Molavi Abdolhamid, the Sunni Friday Prayer Leader of Zahedan in southeast Iran

How Supreme Leader Blocked Reforms During Iran’s Protests

UPDATES: Iran Protests — Regime Executes 3 More Demonstrators


Iranian security forces have again arrested Hossein Yazdi, the director of the Iran Times news agency

Yazdi’s daughter Saba reported the arrest. There is no information about charges, the security agency behind the seizure, and Yazdi’s whereabouts.

Yazdi was previously arrested on December 5, 2022. He was transferred to Isfahan Central Prison but released in February this year as part of an “amnesty” by the Supreme Leader.

Iranian authorities have arrested at least 95 journalists amid nationwide protests since September, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.


Iranian authorities have shut dozens of cafes, restaurants and other commercial and recreational sites in recent days, accusing them of that were failing to comply with the law for compulsory hijab for women.

On Sunday, police headquarters released a list of businesses in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas closed for failing adhere to “Islamic principles”. They include five cafes, a sports club, and several commercial units in the Bandar Abbas Mall.

In Islamshahr in Tehran Province, the local police commander said at least 13 businesses have been shut.

Closures have also been announced in Mashhad, Rasht, and Tehran.


An appeals court has confirmed a 5-year sentence for activist and journalist Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, arrested last September at the outset of nationwide protests for rights, reforms, and gender equality.

Iraee refused to take part in the hearing, saying she does not recognize the court’s legitimacy. She was charged with “participating in illegal gatherings” and “violating national security”.

The Iranian regime has arrested more than 90 journalists since September, in an attempt to prevent coverage of the protests. They include Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, who reported on the death in police custody of Masha Amini— detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” — on September 16.


The Iranian regime is reinforcing its crackdown on lawyers, amid nine-month nationwide protests, with an investigation of the country’s Bar Association.

“The Request to Investigate the Operations of Bar Associations and their Union” was passed in Parliament by 158-20 on Tuesday.

Judiciary head Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei, the Intelligence Ministry, and the intelligence organization of the Revolutionary Guards will examine bar associations across Iran as well as the central union in Tehran.

Security agencies will be “reviewing the legal qualification” of lawyers who are members of the bar.

Since the protests began in mid-September, at least 44 lawyers have been arrested and more than 100 have been summoned to court.


Students from two Iranian universities have issued statements of protest over the assault of a demonstrator by a security officer at Tehran’s Allameh University.

On Monday, during a sit-in, the officer banged the student’s head against stone steps.

The protest was sparked by the university making the Maghna’eh — a black cloth covering the head, forehead, chin, and chest — mandatory for female students.

Allameh University students declared that “nothing will go back” to before the nine-month nationwide protests for rights, reforms, and gender equality: “We, who have become ‘We’ for almost a year, have no word for you except one: No.”

On Tuesday, students from Azad University in north Tehran issued a statement of support, criticizing the “audacity of the university security measures against the protesting student at Allameh University”. They called for campuses “free from gender discrimination and political, religious, and ideological exclusion”.

At least 700 university students have been arrested since mid-September, when the nationwide demonstrations were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini — detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” — in police custody.


Trying to silence the criticism from Iran’s leading Sunni cleric Molavi Abdolhamid, authorities have arrested his grandson and staff.

Abdolhamid, the Friday Prayer Leader of Zahedan in southeast Iran, has been prominent during the nine-month protests for rights, reforms, and gender equality. He has challenged the regime’s repression and mass killings, and has called for a referendum on the Islamic Republic’s system.

For 38 Fridays in a row, the residents of Zahedan have rallied despite a heavy security presence and Internet restrictions. The demonstrations were fueled by the killing of about 90 worshippers and protesters on September 30 by security forces.

See also Iran Protests — Zahedan v. the Regime

The activist group Haalvsh, which covers developments in Sistan and Baluchistan Province, said on Tuesday that Abdolhamid’s grandson Abdolnasir Shahbakhsh was “violently” arrested on the street in Zahedan and taken to an unknown location.

Shahbakhsh had previously been summoned by the Zahedan Intelligence Department for questioning.

Security forces also detained Osameh Shahbakhsh, the videographer and photographer of Zahedan’s Grand Makki Mosque, confiscating his laptop and other personal belongings. Last week Abdolvahed Shahlibar, another mosque employee, was summoned to the prosecutor’s office and subsequently arrested. His current location remains unknown.

On January 30, Abdolhamid’s senior advisor Molavi Abdolmajid was arrested, accused of “numerous communications with foreign people and media, and distorting public opinion”.

Last week, Haalvsh reported that a Revolutionary Guards operation tried to poison the 75-year-old Abdolhamid. The plot was thwarted after the mosque’s security team arrested an individual assigned to carry out the killing.


Zahra Aziz-Mohammadi Ahooie is the latest in a series of women actors and directors summoned and punished by authorities over their defiance of compulsory hijab.


The Canadian Government has sanctioned seven Revolutionary Court judges for their role in “gross and systematic human rights abuses”.

As an institution closely tied to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Ministry of Intelligence, the Revolutionary Courts are notorious for issuing death sentences and harsh prison terms following sham trials and based on evidence gathered under torture.

The sanctions include asset freezes and prohibitions on entry into Canada. No person can interact with those who are blacklisted.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said:

More than six months ago, the Iranian people demanded change. They issued a call that was heard around the world and asked the Iranian regime to respect their human rights and freedom. Yet, the regime has yet to respond and, instead, is increasing its use of execution, suppression and intimidation.

Canada will continue to support the Iranian people and we will use the tools at our disposal to respond to Iran’s egregious actions.


At least a dozen student groups from universities across Iran have issued statements of support for Tehran Arts University students who were beaten and detained by security forces.

At least 10 students in Tehran were detained on Saturday as the forces tried to break up sit-ins over the university’s imposition on forced hijab on women (see June 19 Update).

On social media, the Persian hashtag #نه (No) is trending on Twitter in a display of solidarity.

The hashtag amplified the June 17 statement from the Tehran Art Univerity students.

We, who have become “us” for almost a year now, have nothing to say to you except the word No.

After your renewed emphasis on gender apartheid and the obligation to attend the university in a maqnaeh [headdress], after shutting off the water, and after using violence against our friends who were only staging a sit-in for equality in the National Garden Campus…

…We reiterate that we will not turn back.

Referring to the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16, after she was detained and reportedly beaten by morality police, the students said:

This sky is still full of stars even after pulling some of them to the ground on a daily basis. The wound that opened wide in September is still bleeding. And we are standing, hand in hand, for freedom.


Iranian authorities have summoned and charged more teachers over their support of nationwide protests.

Five teachers and cultural rights activists have been summoned and charged in Yazd in central Iran.

Three of the teachers — Ahmad Changizi, Mehdi Kalantari, and Hamideh Zare — were also arrested after teachers’ rallies across the country in May 2022.

As in cases in Shiraz and Ahvaz, the latest charges against the teachers are “membership in groups with the aim of disrupting the country’s security” and “assembly and collusion with the intention of disrupting internal security”.

Eight teachers were given sentences from 2 to 5 years last week by the Shiraz Revolutionary Court.

In a statement, the Iranian Teachers’ Union’s Coordination Council said security institutions have “unsheathed the sword of repression against associations and trade unions of educators and are trying in every way and with any kind of false accusations to extinguish the bright sun of teachers’ demands”.


Iranian security forces attacked and detained Tehran Art University students protesting mandatory headscarf rules on Saturday.

At least 10 students, both men and women, were taken away in an unmarked van. Most were released on Sunday.

Students at the university have staged sit-ins since Wednesday, after administration and security officials said hijab would be mandatory for women from last Friday.

A former professor said students have been stopped and interrogated on and outside the campus, including at Imam Khomeini subway station.

One girl, originally from another city and residing in the dormitory, suffered a nervous breakdown after resisting the interrogators’ questions….Another girl was terrified after leaving the interrogation building and became disoriented. She could not find her way back to the dormitory or the university.

Since last November, with the appointment of Chancellor Mohammad Reza Hosanaee to implement tough policies, students have been given zero grades on their exams. Woomen have been banned from campus for not accepting compulsory hijab, and staff fired for supporting students’ right to protest. Metal sheets have been erected at the entrance gate to prevent female and male students and staff from standing beside or even seeing each other (see Original Entry).


More actors have been summoned by Iranian authorities who are punishing women for appearing without hijab.

Azadeh Samadi was summoned when she attended a funeral without a headscarf. She has been charged with “injuring public morals and modesty by removing the hijab”.

Leila Bolokat was summoned for “publishing pictures on her personal page on social media”.

Last week director Zahra Ahooei was ordered to appear at Branch 1092 of the Criminal Court in Tehran because she was seen without a hijab in public and removed the head covering in a post on social media.


Iranian security forces have killed a relative of 9-year-old Kian Pirfalak, who was shot and slain by the forces during a protest on November 16 in Izeh in western Iran.

Pouya Molaeirad, a relative of Pirfalak’s mother, was killed on Sunday during a memorial service at Kian’s grave in the village of Parchestan in Izeh Province.

After Molaeirad’s body was transferred to the morgue of a hospital in Izeh city, security forces again confronted family members.

Iranian officials claimed security personnel were attacked by a vehicle and responded by shooting at the attacker. Relatives of Pouya Molaeirad disputed the account.

A tribute to Kian Pirfalak:


A scene from Tehran….


Maintaining his challenge to Iran’s leaders, the country’s leader Sunni cleric, Molavi Abdolhamid, has urged them to address the people’s economic needs instead of devoting excessive funding to the military.

Abdolhamid delivered his Friday Prayers sermon three days after President Ebrahim Raisi and military commanders unveiled what they claimed was Iran’s first domestically produced hypersonic ballistic missile.

See also US Sanctions Iranians and Chinese Over Tehran’s Ballistic Missiles

Abdulhamid told worshippers, “We are happy that advanced weapons are unveiled for the defense, but we would be happier if, instead of weapons, the stomachs of these people were fed — the people who are shouting in the streets every day.

The cleric’s sermon was followed, for the 37th week in a row, by demonstrations in Zahedan in southeast Iran calling for rights and justice. Chants included, “I swear to the blood of my comrades, we will stand until the end”, and “My martyred brother, I will avenge your blood.”

Abdolhamid said:

As long as the Iranian people experience this pain, their lament won’t be silenced. The voice of the nation will persist until you address the people’s suffering. Our greatest sorrows are national, not regional.”

He responded to the regime’s pressure on him to end his criticism, “If you wish to put an end to the complaints, the solution lies in alleviating the people’s pain.”


Eight independent Iranian labor organizations have called for the expulsion of the Islamic Republic from the International Labor Organization.

Timing the letter for Monday’s opening of the ILO’s annual conference in Geneva, Switzerland, the organizations call for the expulsion to protest against the suppression of dissent and detention of demonstrators, workers, and teachers.

The signatories include 41 imprisoned labor activists and teachers. They criticize Government economic policies that have led to widespread poverty and hardship. They also noted “the Government-sanctioned killing” of Mahsa Amini which sparked nationwide protests last September.

The signatories explained that the Islamic Republic’s delegation at ILO conference “does not truly represent the workers, teachers, and people of Iran”. It said the organization should act on a “special agenda” for the “release of all imprisoned workers, teachers, social activists and detainees of the movement of ‘Women, Life, Freedom’, and all political prisoners” as well as the immediate cancellation of executions.


An Iranian woman, who worked with law enforcement but then resigned over the suppression of demonstrators, has died in suspicious circumstances.

Medical officials in Ilam Province in southwest Iran said Mansureh Sagvand, a 20-year-old law student from Abadan, perished from “cardiac and respiratory arrest”.

But Sagvand’s friends say they doubted the official report, noting that she had recently been released from detention.

Sagvand posted on her Instagram account hours before she died: “They scare us with death, as if we are alive. Forever and ever, my life is a sacrifice for the homeland. Long live Iran.”

The regime’s concern over the case is tipped by a lead story in its English-language outlet, Press TV, insisting that the young woman died of a “heart attack”.


A scene from Tehran….


Women in Iran have marked the 34th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, with images celebrating their right not to wear compulsory hijab.


For the 35th Friday in a row, residents of Zahedan marched in a challenge to Iran’s leadership.

Hundreds gathered around Grand Makki Mosque after Friday Prayers, despite an ongoing heavy security presence and efforts to limit the Internet. They chanted slogans such as “We reject the Islamic Republic”; “Down with the oppressive government that kills innocent children”; and “By the blood of our comrades, we will persist until the end” and “I will kill whoever killed my brother”. Other chants sought freedom and equality for Kurds, Baluch, and Azeris.

The demonstrators have turned out every Friday since September 30, when Iranian security forces killed about 90 worshippers and demonstrators.

In yesterday’s Friday Prayers, Molavi Abdolhamid, Iran’s leading Sunnin cleric, criticize the financial dependence of religious seminaries and clerics on the government. He noted that this hadrestricted the ability of religious scholars to address social issues, and urged them to speak out about poverty and deprivation.

ORIGINAL ENTRY, JUNE 2: Trying to break eight-month nationwide protests over rights, justice, and gender equality, Iran’s regime has punished hundreds of students and dismissed scores of professors.

The Center for Human Rights in Iran details the crackdown, beginning with the arrest of more than 720 students since September 16, when Mahsa Amini died in police custody after her detention and reported beating by “morality police” over “inappropriate attire”.

After months in detention, many students have been released. However, they face banishment to remote areas of Iran and/or suspensions by university committees.

At least 60 professors have been fired, suspended, forced into retirement, or had their salaries terminated.

Punishing Arts Students in Tehran

A notable case is Tehran Art University, with students given zero grades on their exams, women banned from campus for not accepting compulsory hijab, and staff fired for supporting students’ right to protest.

The regime appointed the university’s chancellor Mohammad Reza Hosanaee in winter 2022 to implement tough policies. Students say he has personally harassed women on campus over their hijabs. Metal sheets have been erected at the entrance gate of the College of Applied Arts to prevent female and male students and staff from standing beside or even seeing each other.

University students have urged Iran’s Science Minister to hold Hosanaee and head of security Hamzeh Borzouie “accountable” for “illegal actions by security forces”.

On November 7, many students received a zero grade in all courses after boycotting classes to protest repression and killing of protesters. They were placed under academic probation for a semester, as Hosanaee threatened more sanctions against them.

“Based on the university chancellor’s order, all teaching staff who supported the student protests on social media, or signed statements in solidarity, had their contracts terminated,” an employee explained.

Professor Behshid Hosseini, the Dean of the College of Architecture, met with Hosanaee to discuss student issues and defended their right to protest.

The chancellor reportedly replied, “I’m secretly filming unveiled students until the situation dies down and then I will send every one of them to the disciplinary committee.”

Professor Hosseini was fired shortly after the encounter. In February, the head of the College of Visual Arts, Mohammad Reza Motarjemzadeh, was dismissed.

On May 30, the Art University’s security office banned 40 women students from entering the campus for either not wearing a hijab or refusing to wear one tightly.

Suspensions and Banishment from University in Tabriz

The Tabriz Medical Sciences University has used its disciplinary committee to implement suspensions and banishment.

A student explained, “The disciplinary committee meetings at the university were like [kangaroo] courts. The students weren’t given the chance to defend themselves at all. Each meeting lasted less than 15 minutes and was held for all the students in a single day.

The crackdown followed student protests over a series of chemical attacks targeting schoolgirls since Novembere across Iran. After a peaceful rally on March 7 protesting the regime’s refusal to ensure the security of schools, almost 40 students were summoned to the disciplinary committee.

On April 9, six were suspended for two semesters and 10 others for one semester. Six weeks later, eight students were banished as well as suspended.

A total of 44 students have now been banned from studying for one or more semesters, with 33 of the punishments taking effect immediately.

The university has also banned for six months an online broadcast produced by Tabriz medical students, the “Radical Page”.

But The Protests Continue

Some students continue to defy the authorities despite the prospect of damage to their education and future employment.

On May 22, students at Tehran University’s College of Psychology and Educational Sciences held a sit-in protest over the one-semester suspension of compatriot Ali Hajian.

The next day, students at the all-female Shariati University in Tehran demonstrated over the beating of a classmate by security forces for not wearing hijab. They chanted, “I’ll beat anyone who beats my sister.”

And on May 24, students from the Faculty of Chemistry at Sharif University in Tehran held a sit-in to protest the executions of protesters Saeid Yaghoubi, Saleh Mirhashemi, and Majid Kazemi. Their IDs were confiscated.

On the same day, students Jondishapour University in Ahvaz in southwest Iran distributed photos of Yaghoubi, Mirhashemi and Kazemi and posted them on information boards. Below the photos, they wrote: “It’s not a time for mourning, but a time for anger” and “The only way to salvation is to continue the path of revolution.”

Students on other campuses, including Noshirvani University in Babol in northern Iran, wrote slogans on campus walls urging people to join the protests.

They quoted Navid Afkari, a wrestling champion who was executed in September 2020: “Your silence means support for oppression and oppressors.”