The potential of Iranian people’s rage against the regime is increasing and demonstrates itself in many forms. It reached a turning point during the November 2019 protests but was suppressed by the regime brutally. Now, however, officials are criticizing the regime’s conduct because they fear the consequences of their actions in the coming months and years.
In the second round of hearings in the Aban Tribunal, a London-based unofficial court that is dealing with the crackdown on the November 2019 uprising, a member of the regime’s Revolutionary Guards painted a horrific picture of the savagery with which the security forces crushed the uprising.
“I am a senior Revolutionary Guards officer in Tehran. I volunteered to testify in this court. I witnessed mass arrests and interrogations. Unfortunately, I was part of the arrests and witnessed the interrogation,” he said, adding, “The forces were ordered that they were free to open fire, arrest, interrogate, enter homes that suspects might have fled to. There was no need for a warrant from the prosecutor’s office. They were told to confiscate vehicles, destroy vehicles, do anything you can to quell the protests.”
On the second and third days… they deployed the Bassij, Imam Ali Units, and Saberin Units to use full force against the protesters. I witnessed buses full of arrested protesters. There were many protesters, injured and intact, female and male, young and old. They were handed over to the detention centers of the Revolutionary Guards.
“I witnessed interrogations, beatings, lashings. The protesters were stripped naked in the cold, in groups of 50 and 100. I don’t even think you can pack and beat animals as they did.”
Another witness, a police officer, said: “They sent me to the roof of the police station and told me just shot and do not care about these thugs who are gathering in front of the door and want to capture the police station.
“Shoot anyone who tries to enter the station. Looking from the roof we saw around 200 to 300 people. And other police officers who were on the street were shooting the protesters. Around 10 to 15 people were wounded, and a person who was shot near the door was on the ground with blood around his head. And I could not distinguish whether he is alive or dead.
“I cried, and felt bad and depressed, seeing the scene of the blood from above and those 10 to 15 people who were shot and injured lying on the ground.
“I didn’t know what I’m doing. At noon I delivered my gun and went home. And the next day when I returned to the station three plainclothes agents asked for me and took me and started the interrogation and asked why I left the roof. They beat me severely. They interrogated me for three days in the same way and asked me why I did not shoot the people. Why do I feel sick? Why did I not cooperate? Why did I not follow the orders of the commander?
“The people gathered in front of the door were not threatening us, because they did not have firearms, and we could stop them without shooting. They could stop the people with batons and protect the station, because I did not see any guns by the protesters, and no one shot at us.
“Nothing threatened the police and the station. With bare hands, you cannot capture a station. You need heavy weapons. They [the regime] feared that its organizations surrendered [to the people]. And therefore, they shot so hastily. And they had no problem killing the people.
“The order for this must come from the highest ranks. Which means from the city’s Security Council or even higher.”
The combination of these confessions with the regime’s political, social, and cultural crisis makes it clear that the regime is facing popular rage. Daily news and reports, and officials’ reaction to popular protests reflect their anxiety.
Comments by Mojtaba Mirdamadi the regime’s Friday prayer leader in Isfahan on February 4, 2022, show the regime’s predicament and its inability to control the country’s critical situation.
“If one day we don’t have the support of this leader, they will cut off your heads first,” he warned, adding, “Be careful! If we lose this power, we will have nothing.”
This reveals that the wall of repression is beginning to crack and once the wall collapses the regime will end up in the ash heap of history.