UPDATE 2037 GMT:
EA correspondent Deepa Parent updates her story for The Guardian about the suspected poisonings in girls’ schools across Iran….
UPDATE, MAY 3:
The UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have awarded the 2023 World Press Freedom Prize to three detained Iranian women: journalists Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi and human rights activist Narges Mohammadi.
Hamedi and Mohammadi were imprisoned soon after they broke the story of the death of Mahsa Amini — detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” for “inappropriate attire” — in police custody on September 16.
Mohammadi, the Vice President of the Center for Defenders of Human Rights, was first arrested by Iranian authorities in 1998 and has been repeatedly imprisoned since the mass protests over the disputed 2009 Presidential election. Her latest arrest was in November 2021.
UPDATE, MAY 2:
Iranian authorities have arrested two leading activists and summoned another after monitoring their discussion on the Clubhouse social media application.
Abdollah Momeni, a former leader of the Iranian students’ movement, and publisher Alireza Beheshti Shirazi were seized within six days of the meeeting.
In a virtual event on Clubhouse on April 21, dozens of rights activists, political prisoners, and academics called for a transition to a new, democratic political system in Iran. Nine participants — among them, human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, reformist politician Mostafa Tajzadeh, and sociologist Saeed Madani — sent written comments from prison.
Momeni compared the regime to a drunken captain steering his ship toward a cliff, and said passengers needed to take control and change course before it was too late.
“Finding a way to save Iran…is the natural reaction of the people, who want to prevent the destruction of their today and the tomorrow of their children,” he explained.
On April 27, police arrested him at his home in Tehran.
Shirazi, a former advisor to Green Movement leader and 2009 Presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, was arrested on April 25. His offense was telling the Clubhouse gathering, “Change is a certainty, and we must prepare ourselves for it.”
A day before the virtual meeting, veteran journalist Samimi was re-arrested, three months after his release from prison. He had sent a video message to the discussion:
Those inside the country are likely to face pressure, threats, and arrests, but have no fear because others from the front outside the country will work with international organizations and even some governments to create pressure and secure the release of those who might get arrested.
After the meeting, Ghorban Behzadian Nejad, the head of Musavi’s 2009 Presidential election campaign, was summoned for questioning. He had said that Iran is “a whirlwind of crisis.”
Police searched Behzadian Nejad’s house in Tehran and confiscated his personal belongings. He was scheduled to appear in court on April 30.
UPDATE 1704 GMT:
A convoy of motorcyles, including women without hijab, in Tehran on Saturday….
AMAZING. To protest against compulsory hidjab in #Iran, and therefore against the islamic regime, a horde of motorcycles carrying unveiled women circulated in the streets of Tehran this Saturday,April 29th, despite the risks of arrest.
Nothing will ever be the same again in Iran pic.twitter.com/f9jUB54bkZ
— Armin Arefi (@arminarefi) April 29, 2023
UPDATE 1250 GMT:
The Opal Trade Center, a shopping mall with 450 businesses west of Tehran, has reopened days after it was closed by authorities over compulsory hijab.
The mall was shut for not enforcing the requirement for women to cover their heads. About 2,000 employees were laid off.
UPDATE, APR 30:
A regime official has threatened the replacement of 4,000 striking workers amid walkouts at more than 80 oil and manufacturing complexes.
Sekhavat Asadi, the general manager of the Pars energy region in southern Iran on the Persian Gulf, told the State news agency that the process of replacement had started on Thursday.
The strikes have spread this month over low wages, overdue payments, poor working conditions, and inflation.
With the Iranian National Oil Company handing over many operations to quasi-private companies, much of the work is done by temporary contract workers at lower rates of pay with no benefits.
Asadi declared that the stoppages are being organized by anti-regime groups. He insisted, “We had no strikes and protests in the petrochemical and gas sectors in recent days and all plants are working with full capacity.”
UPDATE, APR 29:
Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has denied any poisonings in girls’ schools across the country since late November.
The Ministry declared that the thousands of girls falling ill from suspected poisonings in hundreds of school is “mischief” and “mass hysteria”. It blamed foreign “enemies” and dissidents for building up the cases.
“The enemies’ role in fuelling this crisis is certain and undeniable. Individuals, groups and Western media, especially in Persian language, have focused on this in the past few months, as well as foreign politicians and international bodies.
In field findings and laboratory investigations,…no toxic substance able to cause poisoning was observed…and there have been no deaths or long-term physical conditions.”
The Ministry threatened anyone who reported the incidents, pledging “prosecution of individuals, groups, media who accused the government…and aligned themselves with enemies”.
UPDATE 1030 GMT:
The reformist daily Shargh reports that about 2,000 businesses — including restaurants, cafes, tourist accommodations, retail shops, a gym, and a counseling clinic — have been closed in the past month.
Iranian officials have threatened to shut any premise which does not enforce compulsory hijab for women.
Among the public spaces closed is the Opal Mall, a shopping center with more than 450 businesses in Tehran. About 2,500 employees have been laid off because of the shutdown.
Meanwhile, Tehran’s local government has put up hundreds of large banners to promote head coverings. One depicts a mother putting a black veil on a young girl, “Hijab is the legacy of mothers,” while another equates opposition to the compulsory hijab to the destruction of “the foundations of families”.
Tehran municipality has recently put up hundreds of banners on the streets to promote the hijab. “Hijab is the legacy of mothers,” one such banner which shows a mother donning a black veil on a very young girl says while another equates opposition to the compulsory hijab to destroying “the foundations of families.”
UPDATE, APR 28:
Award-winning film director Jafar Panahi has been allowed to leave Iran for the first time in 14 years.
Panahi, 62, periodically imprisoned and constantly harassed by Iranian authorities since the mass protests over the disputed 2009 Presidential election, is travelling with his wife Tahereh Saeedi “for a few days”, including a visit with their daughter who lives in France.
Panahi, who has won major awards at film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, and Venice, was detained again last July. Days earlier, he was among 300 Iranian filmmakers who called on security forces to “lay down their arms” in the face of public outrage over “corruption, theft, inefficiency, and repression”. The open letter was prompted by a crackdown on protest over a building collapse which killed 41 people in Abadan in southwest Iran.
He was furloughed from prison in February after going on a hunger strike to protest “the illegal and inhumane behavior” of Iran’s judiciary.
UPDATE, APR 27:
Iranian authorities have upheld the death sentence of German-Iranian dual national Jamshid Sharmahd.
Sharmahd is accused of involvement in the 2008 bombing of a mosque in Shiraz.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock condemned the threat of execution:
The confirmation of death sentence against Jamshid Sharmahd is unacceptable.
Sharmahd never benefited from even a semblance of a fair trial. We call on Iran to immediately reverse this arbitrary sentence.
She said the German Ambassador to Iran, Hans-Udo Muzel, is cutting short a business trip to return to his post: “[He] is on his way back to Tehran to intervene with the Iranian authorities.”
UPDATE, APR 26:
A senior cleric and former aide to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Abbas Ali Soleimani, was shot dead on Wednesday in northern Iran.
Soleimani was slain in Babolsar in Mazandaran Province on the Caspian Sea. State TV said the attacker was arrested, but gave no motive.
Soleimani was on the 88-seat Assembly of Experts, which formally oversees and appoints Iran’s supreme leader. He had served as the personal representative of Ayatollah Khamenei to Sistan and Baluchestan Province — a center of the seven-month nationwide protests — in southeast Iran.
UPDATE 1835 GMT:
Strikes over wages, overdue payments, and conditions are expanding in oil and manufacturing plants across Iran.
The Council for Organizing Protests of Oil and Gas Contract Workers says at least oil and gas plants, refineries, mines, and steel factories are now affected.
Contract workers are calling for a 79% wage increase, a reduction in working hours and days, an improvement in accommodation conditions, and safer work environments.
The strikers have rejected a proposal by the Supreme Labor to raise the minimum wage for workers by 27%. Iran’s official inflation rate is almost 50% per year, and workers suffered a further loss with the sharp depreciation of the Iranian currency.
Workers at a gas refinery, owned by the Iranian conglomerate MAPNA, in Behbahan in southwest Iran:
ویدیوی رسیده حاکی است روز سهشنبه پنجم اردیبهشتماه کارگران شرکت مپنا در پالایشگاه گاز «بیدبلند ۲» در شهر بهبهان، در اعتراض به افزایش نیافتن حقوق خود در سال جدید به اعتصابات کارگران پیمانی پیوسته و دست از کار کشیدند pic.twitter.com/EXG0Hmtkov
— ايران اينترنشنال (@IranIntl) April 25, 2023
Oil workers of the Tiam Sanat Company in Gachsaran in western Iran:
— Sedayeh Mellat•The Voice of the Nation•صدای ملت (@SedayehMellat) April 25, 2023
UPDATE 1841 GMT:
Iranian journalist Keyvan Samimi has been arrested yet again by the regime, only three months after he was released from prison.
Samimi, 74, had spent two months in his latest detention after a December 2020 sentence for “plotting against national security”. A family member said of Tuesday’s arrest, “We still have no further information on the [security] service responsible for his arrest or his whereabouts.”
However, in December the journalist sent a message from prison expressing support for nationwide protests.
A month later, Samimi’s family said he faced another accusation of “association against the security of the country.”
Samimi was released in February 2022 and returned home with health issues but was returned to prison in May over claims that he was engaging in political activities.
A former editor of the now-banned intellectual magazine Iran-e Farda (Iran Tomorrow), Samimi has been periodically imprisoned before and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
UPDATE, APR 25:
Iranian authorities have charged prominent actors Katayoun Riahi and Pantea Bahram for appearing without hijab.
Police accused the pair of “the crime of removing the hijab in public and posting photos on the internet”.
Last week Bahram appeared at a screening of the series The Lion Skin, in which she stars, without her head covered.
The manager of the Lotus Cinema in Tehran was subsequently dismissed for “failing to control the situation and not guiding the offending individual out of the cinema space”.
Iranian actress Pantea Bahram appeared unveiled on stage during the public screening of the last episode of a popular show she is playing in. This resistance is unstoppable. pic.twitter.com/TMm69nGBkw
— Peyman Jafari (@JafariPeyman) April 20, 2023
Riahi posted photos of herself without hijab in public places in hijab in September, two days after the death of Mahsa Amini — detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” — in police custody. She was arrested and released on bail in November.
On Sep 18, #KatayounRiahi, a prominent Iranian actress, bravely took off her scarf, criticized the killing of #MahsaAmini, & called Iran “a big prison.” She was then arrested and was tried in court on Jan 11. Be her voice. #مهسا_امینی #كتايون_رياحى #IranRevolution #IRGCterrorists pic.twitter.com/wjwwUHogWu
— Omid Memarian (@Omid_M) January 15, 2023
UPDATE 1021 GMT:
A scene from Tehran….
A woman poses in front of the Freedom Tower in Azadi (Freedom) Square, Tehran without her hijab. Women are continuing to protest the state's forced-hijab rule by not wearing them in the streets of Iran. #Iran #HumanRights pic.twitter.com/1yJGR8BUZZ
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) April 22, 2023
UPDATE, APR 23:
More footage of strikes in oil and manufacturing complexes across Iran on Saturday….
In Asalouyeh in southern Iran:
Workers at the Apadana petrochemical project in Asalouyeh, Bushehr province went on strike, bringing some projects to a halt, in protest for higher wages. #Iran #HumanRights pic.twitter.com/7HA1nuyPqc
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) April 23, 2023
In Jask, also in the south:
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) April 23, 2023
UPDATE 1732 GMT:
Workers in at least 16 oil and manufacturing complexes across Iran went on strike on Saturday.
Videos and photographs confirmed stoppages in Jahan Pars, Frasco Assalouyeh, Gachsaran and Dehloran Petrochemistry, Azar Steel Shiraz, Arak Automotive, and Sirjan Automotive.
The workers have been angered by low wages, failure to pay arrears, and adverse conditions.
The demonstration in Dehloran in northwest Iran:
Was oft untergeht: Im Iran streiken Arbeiter*innen seit Monaten permanent – keine Woche vergeht ohne Streiks, an verschiedenen Orten des Landes. Hier ein Streik von heute, von Arbeitern der Petrolindustrie, in Dehloran, einer größtenteils von Kurd*innen bewohnten Region. pic.twitter.com/WHUZgLixhI
— Gilda Sahebi (@GildaSahebi) April 22, 2023
UPDATE 1717 GMT:
A scene from Shiraz….
People dance at the tomb of thepoet Hafez, known for his joie de vivre, who was also an inspiration for Goethe. A plainsclothes officer admonishes them and urges them to disperse. They respond, “Don’t be afraid, we stand together”:
Die Menschen tanzen am Grabmal des für Lebensfreude bekannten iranischen Dichters Hafez, der auch Goethe eine Inspiration war. Ein Beamter taucht auf und ermahnt. Die Menge ruft "Habt keine Angst, wir stehen zusammen." Er entfernt sich.
— Bardia Razavi🇺🇦 (@RazaviBardia) April 22, 2023
And in Isfahan Province, a message to Iran’s police chief Ahmad Reza Radan — “Radan, Get Lost!” — as well as “Death to the Dictator” and “Woman, Life, Freedom”:
— VOA Farsi صدای آمریکا (@VOAfarsi) April 21, 2023
UPDATE, APR 22:
Facing suspected poisonings in hundreds of girls’ schools since last November, Iranian officials are trying to pin blame on five teenagers, according to multiple sources.
Three girls and two boys from Lar in southern Iran had been detained. One source said they are under intense pressure to “confess”.
Up to 13,000 girls have suffered poisoining symptoms. including nausea, fainting, headaches, coughing, breathing difficulties, and heart palpitations. Many have been treated in hospital.
On March 7, the police commander of Fars Province, which includes Lar, announced the arrest of two men and three women.
The commanders said the suspects threw canisters of nitrogen gas — which is not poisonous — into seven schools in Larestan district, injuring 53 students.
Three of those arrested were 17-year-old female students. Another was the father of one of the pupils.
UPDATE 1339 GMT:
Leading prayers for the end of Ramadan, Iran’s leading Sunni cleric has criticized the Government’s approach to the economic crisis.
Molavi Abdolhamid, the Friday Prayer leader in the protest center of Zahedan in southern Iran, said in his Eid al-Fitr sermon that the sharp fall in the currency has reduced people’s savings to ashes.
We believe that the majority of Iranian citizens are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs, including government officials and employees and even the armed forces. The economy is crippled, and the pressure is being felt by everybody.
The Iranian rial, which was 45:000:1 v. the US dollar in early 2018 and about 320,000:1 at the outset of nationwide protests in mid-September, currently stands at 516,500:1.
Abdolhamid also defied the Supreme Leader by again calling for a referendum for a new Iranian Constitution.
In a speech on Tuesday, Ayatollah Khamenei had pointedly ruled out any referendum for the expression of public opinion on the political, legal, economic, and social situation.
After the service, protesters turned out Zahedan’s streets for the 29th Friday in a row.
مردم در زاهدان روز جمعه اول اردیبهشتماه در راهپیمایی اعتراضی خود شعار دادند: «میکشم میکشم، آنکه برادرم کشت» pic.twitter.com/BwcAc0bvcu
— ايران اينترنشنال (@IranIntl) April 21, 2023
UPDATE 1328 GMT:
The manager of a cinema in Tehran has been dismissed after a prominent actress, Pantea Bahram, attended a screening with her head uncovered.
The Lotus Cinema was showing the last episode of the Iranian series The Lion Skin on Wednesday.
Bahram’s defiance of compulsory hijab was widely praised on social media, but an official at the Cinema Organization criticized management for “failing to control the situation and not guiding the offending individual out of the cinema space”.
It is not known if Bahram was punished for not wearing a head covering.
UPDATE 1253 GMT:
Scenes of defiance over compulsory hijab….
A woman in Karaj, west of Tehran, says over footage of other women with heads uncovered, “We don’t fear your BS threats. Here is Iran, Iran belongs to us”:
یکی از مخاطبان با ارسال ویدیویی، زنان بدون حجاب اجباری را در خیابانهای کرج نشان میدهد و در پاسخ به تهدیدهای احمدرضا رادان، فرمانده ناجا برای تحمیل حجاب به زنان، میگوید: «رادان جون مثل اینکه یادت رفته، ما دیگه نمیترسیم.» pic.twitter.com/qdbtZ4G2ek
— ايران اينترنشنال (@IranIntl) April 20, 2023
Dancing in the Sa’adatabad district of northern Tehran:
با وجود تهدیدهای مقامات جمهوری اسلامی، زنان همچنان بدون حجاب اجباری در اماکن عمومی حاضر میشوند. ویدیوی رسیده رقص دو دختر را بدون پوشش تحمیلشده در سعادتآباد تهران نشان میدهد pic.twitter.com/4UUAekgQic
— ايران اينترنشنال (@IranIntl) April 20, 2023
With “morality police” on the other side of the street, woman walk without hijab in Shiraz:
ویدیوی رسیده به ایران اینترنشنال نشان میدهد روز چهارشنبه ۳۰ فروردین، آمران به معروف در شیراز، در حالی در خیابانهای این شهر مستقر هستند که زنان بدون حجاب اجباری، بدون توجه به حضور آنان، رفتوآمد میکنند. pic.twitter.com/0gXN0ZJvjS
— ايران اينترنشنال (@IranIntl) April 19, 2023
UPDATE, APR 20:
Iranian officials have demanded the removal of the names of the director and a lead actor from the billboards for the award-winning movie World War III.
The Islamic Guidance Ministry acted because of support by director Houman Seyedi and actor Mohsen Tanabandeh for the seven-month nationwide protests over rights, justice, and gender equality.
The film’s distributor, Mohammad Shayesteh, posted on Instagram:
We removed the director’s name from the promotional billboards. Today, the advertising company was told to remove Tanabandeh’s photo as well. Now, only a photo of a house remains on the billboard. Do we want to advertise a real estate company?
Tanabandeh wrote after the regime’s execution of protester Mohsen Shekari in December: “It’s an honor to share your name, dear Mohsen.”
Seyedi dedicated his Instagram profile picture to Kian Pirfalak, a 9-year-old boy killed alongside his father by security forces on November. They were sitting in their cars, amid protests in Izeh in southwest Iran when the personnel opened fire.
Seyedi also posted a picture of himself with former President Hassan Rouhani with the caption: “This disgrace will never be cleansed from me. I am disgusted with myself for naively taking [what I thought was] a step toward a better tomorrow.”
World War III won Venice’s Orizzonti awards for best Actor and best Film. The movie was selected as the Iran entry for the Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards.
UPDATE, APR 18:
Reports of suspected poisonings
in girls’ schools continue across Iran.
Testimony and videos on social media on Monday pointed to poisonings in Isfahan, Sanandaj, Ravansar, Saqqez, Bukan, Diwandrareh, Urmia, Gilangharb, Tabriz, Dezful, and Mahdasht.
One set of videos showed girls being taken to hospital in Sanandaj in northwest Iran, as families waited outside a high school.
Since November, more than 13,000 students have reported symptoms including nausea, fainting, headaches, coughing, breathing difficulties and heart palpitations. Many have been hospitalized.
The cause has yet to be identified.
UPDATE 1238 GMT:
Women with their heads uncovered in a Tehran park — one says, “We are on a walk without hijab like always in the past 7 months. Let’s see what [Iran Police Chief Ahmad-Reza] Radan and his cronies can do.”
یکی از مخاطبان با ارسال ویدیویی از پیادهروی زنان بدون حجاب اجباری در تهران میگوید بدون حجاب آمدهاند تا «ببینیم رادان و دار و دستهاش چه غلطی میخواهند بکنند»
اشاره او به تهدید رادان، فرمانده ناجا است که گفته بود از شنبه ۲۶ فروردینماه با «کشف حجاب» برخورد خواهد کرد pic.twitter.com/OQuF4xylXE
— ايران اينترنشنال (@IranIntl) April 15, 2023
UPDATE 1226 GMT:
A panel of UN experts has criticized the Iran regime’s “harsh and coercive measures” over compulsory hijab as gender-based persecution, violating the rights of women and girls.
They called out the threat by authorities of arbitrary arrests and detentions and of denial of access to public institutions, including hospitals, schools, government offices, and airports.
These additional repressive measures would further exacerbate the negative impact of the compulsory hijab laws. Criminalising refusal to wear the hijab is a violation of the right to freedom of expression of women and girls and opens the door to a range of other possible violations of political, civil, cultural, and economic rights….
The discriminatory and degrading measures allow judicial authorities to detain women and girls who do not comply with the hijab rules in order to force them to sign a written document stating that they will not repeat the “offence”.
The experts called on the regime to amend the Constitution, repeal laws enshrining gender discrimination, and halt the monitoring and control of women’s dress and behaviour in public or private.
UPDATE 1219 GMT:
A Saturday rally in Shahin Shahr in central Iran, protesting the five-month wave of suspected poisonings in girls’ schools, with chants of “Death to the Child-Killing Government”, “Shameless, Shameless”, and “Death to the Dictator”….
ویدیوهای رسیده حاکی است گروهی از مردم شاهین شهر در اعتراض به حملات شیمیایی در مدارس مقابل ساختمان آموزش و پرورش این شهر تجمع برگزار کردهاند pic.twitter.com/KoHs4jj0vd
— ايران اينترنشنال (@IranIntl) April 15, 2023
UPDATE 1209 GMT:
Iran’s leading Sunni cleric, Molavi Abdolhamid, and the residents of Zahedan in the southeast of the country have maintained their challenge to the regime.
Abdolhamid, the city’s Friday Prayer leader, said yesterday that the ideologies of “closed-minded individuals who hold positions of power” have “hindered progress and led to irrational decisions”.
He implicitly addressed the Supreme Leader, calling again for Iranians to be allowed to choose their rulers: “All officials, regardless of their position, should be appointed by the people rather than God.”
Lifting up demands for freedom and justice, he said those who execute protesters will be “punished on Judgment Day”.
The cleric specifically addressed the wave of suspected poisonings since late 2022 in girls’ schools, telling authorities, “People do not accept your claim and believe that the poisonings are deeply rooted in the system.”
After Friday Prayers, hundreds of demonstrators marched for the 28th week in a row, despite the ongoing security presence and restrictions on the Internet.
#Zahedan ist wieder auf den Straßen. Allerdings immer noch still, weil sie fasten. Es gibt wenig Videos und Bildmaterial, weil das Internet stark gedrosselt wird. Ich wünschte, ich könnte gerade meinen Balutsch-Landsleuten mehr helfen. #BleedingBread #IranRevoIution pic.twitter.com/D7VfjVmiIn
— Nida (@nihiliskuss) April 14, 2023
UPDATE 1159 GMT:
Iran’s national football federation has rejected the request of Premier League club Malavan Bandar to allow women into the stadium.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, female fans have been excluded from match. However, the president of the football federation, Medi Taj, has claimed that the ban would be lifted this week.
But Anzali apologized to its women supporters on Friday. While it had obtained permission from the Provincial Security Council, the national federation had maintained the ban for Saturday’s match against Tractor FC.
UPDATE 1059 GMT:
Civil rights activist Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee has been sentenced to seven years in prison and handed “additional punishments” by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran.
Iraee was given six years for “assembly and collusion against the regime” and a year for “propaganda against the regime”. She is banned for leaving the country or attending political parties and groups for two years.
Iraee was arrested at her home in Tehran on October 4. In January her husband, political activist Arash Sadeghi, was given a sentence of more than five years, on top of the 19-year term he is serving despite a cancer diagnosis.
UPDATE, APR 15:
In their latest threat over enforcement of compulsory hijab, Iranian authorities say they will prosecute anyone who encourages women to remove head coverings.
Deputy Attorney General Ali Jamadi said there will be no right of appeal against any conviction.
The crime of promoting unveiling will be dealt with in the criminal court whose decisions are final and unappealable.
The punishment for the crime of promoting and encouraging others to remove the hijab is much heavier than the crime of removing the hijab itself, because it is one of the clear examples of encouraging corruption.
He did not give the specifics of the punishments to be imposed.
UPDATE 1024 GMT:
Journalist and women’s rights activist Jina Modaresgorji has been seized by security forces.
Journalist Farzad Saifikaran said Modaresgorji was “kidnapped by unidentified agents who used violence during her arrest” in Sanandaj, the mainly-Kurdish city at the center of seven months of nationwide protests.
Modaresgorji was previously detained in Sanandaj on September 21, five days after the death of Mahsa Amini — a resident of the city — sparked the protests. She was released on bail after spending 40 days in custody.
She is accused of “acting against national security, allegedly setting up an illegal group and being a member of it, and “propaganda against the regime”.
Labor affairs reporter Maryam Vahidian has been summoned to appear in a Revolutionary Court on April 15.
Vahidian was arrested on November 27 in a raid on her Tehran home and deatined for a month. She is accused of “collusion and intending to disrupt national security”.
Women’s rights activist Fariba Zand-Karimi has been arbitrarily arrested after being summoned to the Intelligence Ministry's office in the Iranian city of Sanandaj.
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) April 11, 2023
UPDATE, APR 11:
Iranian authorities are refusing entry to the Tehran metro to women who are not wearing hijab.
Photos on Iranian State TV showed metro staff barring women trying to pass through the ticket barrier.
The Tehran metro company had announced that, “in line with the demands of the noble people of Iran on the issue of hijab”, it was verbally reminding women about compulsory hijab. Chief executive Masoud Darshti “announced the establishment of a chastity and hijab headquarters”.
Unsettled by the growing number of women appearing in public without hijab, the Iranian regime had announced a series of financial and administrative punishments. They include large fines and revocation of driver’s licenses and passports.
On Saturday, the government said it will install cameras in streets and use traffic camera CCTV to detect women without hijab. Police said violators would receive “warning text messages as to the consequences”.
UPDATE, APR 10:
Protesters gathered in Saqqez in northwest Iran on Sunday over the latest suspected poisonings of schoolgirls.
At least six girls’ schools in the mainly-Kurdish city suffered possible attacks last week, with at least 100 pupils transferred to medical centers for treatment.
Residents gathered outside Meraj Girls’ School and Imam Khomeini Hospital. Gunshots were reportedly heard in the city, and several people were reportedly detained.
🎥 امروز ۲۰فروردین همزمان به چند مدرسه دخترانه ازجمله دبیرستان معراج #سقز حمله شیمیایی شده است که به گفته شاهدان عینی دست کم ۵۰ دانشآموز به مراکز درمانی منتقل شدهاند که حال چند تن از آنها نامناسب گزارش شده است.
در پی این موضوع، والدین و تعدادی از شهروندان در محل حاضر و… pic.twitter.com/Dj2WcVLdId
— ایران وایر (@iranwire) April 9, 2023
Saqqez has been a central location of demonstrations during Iran’s seven months of nationwide protests for rights, justice, and gender equality. It is the hometown of Mahsa Amini, whose death in police custody on September 16 — after she was detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” — sparked the rallies.
Islamic Republic forces fire at people protesting chemical attacks on schools girls in the Shahnaz district of Saqqez, Kurdistan province.
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) April 9, 2023
UPDATE, APR 9:
In their latest warning to Iranian women, officials say they are installing cameras in public places to prosecute and punish those who do not wear hijab.
Police said on Saturday that violators will receive “warning text messages as to the consequences”, as the regime is “preventing resistance against the hijab law”.
The police asserted they will “not tolerate any kind of individual or collective behaviour and action in violation of the law”.
UPDATE 1945 GMT:
More poisonings of Iranian schoolgirls have been claimed across Iran.
There are reports from Ardebil, Urmia, Divandarreh, and Pardis, northeast of Tehran.
Video from Divandarreh in Kurdistan Province in northwest Iran:
ویدیوهای منتشرشده در کانال حقوق بشری هانا نشان میدهد روز شنبه ۱۹ فروردینماه به مدارس دخترانە پروین اعتصامی و بنتالهدا در دیواندرە حمله شیمیایی شده و برخی دانشآموزان مسمومشده را به بیمارستان خمینی شهر منتقل شدند pic.twitter.com/Di0ESrq7Ln
— ايران اينترنشنال (@IranIntl) April 8, 2023
From Urmia in northwest Iran:
Today, April 8, 2023, the Islamic Republic has attacked Saadi Girls' Primary School in Urmia with chemical gas.pic.twitter.com/CKYEdzsmXu
— 1500tasvir_en (@1500tasvir_en) April 8, 2023
An image from Paradis:
— Shoura Hashemi (@ShouraHashemi) April 8, 2023
UPDATE 1932 GMT:
The Iranian judiciary has imposed a death sentence on a protester, Abbas Kourkour, for the killing of 9-year-old Kian Pirfalak last November.
Kian and his father were shot, reportedly by plainclothes security forces, as they sat in their car amid a protest in Izeh in southwest Iran. The elder Pirfalak is paralyzed.
Kian’s mother Zaynab Molaei-Rad has always maintained that security forces sprayed the car with bullets. A former lawmaker from Izeh, Hojatollah Darvishpour, said Molaei-Rad provided details about those who shot and moved her son and husband to the Red Crescent and then hospital.
Another six people, including three children, were shot dead in Izeh on the same night.
Kourkour’s family say he was nowhere near the site of the shooting and was tortured into a “confession”.
UPDATE 1919 GMT:
France’s Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna has urged Iran to release French political prisoners held in Tehran.
Colonna met Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Beijing on Thursday.
The French Foreign Ministry said Colonna “reiterated our pressing demand for the immediate release of six French nationals who are being detained arbitrarily by Iran.”
Iran’s Foreign Ministry said “some consular issues” were raised during the meeting.
The sister of Bernard Phélan, a French-Irish national who has been incarcerated in Iran for six months, said this week that he is in “poor” physical condition and risks losing his vision.
UPDATE, APRIL 8:
The head of Iran’s judiciary, Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, reiterating that there will be punishment women and girls who do not wear hijab in public, claimed that some of them are cooperating with foreign intelligence services.
In a speech on Thursday, Mohseni-Ejei said measures will be implemented to “tackle social deviance”. He declared “the importance of distinguishing between those who are unaware of hijab regulations and those who collude with foreign spy agencies in this regard”.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Leader accused the foreign intelligence agencies of inciting Iranian women not to wear hijab, and — without providing any evidence — said they had fomented seven-month nationwide protests.
Mohseni-Ejei proclaimed, “The majority of Iranians are religious, and even those who may not have deep religious convictions are still highly respectful of social norms and averse to disobedience.”
His deputy Mohammad Mossadegh asserted that the judiciary will “deal seriously with the troublemakers and norm-breakers who cooperate with spy services in promoting bad hijab in Iran.”
UPDATE 1206 GMT:
A scene from the Tehran Bazaar — a woman dances without hijab as a crowd applauds….
ویدیوی رسیده به ایران اینترنشنال نشان میدهد روز پنجشنبه ۱۷ فروردینماه زنی بدون حجاب اجباری در بازار تهران میرقصد که با استقبال حاضران همراه است pic.twitter.com/xfj81JThk2
— ايران اينترنشنال (@IranIntl) April 6, 2023
UPDATE 1143 GMT:
Another front is opening in Iran’s seven-month protests with teacher’s demonstrations and strikes across the country.
Teachers have periodically protested over pay and working conditions. The current demonstrations have been fed by the arrests of the leaders of teachers’ unions.
A rally in front of the Education Department in Hamedan in western Iran:
تجمع معلمان همدان مقابل اداره کل آموزش و پرورش استان
پنجشنبه ۱۷ فروردین ۱۴۰۲
— اتحادیه آزاد کارگران ایران (@AzadEttehad) April 6, 2023
Protesters in Urmia in northwest Iran calling for the release of detained colleagues:
امروز پنجشنبه هفدهم فروردین ۱۴۰۲، جمعی از معلمان در #ارومیه در اعتراض به عدم رسیدگی به مطالباتشان در مقابل ساختمان اداره کل آموزش و پرورش آذربایجان غربی واقع در این شهر دست به تجمع زدند.#تجمع #اعتراض #حقوق_بشر #معلمان #آموزش_و_پرورش pic.twitter.com/KXOzyyrQnC
— خبرگزاری هرانا (@hra_news) April 6, 2023
A march in Tehran over detentions, pay, and working conditions, “Chant Against All This Tyranny!”:
“Chant against all this tyranny!”
Teachers in Tehran and many other cities in Iran rallied to call for the release of their jailed colleagues and demand higher pay under devastating economic conditions. #محمد_حبیبی pic.twitter.com/FH54Il9ej1
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) April 6, 2023
UPDATE 0939 GMT:
There has been another wave of claimed poisonings of Iranian schoolgirls.
Students have been taken to hospital this week in Isfahan and Fars Provinces in central Iran; in West Azerbaijan Province in the northwest; in Tabriz, the capital of East Azerbaijan Province in the northwest.
Since November, more than 200 girls’ schools have reported possible poisonings. More than 5,000 students have suffered symptoms including nausea, fainting, headaches, coughing, breathing difficulties and heart palpitations.
The poisonings have sparked fear and anger among schoolgirls, their parents and Iranian society at large.
After Iranian authorities announced arrests over the poisonings last month, UN experts criticized the Islamic Republic for failing to protect the schoolgirls, prevent further attacks and conduct swift investigations.
The experts said the attacks might be “orchestrated to punish girls” for their involvement in nationwide protests sparked by the September 2022 death of a young woman in police custody.
UPDATE, APR 7:
Demonstrators near Tehran marked Wednesday’s birthday of Hamid Reza Ruhi, slain by security forces near his home in the capital on November 18.
The rally in the Shahr-e Ziba neighborhood, west of Tehran, remembered the 19-year-old university student.
The marchers chanted, “Death to the Dictator”; “Hamidreza is not dead, it is Seyed Ali [Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei] who is dead”; and “freedom, freedom”.
شامگاه چهارشنبه، ۱۶ فروردین، گروهی از معترضان در غرب #تهران، بهمناسبت زادروز #حمیدرضا_روحی، جوان کشتهشده در اعتراضات #زن_زندگی_آزادی، تجمع کردند و شعارهای ضد حکومتی سر دادند. pic.twitter.com/1bSQosH0o3
— RadioFarda|راديو فردا (@RadioFarda_) April 5, 2023
UPDATE, APR 4:
A scene from Khorramabad in western Iran….
Women, many without the forced-hijab, sing a song in memory of 16-year-old Nika Shakarami, an aspiring teenage singer who was killed during anti-state protests in Tehran in September 2022.
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) April 3, 2023
And in Gilan Province in Northern Iran:
Peaceful resistance against state repression continues in Iran.
Police and Basij militia members were pushed back when they tried to disrupt people picnicking during the fasting month of Ramadan in a park in Anzali, Gilan province, on the national “Sizdah Bedar” holiday… pic.twitter.com/znbKVYKufd
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) April 3, 2023
UPDATE, APR 3:
Iranians have rallied around shopowner Mahmoud Hajarpour, who defended two women attacked for not wearing hijab in his grocery in Iran’s second city Mashhad.
The women were accosted by a man who threw yoghurt over their heads. Viral of the assault, from the grocery’s CCTV, has gone viral.
The women were subsequently detained for “commiting a forbidden act” over hijab. The man was arrested for “committing an insulting act and disturbance of order” (see Original Entry).
Hajarpour forced the attacker out of his shop, which authorities closed for several hours after the release of the CCTV footage.
But Amir Shahla, a former member of the Mashhad City Council, posted on Instagram that customers filled the grocery with flowers, chocolates, and sweets in gratitude for Hajarpour’s stand.
People in Iran welcome the reopening of a grocery store in the city of Mashhad two days after it was shuttered by authorities when women customers who were peacefully resisting the state's forced-hijab law were attacked by a Basij militia member. #WomensRightsAreHumanRights pic.twitter.com/rdhRVeAZT0
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) April 2, 2023
UPDATE 1023 GMT:
A scene from Saqqez — the hometown of Mahsa Amini, whose death in police custody on September 16 sparked the nationwide protests — in northwest Iran….
People chanting “Woman, Life, Freedom” in solidarity with slain street protesters who were buried in the Aichi Cemetery in Saqqez.
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) March 31, 2023
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Iran’s judiciary head has declared that women who do not wear hijab in public will be “prosecuted without mercy”.
On Saturday, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei amplified an Interior Ministry statement about enforcement of the law requiring women to cover their heads.
Ejei asserted, “Unveiling is tantamount to enmity with [our] values….[Any woman] who commits such anomalous acts will be punished”.
He added that law enforcement officers are “obliged to refer obvious crimes and any kind of abnormality that is against the religious law and occurs in public to judicial authorities”.
Ejei did not specify the punishment. However, last week leading MP Hossein Jalali said a plan, approved by the Supreme Leader, specifies fines of up to 30 billion rials ($60,000); revocation of driver’s licenses; cancellation of passports; and prohibition of Internet access.
Parliament’s Cultural Commission has said shopowners and businesses such as shopping malls and accommodation centers will be responsible for implementation of rules.
The Regime Acts Tough
The regime had eased its position on hijab amid the 6 1/2-month nationwide protests, sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a young woman detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” in Tehran for “inappropriate attire”.
After a warning in early January from Revolutionary Guards commanders that the protests were threatening the future of the Islamic Republic, the Supreme Leader dropped his reference to protesters as “rioters”.
I was on a provincial trip and people came out to welcome me. I noticed that at least a third of the population, including women who weren’t wearing good hijab, were shedding tears. It’s not fair to label them as counter-revolutionary or anti-revolutionary. How can anyone criticize their enthusiasm and eagerness to participate in religious or revolutionary ceremonies?
They are our daughters.
But Iranian officials appear to have been rattled by the growing number of women who appear in public without hijab. They have posted pictures of themselves in malls, restaurants, shops and streets around the country. Videos of unveiled women resisting the “morality police” are across social media. A clip of teenage women in a Tehran suburb, dancing joyously without hijab and in loose clothing, has gone viral and inspired similar videos by women inside and outside Iran.
President Ebrahim Raisi insisted on State TV on Saturday:
If some people say they don’t believe [in the hijab]…it’s good to use persuasion….
But the important point is that there is a legal requirement…and the hijab is today a legal matter.
A Yoghurt Attack and Then 2 Arrests
In sign of the regime’s crackdown, a mother and daughter were arrested after a man threw a tub of yoghurt over them.
The women were shopping in a grocery store in a town near the city of Mashhad in northeastern Iran. They were approached by a man who spoke with them before grabbing the yoghurt and hurling it at their heads.
Iran’s judiciary announced the detention of the women for “commiting a forbidden act” over hijab. It said the man was also arrested for “committing an insulting act and disturbance of order”.
You may have seen this video of a man in a corner shop in Iran pouring yoghurt over the heads of two women who weren't covering their hair.
The man has been arrested for "disturbing public order" & the two women have been detained for showing their hair.pic.twitter.com/GX89hL6dZo
— Kian Sharifi (@KianSharifi) April 1, 2023
The Center for Human Rights reports another imprisonment:
Maryam Banirazi, a nurse in the Iranian city of Qom, has been sentenced to 8 months in prison and 148 lashes for peacefully resisting the Islamic Republic of Iran's forced-hijab law by showing her hair in public. #Iran pic.twitter.com/sqWZssMlIb
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) April 1, 2023