Iran’s hijab protests, September 2022 (EPA)
UPDATE, MAY 17:
Trying to curb protests by teachers over pay, working conditions, and detention of colleagues, Iran’s regime has sentenced another educator to a lengthy prison term.
Her name is Anisha Asadollahi.
She's a teacher and translator for the Tehran bus union who has been sentenced to 5.8 years in prison on sham charges of “assembly and collusion against national security,” and “propaganda against the state.”
Her only "crime" was peacefully… pic.twitter.com/2MCUrI8kv7
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) May 16, 2023
The punishment of students also continues….
Is free speech criminalized in the Islamic Republic of Iran?
Ask university student Maryam Darisi, who reported to Adelabad Prison in Shiraz, Fars province, to begin a 15-month sentence for “insulting the Supreme Leader” and “propaganda against the state.”#مریم_دریسی pic.twitter.com/iKo6uj8p58
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) May 16, 2023
UPDATE, MAY 16:
Vice President Mohammad Dehghan has said that without compulsory hijab for women, the Islamic Republic would collapse.
Dehghan declared on Saturday:
Hijab is the symbol of the Islamic Republic….
Without hijab, the Islamic Republic would not have much of a meaning. So we must not be negligent on this issue.
Asked if women who are refusing to wear hijab are criminals, he diverted to assail unnamed “enemies”.
No, the felons are those who promote not wearing hijab in an organized way. They are usually connected to foreign countries, and they apparently play the role of mercenaries who promote not wearing hijab.
UPDATE 0851 GMT:
A display of defiance….
A woman in Iran, defying the state's forced-hijab policy by posing for a photo with her hair uncovered in public, holds up a sign: “Woman, Life, Freedom.”#IranRevolution #WomensRights #Iran #بیحجابی_سراسری pic.twitter.com/yHcdEGUfMj
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) May 14, 2023
UPDATE 0848 GMT:
Siavash Hayati, the Secretary of the United Kurdish Front, was imprisoned in Kermanshah in western Iran on Saturday.
Hayati has been sentenced to 12 months for “propaganda against the state.”
UPDATE, MAY 15:
Scenes from Iran’s universities….
Students at Tehran University College of Fine Arts chant “Woman, Life, Freedom!” and “Security get lost!”, challenging harassment of women on campus to wear compulsory hijab.
Tehran University College of Fine Arts students protested against the harassment of women on campus to force them to comply with the state's forced-hijab policy.
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) May 15, 2023
Poet Sepideh Rashnoo defies her suspension over hijab at Alzahra University:
Poet Sepideh Rashnoo’ on her two-term suspension from Alzahra University for “not observing the Islamic dress code:"
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) May 14, 2023
UPDATE, MAY 13:
Iran’s leading Sunni cleric, Molavi Abdolhamid, has continued his challenge to the regime by calling for a change in the conduct of elections.
Abdolhamid, the Friday Prayers leader in Zahedan in southeast Iran, said the current system leads to “weak managers”. He continued that the Iranian people want “free and fair elections, not the type that is being advertised by some government media for [next year’s] parliamentary elections”.
The cleric also hit out at the unelected Guardian Council, which controls the process through the disqualification of candidates, saying it is preventing worthy and capable people from rising to the presidency, Parliament, or the Assembly of Experts.
After Friday Prayers, Zahedan residents took to the streets for the 32nd week in a row, shouting slogans against the Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic.
“This is the last message! If you carry out more executions, there will be an uprising!” shouted protestors in the city of Zahedan in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan Province on the 32nd consecutive week of anti-state protests there.#Iran #HumanRights #NotoExecutionsinIran pic.twitter.com/EEt3RgAxbG
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) May 12, 2023
🎥 امروز ۲۲اردیبهشت، معترضان در #زاهدان به خیابان آمده و شعارهایی نظیر «زندانی سیاسی آزاد باید گردد» و «توپ، تانک، فشفشه؛ آخوند باید گم بشه» سر دادند.
— ایران وایر (@iranwire) May 12, 2023
UPDATE 1158 GMT:
Iran has also freed French tourist Benjamin Brière after he spent three years in detention.
Brière was seized in May 2020 as he was flying a camera drone in northern Iran near the Turkmenistan. He was initially charged with photography in a prohibited area, use of a recreational drone in a natural park, and questioning compulsory hijab for women in his social media posts.
The charges were escalated to “espionage”, and Brière was condemned in January 2022 to 8 years and 8 months in prison.
As with the relesae of Irish-French national Bernard Phelan, Brière’s freedom came in conjunction with a phone call — this one between Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and French counterpart Catherine Colonna.
#Iran FM @Amirabdolahian & #France FM had a phone call. Iran FM said it’s a “positive step” that French approach toward Iran has become “realistic”. French FM thanked Iran for releasing two French nationals. They also discussed bilateral talks, Gaza, Iran-IAEA cooperation & IRGC. pic.twitter.com/JzRc6q5dc4
— Abas Aslani (@AbasAslani) May 12, 2023
UPDATE 1100 GMT:
Irish-French national Bernard Phelan has been freed after seven months in detention in Iran.
The Iranian Embassy in Ireland announced the release.
Phelan, who was born in Ireland’s Tipperary and lives in France, was seized in October during Iran’s nationwide protests and sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison. He was working for an Iranian tour operator and travelling on a French passport.
His family has highlighted concerns about his deteriorating mental and physical health in poor prison conditions.
The Iranian embassy in Dublin said Phelan was released “on consular and humanitarian grounds” after “constructive diplomatic engagement” between Ireland and Iran”.
Phelan was freed amid a phone conversation between Irish Foreign Minister Micheál Martin and Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian.
Iran is trying to grab a propaganda advantage by claiming Martin’s remarks that Dublin has no interest in labelling the Revolutionary Guards as “terrorist” and that Ireland recognizes Iran’s significant role in the “fight against terrorism”.
In January, the European Parliament asked the European Union and its 27 member-states to label the Guards. On Tuesday, the Swedish Parliament voted to designate the Iranian military organization, three days after Tehran executed Swedish-Iranian national Habib Chaab.
UPDATE 1026 GMT:
Prosecutors in Tehran’s Evin Prison have summoned at least 20 human rights lawyers in the past week, reports reformist newspaper Shargh.
The lawyers have not been informed of specific accusations. However, most have protested the arrests and prison sentences of demonstrators during eight-month nationwide protests.
The summoned lawyers include Samin Cheraghi, Hassan Younisi, Ali Mojtahedzadeh, Ali Sharifzadeh, Abolfazl Hamzeh, and Mohammad Ali Kamfirouzi.
UPDATE 1004 GMT:
Social media activist Ramin Alinia Tazehkand has been sentenced to a total of six years in prison by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran.
Tazehkand was convicted of “gathering and colluding to act against national security” and “propaganda against the regime” over his posts on the Instagram page Gundam. He will have to serve five years, the length of the longer sentence.
The activist was also banned from traveling abroad, joining political parties or groups, or carrying out online activities for two years.
UPDATE, MAY 12:
Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld the death sentences of protesters Majid Kazemi, Saeed Yaqoubi, and Saleh Mirhashemi.
The three men were detained on November 16, 2022, after two Basij paramilitary members and a police officer were shot and killed amid demonstrations in Isfahan. They were charged with “waging war against God”.
Majid Kazemi’s cousin Amir said the only evidence presented in the court hearing were the defendants’ “confessions”, obtained under duress. Lawyers were denied access to their clients and have received anonymous death threats.
Iranian authorities have executed four protesters so far during the eight-month nationwide demonstrations sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini — detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” — in police custody on September 16.
UPDATE, MAY 11:
Despite the Iran regime’s threatened crackdown on women who do not wear compulsory hijab, more images are circulating of defiance and liberation.
Scenes of peaceful defiance against anti-women laws in Iran.
Here women eat at a restaurant in the Iranian countryside with their hair uncovered, defying the state's forced-hijab policy for all women in public.#Iran #WomenLifeFreedom#بیحجابی_سراسری pic.twitter.com/cXVLgNAntq
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) May 11, 2023
UPDATE 1719 GMT:
The Swedish Parliament has voted to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization.
The designation came three days after Iran’s execution of Swedish-Iranian national Habib Chaab.
In January, the European Parliament called on the European Union and member states to issue the designations of the Revolutionary Guard as terrorist.
UPDATE 1712 GMT:
Human rights activist Arash Sadeghi has been handed another prison sentence to 3 years and 7 months for “assembly and collusion against national security” and “propaganda against the state”.
Sadeghi has been recurrently detained since July 2009, amidst the mass protests over the disputed Presidential election. He was seized again last October 12, four weeks into the nationwide demonstrations sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, and has remained behind bars.
UPDATE, MAY 10:
Teachers demonstrated across Iran on Tuesday. They restated concerns over pay and working conditions; expressed solidarity with the 8-month protests for rights, justice, and gender equality; and demanded the release of detained colleagues.
At least one teacher, Atekeh Rajabi, was arrested during a protest in Mashhad in northeast Iran. She was fired in January for supporting the nationwide rallies.
Videos, carefully edited to protect the identity of demonstrators, showed gatherings in cities such as Kermanshah in western Iran.
In Rasht in northern Iran:
Teachers’ rights protests in #Iran: “Imprisoned teachers must be freed!”
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) May 9, 2023
In Sanandaj in northwest Iran:
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) May 10, 2023
UPDATE 1220 GMT:
Iranian authorities have filed legal cases against two more actors for not wearing compulsory hijab in public.
Prosecution is being pursued of Baran Kosari, who was photographed attending the funeral of actor Hesam Mahmoudi without a headscarf on May 5. Shaghayegh Dehghan is charged with not wearing hijab in a cafe.
Fellow actors Katayoun Riahi, Pantea Bahram, Afsaneh Baygan, and Fatemeh Motamed-Aria have also been charged recently.
UPDATE 1022 GMT:
Protests by pensioners over economic conditions continue, with demonstrations on Monday in 12 cities across Iran….
دوشنبه ۱۸ اردیبهشت:
۱) کارگران ابنیه فنی کرمان در محور بافق تا شور گزبم دست به اعتصاب زدند.
— Nico Robin (@LightofRev) May 8, 2023
Labor rights rallies are ongoing in Iran.
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) May 9, 2023
UPDATE, MAY 9:
Iran authorities have hanged two men convicted of blasphemy.
Iran has executed at least 203 prisoners so far this year, putting it among the world’s leaders for the killings. However, authorities usually commute death sentences for blasphemy.
Yousef Mehrad and Sadrollah Fazeli Zare were hanged at Arak Prison in central Iran. They were arrested in May 2020, accused of involvement in a Telegram channel called Critique of Superstition and Religion.
The men spent months in solitary confinement and could not contact their families.
The outlet of Iran’s judiciary, Mizan News Agency, claimed the two men insulted the prophet Muhammad, promoted atheism, and burned a copy of the Qur’an.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, MAY 8: More than seven months after the start of nationwide demonstrations for rights, justice, and gender equality, Iran’s regime is trying to re-define “legal protests”.
The Iranian Students News Agency reported on Saturday that the government has drafted the “Rallies and Marches Bill” to restrict rallies.
The bill, approved at a government meeting last Tuesday, allocates ten locations in the capital Tehran for gatherings. Large cities with a population of more than one million will designate at least four locations. Smaller cities and towns will specify locations proportionate to their population.
Article 27 of Iran’s Constitution establishes the right for citizens to hold peaceful marches and rallies while respecting the fundamentals of Islam.
But the regime has been rocked by protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini — a young woman detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” over “inappropriate attire” — in police custody on September 16.
Authorities have arrested more than 20,000 people, with many — including activists, journalists, cultural figures, and minors — still in prison. Children have been tortured, and there have been several executions.
So the Government’s bill declares a ban on rallies that “undermine independence, unity and territorial, integrity disrespect sacred religious concepts and harm public order”.
Labor protests are exempted under the bill, leaving it unclear how the regime plans to deal with a wave of strikes at oil and manufacturing complexes across the country.