone in its throat and will very possibly use not only economic and diplomatic pressure but other forms of intervention, including by working through and with Israel, to subvert the Iranian people’s struggle and restore outright U.S. domination. These imperialists must not be allowed to pervert this struggle to their own reactionary ends.'"

As we also summed up, instead of proceeding from the interests of either the U.S. imperialists or the Islamic Republic—both reactionary, outmoded forces—“people around the world need to proceed from the interests of humanity, and seize on every positive and courageous development such as the current uprising in Iran to fight to bring forward another way to a radically different and much better world.”

As a beginning, you can find the pathway to doing so in these two documents published at revcom.us:

This statement from the revcoms:

THE WOMEN OF IRAN HAVE STOOD UP! THE PEOPLE OF IRAN ARE RAISING THEIR HEADS AND FIGHTING BACK AGAINST THE BATONS AND BULLETS OF THE IRANIAN REGIME! WE NEED TO STAND WITH AND SUPPORT THEM IN THEIR STRUGGLE! UNLEASH THE FURY OF WOMEN AS A MIGHTY FORCE FOR REVOLUTION!!

And from the Communist Party of Iran, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist: "Revolution Nothing Less!," Journal of Fire No. 131 October, 2022 and "Goodbye Garbage"

(See, in “Defying Murderous Islamic Republic Repression, Courageous Protest and Resistance Continues Across Iran, U.S. Imperialists Maneuver to Advance THEIR Agenda in Fraught Situation, revcom.us, October 3. 2022.)

1 Iran’s Supreme Leader Condemns Protests Gripping Country, New York Times, October 3, 2022; Iran’s Khamenei backs police over Mahsa Amini protests, may signal tougher crackdown, alarabiya.net, October 3, 2022

2 Woman, life, freedom; Comprehensive report of 20 days of protest across Iran" in Farsi, Hrana News Agency, October 9, 2022

3 Mahsa’s Kurdish name is Jina (stemming from the Kurdish words Jin and Jiyan “Life,” “Woman”), and the chanting of the Kurdish slogan “Women, Life, Freedom” at Jina’s funeral, where women took off their hijab and furiously shook them, was a key spark for the national protests.  See also, Mahsa Amini: Kurds unite Iranian protest movement through 'Women, Life, Freedom' slogan, Middle East Eye, October 9.

4 Nika Shakarami: Iran protester's family forced to lie about death, BBC, October 6, 2022

5 From the videos which have managed to escape the Islamic Republic of Iran’s (IRI) ominous shutdowns of Internet service and social media platforms, it appears that protesters may have tended to switch tactics from large-scale confrontations to smaller, more mobile protests in streets, between cars, and in schools in a wide variety of locations, shouting slogans from residences, graffiti campaigns, and Internet switches/hacking.

6 Nationwide Protests in Iran on Day Seventeen, HRANA, October 9, 2022

7 Iran's Teenage Girls Are Leading The Protests For Women’s Rights, Huffington Post, Oct 5, 2022.

8 Women students tell Iran's president to "get lost" as unrest rages, Reuters, October 9; Tweet from @ICHRI, October 8.

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