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UPDATE: 8:00 PM CET
Senior Cleric Exposes Regime Worries Over Students’ Involvement in Ongoing Uprising
Mohammad-Ali Ale-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday prayer leader, expressed concerns regarding the reopening of educational institutions and exposed the regime’s fear that students’ activism could fuel further protests and spark a new wave of uprisings.
“On the verge of the new academic year, we face concerns about the country’s cultural state, influenced by last year’s unrest,” Ale-Hashem said in his Friday prayer sermon on September 22. “These concerns must be acknowledged realistically, steering away from baseless fantasies and negligence. Addressing the realities of these circumstances requires thoughtful planning and strategic thinking to tackle these concerns.”
It’s important to recall that during the 2022 uprising, over 200 universities and 1776 schools joined the revolt, amplifying the nationwide movement. For several months, they transformed universities and schools into centers of rebellion, significantly unsettling the Supreme Leader’s regime.
Defying Repression: Iranians Commemorate Fallen Heroes Amidst Regime’s Crackdown
Today, September 23, 2023, after security forces had desecrated the graves of the martyrs in Bukan in recent days, family members of those who had been killed during the 2022 uprising decorated the graves of these beloved individuals with flowers and red fabrics.
UPDATE: 12:00 PM CET
Menendez, Hagerty Lead Bipartisan Letter Welcoming Continued Restrictions on Iran’s Ballistic Missile and Drone Program and Urging More Efforts
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), led a bipartisan letter with 29 fellow Senators to E3 countries (United Kingdom, France, and Germany) applauding them for taking steps to uphold restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile and drone program. The letter also encourages the E3 countries to urge our European allies and other like-minded partners to do the same.
In addition to Chairman Menendez and Senator Hagerty, the letter is also signed by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Jeanne Shaheen, (D-N.J.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John Fetterman (D-Penn.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), John N. Kennedy (R-La.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.).
Blinken Suggests Iran Not a Responsible Actor on Nuclear Program
NEW YORK, Sept 22 (Reuters) – Iran’s decision to bar some U.N. nuclear inspectors suggests it is not interested in being a responsible actor in its atomic program, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday.
The comments suggested Washington is skeptical of Tehran’s desire to engage seriously in restricting its nuclear program.
On Saturday, the head of the International Atomic Energy (IAEA) nuclear watchdog condemned Iran’s move to bar multiple inspectors assigned to the country, hindering its oversight of Tehran’s atomic activities.
UPDATE: 8:30 AM CET
Maryam Rajavi’s Message for the New Academic Year 2023-2024
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi’s message: “Today, we commemorate the indelible memory of the students who lost their lives in the 2022-2023 and the 2019 uprisings or endured torture in Khamenei’s prisons. We extend our warmest salutations to the passionate generation that has held aloft the flag of resistance and sacrifice over the past four decades by the generation of young members and supporters of the PMOI. In this academic year of 2023, as in the years past, the foremost lesson remains the lesson of freedom and paying the cost associated with it. This year, the rebellious students from universities and high schools have written a new chapter in the destiny of Iran and Iranians, cleansing its pages with their blood. A book once tarnished by the deceptive narratives and words of despair penned by autocrats and reactionaries. Today, however, the brave youth of Iran have inscribed within its pages the crimson words of freedom, revolution, and liberation from tyranny, oppression, and exploitation.”
Protesters in Zahedan: “Down With Khamenei!”
The brave Baluch people of Zahedan resumed the protest rallies after today’s Friday prayers and chanted slogans against the Iranian regime and its leader, Ali Khamenei.
The protests took place while the regime had taken extreme measures to prevent any kind of protests and rallies on the anniversary of the 2022 uprising.
According to the regime’s own media, security forces arrested hundreds of people in the past few days. There is especially heavy presence of security forces in Sistan and Baluchestan as we approach the anniversary of the “bloody Friday of Zahedan.” On September 30, 2022, security forces opened fire on peaceful protesters in Zahedan and killed more than 100 civilians, including more than a dozen children.
Transfer of 13 Political Prisoners in Qezelhessar Prison to Drug Offenders’ Ward
On Wednesday, September 20, thirteen political prisoners, who had previously been transferred from Evin Prison to Qezelhessar Prison on September 3, were relocated to Unit 4 of Qezelhessar at the behest of the criminal Director-General of Tehran province prisons. This transfer, aimed at exerting increased pressure, torture, and harassment on the prisoners, occurred without prior notice, leaving the detainees unable to bring their belongings with them. These 13 political prisoners had been moved from Evin to Qezelhessar on September 3, while restrained with handcuffs and leg irons, without the ability to take their personal items or even their medications. They embarked on a three-day hunger strike from September 16 on the anniversary of the nationwide uprising.
Some 600 Women Arrested on the Anniversary of the 2022 Uprising and the Death of Mahsa Amini
A so-called committee following up on the conditions of those arrested during the protests has reported that at least 600 women have been arrested in Tehran on the anniversary of the murder of Zhina Mahsa Amini and the start of the 2022 nationwide uprising in Iran. According to this report, 130 women are presently detained in the quarantine ward of Qarchak Prison. The authorities have filed cases against these women with the Judiciary. (The state-run Baharnews.ir, September 21, 2023)
Earlier reports indicated that 360 women who had been arrested during the protests on September 16, 2023, in Tehran had been transferred to Qarchak Prison, east of Tehran. Detainees in Qarchak Prison held a protest on September 16. Prison guards opened fire on prisoners, wounding at least 20 of them.
Iran’s Regime Prevents Families of Murdered Protesters From Holding Ceremonies
On September 21, the Iranian regime’s state security forces (SSF) attacked a ceremony held at the grave of Mohsen Gheysari in Ilam, one of the protesters murdered by security forces during the 2022 uprising. Security forces arrested the brother of this slain protester along with several other citizens. They severely beat and injured some of the attendees. In the evening, they also raided the home of the family of Javad Heydari, another slain protester, in Rahmatabad village, Qazvin province, and arrested his 70-year-old father and two brothers. Reports indicate that the SSF prevented the commemoration ceremony of the protesters in at least 19 cities in Iran, including Tehran, Khorramabad, Kermanshah, Islamabad-e Gharb, Quchan, Divandareh, Shahriar, Garmsar, Pakdasht, Karaj, Saqqez, Oshnavieh, Urmia, Rasht, Sari, Amol, Nowshahr, Qazvin, and Ilam. Fatemeh Heydari, the sister of Javad Heydari, reported on September 21 that her 70-year-old father and two brothers were arrested by the security forces.
Also, read Iran News in Brief – September 22, 2023