Branch 113 of the criminal court in Tabriz sentenced Azerbaijani Turk activist, Mohammad Imami, a resident of Tabriz, to 16 months imprisonment and 40 lashes.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the sentence has been suspended for five years.
Azerbaijani Turk activist, Mohammad Imami was sentenced to 8 months in prison on a charge of “contumacy the government agent’s order”, 8 months in prison on a charge of “disturbing the public order”, and 40 lashes on a charge of “deliberately injuring the police officer”.
On July 24, security forces arrested Imami and transferred him to a detention center at the disposal of the Ministry of Intelligence in Tabriz City. After spending one week in detention, he was released on a bail of 80 million tomans.
It is worth mentioning that on the same day of his arrest, several other citizens in Tabriz were also arrested in regards to the protests and demonstrations of Tabriz citizens in support of the nationwide Khuzestan protests against water mismanagement.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, a number of protests took place this week in Iran, many of which were continuations of ongoing movements. Read our recap below for details, photos, and videos from the demonstrations.
Saturday, November 20
A number of workers and retirees assembled in the Worker House in Tehran. In this gathering, the workers showed their protest against a plan laid out in parliament, whereby wages can be wholly determined by a consensus between employee and employer.
“This plan will increase rural-to-urban migration and hence affect negatively the ecology”, Hassan Sadeghi, one of the workers’ representatives, commented about the plan. “It reinforces informal employment and decreases demands in the market. In this plan, employers will be able to pay insurance contribution of just 10 days rather than 30 days.”
A group of workers of Abadan Petrochemical Complex assembled at company premises in front of the central factory building. They asked for the establishment of an Islamic Labor Council as a worker organization, pointing out that the government increases only the salary base in accordance with inflation each year, while other benefits remain the same.
Personnel of the medical treatment department of Elam University of Medical Sciences assembled on campus in protest.
A number of workers in Yazd Province assembled at the Worker House in Yazd City. They asked that the disparity in wages be closed, and that labor codes and regulations regarding worker housing be implemented.
“Considering the 47% (annual) inflation, a 20 to 30% increase in wages is never enough. Therefore, we are planning to address this issue in a session with workers’ organizations as well as through Parliament,” the member of Parliament of this city, Mr. Jokar, commented. “Among other things, addressing the temporary contracts which undermine job security, productivity and motivations for labor force have to be prioritized.”
Sunday, November 21
In Shahrekord City, hundreds of people assembled in front of the municipal building of this Province and then marched through the streets of Shahrekord in protest against water shortages and water mismanagement.
Families of the victims of Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752, which was hit by two regime missiles on January 8, 2020, resulting in the death of the 176 people on board, assembled and demanded that the court-martial convene and hold low-ranking military officers responsible for the incident accountable. Carrying placards and pictures of the victims, protesters called for justice.
A group of the retirees of the Fulad Company’s pension fund protested in Isfahan and Khuzestan before the building of this fund. They asked for the fortification of their pensions to stand above the poverty line, the closing of disparities in pensions, and that the issues of supplementary insurance be addressed.
For several consecutive days, a group of workers of Abadan Petrochemical Complex assembled and protested at the premises of this complex. They demanded increased wages and that a workers’ organization be established.
Monday, November 22
In Shahrekord City, for a second consecutive day, dozens of citizens marched to protest against water shortage and water mismanagement in the province.
Recently-dismissed workers of the Aq-Dareh gold mine assembled at their former workplace to protest mass layoffs. They have stated that, as seasonal workers, they can hardly earn their livelihood during the winter months.
In Sirjan City, a number of workers of the edible oil company FRICO demanded their several-months-delayed wages.
Tuesday, November 23
A group of workers of Asminon Mine assembled on the road connecting Manoojān to Bandar-Abbas to protest against not addressing their issues. Reportedly, this was their fourth day of the protest.
Workers of the vegetable oil factory Nina, located in the Sirjan industrial zone, assembled in front of the municipal building to ask for their wage demands and determine their job conditions. One of the workers said that the employer’s neglect towards workers’ demands has weakened their work motivation. He also mentioned that it is about three months that the factory is temporarily closed due to the lack of raw materials.
Wednesday, November 24
Hundreds of people in two squares of Shahrekord City, in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province, assembled and marched to protest against water shortages, ineffective water management policies and poor resource mismanagement. They demanded, in particular, shutting down a water transfer project which extracts water from the Province through two canals, exacerbating the current water shortage. Reportedly, currently, 96.1% of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province is facing drought.
In Isfahan, for several consecutive days, the farmers assembled in the dried up stretches of the river Zayandeh-rud. They demanded their water portion and the revival of this river.
Several patients with the blood disorder Thalassemia assembled in front of the headquarter of Zahedan University of Medical Sciences. According to these protestors, the worsening quality of its medicines has endangered the health of patients. They asked for the removal of all poor-quality medicines from the market.
A number of the victims of the financial fraud of the “King Money” cryptocurrency network assembled in front of the building of the Baadraan Universal Trading company.
The seasonal workers of Haft-Tappeh sugarcane company assembled in Shush city in front of the office of Parliament member Kaab Amir. They asked that their employment contract issues be addressed.
Thursday, November 25
A number of citizens assembled in front of the office of the Cleric Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani in Qom City to protest against the family law–particularly mehrieh (money or possessions paid by the groom). Many men, who are not able to afford to pay this money in the divorce, are convicted and even jailed.
For a second consecutive day, seasonal workers of Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane company assembled in Shush City in front of the office of Parliament member Kaab Amir.
The workers of the Iran-Khodro Company in Tabriz went on a strike and assembled at their workplace. They demanded closing the disparity in wages and implementing the Job Classification Act.
Recently, the Revolutionary Court of Khoy sentenced Yosuf Pirjani and Reza Moghaddasi, both residents of Khoy County, to three months imprisonment each.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Pirjani and Moghaddasi were arrested by security forces on July 24 of this year, and then released on bail on August 6.
On July 24, 2021, in Tabriz hundreds of people demonstrated in support of the Khuzestan Protests against water shortages and mismanagement. During these protests, dozens were arrested.
On November 23, 2021, Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Khoy, headed by Judge Erfani, issued the verdict of three months’ imprisonment for Pirjani and Moghaddasi on charges of “propaganda against the regime”.
Recently, Azerbaijani Turk activist Parviz Siabi was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Siabi was arrested amid the protests of July of this year in Tabriz, which was held in support of the nationwide Khuzestan protests.
Branch 1 of Ardabil Revolutionary Court sentenced 75-year-old resident of Ardabil Parviz Siabi Gorjan to 16 years in prison. He received one-year imprisonment on a charge of “propaganda against the regime via interviews with anti-regime media and posts on social media”, 10 years on a charge of “forming unlawful groups as an attempt to disrupt national security”, and finally 5 years on a charge of “membership in unlawful anti-regime groups”. Grounded on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, a severest punishment of 10 years is enforceable for him.
On Sunday, July 25, security forces arrested Siabi and detained him in a Ministry of Intelligence detention center in Ardabil. After 11 days, he was transferred to Ardabil Central Prison. On August 29, he was released on bail of 250 million tomans from Ardabil Prison.
Siabi had been arrested before for his civil activities. On September 29, 2020, security forces arrested him along with 7 other Azerbaijani Turk activists in an assembly in a park in Ardabil. On October 29 of that year, he was released on bail from Ardabil Central prison. In regards to this arrest, he was summoned to appear at Branch 10 of the Public and Revolutionary Court of Ardabil.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, a number of protests took place this week in Iran, many of which were continuations of ongoing movements. Read our recap below for details, photos, and videos from the demonstrations.
Saturday, November 13
A number of retirees of the airline company Homa assembled before Mehrabad Airport Central Office Building in Tehran. They also protested against the merger of Homa’s pension fund into the national pension fund.
“We have not yet fully earned the salary for September.” one of the protestors stated. “The retirees of Tehran have received 5 million tomans of the payment but the rest of the retirees have not received anything.”
In Isfahan, a number of farmers assembled in and marched through in the dried up stretches of the river Zayandeh-rud. This is the sixth day that they have protested to demand their water portion.
A group of contracted teachers and educators working in Neyshabur City protested in the building of the General Department of Education of Razavi Khorasan Province in Mashhad.
Reportedly, despite news that the contracted teachers will be recruited by the Ministry of Education in the cities of Neyshabur and Firouzeh, following a dispute between the local departments and the general department of the Ministry of Education on hours and wages, the supportive plan was cancelled.
A group of residents in a district in Izeh County in Khuzestan Province assembled in front of the government building to demand their rights. They claimed that a portion of their land has been confiscated by the Department of Natural Resources.
Sunday, November 14
A group of syndicate bus drivers of Tehran Bus Company assembled before the building of Government Employees’ Court and then marched towards the Judiciary Office in Tehran. As one of the protestors mentioned, they protested against delays in payment, not receiving uniforms and contractors who are shirking their responsibilities towards addressing workers’ issues.
Personnel of at least nine medical centers, belonging to the University of Medical Sciences and Health Services, assembled and protested against authorities’ failure to follow through on promises they have made.
Retirees of the Ministry of Agriculture Jihad assembled before the office of the President to demand that their housing issues be addressed. Reportedly, several years ago, they made down payments on apartments from a housing cooperative and then were never granted building permits.
A number of contracted teachers assembled in front of the government building in Qazvin City to protest against modifications in job contracts and irregular payments. Reportedly, these teachers primary complaints relate to the arbitrary determination of salaries. They stated that their monthly salary is just about 1.8 million tomans, which falls below the poverty line.
A number of retirees of the pension fund of Fulad Company assembled in front of the pension fund offices of various cities. They asked for the fortification of their pension to surpass the poverty line, closing the disparity in pension incomes, enforcing Article 96 of the Social Security Act, solving issues regarding supplementary insurance.
A group of sugarcane harvesting workers of Haft-Tappeh Company assembled and protested at the company premises. 150 fired sugarcane workers demanded to be hired again and work in other parts of the company.
Contracted service workers of Ahvaz Municipality assembled before the governorate building to ask to be recruited by the municipality rather than contractors.
For a seventh consecutive days, a group of farmers assembled in Isfahan and marched through the dried up stretches of the river Zayandeh-rud to demand their water portion. They spent the night in tents under the Khaju Bridge.
Monday, November 15
A number of Taxi drivers assembled and protested before the City Council Office in Kahnooj City in Kerman Province to protest against the newly announced fare rates. They said that they can hardly afford their living costs with such low rates.
Tuesday, November 16
Personnel of the drilling company Global Petro Tech Kish assembled in Ahvaz City to protest seven month delays in payments.
Earthquake victims of Bandar-Abbas villages assembled to protest against neglect of their issues.
A number of workers of Sanandaj Municipality assembled in front of the City Council Building to demand their unpaid wages.
Wednesday, November 17
Dozens of workers of the tire manufacturing factory Barez assembled at factory premises to protest against the gap in wages and benefits.
“Many times we asked company management to do something about discrimination in wages and address our poor job conditions,” one worker said. “Considering poor economic conditions of the county, there has been no increase in our wages despite the multiplying manufactured products’ prices.”
Personnel of Metro security in Karaj City went on a strike and assembled before the metro station and demanded that wage and insurance issues be addressed.
In Tabriz, for several consecutive days, the workers of the Iran Tractor Manufacturing Industrial Group went on a strike and assembled at their workplace. They protested against low wages and the lack of job security, and the failure to enact the promised changes in their contracts.
For the ninth consecutive day, farmers in Isfahan assembled and protested in the dried up stretches of the river Zayandeh-rud. They spent the night in tents under the Khaju Bridge.
A number of workers of the copper mining company “Dareh Zar Ruchun” assembled in Sirjan city.
They protested against the mismatch of working hours with wages, not implementing the Job Classification Act, low wages, the lack of job security.
Thursday, November 18
A number of workers of Railway Services & Technical Construction Engineering Company working in Metro Security assembled and blocked the railway and demanded their delayed payments.
For the tenth consecutive day, farmers assembled and protested in the dried up stretches of the river Zayandeh-rud in Isfahan to ask for their water supply.
On Wednesday, November 17, a fisher was shot dead by military forces in Hoveyzeh County.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, 32-year-old Ahmad Savari, a resident of Rafi-Shahr in Khuzestan Province, was shot dead by military force while he was fishing in Hawizeh Marshes.
HRANA’s annual human rights report has specifically documented cases in which military forces’ use of live ammunition against citizens has led to their injury or death.
According to the 2020 report, 36 cross-border laborers (kolbars), 5 cross-border fuel carriers (sukhtbars) and 33 other citizens have been shot dead by military forces and border guards in the last year. In addition, 130 people have been injured of whom 109 are Kolbars, 5 are Sukhtbars, and 16 are citizens.
As the anniversary of the nationwide November 2019 protests approaches, security forces have begun to put pressure on victims’ families to deter them from holding ceremonies in remembrance of their killed loved ones.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Farzaneh Ansarifar, the sister of one of the victims, was arrested for a short time to force her to cancel one such ceremony. According to an informed source, she was told that the authorities from Ahvaz had asked for her imprisonment due to inviting people for gathering via Instagram Stories.
In another attempt to deter gathering at the cemetery, the public relations of the Municipality of Behbahan city and the Islamic Council of this city announced that the roads led to the cemetery have been blocked due to the construction. In Behbahan city, the internet connection was intentionally disrupted, and Behbahan citizens Mohsen Ghanavati, Amin Moradi, and Payam Jeyhooni were reportedly arrested by security forces.
During the protests of November 2019 in Behbahan City, security forces used live ammunition against protestors which led to the death of several protestors including Mehrdad Dashinia, Mahmood Dashtinia, Farzad Ansarifar, Mohammad-Hossein Ghanavati and Mohammad Hashamdar.
In November of 2019, an unprecedented increase in fuel prices sparked a wave of protests in dozens of cities across the country. The spokesperson of the Parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Seyed Hossein Taghavi announced that 7000 people were arrested during these protests. According to reports of human rights organizations, hundreds were killed by the regime forces.
Recently, Branch 111 of Tabriz Criminal Court confirmed sentences of prison time, fines, and flogging for Azerbaijani Turk activists Amir Sattari and Yousef Salahshouri.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Amir Sattari was sentenced to 91 days in prison, of which the detention period will be subtracted, and a fine of 40 million rials after being charged of “inciting violence via cyberspace”. 50 days of this prison term have been suspended for two years.
Salahshouri received a fine of 51 million rials on a charge of “inciting violence”, and sentenced to 37 lashes on a charge of “disturbing public order”.
On July 25, Yousef Salahshouri was arrested by intelligence agents and transferred to the detention center of the Ministry of Intelligence in Tabriz. On August 11, in a phone call, Salahshouri informed his family that he had been transferred to Tabriz Prison. He was released on bail on August 14. Then on October 3, the Revolutionary Court of Tabriz held the first court session.
Sattari was arrested on July 22 by security forces and transferred to Tabriz Prison. He was released from Tabriz prison on August 15.
On July 24, a number of citizens in Tabriz marched and protested in support of the protest of Khuzestan against water shortages and mismanagement of the government. During the protests, a number of these citizens were arrested.
NOVEMBER 15, 2019: A sudden and substantial hike in the cost of fuel sparks unrest across Iran. Individuals across the country pour into the streets in what soon becomes mass protests covering a reported 104 cities across Iran.
As the anniversary of the November protests approaches, HRA has spoken with Iranians calling for concrete action against those responsible for violent crackdowns against protesters including arbitrary and incommunicado detention, illegal use of force, and torture among other serious violations. For nearly two years, perpetrators have, for the most part, enjoyed widespread impunity. Domestically, some have even seemingly been rewarded. Indeed, individuals such as now-President Ebrahim Raisi, a known and serious violator, have risen to top positions of power.
Soheila, a 45-year-old mother whose son was shot in the November 2019 protests, highlights the shortcomings of the judiciary in Iran, telling HRA, “I hope that accountability will mean that next time, my child, instead of taking to the streets, can work through established pathways to hold corrupt people accountable for their actions.”
November 2019 saw the deaths of several hundred Iranians (227 were verified by HRA) in what is arguably a state-sanctioned arbitrary deprivation of life. In addition over 7,100 were arbitrarily detained, some remain detained today. Although the violations noted above have been extensively documented, little has been done to hold perpetrators accountable.
Elika, 25, told HRA, “Without accountability for violations that occurred in November 2019, the cycle of repression and violence will not end. Those that intend to perpetrate future abuse [on us] need to see accountability. Maybe then they will take a moment to think before pulling the trigger.” In a recent post in the Atlantic Council IranSource blog, Skylar Thompson, HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator, stated similarly, “Without concrete action to fight the plague of impunity that covers Iran, these violent events will only continue to occur and the Iranian people will continue to suffer.”
Iran has proven unwilling to investigate and prosecute those responsible through domestic judicial frameworks. This unwillingness is paired with the fact that Iran’s judiciary is in no way impartial and is in fact led by the very perpetrators responsible for the noted violations. Unfortunately, violations of fair trial standards have become status quo.
When asked what accountability looks like to him, Hafez, 22, told HRA, “They should handcuff the perpetrators. […]. They should be prosecuted in a public court and imprisoned.” He continued, “Once handcuffed, perpetrators should have to look the victim’s mother in the face to calm her heart.” Nazanin, 32, told HRA that accountability, in her view “is [the Islamic Republic] honestly and openly admitting wrongdoing.”
HRA has identified 54 individual and seven institutional violators connected to the November 2019 protests. It Is noteworthy that a number of those violators have also been complicit in numerous additional acts of repression against protesters including in 1988, 2020 (protests over the shooting down of Ukrainian airliner), 2021 (protests over resource mis-management in Khuzestan), and many instances in between. This repeated action is a direct consequence of the lack of accountability.
The following section lists notable individuals responsible for repeated serious and widespread rights violations. Extensive and credible documentation is readily available. HRA calls on the international community to hear the pleas of Iranians like Hafez, Nazanin, and Elika and utilize available documentation to take concrete action against those responsible.
*For a more in-depth look at the listed violators visit www.spreadingjustice.org or select a name and be directed to a violator profile that includes several data points including an overview of violations, employment history, as well as additional evidentiary documentation.
Mojtaba Raei Special Governor, Najafabad City of Isfahan Province Deputy Governor of Isfahan
The July 2021 Iranian protests were a continuation of protests that have been erupting sporadically since 2016.
The driving force behind the July/August uprising was to protest the perennial water shortages and rolling blackouts stemming from mismanagement of resources, fueling public anger. The latest round of protests erupted on 15 July, starting in Khuzestan soon spreading to other provinces including Isfahan, Lorestan, Eastern Azerbaijan, Tehran, and Karaj. These protests have been coined the ‘Uprising of the Thirsty’.
As nearly 5 million Iranians in Khuzestan are lacking access to clean drinking water, Iran is failing to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to water, which is inextricably linked to the right to the highest attainable standard of health; both are protected by the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESR), to which Iran is a signatory. It is a common cause that Iran’s water crisis has reached a critical point. Even the regime’s state-run media have acknowledged the dire situation, with at least 700 villages out of water.
According to the state-run Aftab News on July 4, 2021, “Of Iran’s population of 85 million, about 28 million live in areas with water shortages and are under pressure in this regard, mainly in the central and southern regions of the country. Water shortages have affected all sections of society, from urban households to agricultural and rural communities.”
It did not take long for the protests to take on a political character, with protesters in various cities calling for the end of the current regime and expanding the subject matter of their protests from water shortages to deteriorating living conditions.
One protester told HRA, “My ideal outcome is to see a regime official resign in response to our suffering.We are tired of all of this misery, poverty, dehydration, neglect, lies, and empty promises.”
A protester living in Tehran told HRA, “Besides supporting [the people of] Khuzestan, we are protesting unemployment, high prices, poverty, and the existing problems in the country. We can no longer bear the hardships of life created by unworthy officials. The authorities must address the problems…”
In the two weeks of the uprising, Human Rights Activists (HRA) verified 129 videos documenting the protests, 361 arrests, 6 deaths, and several more wounded. HRA’s Spreading Justice team (HRA-SJ) additionally identified individual violators associated with the violent crackdown. The following report analyses the events that occurred as a result of the uprising, those responsible, and concludes with a call for accountability noting that without action, this cycle of abuse will only continue.