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Iran Protests and Tehran’s Fear of Organized Resistance

Youth have taken over the streets of Bojnourd, North Khorasan province, Northeastern Iran

Following the brutal murder of Mahsa Amini, a 22-years-old girl, by the morality police, protests erupted across Iran with people chanting slogans against regime officials. Simultaneously, the regime’s fear of organized resistance grows, with officials warning about the leading role of Iran’s main opposition, Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), and its Resistance Units.    

September 26

During an interview with NPR on September 27, the Iranian regime’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian blamed the uprising in Iran on channels that organize the protests from the outside and stressed his regime will not be overthrown.

The NPR reporter who has been to Iran several times and has interviewed hundreds of people inside the country told Amir-Abdollahian that many people are frustrated with the regime and asked if he thinks the protests are led by the people, to which the regime’s FM claimed: “There are protesters of course and they are expressing what they demand in a peaceful way. But now, most of these people in the streets are being led and guided by well-organized channels.”

In his interview, while trying to propose his regime is still stable, the regime’s foreign minister addressed Western governments and said: “There is not going to be regime change in Iran. Don’t play to the emotions of the Iranian people.”

According to the official IRNA news agency, Amir-Abdollahian also accused the US and Europe of supporting the MEK and claimed the organization “is sending its elements inside the country”.


September 26

Abbas Abdollahi, director general of the Islamic Propaganda Organization of Semnan province, told Mehr state news agency: “The events that have taken place on the streets show that the work of trained mercenaries is led by the hypocrites (the regime’s term for smearing the MEK) and the counter-revolutionaries. Because the burning of ambulances, the desire to tear down the flag, setting fire to things, etc. are the work of trained people. This is street warfare. It is very clear that those who are on the street and vandalize public property… their concern is overthrowing the system.”

In recent days, many state officials have lied about vandalism against religious places and the Quoran to mobilize the increasingly thin ranks of their own supporters. The regime is also widely using ambulances to deploy troops or transport detained protesters.


September 23

“Riots are completely different from protests. Why a terrorist organization, with 17,000 assassinations can operate in the U.S. against the Islamic Republic and instigate riots?” the regime’s president Ebrahim Raisi said in a press conference in New York.  

In an interview with the state-run Tasnim news agency, Hasan Rezania, the political and security deputy of Hamedan Governorate said: “After the death of Ms. Mehsa Amini, the anti-establishment movement and the hypocrites (regime’s term for the MEK) found an opportunity and excuse to carry out their predetermined plan against the state, against this land and nation.”

“Among the other active groups in the riots of the past few days, there were thugs and hooligans who accompanied the hypocritical movements and destroyed public property that belongs to the nation.”

“The sworn enemies of Islam, such as the western media outlets and the MEK are spreading lies. The evil MEK has assassinated over 17,000 officials, such as the president, prime minister, members of parliament, and police forces. We stay vigilant about these seditions, and we should be, as the enemy wants to fish in the muddy waters,” Ahmad Mahmoudi, the Friday Prayer leader of Isfahan, was quoted as saying by the local TV channel.  

There are organized units which set some places on fire. These actions indicate that they are organized. They have attempted to take over governorates in some cities. These terrorist groups, now enjoying the U.S. and EU support, used to assassinate hundreds of [officials],” Ahmad Vahidi, the regime’s Interior Minister, was quoted as saying by State TV.

“The enemy has never abandoned its ominous target to seize the county and topple the system. They want nothing less. We are facing them again,” Ahmad Alam-ol Hoda, Mashhad’s Fraidy Prayer leader said.  

“The recent incidents are nothing but part of broader propaganda.  These riots are led by the MEK, who pretend to be human rights activists,” Mohammad Ebadi Zadeh, Bandar Abbas’s Friday Prayer leader, was quoted by the local TV.  

“The enemy once again plotted to create another sedition, like the ones they did in 1998. 2009, 2018, and 2019. Whenever there is a riot and sedition, we see the footprints of the MEK,” Reza Noury, Bojnourd’s Friday Prayer leader said.  


September 22

“We can see the MEK’s role in the recent riots across the country. We can clearly see they are instigating riots in the name of Mahsa Amini today, as they did with Neda Aqa-Sultan’s name in 2009,” MP Ahmad Rastineh was quoted as saying by the state-run Mehr News Agency.  

“The MEK leader issued a statement and supported these protests, and I read on Twitter that they applauded protesters and called for burning the [regime’s] flag. We are facing unprecedented riots. They chanted that Mahsa’s death is an excuse; the target is the entire system. Look at the published videos. They are burning police vehicles or beating police officers. The MEK issued a call to protest, and some riots formed,” Iran’s state TV acknowledged.   


September 21

“The MEK and its western supporters are behind the recent seditions and incidents,” the state-run Entekhab websites quoted Hosseinali Haji-Deligani, a member of the parliament’s presidium as saying.   

“The Islamic system’s authority wouldn’t be endangered by the [MEK] ‘s desperate attempts,” Mehr News, an outlet linked to the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), quoted the so-called “clerics faction of parliament,” as saying. 

“The passing of Mahsa Amini was like pouring fuel on the fire, and the MEK used against our [system]. Footages show the MEK attacking the police forces, which is a pillar to our security, and injuring some of them,” the state-run Mehr news quoted the so-called “Office for Strengthening Unity” on September 21. This organization is tasked with oppressing university students.   

“According to eyewitnesses, the units in recent protests were organized and tasked with destruction. They used new tactics to fight [security] forces, confirming they had been trained.”   

“As usual, protests were radicalized since last night, after known organized elements entered the scene. These actions starkly contrast civil disobedience,” the state-run Tasnim News agency, an outlet linked to the IRGC Quds Force reported.   

“The protests that started a day or two ago in some cities of Iran have turned to chaos. The pictures published yesterday and last night from Tehran and different cities of Iran indicate many things beyond a simple protest against Mahsa Amini’s death. These pictures are testaments to organized riots and encourage the destruction of public property,” the state-run Hamshahri daily reported. 


September 20  

“Some streets witnessed protests after Mahsa Amini’s death. The MEK organized these protests, and [ethnic minorities] were also present,” the State-run TV acknowledged.