HRANA Recap: This Week’s Protests in Iran

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, a number of protests took place in different parts of the country this week. Below is a quick recap and footage from the demonstrations.

 

Saturday, May 29

 

On Saturday, May 29, A group of farmers in Ahvaz city held a rally in front of the Khuzestan governor’s building near the Salman water supply canal to protest water shortages. Teachers of Green Result-Letter rallied in front of the Ministry of Education building in Tehran. Staff of Imam Khomeini Hospital in Karaj gathered after receiving inaccurate salary payments in the hospital area. Izeh preschool teachers rallied in the city’s education building and protested uncertainty over their employment status. Persian Gulf Holding staff protested in front of the gate of the special Mahshahr site. Protestors called on their demands to be addressed.

 

Farmers in Ahvaz city and rural areas:

 

 

Teachers of Green Result-Letter:

 

 

Staff of Imam Khomeini Hospital:

 

 

Izeh preschool teachers:

 

 

Workers from the Persian Gulf Holding:

 

 

Sunday, May 30

 

On June 30, farmers from different villages of Ahvaz city held a rally for the second consecutive day in front of the Khuzestan governor’s building. Retirees of Khuzestan Steel Company held rallies in several cities including Tehran, Ahvaz, Isfahan, and Rudbar in front of their cities’ Civil Servants Pension Fund buildings. A group of teachers and staff of non-profit schools from different cities gathered in front of the Islamic Consultative Assembly building in Tehran, in front of the Education Department in Isfahan. Several professors at Azad University in Ahvaz, Shiraz, and Isfahan rallied in front of the campus buildings of their towns. Several fired workers of Mahshahr Petroleum Products Distribution Company gathered in front of the entrance of the oil depot of this city. Bankrupted investors in Caspian Financial Institution rallied in front of the Judiciary building in Tehran. Villagers of Bloband from the Kharqan section of Zarandieh city in Markazi Province held rallies as well.

 

Farmers from different villages of Ahvaz:

 

 

Retirees of Khuzestan Steel Company:

 

 

Tehran

 

 

Khuzestan province

 

 

Teachers and staff of non-profit schools in Tehran and Isfahan:

 

 

Azad University Protesters:

 

Ahvaz

 

Shiraz

 

 

Isfahan

 

 

 

Fired workers of Mahshahr Petroleum Products Distribution:

 

 

Bankrupted investors in Caspian Financial Institution:

 

 

Monday, May 31

 

Several employees of the Persian Gulf Holding Oil protested in front of Mahshahr Petrochemical Site 4. A group of teachers rallied in front of the Islamic Consultative Assembly building in Tehran. Service staff of the National Iranian Drilling Camp protested in Ahvaz. Staff of Imam Hospital Khomeini protested in Karaj. A group of temporarily employed staff of Mahshahr Petrochemical Special Zone and Bandar Imam held rallies.

 

Employees of the Persian Gulf Holding Oil:

 

 

Temporary employees of Mahshahr Petrochemical:

 

Service staff of the National Iranian Drilling Camp in Ahvaz:

 

Staff at Imam Khomeini Hospital in Karaj:

 

 

Tuesday, June 1

 

A group of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane workers protested in front of the management office complex. A group of landowners in the new city of Pardis gathered in front of the Judiciary building, several of whom lost money to the Mehr View Housing project in Tabriz, at the project’s site.  Masjed-e-Soleiman ranchers who lost their livestock to sewage water pollution of Masjed Soleiman Petrochemical protested the devastating oversight.  A group of bus drivers in the bus terminal of Shiraz held protest rallies and called on their demands to be addressed.

 

Landowners in the new city of Pardis:

 

 

Masjed-e-Soleiman ranchers:

 

 

Mehr View Housing project:

 

 

Bus drivers in Shiraz:

 

 

Wednesday, June 2

 

Workers of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane gathered in front of the complex’s management building for the second day in a row and protested. A group of Ahwaz Water and Wastewater personnel rallied in front of the company’s building.

 

Workers of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane (Day 2) :

 

 

Thursday, June 3

 

Workers of Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Cane, who say they have not yet received their salaries for the past two months, rallied for the third day in a row in the company’s yard. Police responded violently to the demonstration. In Tehran, BRT bus drivers  rallied to call on their demands to be addressed.

 

Workers of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane (Day 3):

 

 

 

HRANA Recap: This Week’s Protests in Iran

Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, at least seven protest rallies were held on May 21, and 22. Several employees of the offshore platforms of the South Pars Oil and Gas Company rallied at their workplace. A group of nurses and medical staff members of the Health Cooperative rallied in front of the Judiciary in Tehran. Several workers of Pajen Dairy Company rallied in front of Nasimshahr Governor’s Office. Workers of Izeh’s Water and Sewerage Company rallied in front of the city water supply building demanded their unpaid wages. Street cleaners in Chabahar rallied in front of the city building; a group of workers of IGC in Assaluyeh rallied in their workplace, and truck drivers parked their vehicles in one of Mashhad’s highways protesting the neglect of their problems by the authorities. All the groups of protestors called for their demands to be addressed.

 

Workers of IGC in Assaluyeh:

 

Medical staff members of the Health Cooperative’ rally:

 

Cleaners and sweepers in Chabahar:

 

Workers of Izeh’s Water and Sewerage:

 

Sunday, May 23

 

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, at least 10 protest rallies were held on May 23. A group of employees of Tehran Metro Operation Company rallied in front of the Islamic parliament in Tehran; Retirees of Isfahan Steel Industry rallied in front of the Retirement Fund building in Isfahan; School janitors rallied in front of their provincial education department in Lorestan and Qazvin provinces; a group of Shiraz Telecommunication Company retirees rallied in front of the governor’s office in the city, a group of preschool teachers from different cities rallied in front of the Islamic Consultative Assembly; teachers working in non-profit schools in Sistan and Baluchestan, Kerman, and East Azerbaijan provinces protest rallies called for their demands to be addressed.

 

Employees of Tehran Metro:

 

Retirees of Isfahan Steel Industry:

 

 

Teachers working in non-profit schools in Sistan and Baluchestan, Kerman, and East Azerbaijan:

 

Janitors rallied in in Lorestan and Qazvin provinces:

 

Telecommunication Company retirees in Shiraz:

 

 

Preschool teachers rally:

 

Monday, May 24

 

According to HRANA, the News Agency of Human Rights Activists, at least seven protests took place on Monday, May 24.  Employees of the Ministry of Oil rallied in front of this ministry building in Tehran; a group of truck drivers held a rally and parked their vehicles in front of the municipality building in Mashhad; Security and maintenance workers of line 5 of Tehran city train held a rally on-site; several retired employees of Iran Air airline rallied in front of the airline building in Tehran; a group of faculty members of the Azad University of Tabriz and Ahvaz held rallies in their cities; retirees of health department held a rally in front of the building of the Program and Budget Organization in Tehran.Protesters called on their demands to be addressed.

 

Truck drivers held a rally in Mashhad:

 

Employees of Iran Air airline rallied in front of the airline building in Tehran:

Retirees of health department held a rally in front of the building:

 

 

Tuesday, May 2

 

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, at least thirteen protest rallies were held on Tuesday, May 25.   Stakeholders of Azovico company who lost money held a rally in the streets around the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade in Tehran. Several workers from the Ministry of Oil in the Persian Gulf Holding rallied in Petrochemical Special Economic Zone in Bandar Imam Khomeini. Workers at Pegah Milk Factory of Tehran held a rally in front of the Judiciary building. A group of teachers and several temporary employees of the Ministry of Oil rallied in front of the Islamic Consultative Assembly building. A group of employees and retirees of Imam Khomeini Hospital held a rally in front of the Municipal Organization of Alborz Province. Residents of Barangerd village, farmers of the rural part of Gamboueh, and a group of employees of Khuzestan Rural Water and Sewerage Company held rallies in Khuzestan Province. Several students of Estahban Higher Education Center protested in this educational center. A few retirees of Pars Metal factory rallied in front of Ghanoon daily newspaper office in Tehran. Shareholders of the stock market rallied in front of the Stock Exchange Organization in Tehran, and a group of farmers in Isfahan held protest rallies in this city and called on their demands to be addressed.

 

Stakeholders of Azovico company:

 

Workers from the Ministry of Oil in the Persian Gulf Holding:

 

Residents of Barangerd village:

 

Residents of Gamboueh village:

 

 

Students of Estahban Higher Education:

 

 

Retirees of Pars Metal:

 

Employees of Rural Water and Sewerage in Khuzestan:

Wednesday, May 26

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Wednesday, May 26, official employees of the oil industry held rallies in 9 different cities and locations including Bahregan, Lavan, Ahvaz, Gachsaran, Abadan, Assaluyeh, Tehran, Mahshahr, and Bushehr. The employees called their demands on payment of arrears, equipment upgrade, correct and complete implementation of Article 10 and 112, resolving problems of employees’ transfer to needed sections and some other demands. Several employees of Rural Water Supply and Sewerage gathered in front of the government buildings in the Khuzestan Province. A group of technical protection and safety consultants gathered in front of the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare in Tehran rallied to pressure authorities to address their demands.

 

Protest of employees of the oil industry in 9 cities:

 

In Tehran:

In Lavan:

In Bahregan :

in Mahshahr :

 

in Ahvaz:

 

in Bushehr:

 

 

Employees of Rural Water Supply and Sewerage in the Khuzestan Province:

Thursday, May 27

According to HRANA, at least three protest rallies were held on May 26. Khuzestan Rural Water Supply and Sewerage staff for the third day in a row in front of the governor’s office in Ahvaz. Medical staff at Bu Ali Hospital rallied at their workplace in Tehran, and a group of citizens of Behbahan held a rally at the Friday prayers center in the city, in Khuzestan, and called on their demands be addressed.

Demanding Water, Wages, and Benefits: A Recap of This Week’s Protests

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, at least 26 protests took place across the country this week, 6 of them today. The unassociated protests and their participants’ demands varied greatly, but all related, in one way or another, to political and economic institutions’ disregard for citizens’ needs. Here is a quick breakdown.

 

Pensioners Protest in 5 Cities

 

On May 16, retirees protested in at least 5 cities, including Tehran, Karaj, Khorramabad, Mashhad, and Kermanshah.

Pensioners carrying banners chanted slogans and marched in front of their local Social Security offices. They demanded an increase in pensions following the poverty line increase,  implementation of the equalization of salaries law, strict implementation of Article 96 of the Social Security Law, attention to supplementary insurance problems, and payment of end-of-year bonuses.

 

 

Teachers protest in Tehran and Tabriz

 

On May 16, several teachers protested in front of the Parliament Building in Tehran and in front of the Department of Education Building in Tabriz, calling for their demands to be addressed.

 

 

Families of the victims of the 2020 Ukrainian plane crash protest in Tehran

 

On May 16, a group of families of the victims of the 2020 Ukrainian plane crash gathered in front of the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces in Tehran. The families protested the trial, the rejection of their request to study the case, and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s remarks about “curing the accident” in his leaked tape of the interview.

 

 

 

Municipal workers protest in Lowshan

 

According to the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), on May 16, workers of the Municipality of Lowshan protested low wages and insurance problems in front of the municipal building for the second day in a row. According to the workers of Lowshan Municipality, on the morning of May 15, the protest broke out after Lowshan’s mayor insulted several service workers in the yard and inside the building.

 

 

 

Kaveh Glass Industrial Group workers protest in front of Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare

 

According to the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), on May 16, a group of workers from the Kaveh Glass Industrial Group demanded fair working conditions and retirement benefits in front of the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare.

 

Per the report, the workers demanded the right to retire after working 20 continuous years or 25 consecutive years, given the difficulty and high risk of the job.

 

According to news sources, the workers all have retirement status and have been insured in these difficult jobs for more than 20 years.  The workers claim that the employer not only did not help them to retire but also laid them off shortly before the benefits were set to activate. They are currently both jobless and unable to retire.

 

 

Teachers and staff of special-needs education schools protest in Khuzestan province

 

According to the Asr-e-Junub news agency, on May 16, teachers and staff of schools for children with special needs in Khuzestan province protested in front of the General Directorate of Education in Ahvaz. The protestors demanded increased salaries and the resolution of clerical insurance problems.

 

Literacy movement educators protest in front of Parliament Building

 

According to the ISNA news agency, on May 16, a group of educators of the literacy movement protested in front of the Parliament Building and requested Parliament representatives’ support, as their employment status is currently shaky.

 

Residents of Health Boulevard in Saravan protest in Sistan and Baluchestan Province

 

According to the Baloch Activists Campaign, a group of citizens living in Saravan’s Health Boulevard protested in front of the governor’s office and the office of Islamic Consultative Assembly representative Malek Fazeli on May 17.

 

The residents protested lack of electricity and poor infrastructure in the area, after numerous attempts to resolve the issue through the electricity department were unsuccessful.

 

Servants and school caretakers protest in Shiraz

 

According to the Free Union of Iranian Workers, on May 16, servants and caretakers of Shiraz schools demanded an increase in wages and benefits in front of the city’s education building.

 

Private school teachers protest in Ilam

 

According to the Free Union of Iranian Workers, on May 17, teachers and employees of private schools in Ilam protested outside the Department of Education building of the province. According to the report, the protestors have been working for years with very low salaries. They requested a salary raise and benefits increase and called on the elimination of discrimination they have been facing compared to government employees.

Safety Consultants protest outside Ministry of Labor building in Tehran

 

On May 19, a group of safety consultants from all over the country protested in front of the main door of the Ministry of Labor building in Tehran. They demanded an immediate cessation of the implementation of Technical Protection and Safety Services bylaws, and revision of the bylaws and instructions “in the presence of experts and representatives of real advisors”.

 

 

 

Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Water Company workers protest in Gachsaran

 

According to Kebnanews, on May 18, several members of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad Water and Sewerage Company protested not receiving their wages and insurance benefits in front of the Dogonbadan’s Water and Sewerage Office in Gachsaran.  All of the protesting workers have been employed for more than 5 years by this company, and have not been paid for three months.

 

 

Karnameh Sabz’ teachers protest in Tehran

 

According to the Free Union of Iranian Workers, on May 19, teachers of Karnameh Sabz protested the uncertainty of their employment status in front of the Ministry of Education building in Tehran. Karnameh Sabz teachers are educators who took the Ministry of Education’s recruitment exam (Article 28 exam) and have been selected by officials, but no action has been taken by the ministry since the exam. On the previous day, teachers also protested in front of the Parliament building in Tehran.

 

 

Truck drivers protest in Arak  

 

According to the ISNA news agency, on May 19, several truck drivers in Arak protested for the fifth day in a row. They called on their union demands and complained about the failure of officials in the Road Maintenance & Transportation Organization.

Aseminun miners protest in Manujan in Kerman

 

On May 19, workers of the Aseminun mine in the city of Manujan in Kerman province protested not receiving their wages for the third day in a row of the strike. The

protesters demanded payment of their unpaid wages, the ousting of the current mine owner, and the transfer of ownership to the public sector.

Gardeners protest in Robat Karim

According to the Basi news agency, on May 20, several gardeners from Robat Karim protested in front of the governor’s office.  Protestors claimed their right to ownership had been violated by the Ministry of Agriculture Jihad even though they had the proper legal paperwork.

 

 

Agents and sellers of Sufi Cement protest in Tabriz

 

According to the Free Trade Union of Iran, on May 20, several agents and sellers of Sufi Cement gathered in front of the East Azerbaijan Governor’s Office in Tabriz to protest cement shortages.

Shareholders of Samen Coin protest in Tehran

 

According to the Free Trade Union of Iran, on May 20, 2021, a group of shareholders of Samen Coin protested in front of the Central Bank in Tehran.

 

Jovein Cement factory workers protest in Khorasan Razavi

 

According to the Free Trade Union of Iran, on May 20, 2021, workers of the Joven Cement Factory in Khorasan Razavi protested low wages and poor working conditions.

 

Villagers protest amid continued water shortages in the western suburbs of Karun

 

According to the IRIB news agency, on May 21, villagers of the western suburbs of Karun gathered in front of the Arvandan Oil and Gas Company refinery to protest authorities’ unfulfilled promises to address the ongoing water crisis in Karun. Twelve villages in the western suburbs of Karun, each with populations of  over 6,000, have been experiencing water shortages for nearly four years.

 

Court Trial Held for Baha’i Citizen Kiana Shoaei

The trial of Kiana Shoaei, a Baha’i resident of Shiraz, was held at the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz on May 15.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the trial referred the case to the prosecutor’s office to rectify incomplete documents. Another hearing will be held after the deficiencies are fixed.

Kiana Shoaei was previously summoned to Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz on May 5. In this citation, she was asked to appear at the branch on the 15th regarding a lawsuit that had been lodged against her for “forming dissident groups with the intention to disrupt the security of the country, membership in dissident groups with the intention of disrupting security, and propaganda against the regime”.

Shoaei had been awaiting trial since 2019,  after being arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence in October and released on bail in November of that year.

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Because their faith is not considered legitimate by authorities, the rights of Baha’is in Iran have been systematically violated for years.

This deprivation of the freedom to practice their religion is a breach of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations covenant holds that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

25-Year-Old Prisoner Executed in Adelabad Prison After Being Tortured and Forced to Confess

On May 15, 2021, an inmate in Adelabad Prison in Shiraz was executed on a charge of rape. The prisoner’s identity was confirmed by HRANA as 25-year-old Behzad Ad’l.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Ad’l  was transferred to solitary confinement for execution along with three others sentenced to death on the morning of the 15th.

In June of last year, Ad’l was arrested and sentenced to death and 99 lashes by Branch 1 of the criminal court in Fars Province, presided over by Judge Rajaeinia. The case was appealed and referred to the Supreme Court, and the previous ruling was upheld in less than 18 days.

According to an informed source, the Ad’l’s execution was carried out very hastily, despite at least 2 of his 3 plaintiffs’ agreement on the withdrawal of the sentence.   Start to finish, the  process of issuance, approval, and execution of the sentence took place over the course of less than seven months.

Ad’l did not have a lawyer.  According to the lawsuit in Branch 1 of criminal court in the Fars Province, issued in October 2020, Behzad Ad’l had stated that during interrogation he was tortured and forced to confess to the charges. If he did not cooperate, authorities threatened that his “grandmother (would) be run-over by car.”

At least three other prisoners were transferred to solitary confinement along with Mr. Ad’l for execution. The fate and identities of the other three prisoners are currently unknown.

According to international organizations, considering its population, Iran ranks first in the world in the execution of its citizens. The Statistics and Publication Center of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) reported that between January 1st and  December 20th of 2020, at least 236 citizens were executed. One of these citizens was executed publicly, and two were juvenile offenders. An additional 95 citizens were sentenced to death.

The report states that more than 72% of executions in Iran are not reported by the government or the judiciary. Human rights organizations call these “secret executions.”

As of this writing, the execution of this prisoner has not been announced by any Iranian media or official sources.

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The Continued Detention of Baha’i Citizens Vahid Dana and Saeed Abedi in Shiraz 

After three weeks, Bahai citizens Saeed Abedi and Vahid Dana are still detained in Shiraz in the Intelligence Ministry’s detention center known as No. 100. Following mass arrests and home searches of Bahai citizens in Shiraz, Abedi and Dana were arrested by intelligence agents on April 28th.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Vahid Dana has an acute type of chronic hypertension, and was under supervision of a specialist doctor prior to the arrest due to symptoms of angina pectoris. According to a source close to his family, Dana’s heart problems started in 2014, during a previous detention. The continued detention of the two citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak, coupled with the failure of officials to provide any update on their condition, has raised concern among their families.

Abedi and Dana were arrested in their homes by intelligence agents and then transferred to the detention center. Officers searched their homes and confiscated some of their personal belongings, including cell phones, personal computers, books, and images related to the Baha’i faith.

With the beginning of the wave of pressure on Baha’i citizens, 7 additional Baha’i citizens from Shiraz, (Saeed Ittihad, Qasem Masoumi, Siamak Honarvar, Soroush Abadi, Sedigheh Aghdasi, Alieh Foroutan, and Behrooz Farzandi Ardakani) were also arrested by agents in March. Their houses were searched, and some personal belongings seized by security forces. They were gradually released on bail after about a month.

Vahid Dana and Saeed Abedi had been previously arrested and charged in August of 2018. Each were sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile, in absentia and without their or their lawyers’ information, by Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz. These sentences were then reduced to 6 months imprisonment each by Branch 17 of the FarsProvince Court of Appeals. Later that year, they were both pardoned on the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution.

According to unofficial sources, more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Because their faith is not considered legitimate by authorities, the rights of Baha’is in Iran have been systematically violated during recent  years. This deprivation of the freedom to practice their religion is a violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations covenant holds that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

It is unclear when Dana and Abedi will be released.

 

30 Baha’is were summoned to the court in Shiraz

On March 14, 2019, 30 Baha’i citizens were summoned to Branch 10 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz. Their summon was related to a case that was opened back in 2016 against them by the Intelligence Ministry. They were charged with “membership in an opposition group” and “propaganda against the state”. They were identified as follows:

Noushin Zanhari, Esmail Rousta, Behnam Azimpour, Saeed Hasani, Ramin Shirvani, Marjan Gholampour, Mojgan Gholampour, Farid Shademan, Farzad Shademan, Parisa Rouhizadegan, Shamim Akhlaghi, Sahba Farahbakhsh, Sahba Moslehi, Ahdyeh Enayati, Mahyar Sefidi, Shadi Sadegh Aghdam, Vargha Kaviani, Soroush Ighani, Maryam Eslami, Yekta Fahandaj Saadi, Nabil Tahzib, Samar Ashnaei, Rezvan Yazdani, Lala Salehi, Nasim Kashani, Bahareh Norouzi, Niloufar Hakimi, Farzan Masoumi, Shahnaz Sabet, and Farhad Sabet

 

Background

Marjan Gholampour, Mojgan Gholampour, Farid Shademan, Farzad Shademan, Parisa Rouhizadegan, Shamim Akhlaghi, Sahba Farahbakhsh, Sahba Moslehi, Ahdyeh Enayati, Mahyar Sefidi, Shadi Sadegh Aghdam, Vargha Kaviani, Soroush Ighani, and Maryam Eslami were arrested in 2016 and were transferred to Ministry of Intelligence Detention Center in Shiraz known as the No. 100 Detention Center.

On October 3, 2016, Bahareh Norouzi and her husband, Siamak Honarvar were arrested and their house was searched and their belongings were confiscated. They were also transferred to the No.100 Detention Center.

On October 10, 2016, Vargha Kaviani, Shamim Akhlaghi, Farid Shademan, Soroush Ighaei, Farzad Shademan, and Mojgan Gholampour were released from Adel Abad Prison on 200 million Tomans bail along with 92 other prisoners.

On October 11, 2016, Marjan Gholampour, Maryam Eslami, and Parisa Rouhizadegan were released from prison on 200 million Tomans bail.

Moreover, Noushin Zanhari, Esmail Rousta, Behnam Azimpour, Saeed Hasani, and Ramin Shirvani were arrested along with several other Baha’i citizens in June 2016. They were released on 200 million Toman bail after a month.

Baha’i citizens of Iran are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all people are entitled to freedom of religion, belief, and changes thereof, as well as the right to express and practice those beliefs as individuals or collectives, in public or in private. Though unofficial sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated.

Three Days of Iran Protests Over Fuel Price Raise

Protests have erupted across Iran after the government unexpectedly announced it is rationing petrol and increasing its price. The protests took place across the country following the decision of the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, at midnight of November 14, 2019, to cut petrol subsidies to raise funds for social assistance to the poor. Petrol price was increased to a minimum of 15,000 Rials per liter, 50% increase from the day before.

Nationwide protests in the last three days were in at least 48 cities such as: Ahvaz, Shooshtar, Dezful, Gachsaran, Abadan, Khorramshahr, Bandar Mahshahr, Rasht, Shiraz, Bandar Abbas, Gorgan, Khorramabad, Qom, Ilam, Karaj, Sanandaj, Dorud, Qazvin, Arak, Mahdi Shahr, Garmsar, Shahroud, Najafabad, Mariwan, Tehran, Tabriz, Ardabil, Urmia, Saveh, Pasargadae, Qods (Qal’eh Hasan Khan), Varamin, Sari, Yasuj, Qaemshahr, Shahrekord, Malek Shahr, Parand, Damavand, Pol Dokhtar, Neyshabur, Sarepol Zahab, Kahnooj, Yazd, Bandar Bushehr, Bahmai, Shahriar, etc. They are still ongoing in several cities.

Peaceful demonstrations turned violent in Sanandaj, Mahshahr, and Shiraz, with online videos purporting to show police officers firing teargas at protesters and mobs setting fires. Several people were injured or killed in the first three days of protests as a result of the police’s direct shots. On November 17, 2019, students of Tehran University and Tabriz University protested inside the university. Shops at Tehran Grand Bazaar went on strike on November 17, 2019.

The protests started on November 15, 2019, and are still ongoing. The arrest of more than 1000 people across the country was confirmed. More than 150 banks and supermarkets were set on fire and a police officer was killed. Two Hawzas -a seminary where Shi’a Muslim clerics are educated- were set on fire in Shiraz and Kazerun. According to unconfirmed reports, at least 36 people were killed in Sirjan, Shiraz, Behbahan, Marivan, Khoramshahr, Isfahan, and Shahriar.

According to Fars News, protests were held in 100 cities and at least 100 banks and 57 supermarkets were set on fire. Based on this report, the number of protesters were 87400 from which 82200 are men and 5200 women. At least 1000 people were arrested. Yazd prosecutor confirmed the arrest of 40 people in the city of Yazd. Bam Prosecutor also confirmed the arrest of 15 people in the city of Bam. The prosecutor of Robat Karim confirmed the arrest of 34 protesters for vandalism. According to Mohammad Reza Amoui, Kermanshah’s chief of Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran, on November 16, Major Iraj Javaheri was killed fighting with protesters in Kermanshah. A journalist resided in Mariwan, Adnan Hasanpour, reported that security forces shot people directly and at least seven people were killed in Javanrud, one person was killed in Sanandaj, and several people were injured. According to unconfirmed reports, 15 of the killed people are identified as following:

Meisam Adgipour, Khaled Maniat, Ali Ghazlavy, Milad Hamidavi, Ali Boghlani, Hamzeh Savari, Mohammad Asafi Zargani, Ehsan Abdollahnejad, Mehdi Nikouei, Osman Naderi, Mehran Tak, Shahou Validi, Javad Nazari Fathabadi, Mehrdad Dashtizadeh, Mohammad Hossein Ghanavati.

Iran has almost completely shut off access to the internet across the country. On November 16, 2019, by the approval of the National Security Supreme Council, the government has completely blocked Internet access in Iran to stymie protests. Due to the internet shut down and the lack of access to freelance reporters and citizen journalists, confirming news about demonstrations and deaths is difficult. It also caused difficulty for Iranian citizens to have access to news agencies websites. On Monday, November 18, schools are closed in 17 cities across Iran:

Shiraz, Kazerun, Alborz, Fereydun, Fereydun Shahr, Farsan, Kuhrang, Laran, Taleqan, Astara, and Najafabad. In addition, universities are closed in Shiraz.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has backed petrol price increases claiming opponents of the Islamic Republic and foreign enemies were guilty of sabotage and not ordinary people. According to Khabar Online, Mojtaba Zonnour, a parliament member representing Qom, is collecting parliament members signatures to impeach Ali Larijani, the head of parliament. He gathered 50 signatures so far. Mohammad Qasim Osmani, a parliament member representing Bukan, filed his resignation and added that he resigned to announce that he was not involved in this decision [raising petrol price]. Today, with respect to Ayatollah Khamenei’s views, the Ministry of Intelligence announced that the protesters will face harsh punishments. Reportedly, people received threatening text messages in Khuzestan and Karaj from the prosecutor’s offices of their province. People were warned about attending protests and not to disturb public order and facilitate the abuse of opposition groups.

Video reports of the first day protests:

Video reports of the second-day protests

Video reports of the third day of protests:

Update on Arrested Shirazi Baha’is

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Baha’i citizen Bahareh Ghaderi, who was arrested September 15th, was released Saturday, November 3rd on a bail of 200 million tomans [approximately $13,500 USD] pending completion of her investigation.

On October 18th, Niloufar Hakimi and Ehsan Mahboob Rahvafa also went free on bail. Their fellow Baha’is Nora Pourmoradian, Soudabeh Haghighat, and Elaheh Samizadeh were released October 10th.

Two Baha’i prisoners remain in the custody of Shiraz Intelligence Ministry detention center No. 100.

Shiraz, the capital of Fars province located 425 miles south of Tehran, is the birthplace of Ba’b, who formulated the Baha’i religion there in the 19th century. It is home to one of the largest Baha’i communities in Iran.

Iranian Baha’i citizens are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, everyone is entitled to freedom of religion and belief, and the right to adopt and manifest the religion of their choice, be it individually, in groups, in public, or in private.

Based on unofficial sources, more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran. Iran’s constitution, however, recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. Consequently, the rights of Baha’is are systematically violated in Iran.

Report: New Wave of Mass Protests in Iran

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) –  A new wave of widespread protests that began on Tuesday, continued across Iran through the week for six days. Protesters included merchants, shopkeepers and other citizens who gathered in objection to the worsening economic conditions in Iran. Their main concerns were centered around the issues of unemployment and the rising of prices and exchange rates. Rising prices, inflation, and unemployment have led to protests since December 2017.


First Day of Protests
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Protests in Isfahan on Shapur Jadid Street began with a strike by merchants and shopkeepers, which led to other citizens joining in on the protest. The gathering quickly turned violent when security forces attempted to disperse the crowd with tear gas and gunshots.

In Karaj, people gathered in Gohardasht Square to hold a protest rally. According to reports, many women participated. Some protesters were reportedly arrested by security and plainclothes forces and are currently held at a Basij-operated center in the Gohardasht neighborhood.

Second Day of Protests
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Protests in Rasht and Shiraz were accompanied by the heavy presence of security forces. Some of the videos from Shiraz indicate that a 7-year-old was shot with tear gas by police forces.

Protesters in these burned tires on the streets to counter the effects of tear gas and chanted slogans including “Our enemy is right here, they are lying claiming it’s the U.S.”, “Guns and tanks are no longer effective, mullahs should get lost,” “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon — I give my life only for Iran,” “The nation begs while *He acts like he’s God” and “Down with high prices”.

Mass protests also occurred in Isfahan and Karaj.

Third Day of Protests
Thursday, August 2, 2018

Protests were reported in twelve Iranian cities: Isfahan, Shahinshahr, Najafabad, Karaj, Mashhad, Shiraz, Sari, Tehran, Ahvaz, Kermanshah, Qahderijan and Arak.

Peaceful protests turned violent in Isfahan and Shiraz when security, plainclothes and Basij forces shot at the protesters with guns and tear gas. In the videos from Thursday, protesters are seen throwing rocks at the Iranian authorities in response to the gunshots. Protesters are also seen starting fires in order to counter the effects of the tear gas.

Many protesters were reportedly arrested in Mashhad and Shiraz.

Fourth Day of Protests 
Friday, August 3, 2018

Protests occurred in five different cities: Karaj, Qahderijan, Tehran, Qazvin and Kermanshah.

Fifth Day of Protests 
Saturday, August 4, 2018

Since the early hours of Saturday, a strong presence of security forces had created an ambience of intimidation in many of the Iranian cities. Reports indicate that large protests were held in the central city of Qom, Karaj and Tehran.

People were heard chanting “Iranians, it is time to demand your rights from this regime”, “Down with the dictator”, “Don’t let fear conquer, we are all together”, “The nation begs while He acts like he’s God”.

Some reports claim that 50 of the female protesters were arrested in recent days and transferred to the quarantine ward in *Varamin’s Garchak Prison.

Many of the state-run media or news agencies with ties to the government have either denied the existence of protests or play them down as rallies incited by opposition or simply gatherings with strictly syndical demands.

The police forces in the cities of Mahdasht and Gohardasht (both located in the Alborz province) imposed restrictions on traffic and banned driving after 6PM in these areas.

Reports from sources close to security institutions, one person was shot dead in Karaj and at least 20 others were wounded.

Ali Hendiani, the director of the seminary in Eshtehard county, said: “Protesters threw stones at the seminary building and broke the prayer room’s windows…These people were dispersed by the anti-riot security forces, and the police have identified them and are on the search for them. Some have been arrested, and the mission to find the other protesters continues.”

Sixth Day of Protests 
Sunday, August 5, 2018

Despite the persistence of security measures and the heavy presence of security forces aimed at intimidating citizens, protests were held in the city of Kazerun (located in the Fars province).

There are reports that protesters attempted to rally in Shiraz (capital of the Fars province), Tehran, Karaj and Qom, but strong police presence prevented these rallies from taking shape.

 

Mobile Services Cut Off

Subscribers of Irancell, an Iranian telecommunication service provider, reported that mobile services in parts of central Tehran and the city of Zanjan were interrupted. Some of the clients of Operator Network, another cell phone service provider, reported that they received a message regarding a temporary and nation-wide interruption to their service. It is not yet clear whether this stoppage is part of the Iranian security apparatus’ attempt to control the protests. In previous protests, there was precedence in taking such measures to curb protests.

Protester Death

Reza Shakarami, General Prosecutor for the Alborz province, denied reports attributed to him about the death of a young man from Karaj during a night protest. “The shooting [leading to the protester’s death] and the circumstances surrounding it are under investigation. Any quote cited from me regarding the murder of the victim by the rioters or any other individual is denied,” he said. The victim referred to by Mr. Shakarami was identified on social media as Reza Otadi.

Salman Samani, the Interior Ministry spokesperson, has reacted to online invitations to assemble. “In the last month, dozens of invitations and calls to protest rising prices, inflation and living conditions have been widely distributed. The source of the majority of such calls is outside Iran, but the invitations have been reposted and shared by people inside Iran,” he said.

Reactions from Iranian Authorities

Ali Motahari, Member of Parliament for Tehran, told a state-run newspaper that the authorities are trying hard to resolve the issues [the protesters have voiced their concerns about], and if the people wait and be patient a few more months, the conditions will improve. He also blamed certain movements who made attempts for the Iran Nuclear Deal to fail and whose actions paved the way for a Trump presidency, the pretext to withdraw from the **Deal.

Meanwhile, Kheirollah Tarkhani, a security official in the Alborz province, stated: “We have been trying to appease the protesters and listen to them. However, we have realized that their protests are not about economic demands and are aimed at the political structure. The small, scattered protests are not the sum of the people’s economic grievances and demands.”

——
* Reference to Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei
** Gharchark is a women’s prison south east of Tehran; reports point to prisoners facing deplorable conditions in this prison (https://www.en-hrana.org/comprehensive-report-womens-ward-evin-prison)
*** Ali Motahari is implicitly referring to the Revolutionary Guards commanders and some hardliners whose interference in neighboring countries coupled with their push for an aggressive missile program created the conditions for Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, aka Iran Nuclear Deal)