Protesters rally in Zahedan in Sistan and Baluchestan Province in southeast Iran, February 24, 2023
UPDATE 1044 GMT:
The head of the Iranian regime’s broadcasting claims six-month nationwide protests for justice, rights, and gender equality are “fake”.
Peyman Jebelli, the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, told a Sunday ceremony, “The months-long cognitive warfare and seditions under a fake advocacy for women’s rights and status is part of the hybrid war against the country.”
UPDATE, MAR 13:
Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld a death sentence against a Swedish-Iranian dissident who was kidnapped by Iranian security forces in a Turkish airport two years ago.
Habib Chaab is the founder and former leader of a separatist movement in southern Iran, the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz. He lived in Sweden for 14 years until he was lured to Turkey by Tehran’s intelligence agents.
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said the death penalty “an inhumane and irreversible punishment….Sweden, together with the rest of the EU, condemns its use in all circumstances.”
He said Sweden’s Foreign Ministry and embassy in Tehran “are now working intensively to get further clarity into the information”.
UPDATE, MAR 12:
Young women inside Iran are dancing in support of five others near Tehran who are being sought by security forces.
Earlier this week, the five teenagers in Ekbatan filmed themselves — without hijab and wearing loose clothing — dancing to Calm Down by Rema and Selena Gomez.
Officers are now reportedly trying to identify and track them down (see below).
In Isfahan Province:
ویدیوی رسیده به ایران اینترنشنال نشان میدهد دختری در شاهینشهر اصفهان جلوی دوربین میرقصد. او این کار را در حمایت از رقصیدن دختران در شهرک اکباتان تهران انجام داده است pic.twitter.com/eUxZ1gumiP
— ايران اينترنشنال (@IranIntl) March 11, 2023
In front of Evin Prison in Tehran:
رقص در کنار زندان اوین در حمایت از دختران اکباتان
یک زن از "گروه زنان و جوانان انقلابی تهرانسر" در کنار زندان اوین با ترانه "کالم داون" در حمایت از دختران اکباتان رقصید. ترس در دل این زنان و جوانان جایی ندارد، آنها تنها هدفشان انقلاب است …#زن_زندگی_آزادی
شنبه ۲۰اسفند pic.twitter.com/y8LyvJUa2c
— انقلاب زنانه (@enghelabezanane) March 11, 2023
UPDATE, MAR 11:
The Iranian currency continues its recovery from an all-time low set last month.
Spurred by the restoration of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the rial is currently trading at 468,000:1 v. the US dollar.
The currency plummeted to 605,000:1 on February 25 — a fall of almost 50% in value since nationwide protests began on September 16 — before Central Bank intervention brought it back to the 500,000:1 mark.
UPDATE 1207 GMT:
Iran’s top Sunni cleric Molavi Abdolhamid, the Friday Prayer leader of Zahedan in southeast Iran, has again called for accountability for the killing of about 90 protesters and worshippers by security forces on September 30.
“Human rights and the rights of all Iranians, including women, must be respected, and we will pursue the rights of the victims of Zahedan’s Bloody Friday,” he said.
The cleric added that women should be granted “equal rights and opportunities” as men.
Hundreds of demonstrators rallied for the 23rd Friday in a row, despite a heavy security presence. They chanted, “Freedom”; “I will kill whoever killed my brother”; “We don’t want a child murderer government”; and “Political prisoners must be released”.
“Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!” shouted protesters on the 23nd week of anti-state demonstrations by worshippers outside the Sunni Makki Mosque in the city of Zahedan in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan province.
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) March 10, 2023
Authorities had tried to limit the gathering through a “significant disruption” to Internet connectivity.
UPDATE 1152 GMT:
Iranian security forces are seeking five teenage girls who posted a video of themselves dancing joyously, without hijab, in the town of Ekbatan west of Tehran.
A neighborhood Twitter account warned that officers “looked for CCTV footage of Block 13 to identify the girls….Police were seen checking the footage and questioning the guards.”
The Instagram page where the dance video was first posted has been deactivated.
The 40-second clip was posted for International Women’s Day. The teenagers, wearing loose clothing, dance to Calm Down by Rema and Selena Gomez.
In dem Viertel Ekbatan kämpften die Menschen besonders gegen das #Iran Regime in den letzten Monaten. Zum Weltfrauentag posteten Mädchen dort dieses Video, das so gut wie alles an zivilen Ungehorsam gegens Regime beinhaltet pic.twitter.com/9N595hbQLI
— Natalie Amiri (@NatalieAmiri) March 9, 2023
UPDATE, MAR 10:
Iranian rights activists have published a “Women’s Bill of Rights” as the basis of a new constitution to enshrine equality and the diversity of sexuality, gender, ethnicity, and religion in the country.
The Iranian Feminist Collective for Woman, Life, Freedom said its goal is to provide a clear and concise road map, including the path to a referendum for “a secular government based on social and economic justice”.
The Bill of Rights also calls on any new government to approve and implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on”Women, Peace, and Security and related resolutions without any conditions or delays. Religion will be recognized as a private matter.
Meanwhile, President Ebrahim Raisi told the State Security Council on Thursday that criminal punishment must continue against women who do not cover their heads in public.
In an issue like the hijab, it is necessary for everyone to feel responsible. Athough some people may have different opinions on this matter, in social life adherence to legal standards should be considered as a principle.
He asserted, “The social experience of the Islamic Revolution showed that the women and girls of this land emphasize maintaining chastity and hijab as a security-creating priority by living a chaste and religious life.”
UPDATE 1337 GMT:
The US has sanctioned more Iranian officials and entities over human rights abuses of women.
The sanctions, announced on International Women’s Day, cite two top commanders from the Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; three Iranian companies and their directors; and two prison officials.
US Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said:
The United States, along with our partners and allies, stand with the women of Iran, who advocate for fundamental freedoms in the face of a brutal regime that treats women as second-class citizens and attempts to suppress their voices by any means.
We will continue to take action against the regime, which perpetuates abuse and violence against its own citizens — especially women and girls.
UPDATE, MAR 9:
“Assal” explains her defiance of authorities by appearing in public for months without a hijab: “I want to demonstrate to them that this revolution is still alive, and our people will [fight] them with any means they can.”
The 32-year-old obstetrician says, “When I walk past [security officers in the street] without a hijab, it’s not easy. My whole body shakes. But I will never back down. I will keep protesting.”
UPDATE, MAR 8:
Without a hint of irony, Iran’s deputy representative to the UN, Zahra Ershadi, has told the Security Council:
We continue to work to empower Iranian women and girls and to ensure that their rights are upheld while actively taking into account the concerns voiced by our women and girls. This is one of our top priorities, and we’ll endeavor to make progress in it,.
Ershadi did not refer either to the 25-week nationwide protests over women’s rights or the poisonings of schoolgirls across the country.
UPDATE, MAR 7:
After collapsing to a historic low of 600,000:1 v. the US dollar, the Iranian currency has returned to 500,000:1 following a major intervention by the Central Bank.
The rial stands at 495,500:1 v. the dollar on Tuesday morning.
The current plummeted to 601,500:1 on February 25, after breaking the 500,000:1 mark six days earlier.
The Central Bank injected $700 million in UAE dirhams. It also raised interest rates and insisted that it would reorganize the currency and gold exchanges to prevent the run on the rial.
UPDATE 1307 GMT:
Political prisoner and human rights activist Narges Mohammadi has said, in an open letter smuggled out of Evin Prison, that she is “willing to testify anywhere” about “cases of physical, sexual assault, and physical torture”.
Mohammadi responded to Thursday’s remarks by Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian, in an interview with CNN, that multiple reports of torture, abuse, and sexual violence against detainees are “biased and false”.
Abdollahian added that “no one was arrested in peaceful demonstrations”: “However, in those protests that had turned violent, some individuals who had come from outside the country and were using firearms and killing the police were arrested.”
Almost 20,000 people have been arrested since nationwide protests began on September 16, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini — detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” — in police custody.
UN experts have called for an end to “gender-based and sexual violence, excessive use of force, torture, and enforced disappearances” in Iran.
I testify from inside the prison to the existence of torture and assault.
The [false] human rights claims of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic are raised while the people of Iran witness extensive and repressive government policies and human rights violations.
It is obvious that Amir Abdullahian’s claims are false, and there is no need to provide evidence or provide documentation. Executions, tortures, arrests, and heavy prison sentences have taken place in front of the eyes of the world. Still, the government recklessly lies even in the UN headquarters to deceive the world’s public opinion.
The basis of the system is oppression, lies, and deception, which have made the conditions of society difficult and [verging on] collapse.
UPDATE, MAR 4:
A British-Iranian health worker has described how he was shot and almost killed by Iranian security forces last October.
The man was fired upon repeatedly at close range by the forces, using shotguns with buckshot cartridges. He still has five pellets lodged in his body.
His story is supported by two senior British doctors who saw him in hospital. It reinforces those of witnesses to the 24-week nationwide pellets, who say security forces have targeted demonstrators with live fire.
The man went to Iran in October to visit family. He was attacked at the end of the month after he challenged the assault of security services on a teenage girl in Shariati Street in Tehran.
As he walked away, unable to help the teenager, he was hit by a plainclothes officer using a police baton. As he faded from consciousness, he recalled at least two officers shooting him with semi-automatic shotguns. He was hit in the chest, his right leg, and back. He believes police intended to shoot him in the face but he raised his arm, which took the force of the buckshot.
He could not go to hospital because of the risk that, as a dual national, he would be detained. So he was treated at his family home by doctors, whom he knew from his professional background, for 5 1/2 hours.
Multiple pellets were removed in Iran, and a further two during operations in the UK. The five remaining pellots — one in an arm, one in a leg, and three around a knee — cannot be extracted without risk to vital nerves.
I nearly died in the process of treatment and had multiple complications such as [with my] ileum, blood clots or low [blood oxygen] saturation as well as fractures to my ribs. I only survived because fearless people helped me on the scene and brave doctors in Iran who took extreme risks for my survival.
UPDATE 1634 GMT:
Despite a heavy security presence and limited communications, protesters have turned out in Zahedan in southeast Iran for the 22nd Friday in a row (see Original Entry).
🎞️ Security forces have surrounded #Zahedan's Friday prayers mosque and internet access has been severely disrupted. Protesters in Zahedan have continued demonstrating each week after Friday prayers since protests broke out across #Iran in September 2022.#truth #IranRevoIution pic.twitter.com/YRceEXjkPT
— IranWire (@IranWireEnglish) March 3, 2023
Residents and worshippers prevented the military and Basij militia from entering the Grand Mosque:
— VOA Farsi صدای آمریکا (@VOAfarsi) March 3, 2023
UPDATE, MAR 3:
Iranian-German political prisoner Nahid Taghavi has not been included in an amnesty issued by the Supreme Leader.
Taghavi’s daughter Mariam Claren said lawyers were told that her mother “would have been released if she was not a German national”.
Taghavi, a trained architect, is an activist for women’s rights and freedom of expression in Iran. She was seized by security forces in October 2020 and put in solitary confinement. In August 2021, she was sentenced 10 years and eight months in prison on national security-related charges in what Amnesty International called a “grossly unfair trial”.
UPDATE, MAR 1:
Pensioners have been staging protests throughout Iran over deteriorating economic conditions.
Gatherings have been reported in front of government buildings in Yazd, Sanandaj, Shahrekord, Kermanshah, Marivan, Ardebil, Ilam, Arak, Qazvin, Rasht, Esfahan, Tabriz, Kerman, and Sari.
Security forces reportedly dispersed retirees from the grounds outside Parliament in Tehran.
Slogans include “Costs are in dollars, pensions are in rials”; “Expenses, inflation are taking people’s lives”; and “Incompetent government, resign, resign.”
The value of pensions has been sharply eroded amid an official inflation rate of almost 50% —- with increases for food and essential items far higher —- and the historic drop in the Iranian currency.
UPDATE 1151 GMT:
Canada has sanctioned 12 senior officials of the Revolutionary Guards and Law Enforcement Forces over “gross violations of human rights”.
Those sanctioned include Kurdistan Province Governor Esmaeil Zarei Kousha; Seyeh Sadegh Hosseini, a Guards general and commander of the Beit al-Moqqadas Corps in Kurdistan Province; and Morteza Mir Aghaei, commander of the Basij paramilitary forces in Sanandaj in Kurdistan Province.
UPDATE 1145 GMT:
The Union Council of Iranian Students says dozens of female students have endured “mandatory counseling sessions” because they failed to “properly” observe Iran’s law on mandatory hijab.
UCIS said that a summons sent by Shiraz University to students demanded that they contact authorities for mandatory consultation over “removing the hijab and not having proper student clothing”.
Similar action has been taken at other institutions. Tehran’s Soore University sent a text message to a group of female students for their participation in a “mandatory cultural camp”.
The activist HRANA news agency says more than 700 students have been arrested during nationwide protests from September 16 to January 26.
UPDATE, FEB 28:
Iranian media say the Central Bank injected $700 million in UAE dirhams to prevent the collapse of Iran’s currency.
The rial, which had sunk past the 600,000:1 level v. the US dollar, recovered to 560,000:1 after the intervention.
The currency is trading at 576,000:1 late Tuesday morning.
UPDATE 1522 GMT:
The Iranian currency’s recovery appears to be short-lived.
The rial has slid back from 570,000:1 v. the US dollar to 583,500:1 at the close of trading on Monday.
UPDATE, FEB 27:
State media is declaring a recovery in the Iranian currency soon after it plummeted to a historic low of 601,500:1 v. the US dollar on Sunday.
President Ebrahim Raisi railed to the Cabinet, “Combined war has various aspects, of which psychological warfare and apprehension of the public mind is one of its dimensions. When the enemy failed to achieve their goals through riots, it decided to follow destabilizing the market.”
Soon after the fall — a 16% loss within a week — Iran’s authorities were proclaiming a recovery to 570,000:1.
The Supreme Council of Economic Coordination, chaired by Raisi, met during the evening to approve “the package proposed by the Central Bank to receive the necessary powers with the aim of curbing the currency price and maintaining the value of the national currency”.
By Sunday night, Press TV was hailing a mark of 550,000:1. The IRNA news agency claimed the Central Bank had successfully intervened with the launch of a new foreign exchange center.
State media insisted, “Market participants expect the reduction in the price of foreign exchange will continue.”
The rial is currently posted at 570,500:1.
UPDATE 1624 GMT:
Spanish national Ana Baneira Suarez has been released after three months in detention in Iran.
Suarez, 24, who works for a human rights NGO, was released on Saturday and on her way back to Spain on Sunday.
“My congratulations for the release of Ana Baneira. She is in good health,” Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares told journalists.
Albares said another Spanish citizen, Santiago Sanchez Cogedor, is still in Iranian custody, but he hopes for his release soon.
Sanchez Cogedor, 41, a football fan who was walking to the World Cup in Qatar, was detained on October 2.
Several other foreign and dual nationals seized during the protests are still behind bars.
UPDATE 1020 GMT:
The Iranian rial has broken the 600,000:1 mark v. the US dollar, only six days after passing 500,000:1.
The rial stands at 601,500:1, falling more than 15% since Wednesday.
UPDATE 0741 GMT:
The Iranian currency continues to plummet.
The rial now stands at 582,000:1 v. the US dollar, a fall of 13% since Wednesday and a decline of about 45% since nationwide protests began on September 16.
UPDATE 1224 GMT:
Protester Ebrahim Rigi has died in police custody an hour after he was rearrested.
Baluch rights group Haalvsh said medical intern Rigi, 24, was initially arrested on October 13 amid protests in Zahedan in southeast Iran. He was released on bail but again detained on February 22.
Haalvsh said the judge on duty and the forensic pathologist confirmed that Rigi died as a result of a beating.
A local police official claimed Rigi’s death was the result of an “arbitrary act” in which the police had no role.
UPDATE 1041 GMT:
The Iranian currency appears to be imploding.
The rial has fallen another 4% on Saturday and 10% since Wednesday, sinking to 562,000:1 v. the US dollar.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Residents of Zahedan in southeast Iran have defied a heavy security presence to march for the 21st Friday in a row.
The marchers first came out on September 30, two weeks after the start of nationwide protests over the death of Mahsa Amini — detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” — in police custody. The demonstration was fuelled by the reported rape of a 15-year-old girl by a local military commander.
Security forces fired on worshippers and protesters, killing about 90, on what became known as “Black Friday”.
But rather than give way, the demonstrators escalated their challenge. Friday Prayer leader Molavi Abdolhamid, Iran’s top Sunni cleric, blamed Iranian officials — including the Supreme Leader — for the mass killing. He called for an independent referendum on the future of the Islamic Republic and for a new Constitution.
On Friday, security forces surrounded the Grand Makki Mosque, assaulted some nearby worshippers, and reportedly tried to enter the building. Snipers were positioned on rooftops, and access to the Internet was restricted, preventing Abdulhamid from live-streaming his sermon.
But the marchers persisted. They chided the snipers, “Shameless! Shameless!”
زاهدان – تصاویری از استقرار مزدوران تک تیرانداز بر بام ساختمانهای #زاهدان
آزادیخواهان بلوچ با فریادهای "بیشرف، بیشرف" به استقرار تک تیراندازها اعتراض کردند.#IRGCterrorists pic.twitter.com/kZOB4DiSto
— AVATODAY آواتودی فارسی (@avatoday_news) February 24, 2023
In his sermon, Abdolhamid criticized the administration of President Ebrahim Raisi: “Around the world, sometimes presidents, prime ministers, and other high-ranking officials resign, and problems are solved. In our country, unfortunately, they do not know how to step aside.”
The cleric asked worshippers to “return home in complete calm” and then left the mosque, protected by bodyguards.
— Sima Sabet | سیما ثابت (@Sima_Sabet) February 24, 2023
Elsewhere in Sistan and Baluchestan Province, the Friday Prayer leader in Rask, Moulana Abdol Ghaffar Naghshbandi called for mass protests in response to the “siege” of the Grand Makki Mosque. He said that he will issue a “historic fatwa” if security forces continue their “brutal action.”