Iran’s regime has increased its repressive measures in the past months
Recent months have seen an alarming increase in the number of executions in Iran, which was expected with the presidency of Ebrahim Raisi, a man who is known in Iran as the “butcher” because of his pivotal role in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988.
According to Javid Rehman, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, the clerical regime carried out at least 275 executions in 2021. At the same time, the number of deaths in Iran’s prisons has also increased. Authorities are imposing pressure on prisoners by denying them healthcare, depriving them of basic facilities, and more.
Meanwhile, security forces have increased their repression of the population, arresting protesters, humiliating the youth in public, and destroying the homes of impoverished people and the makeshift shops of street vendors.
More recently, the regime has resorted to arresting and prosecuting people who participated in the November 2019 protests and their family members. And in its latest move toward suppressing freedom, the regime has taken the first step for the total censorship of internet and online services.
Clearly, increased violence and repression reflects the regime’s incapacity to address the basic needs of the people and society.
The truth is that the regime is stuck in deadlocks on several fronts, a fact that even the state-run media are acknowledging. Iran’s economy is in its worse state since the mullahs seized power in 1979.
On the nuclear front, is at an impasse. On the one hand, it is desperately in need of sanctions relief, while on the other, it does not have any room to make concessions on its nuclear program.
At the same time, the regime’s influence is waning in the Middle East as it faces growing resistance from millions of people who are tired of Tehran meddling in their country.
And more importantly, the regime is extremely afraid of Iran’s restive society and the growing prowess of the Iranian Resistance. The Resistance Units, the network of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK) activists inside Iran, have increased their activities in past months, causing worry and fear among regime officials and leaders.
Protests are becoming more frequent, larger, and more organized. Farmers, teachers, workers, nurses, pensioners, and people from all walks of life and segments of society are organizing protest movements, and with each passing day, their slogans are becoming more political in nature and directed toward the corrupt heads of the state. A clear example was the recent protest rallies of teachers, in which they addressed Ebrahim Raisi and Majlis Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and chanted, “Raisi, Ghalibaf! This is the last warning; the teachers’ movement is ready for an uprising.”
Meanwhile, we are witnessing a metamorphosis in the structure of the Iranian society. The middle class, the backbone of society, has been all but wiped out and integrated into the impoverished segments of the population, which is why teachers, doctors, medical interns, and nurses have also joined the protests.
Under such circumstances, it is no surprise that the regime has ratcheted up its repressive measures. But violence and repression, the regime’s main tools of power in the past four decades, are fast losing their efficiency. This explains why protests continue to grow in number and size. And the regime’s instability is becoming more evident as officials continue to quarrel over how to control the society.
In the recent debates in the Majlis over the internet censorship bill, one MP warned that by ratifying the bill, “You will be destroying the Majlis and get on the society’s nerves.” Another MP said, “Why are we trying to destroy ourselves.” Meanwhile, others warned that if the internet is not controlled the MEK “will destroy the government and Majlis.” Others warned about the growing restiveness in Iran’s society and the presence of security forces at every corner. And the state-run Mardom Salari newspaper observed, “Fear of the people and extreme stupidity is manifesting itself in opposition to internet.”