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Police Brutality in Iran: Another Silent Spark Waiting To Inflame Protests Nationwide

Using coercive treatment by security forces in most parts of the world is not normal and therefore, it makes headlines. In Iran, however, the scenes of misdemeanor and crushing people on the streets by police or plainclothes agents is the order of the day. Even worse things happen to people in the prisons and the dungeons of a regime that lacks the slightest popular legitimacy and seeks to hold onto power by mere crackdown and censorship.

Since the clerical regime took reign after the Iranian people toppled the monarchy in 1979, the new regime made sure to preserve the main elements of the oppressive forces from Pahlavi’s secret police, the SAVAK. The clerics used the experienced cadres to train a new generation of repressive and intelligence organizations.

The regime has dozens of covert and overt security organizations with billion-dollar budgets each year, no matter what dire economic situation the rest of the country is in.

Unlike any other security apparatus in the free world, the police in Iran is first and foremost responsible for protecting the state and not the people. Iranians can never rely on a fair judicial system to investigate let alone hold to account officers who exploit their badges in their personal favor. Rather this has become one of the main incentives to join the ranks and stand out from the rest of the population that has a hard time navigating through economic hardship and poverty.

As the Iranian regime uses terror to force regional rivals into submission, it has been exploiting fear, a natural human instinct of self-preservation to continue its corrupt rule. Harassing and torturing is not limited to political dissidents. The state keeps intimidating small-scale offenders, usually those who have committed theft for survival to instill fear and intimidation in the entire society, killing the hope of any daring soul that aims to dissent.

Women are especially target of the systemic harassment machine of this regime. Since the clerics in control have exploited the Islamic faith to theorize and cover up their lust of power, they methodically passed laws that are based on medieval traditions and women are suffering the most. Forty years of clerical rule has also produced an entire gender that is bitterly opposed to the regime to the bone.

Police brutality against women in Iran

But fortunately, the internet and the increasingly growing use of social media is changing the times and the tides in favor of the people in Iran. Thanks to mobile phones that arms every Iranian citizen with a camera, they are able to record these atrocities and show their compatriots as well as the world how ordinary people are being smashed and beaten into submission to a bullying underclass of brutes that call themselves guardians of rule of law.

After some of these sadist officers and soldiers have been punished by the locals, security forces have become dreadful of their actions as they have become aware of the repercussions that might follow if they are caught on camera.

Still, during uprisings, when insecurity becomes a nationwide problem for the regime, officials on the highest chain of command engage and even the Supreme Leader himself usually organize “a meeting” with a large crowd of supporters to call for crackdown and demonstrate the move has popular backing. In light of such occurrences, the riot police and the paramilitary Basij are supported by the Revolutionary Guards and its foreign legion, the Quds Force. As many in the IRGC-QF ranks are foreigners, they have no mercy with the people who they are supposed to smash or kill.

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When discussing law enforcement conduct in Iran, terms like “rotten apples” or even “rogue elements” is not an understatement; it’s a sheer lie or even worse, it’s state-funded propaganda. There are no good actors in an apparatus that aims to protect the security of a dictatorship. When it comes to preserving a tyrannical rule, even a friendly gesture or polite demeanor is meant to legitimize the most corrupt and the most oppressive.

As Iranians across the country continue to use their phones and cameras to record the brutality put on display by their oppressors, awareness among more levels of the society increases, as does the anger and outrage. Footage quality from Iran doesn’t match with those who come from the Ukrainian resistance but that doesn’t mean Iranian lives don’t matter. Whether the world decides to stand by and watch or to undertake something, this will only add or reduce the blood that might spill on Iran’s streets but will not change the fate of this brutal regime: its overthrow