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Protests in Northeast Iran: A Sign of Society’s Restiveness

On Tuesday, locals in Gonbad-e Kavus, in northeast Iran, poured into the streets, protesting the regime’s inaction in the face of raping two girls.

A security guard in Golestan Dam raped two seven and eight-year-old girls. Their family members filed a judicial complaint and pressed charges of rape against the perpetrator.

Yet, the regime’s prosecutor rejected charges and claimed that the forensics report had denied any signs of rape. He added that the security guard had been summoned and charged with “kidnapping.” Following the prosecutors’ remarks, locals in Arab Sharank village held a protest. In response, the regime’s State Security Forces (SSF) tried to oppress protesters. People clashed with SSF forces and broke car windows of SSF forces. The regime has dispatched anti-riot units to oppress locals.

These protests come almost a month after the uprising in Sistan and Baluchestan province, southeast Iran, after the regime’s security forces killed impoverished fuel porters. In addition to the uprising in Sistan and Baluchestan, all walks of life in Iran hold protests daily.

The regime has not been able to quell society, and there have hundreds of social protests throughout 2020. The regime has increased its oppressive measures due to its fear of society’s restiveness. There have been at least 80 executions since the beginning of 2021.

On Wednesday, the regime’s Judiciary Chief, Ebrahim Raisi, threatened the public. “No insecurity in society is tolerable; the police and security officials should let disruptors act,” he said according to the state-run TV. These remarks are not unexpected from a person who is one of the main perpetrators of the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners.

In addition to Raisi, the regime’s SSF force and police held a maneuver on the Eve of the Persian New Year of 1400 in Tehran.

“Coinciding with the last day of [Persian New Year of] 1399, the Tehran Police held a military maneuver on Saturday morning, March 21, 2021. The State Security Force Commander, Tehran Police Chief, and Tehran Governor Anoushirvan Mohseni Bandapi participated in the Azadi Square maneuver.

“Greater Tehran police forces demonstrated their capabilities in Azadi Square,” the state-run Fars news agency reported on Sunday, an outlet linked to the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

Tehran Police holds a military maneuver in Azadi Square – Saturday morning, March 21, 2021

“The November 2019 protests against rising gasoline prices showed a significant reduction in social resilience in the country; these protests cannot be limited to the issue of rising gasoline prices. Rather, it is a set of various structural factors that caused the rise in gasoline prices to ignite these protests,” wrote the state-run Sharq daily on March 14, calling another uprising as a “vicious cycle of consequences.”

“The erosion of social capital and the sharp decline in social trust is one of the consequences of the continuation of difficult economic conditions in the country, the dimensions of which are becoming more and more worrying. The continuation of these conditions, in turn, affects social resilience, thereby revealing a vicious cycle of consequences.”