A woman stands on a car and salutes the crowd gathering for the 40th day ceremony for Mahsa Amini, who died in Iranian police custody on September 16

Iran Video: Why Protesters Risk Everything for Freedom

UPDATES: Iran Protests — UN Human Rights Council Approves Investigation of Regime Crackdown


At least 40 filmmakers have been detained during nationwide protests, according to a member of the Committee to Follow Up on Situation of Arrested Artists.

Mehdi Kouhian said on Saturday that around 150 figures in Iranian cinema have been summoned, arrested, banned from leaving the country or persecuted in other ways by the regime.

Members of the CFUSAA met with a judiciary official last Wednesday to seek the release of detainees. Kouhian said the official had been “very optimistic that the current situation will change”; however, since then, another artist was arrested.


Saudi-funded Iran International, citing a leaked audio file from a meeting of Iranian regime officials, says at least 80 people detained during Iran’s nationwide protests face possible execution.

At least seven people have already been sentenced to death, and the Iranian judiciary says that more than 20 have been convicted or indicted on charges carrying the death penalty.

The figure of more than 80 comes from the recording of a recent meeting of the Coalition Council of Islamic Revolution Forces, a coalition of hardline and conservative parties.

The secretary of the Coalition, Reza Davari, spoke of those charged with “corruption on earth” or being a “mohareb” (“enemy of God”).

Davari said the Supreme Leader prefers executions, based on the principle of “qisas” (punishment in kind), for those convicted of the killing of Basij militiamen.

However, because that applied to only about 10 detainees, authorities decided on the “moharebeh” and “corruption on earth” charges.

The UN Special Rapporteur for Iran, Javaid Rehman, warned last week of the regime’s death penalties based on “vague and broadly formulated criminal offenses”, saying the campaign was likely to “intensify”.


Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has presented a new rationale to dismiss nationwide protests and their calls for rights, justice, and accountability.

Amir Abdollahian declared that the protests were incited by the US and other Western countries”to force Iran to make big concessions at the negotiating table” over a renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal with the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia).

The talks have been stalled since March, primarily because of Iranian demands for sharp limits on inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Meanwhile, Iran has stepped up production of 20% and now 60% uranium, breaking the terms of the 2015 agreement.

After IAEA Resolution Over Its Non-Compliance, Iran Steps Up Production of 60% Uranium

Amir Abdollahian insisted Iran is a democratic country, “We hear and respond to the peaceful demands of the noble Iranian people on various issues but we do not allow anyone to [incite] riots and acts of terror in our country.”


Iranian authorities have demolished the home of Elnaz Rekabi, who competed in the Asian climbing championships in South Korea in October without a hijab.

Rekabi’s family announced the demolition of the villa. An “informed source” said they were fined 168 billion rials ($4,700).

Rekabi appeared without a headscarf as protests grew over compulsory hijab and the death of Mahsa Amini after she was detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” over “inappropriate attire”.

Reportedly under pressure from authorities, she recanted on Instagram, “Due to poor scheduling and an unexpected call for me to climb….I inadvertently had a problem with my cover.” She also appeared, head covered, in a photo with Iran’s Sports Minister.

See also UPDATES: Iran’s Hijab-Amini Protests Persist Despite Regime Crackdown

After video of the demolition appeared online, Iranian officials claimed that they destroyed a building in the garden of the Rekabi home because it did not have planning permission.


Iranian authorities have executed four people and imposed prison sentences to three others accused of working with Israeli intelligence.

Hossein Ordoukhanzadeh, Shahin Imani Mahmoudabad, Milad Ashrafi Atbatan, and Manouchehr Shahbandi Bojandi were arrested in May. They were hanged early Sunday, said the Iranian judiciary.

The judiciary claimed they received instructions from a Sweden-based operative of Israel’s Mossad intelligenc service. They were supposedly paid in cryptocurrencies and bought weapons and equipment while receiving training on how to destroy evidence, evade security cameras, and swap vehicles.

Three detainees were given prison sentences of 5 to 10 years for “committing crimes against national security, being accessories in kidnappings, and possession of firearms”.


Iran Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri declared on Saturday that “both Parliament and the judiciary are working” on compulsory hijab, a central issue sparking nationwide protests now in their 12th week.

Montazeri did not specify what changes may be made in the law requiring women to cover their heads in public. He said the review team met with Parliament’s Cultural Commission with “the results in a week or two”.

President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday that the restrictions on women’s rights are “constitutionally entrenched” but hinted, “There are methods of implementing the constitution that can be flexible.”

Beyond the issue of hijab, Montazeri continued the regime’s denigration of the protests as a “war” by the “enemy” with “powerful think tanks and coordination between England, usurping Israel, America, and several other countries”.

Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf rejected any significant reforms, telling a conference on Saturday: “The enemy’s main goal was to undermine the principles of the Constitution….In the discussions for a new governance, our focus should be on implementing the constitution and not on changing its provisions.”


Activists say Mina Yaghoubi, freed after a month in detention, has returned with signs of being beaten.


Protests have resurged today in Zahedan in Sistan and Baluchestan Province in southeastern Iran.

Zahedan, where Iran’s leader Sunni cleric Molavi Abdul Hamid, is one of the centers of the 11-week protests. More than 100 people have been killed in and near the city by security forces.


In a meeting in Tehran, President Ebrahim Raisi has addressed clerics from Iranian Kurdistan, one of the centers of nationwide protests for rights, justice, and security.

Rather than addressing the concerns of the demonstrators in northwest Iran, Raisi blamed the “enemy” and said the clerics should do likewise:

The government has put all its efforts to solve the problems so that the areas of abuse by the enemy are eliminated as much as possible, and the clerics also have a duty to enlighten the society against oppression and ignorance, and introduce the biggest example and origin of acts of oppression and spread of ignorance, which are America and the Zionist Regime, to everyone.

Raisi tried to split the clerics and the public from the protests by portraying demonstrators as pawns of the “enemy”, as “separatists”, and as “bad” Kurds:

[There] were the 8-year imposed war and separatist provocations, including in Kurdistan, but the knowledgeable and insightful Kurdish people defeated the enemy.


Sunni clerics in Sistan and Baluchistan Province in southeast Iran have issued a video appeal to authorities to end their deadly crackdown on protests.

The clerics emphasized that the forces have “no justification” in their repression, which has killed more than 100 worshippers and demonstrators in the province — including at least 66 after Friday Prayers in Zahedan on September 30.

Gathered in a mosque, the clerics of the cities of Khash, Taftan, and Mirjaveh, say they joined regional elders and cultural figures in condemning the repression of “Bloody Friday”: “The killing of people in Zahedan and Khash, and in our beloved Kurdistan, and in other parts of Iran, has no justification and is completely condemned.”

Iran’s top Sunni cleric and Zahedan Friday Prayers Leader, Molavi Abdulhamid, has challenged by regime saying senior officials, including the Supreme Leader, are responsible for the killings. He has called for an immediate referendum with the presence of international observers to “change policies based on the wishes of the people”.


Mehran Samak was shot and killed by Iranian security forces on Tuesday night, reportedly because he honked his car horn to celebrate the US victory over Iran in football’s World Cup.

Samak, 27, was slain in Bandar Anzali on the Caspian Sea in northern Iran. Oslo-based Iran Human Rights said he “was targeted directly and shot in the head by security forces…following the defeat of the national team against America”.

Samak played football in his youth alongside Saeed Ezatolahi, a current member of Iran’s World Cup team. Risking punishment from the Iranian regime — which put pressure on the squad after it refused to sing the national anthem in its first World Cup match — Ezatolahi wrote:

Some day the masks will fall, the truth will be laid bare. This is not what our youth deserve. This is not what our nation deserves.

In a must-win match to progress to the World Cup’s second stage, the US triumphed 1-0. Afterwards, some Iranians shot off fireworks. The celebration was particularly notable in Iranian Kurdistan, the starting point for the 11-week protests after one of its natives and residents, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, died in police custody on September 16.

Security forces have cracked down on the demonstrations in the area, killing at least 105 people. However, they could not quell the signs of defiance on Tuesday night.

The scene in Marivan, where the security forces killed at least 12 people on November 21:

Human rights activists say Iran’s security forces have killed at least 448 people, including 29 women and 60 juveniles, during the protests.


Iranian authorities have begun rounding up artists who appeared in a video challenging the regime, with women taking off their head coverings.


US and Iran fans dance together before Tuesday night’s World Cup match, won by the US 1-0.

US coach Gregg Berhalter shakes hands with an Iranian player just after the final whistle:

But there were also scenes of Iranian regime supporters assailing people who were wearing T-shirts such as “Woman. Life. Freedom”. Danish journalist Rasmus Tantholdt, who filmed the verbal and physical attacks, was briefly detained by Qatari security.


Concerned about protests in Iranian Kurdistan, the Supreme Leader has called on the Iraqi Government to control Iranian Kurds in northern Iraq.

Ayatollah Khamenei told visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani about the Iranian Kurds, “Unfortunately, this menace is cropping up in some areas of Iraq. The only solution is for the central Iraqi government to exercise greater sovereignty over those areas.”

Protests began on September 16 in Iranian Kurdistan in northwest Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini — a native and resident of the area — and compulsory hijab.

As the demonstrations spread across Iran, the Revolutionary Guards have carried out a series of missile and drone strikes on Iranian Kurdish positions in northern Iraq.

Meanwhile, more than 100 civilians in Iranian Kurdistan have been killed by security forces, and the Revolutionary Guards have been deployed in the city of Mahabad.

See also Iran Protests: Is Regime Losing Control of Kurdistan?


Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele, detained in Iran, has been on hunger strike for two weeks to protest inhumane conditions.

Vandecasteele, 41, was seized in February. His family, who last spoke with him in early September, fear that his detention in solitary confinement and his hunger strike are endangering his health.

The aid worker was seized as Iranian authorities tried to bring back intelligence operative Assadollah Assadi, sentenced last year to 20 years in a Belgian prison in connection with a plot to bomb a rally outside Paris in June 2018.


An Iranian journalist who disappeared in Turkey in May is being held by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

“Sources with knowledge of the case” said Mohammad Bagher Moradi was deported to Iran in early November after being abducted and held in Turkey for five months, said his Turkish lawyer, Salih Efe.

Moradi left his home in Ankara, on May 30 to buy bread and never returned. His car was found abandoned near his residence the following day.

Moradi’s family, who were visiting from Tehran, filed a criminal complaint over the disappearance. A formal investigation was launched but had not success.

The sources said Moradi made a brief telephone call to his family on November 4, saying he was in Iran in the custody of the “intelligence bodies”. He said he was moved to Iran days before the call.

Moradi’s father was questioned by the Revolutionary Guards about his son’s activities in Turkey, the sources said. The Guards told him to direct the journalist to a make a “confession” on live TV.

Moradi fled to Turkey in 2014 after he was given a five-year prison sentence in Iran for “collusion against the state”.

Last year, Moradi said in a discussion on the Clubhouse app that he was being threatened by a Turkish intelligence operative recruiting Iranians, said London-based Iranian activist Peyman Aref.

“He ended his remarks by saying that ‘from now on Turkish intelligence will be directly responsible if anything happens to me,'” Aref recalled.

Iran’s security forces have attempted a series of abductions of dissident journalists. One of them, Ruhollah Zam, was executed in December 2020 after he was lured to Iraq from France and kidnapped.

See also Iran President Defends Execution of Journalist Ruhollah Zam


The UN Special Rapporteur for Iran, Javaid Rehman, has expressed concern over the regime’s imposition of death sentences on protesters.

Rehman said 21 demonstrators face the punishment, including a woman indicted on “vague and broadly formulated criminal offenses”, and six have been sentenced this month. The regime’s campaign is likely to “intensify”, he said, following a 26-6 vote in the UN Human Rights Council authorizing an investigation of the crackdown.

“I’m afraid that the Iranian regime will react violently to the Human Rights Council resolution and this may trigger more violence and repression on their part,” Rehman said.

He said the new 15-member Fact-Finding Mission, mandated by the HRC, will provide a list of perpetrators of abuses, sharing that with national and regional legal authorities: “It will ensure accountability.”


A judge has ruled that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are a “terrorist entity” under Canadian law.

The ruling in the Ontario Superior Court found the Guards are “a listed entity” because its branch for operations outside Iran, the Quds Force, has already designated by Canada.

The Trudeau Government is unlikely to list the Guards as “terrorist”. Alexander Cohen, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, said terrorist designations are not determined by the courts but the Cabinet, based on reports from national security and law enforcement agencies.

“While we are aware of the court ruling, the process for adding an entity to Canada’s terrorist listing is well established,” Cohen said.


As his regime imprisons journalists, the Supreme Leader rails against coverage of Iran’s nationwide protests.


A “source involved in the security” of the World Cup says families of Iran’s footballers have been threatened with imprisonment and torture if the players fail to “behave”.

The source said the players were summoned by members of the Revolutionary Guards after the team refused to sing the national anthem in their opening match against England on November 21.

The players were told that their families would face “violence and torture” if they did not sing the anthem or if they joined in any political protest.

Carlos Queiroz, the team’s Portuguese coach, met separately with Guards officers.

The source, who is monitoring Iran’s security agencies operating in Qatar, said that dozens of Guards officers had been mobilized to monitor the teams. Players are not allowed to mingle outside the squad or to meet with foreigners.

The security official added:

In the last game against Wales, the regime sent over hundreds of these actor supporters in order to create a false sense of support and favor amongst the fans.

For the next game against the U.S, the regime is planning to significantly increase the number of actors into the thousands.


More than 6,000 Iranian cultural figures have now signed a statement in support of art students detained during nationwide protests.

Dozens of the artists are calling for an international boycott of cultural institutions run by or affiliated with Iranian authorities.

Vali Mahlouji, a London-based curator, said international art fairs may be asked to refrain from exhibiting works of certain Iranian galleries.

“We know that some private Iranian galleries are connected to the money systems of the Iranian state, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Council,” Mahlouji said. “They need to be boycotted.”


Voria Ghafouri, one of Iran’s most prominent football players, has been released on bail after his detention last week.

A former player for Iran’s national team, Ghafouri was seized over his defense of Iran’s Kurds, scores of whom have been killed by security forces trying to suppress protests in the northwest of the country.

His arrest was also seen as a warning to Iran’s national team after they refused to sing the national anthem before their first World Cup match on November 21.

The team relented and mouthed the words before Friday’s game with Wales.

Iranian actor Hengameh Ghaziani was reportedly released on Sunday after a week in detention.

Ghaziani and fellow actor Katayoun Riahi were arrested on November 20 after they removed their headscarves in posts on social media.

ORIGINAL ENTRY, NOV 29: Iran’s authorities have arrested more journalists during protests across the country.

Maryam Vahidian is among the latest of the 67 journalists to be seized. She was arrested on Sunday night at her birthday party, apparently over her reporting on labor issues and the workers’ movement in Iran.

Sports journalist Mehdi Amirpour was detained in a raid on his house at 2 a.m. Sunday. He had been reporting the support of Iranian athletes for the protests, including the solidarity expressed by Iran’s World Cup football team.

Some journalists have been released on bail. However, among those still behind bars are Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, who broke the news of Mahsa Amini in police custody on September 16.

Amini, 22, was seized and reportedly beaten by “morality police” in Tehran three days earlier over her “inappropriate attire”. Hamedi and Mohammadi revealed that she had been taken to hospital after collapsing at a detention center, with a photo showing her in a coma.

By the evening of September 16, crowds were gathering across Iran to protest over Amini’s death and the issue of compulsory hijab.

The two journalists have each been charged with spying for the CIA and threatened with the death penalty.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has an updated list of the arrested journalists.