Iran intensifies protest crackdown, faces mounting global troubles

by Jacob Fuller

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


The Iranian government is making good on its promise to crack down on protesters in its country, but for every inch the theocratic nation gains on the domestic front it loses a foot on the international stage.

Iranian officials had previously promised a hardline approach to ending protests, which erupted nationwide in the wake of a young woman dying while in police custody.

Protesters in Iran are demanding wholesale change in the nation, most specifically in the area of women’s rights. They have been met with mass arrests and violence.

As first reported by Reuters on Wednesday, videos emerging from Iran show the nation’s security forces unleashing immense brutality on activists across the nation. The most galling of the clips shows police attacking a protester, who is also run over by an officer on a motorcycle and shot by another officer.

“This shocking video sent from Tehran today is another horrific reminder that the cruelty of Iran’s security forces knows no bounds,” Amnesty International tweeted. “Amid a crisis of impunity, they’re given free rein to brutally beat & shoot protesters. {The UN Human Rights Council] must urgently investigate these crimes.”

(Warning: Video contains graphic violence.)

Reuters reports that Iranian officials have publicly decried the use of violence.

“The police [do] not approve of harsh and unconventional treatment, the offending police officers will certainly be dealt with according to the law,” a statement from Iranian police reads.

This remark rings strange given that only days ago Iran’s Revolutionary Guard issued a stark warning to protestors.

In the days that followed numerous prominent arrests, including of an Iranian rapper and economist, have occurred. The rapper, Toomaj Salehi, was later shown blindfolded and (apparently forced) to say that he was being insincere when he criticized his government.

Iran might be slowly squashing the protests at home, but the nation is being treated harshly by its international neighbors.

Over the last several days, New Zealand has broken off human rights dialogue with Iran, Canada has ratcheted up sanctions, and the United States has begun agitating for Iran to be booted from the United Nations Committee on the Status of Women.

“The United States believes that no nation that systematically abuses the rights of women and girls should play a role in any international or United Nations body charged with protecting these very same rights,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement.

The UN Commission on the Status of Women and its members are charged with ‘promoting women’s rights’ and addressing ‘urgent problems requiring immediate attention in the field of women’s rights.’ Iran has demonstrated through its denial of women’s rights and brutal crackdown on its own people that it is unfit to serve on this Commission; Iran’s very presence discredits the integrity of its membership and the work to advance its mandate.

Iran, long an enemy of the United States, says the U.S. is urging on the protests as a means of destabilizing the Middle Eastern nation.

“Those who think the U.S. is an untouchable power are wrong,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday. “It is completely vulnerable as seen with current events.”

Khamenei might be the one most vulnerable. The protestors, who have shown no desire to deviate course, have called for the leader’s death and each day Khamenei fails to end the protests makes his position all the worse.

Thus far, more than 14,000 people have been arrested in connection to the protests. While figures are sure to be inaccurate, the consensus is that about 300 people have died, including several dozen members of the security forces.