On July 11, the Iranian regime’s intelligence and security forces detained dozens of mothers and relatives of the November 2019 protests’ victims, along with women’s rights, labor, cultural, and social activists, as well as several filmmakers and bloggers. The regime has also arrested several Christians and Baha’is and Telegram Channels managers.
Voicing support for the regime’s decision, Judiciary Chief Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Eje’i said, “Some of the sworn enemies to the state promote ‘vulgarity,’ ‘chastity,’ and ‘indecency’ in society, and addressing such issues needs intelligence efforts. Prosecutors, judicial officials, and the intelligence system should adopt ‘legal approaches’ against people who engage in offenses and crimes in public. They should diligently do their best to discover organized movements that promote indecency in society at the behest of foreign intelligence apparatuses.”
Justice-Seeking, the Only Offense of November Victims’ Mothers
Since the bloody November of 2019, Iranian society has been dealing with a new movement of mourning mothers and relatives of more than 1,500 innocent people, who were savagely murdered for protesting gas price hikes. In the years since the 2019 uprising, the ‘November Mothers’ have bravely voiced their protest against the authorities’ culture of impunity.
The regime faces a stalemate: on the one hand, authorities are incapable of applying excessive suppression against these brave women due to their social base; while on the other hand, the mullahs cannot and will not tolerate the November Mothers’ inspiring justice-seeking activities.
These mothers, along with other relatives of the victims, have organized themselves well against the regime’s oppressive and propaganda measures. Given their just cause, they have also received good news coverage from media abroad. However, the main factor is their bravery. “We have nothing to lose; the regime has killed our loved ones; what else could it do with us? We would never be silent until avenging our loved ones and overthrowing the regime,” they publicly say.
#IranProtests#Tehran, #Iran's capital—"I'm the mother of Pejman Gholipour, who was killed by five shots," says Mrs. Mahboubeh Ramezani a few minutes before his detention on July 11. "I seek #justice for my innocent child's blood. I fear nothing! Rise up; slavery is enough!" pic.twitter.com/xn3W8xkkk9
— Iran News Update (@IranNewsUpdate1) July 12, 2022
Just moments before she was detained in the Tehran subway station on July 11, Mrs. Mahboubeh Ramezani said, “I’m the mother of Pejman Gholipour, who was killed by five shots. I seek justice for my innocent child’s blood. I fear nothing! Rise up; slavery is enough!”
November Victims’ Mothers and Relatives Were the Foremost Targets of Detentions
Security and intelligence agents raided the homes of the November 2019 victims’ mothers and relatives in Quds town on July 11. Mrs. Mahboubeh Ramezani, the mother of the late Pejman Gholipour; Mrs. Sakineh Ahmadi, mother of the late Ebrahim Ketabdar; Mrs. Rahimeh Yousefzadeh, mother of the late Navid Behboudi; Nahid Shirbisheh and Mehrdad Bakhtiari, the late Pouya Bakhtiari’s mother and uncle; and Mrs. Somayyeh Jafarpanah, the sister of the late Mohsen Jafarpanah, are among the detainees.
After detaining the women, the oppressive agents also severely beat other relatives, including the late Navid Behboudi’s younger brother. Footage circulated on social media shows attackers destroying homes and breaking furniture.
—Rahimeh Yousefzadeh, Navid Behboudi's mother
—Mahboubeh Ramezani, Pejman Gholipour's mother
—Sakineh Ahmadi, Ebrahim Ketabdar's mother pic.twitter.com/gSnv4xB3JU
— Iran News Update (@IranNewsUpdate1) July 11, 2022
A few minutes before being arrested, Mehrdad Bakhtiari stated, “Security forces raided my brother’s home, detaining his wife… Pouya Bakhtiari was killed on the tarmac; my brother [Manoucher] is in jail for two and a half years, but we fight for freedom.”
#BloodyNovember#Tehran, #Iran's capital—"Security forces raided my brother's home, detaining his wife… Pouya Bakhtiari was killed on the tarmac, my brother is in jail for 2.5 years, but we fight for freedom," says Mehrdad Bakhtiari before being arrested.pic.twitter.com/MWYDpCZ38D
— Iran News Update (@IranNewsUpdate1) July 11, 2022
Two days before the women were detained, the regime had already arrested two famous filmmakers, Mostafa Al-Ahmad and Mohammad Rasoulof, for their social media protest against police violence. It is worth noting that Rasoulof is a Berlin Golden Bear Winner for the film “There Is No Evil” in 2020.
Authorities also arrested prominent critic film director, screenwriter, and film producer Jafar Panahi on July 11 for signing an open letter to protest the detention of Al-Ahmad and Rasoulof. Notably, the letter had been signed by more than 330 filmmakers and activists.
“Espionage is a career belonging to high-ranking government officials, their relatives and flatterers, not artists,” Panahi had written on his Instagram, mocking the regime’s bogus allegations against the November Mothers and other arrestees.
These detentions were carried out without warrants being obtained, at a time when nationwide protests by different walks of life have severely intensified and expanded in recent months. Furthermore, the Organized Resistance’s anti-regime activities are crucial in heralding people for a new era.
These arbitrary arrests prove the mullahs’ vulnerability when they are up against any opposing voices. In such circumstances, even loyal agents of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) have been concerned with the suppressive measure, terrified that they would backfire.