In recent years, Iran has witnessed nationwide protests like November 2019 which have threatened the regime’s security. The regime has found the only solution to curb these protests to be repression and killings.
The formation of a Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) strike force under in the name of neighborhood-centered patrols of the Basijis and the so-called plan of fighting the thugs by the police, and lately the entry of the IRGC, the Basij, and the police into the social sphere under the pretext of fighting social harms are meant to prevent any further protests.
The Saat-24 and the Payam website were just some of the many media outlets which reported on October 20, 2021, about the regime’s new decisions to increase the repression.
This is something that is declaring the regime’s increasing brutality, especially in the use of the executions, dissidents say. At least 31 prisoners have been executed in the past 30 days, which raises the number of executed persons in Iran since the start of Ebrahim Raisi’s government to 141 persons.
A look at the names of the new governors and ministers who are IRGC officers shows the regime’s real fear.
- IRGC officer Mohsen Rezaei, Deputy Economic Director of Raisi
- IRGC officer Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Minister of Foreign Affairs
- IRGC officer Ahmad Vahidi Minister of Interior
- IRGC officer Rostam Qasemi, Minister of Roads and Urban Development
- IRGC officer Mohammad Ali Zolfi Gul Minister of Science and Research
- IRGC officer Ismail Khatib Information Minister
- IRGC officer Mohammad Reza Gharai Ashtiani, Minister of Defense and Support of the Armed Forces
- IRGC officer Bahram Einollahi, Minister of Health
- IRGC officer Ezatollah Zarghami, Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism
- IRGC officer Amin Hossein Rahimi, Minister of Justice
- IRGC officer Mohammad Mehdi Esmaeili, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance
- IRGC officer Saeed Mohammad, secretary of the Supreme Council of Free Zones
Raisi has also handed over the governorate of 13 provinces to the Revolutionary Guards until now.
The state-run daily Eghtesad news on October 19, 2021, quoted the Tehran Municipality’s Social Deputy, Amin Tavakolizadeh, and announced that the IRGC Khatam al-Anbia base with the help of the mosques and the regime’s Friday prayers leaders are carrying out the so-called ‘Social Support’ plan in the capital.
Earlier IRGC officer Alireza Zakani, the mayor of Tehran, had announced the establishment of five new suppressive headquarters in Tehran, one of which was a ‘social headquarters’.
Amin Tavakolizadeh said: “Some institutions do not have a duty, but they are eager to be present in the issue of social harm. We held our meetings with Naja (Police), the commander of Tehran’s revolutionary guards, Khatam al-Anbia headquarters, and jihadist groups. We want to add the energy of jihadist groups to this circle. Because the neighborhood-based debate is also one of the main approaches of Tehran Municipality.”
Before that, the head of the Baharestan Corps “announced the formation and equipping of 10 security battalions and standby in operational neighborhood-based patrols and assisting the police in promoting social security.” (Tasnim News Agency, September 26, 2021)
The deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards in Markazi Province also announced the formation of suppression centers known as the Central bases in Markazi Province and said, “Currently, in 31 marginalized neighborhoods of Markazi Province, the headquarters of the Islamic Quarter are formed, and we are trying to activate these bases in all neighborhoods of the province.” (Fars News Agency, July 18, 2021).
Although the regime tries to justify these actions to deal with social harms, given the IRGC’s official and stated duty to protect the ruling dictatorship, the goal is nothing but to increase repression and counter the uprising of an army of starving people.
Choosing so many IRGC officers to control the situation is something that even the state-run media were forced to acknowledge.
“The president appointed Abedin Khorram, the commander of the Ashura Corps, as the governor of East Azerbaijan, while he had entrusted the most important governorship in Khorasan Razavi to General Ya’qub Ali Nazari, commander of the Imam Reza Corps.
“Hardline principlists believed that the appointment of the governor of East Azerbaijan was to further control the security situation in that region, as the election of General Vahidi as interior minister also had the message that from now on, the popular protests are going to be dealt with harsher.
“Whether a person has been appointed to this position who is most prominent in his military record, not his record of belief in social and political institutions. It is natural that he also offers people for the governorate who have a higher military background. Governors’ resume confirms the same point.” (State-run daily Arman, October 23, 2021)
This shows the regime’s miserable situation, a regime that is aware of its fate, therefore, prepares itself for the worst situation. However, all the fundamental changes in any country have shown us that such decisions will not be effective constantly, and there will undoubtedly come a point where the regime will not be able to control them.