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Crackdown on Celebrations Over Raisi’s Death Reflects Iranian Regime’s Weakness

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The repressive clerical regime in Iran has launched a wave of arbitrary arrests in response to public celebrations following the death of Ebrahim Raisi, its former president, who died in a helicopter crash on May 19.

According to local media reports, on May 22, the IRGC intelligence agents arrested and assaulted four young Baluch men in Zahedan for laughing at a Raisi banner. Additionally, state-run news agency Borna reported that a person in Qom was arrested and imprisoned for insulting the deceased individuals in the helicopter crash. The man’s business is also reportedly being shut down.

The state-run website Entekhab reported, “A person who spread falsehoods about Raisi’s helicopter on social media was arrested by the IRGC Intelligence Organization and handed over to the Judiciary.”

Social media networks reported that security agents detained Reza Bebarnejad in Quchan for his online activities regarding Raisi’s death. His brother Mehdi Bebarnejad was killed by security forces during the 2022 protests.

The head of the Cyber Police, Shahin Hasanvand, announced the arrest of a Tehran resident for “insulting the martyrs of armed forces” on social media. Hasanvand told state media on May 25 that “this individual, with 6,000 Instagram followers, was handed over to the Judiciary after deleting the offensive content and posting an apology to the martyrs’ families.”

Additionally, the Judiciary’s information center in Kerman province announced three days ago that, in cooperation with the IRGC intelligence, “254 people” were given warnings over “offensive” posts, and eight were summoned for judicial processing.

Following the news of the disappearance of the helicopter carrying the regime’s President, the former Foreign Minister, and their entourage on May 19, Persian-language social media was flooded with sarcastic posts and prayers for their death.

Conversely, the Iranian regime is striving to project strength and downplay the impact of the President and Foreign Minister’s deaths through media and propaganda efforts.

On May 24, the official site of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stated, “After the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, contrary to expectations, the regional activities of the Islamic Republic did not weaken but instead, the level of support and backing for the resistance reached a point that sounded alarms for the existence of the Zionist regime. The scale of operations and attacks from Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, and other areas against Zionist interests today clearly demonstrates the extent of the Islamic Republic’s support for the resistance in the years following Soleimani’s martyrdom.”

Meanwhile, a relative of Mehran Narouee, a political science graduate executed on drug charges, recorded an anonymous clip at his grave in recent days. In the video, he congratulates his deceased relative, saying, “Today I came to the grave of my dear Mehran Narouei, an innocent Baluoch boy who was executed on May 17, 2021. I came to tell him the good news that the executioner Raisi has fallen, and we hope for the downfall of all executioners and enemies of our martyrs.”