To increase repression in the country and counter the people’s protests, the Iranian government has upgraded its police so that it is now able to act independently from the interior ministry and is on a par with the regime’s military and the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
“Before this change, because the NAJA was defined as a law enforcement force, it had a lower organizational status than the army and the IRGC, and by turning it into a general command, it will be at the same level as the army and the Revolutionary Guards.” (State-run news agency Mehr, December 7, 2021)
IRGC Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri called the ‘transformation of the police structure and organization, the source of change and a turning point for the development of security’ and said that the ‘expectations from the police extremely are high’ because the ‘police mission’ to suppress the people is ‘diverse, heavy and multifaceted.’ (State-run news agency Fars, December 8, 2021)
Police Chief Hossein Ashtari also called the ‘structure and organization of the police command’ a ‘turning point for the country’s police’ and ‘an expression of the development of security and service’ to the people, and he stressed that the promotion of the police force by the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei is ‘a step towards more professionalism, intelligence, police agility, training of professional and knowledge-based officers, development of police diplomacy, and to further strengthen order and security in society and develop service to the people.’ (Mehr, December 7, 2021)
Praising and making such compliments about the police forces reveals the reality that the regime’s police forces have lost their spirit and fear about the consequences of confronting the people’s protests.
This can be seen in every protest when the regime is forced to bring backup forces from other regions.
“You show me a scene where the police in the Western countries are facing the same (situation) as the Iranian police force. We see that in the (conflict) scenes they are just pushing each other. In some countries, there are so many violent protests for two or four months, but we have the least signs from any deaths or injuries.” (State TV Channel 4, December 8, 2021)
However, according to Iran experts, what the regime fears most is that since the protests in 2017 every economic protest and gathering would change rapidly to political demands and finally seek the regime’s fall.
“Even for two hours an economic and livelihood protest does not remain the same, they immediately (Resistance Units) infiltrate and turn it into a political protest and at night, it becomes an overthrow phenomenon at all.” (State TV, Channel 4, December 8, 2021)
We saw how fast the protests in Isfahan changes from water rights demands to the down of the regime, reflected in the people’s slogan, “Death to Khamenei”.