(L to R): Behnam Ohami, Yaser Rahmanirad, and Homayoun Eftekharnia

Iran Protests: “They Gagged Us With Our Hijabs” — The Abuse and Rape of Detainees

Iran Protests — Zahedan v. the Regime


Former President Hassan Rouhani has implicitly challenged the regime’s crackdown on protests, saying actions that damage “human dignity…go against national security and public interests”.

Rouhani, who was President from 2013 to 2021, said the Supreme Leader’s approval of amnesty for some detainees is “a starting point”. He called on the regime to address protesters’ grievances, with the revival of talks over the 2015 nuclear deal and the easing of Internet restrictions.

The intervention is Rouhani’s second within a week. On February 1, he chided Iranian leaders for marginalizing centrists and reformists.

The former President did not refer to the February 4 statement of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the leading challenger in Iran’s disputed 2009 Presidential election, calling for a “foundational” change with a referendum over the status of the Islamic Republic.

Some hardline figures are expressing concern. Expediency Council member Mohammad Reza Bahonar described the protest movement as “unprecedented” in a televised interview. He said leaders had not addressed grievances and demonstrations will eventually resume. The Supreme Leader’s military advisor, Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi also admitted “problems”, and the head of the Islamic Coalition Party, Asadollah Badamchian, said there is a ”crisis of the republic”.

Addressing air force commanders on Wednesday, the Supreme Leader said, “Among our essential needs at the moment is national unity.” However, he continued to blame American “enemies” rather than addressing domestic issues.


Filmmaker Kaveh Mazaheri, the winner of two Crystal Simorghs at Iran’s Fajr Festival, throws them into the river: “I will no longer make films in this totalitarian and murderous system. I hope for a free Iran. Woman, Life, Freedom.”


The two-year prison sentence of Iranian comedian Zeinab Mousavi has been upheld.

Mousavi, who has almost a million followers on Instagram, was arrested in Qom on October 12. She was released on bail in late November after spending 25 days in solitary confinement.


Some detainees have been freed in the past 48 hours.

Armita Abbasi, who reportedly suffered gang rape by security personnel, left prison on Tuesday.

Her father Hamid Abbasi wrote on Instagram, “We experienced a very difficult time, but now I am extremely happy.”

He did not give details about the release but wrote, “Hope we won’t have political prisoners anymore.”

Abbasi was seized in late September. She was accused of “propaganda against the establishment” and “holding a gathering with the intention of acting against national security”.

After she was raped, Abbasi was taken to hospital but then forced by security agents to return to prison.

Journalist Saeeda Shafiei was freed on bail yesterday. The author of the books “Dochtarpich” and “Gorkhan Station”, she was taken from her home on January 22, as security forces rounded up several media personnel.

Sports journalist Ehsan Pirbornash, who had been sentenced to 18 years, was freed on Wednesday.

His wife Behnaz Mirmotaharian tweeted that he “could make it to Kyan’s birthday”, posting a video of their son waiting for his father.

It is not clear if Pirbornash, a reporter for the state-run sports newspaper Iran Varzeshi, was released on bail.

He was arrested on October 28 at his home in Tehran after commenting on social media about nationwide protests.


Nine professors at Tehran Azad University are among the latest academics to be fired in the Iranian regime’s crackdown on dissent and critical views.

Professor Susan Safaverdi said the group was expelled because they were not “revolutionary” and are “anti-establishment”. The head of the faculty has emphasized that only those who support the Supreme Leader should teach at the faculty.

Safaverdi is the wife of Mohammad Ali Ramin, who was Deputy Minister of Culture and then advisor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mahshid Gohari, Professor of Literature at Ferdowsi University in Mashhad in northeast Iran, posted on Instagram that she has been expelled after seven years of teaching.

Javad Atefeh, a playwright, director and theater instructor, announced on Instagram that he has not been invited to teach next semester “for reasons that I am sure you know”.


Journalist Masoud Kurdpour has been sentenced to 17 months in an online court hearing.

The Revolutionary Court in Bukan in northwest Iran sentenced Kurdpour to nine months on the charge of “propaganda against the regime” and eight months for “disturbing public order”.

The journalist was arrested on September 20 as security forces implemented an order to crack down on spreading protests over the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody.

He is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Kurdish news website Mukrian News Agency.

Authorities have also detained Elnaz Mohammadi, a journalist at Hammihan newspaper, after she was summoned to the prosecutor’s office in Evin Prison in Tehran.

Mohammadi’s sister Elahe Mohammadi was imprisoned soon after she reported on Mahsa Amini’s funeral.

More than 80 media personnel have been arrested since the protests began soon after Amini’s death on September 16.


Shervin Hajipour, who faces imprisonment over his composition “Baraye”, has won a US Grammy award for the song which has become an anthem of the nationwide protests.

Hajipour was awarded a special merit award in the Grammy’s new category of Song for Social Change.

“Baraye” draws from Twitter posts by young Iranians to sing about the motives for their protests, beginning with “For dancing in the streets/For the fear we feel when we kiss”. It ends with the slogan of the movement, “For Women, Life, Freedom.”


Former President Mohammad Khatami says reforms in Iran’s political structure are at a “dead end”.

Khatami, the President from 1997 to 2005, calls for “returning to the spirit and even the text” of his reforms. He called for the freeing of political prisoners, freedom of the press, detachment of the military from politics, and improvement of the country’s judicial process and procedure.

However, he said, “There is no sign of the ruling system’s desire for reform and avoiding the mistakes of the past and present.”

Khatami expressed hope that “nonviolent civil methods force the governing system to change its approach and accept reforms”:

Iran and Iranians need and are ready for a fundamental transformation whose outline is drawn by the pure “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement.


The Supreme Leader has approved a partial amnesty for the more than 20,000 people detained during the 20-week nationwide protests.

The head of Iran’s judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, said:

During recent events, a number of people, especially young people, committed wrong actions and crimes as a result of the indoctrination and propaganda of the enemy. Since the foreign enemies and anti-revolutionary currents’ plans have been foiled, many of these youth now regret their actions.

There will be no amnesties for dual nationals, those facing the death penalty, or those who “refuse to admit and regret their crimes”.

The Supreme Leader will now consider the recommendation.


Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, under strict house arrest for almost 12 years, has called for a “free” referendum in Iran and the drafting of a new Constitution.

In a statement on Friday, Mousavi noted that Iranians want fundamental change based on the slogan of “Woman, Life, Freedom” of the 20-week protests: “[These words are] the seeds of a bright future free of oppression, poverty, humiliation, and discrimination.”

Mousavi was the leading challenger in the disputed 2009 Presidential election, “won” by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which sparked demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of Iranians.

Mousavi; his wife, academic, artist, and activist Zahra Rahnavard; and former Speaker of Parliament Mehdi Karroubi were put under house arrest in February 2011 as the Iranian regime tried to quell further protests.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Doctors have been tortured in an Iranian prison amid the country’s 20-week protests.

Their “crime” was to treat demonstrators wounded by Iran’s security forces.

On November 30, three doctors — general practitioner Yaser Rahmanirad; psychiatrist Behnam Ohadi; and anesthesiologist Homayoun Eftekharnia traveled to Kurdistan Province in western Iran. They treated people and distributed medicine in Saqqez, the hometown of Mahsa Amini, whose death on September 16 in custody — after she was detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” — triggered the protests. They then travelled to West Azerbaijan Province.

Within days, they were seized and charged with “disrupting national security” and “committing crimes against the country’s internal and external security”.

“Informed sources” say the trio, released on bail last month, were held in solitary confinement for more than a month and subjected to sleep deprivation. They were told that their family members had been killed.

After hours of interrogations, the men were exposed to bright lights and loud sounds to prevent them from sleeping.

One interrogator challenged their help of the wounded: “Those opposing the Islamic establishment deserve to die because if they receive treatment they will again engage in riots.”

Another said their assistance constituted “propaganda against the regime”.

Attacking the Medics

Canada-based Homa Fathi of the International Iranian Physicians and Healthcare Providers Association says she has documented the arrests of at least 53 medical workers and 54 medical students during the repression of the protests.

While the majority have been released on bail, but the actual number of those arrested is likely to be much higher. Others have been prevented from working and are under constant surveillance.

Last month Mohsen Sohrabi, a doctor at a hospital in Sanandaj in western Iran, went missing a day after he was summoned by security officials. Sources said he had been repeatedly threatened.

In December, Dr. Aida Rostami, who treated injured protesters in Tehran’s Ekbatan neighborhood, died in mysterious circumstances. Authorities said she had fallen off a pedestrian bridge following an argument with a man who was later arrested, but sources said she was targeted by security forces.

Radiologist Hamid Qarahasanlou was sentenced to death over the killing of a Basij militiaman during protests in the city of Karaj, west of Karaj. The sentence was overturned in January after protests by the international medical community.