December 08, 2022

Iran Crisis Update, December 8

December 8, 5:00 pm ET

The Iran Crisis Updates are produced by the Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute with support from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). To receive Iran Crisis Updates via email, please subscribe here.

The Iranian regime executed a protester on December 8 for the first time since the Mahsa Amini protests began. The Judiciary announced the execution of 23-year-old Mohsen Shekari after convicting him of “waging war against God.” Security forces arrested Shekari for blocking a road and attacking a security officer with a machete during protests in Tehran in September 2022.[i]

The regime is likely using the execution to deter protest participation and instill fear in demonstrators. The execution and the manner in which it was carried out could have the opposite effect, however. Social media reports indicate that neither Shekari nor his family were informed of his impending execution beforehand and that the regime disposed of his body, depriving his family of the opportunity to bury him and of the location of a grave at which to mourn him.[ii] Protest coordinators and organizations condemned the execution and promised to avenge Shekari.[iii] The regime likely sought to avoid giving protesters the opportunity to rally in advance of Shekari’s execution and to deprive them of a gravesite around which to rally future commemoration ceremonies that could in turn become demonstrations.  The covert burial of Shekari, however, opens possibilities for protesters to choose to commemorate him at any location or several. The regime has sentenced 10 other arrested protesters to death at the time of this writing and thus could conduct additional executions in the coming weeks.[iv] Executions could reinvigorate the ongoing protests in the same way that funerals and commemoration ceremonies for killed protesters have.

Key Takeaways

  • The Iranian regime executed a protester on December 8 for the first time since the Mahsa Amini protests began.
  • At least nine protests took place in seven cities across six provinces.
  • Two Iranian security personnel have died since December 7.
  • Hossein Taeb discussed the alleged Western-Israeli hybrid war against Iran.

Anti-Regime Protests

At least nine protests took place in seven cities across six provinces on December 8. CTP assesses with moderate to high confidence that protests occurred in the following locations:

Karaj, Alborz Province[v]

Size: Undetermined

Demographic: Rasam Institute of Higher Education students

Dezfoul, Khuzestan Province[vi]

Size: Medium

Demographic: Mourners

Notes: 40-day commemoration ceremony for Mohammad Ghamei Far

Saghez, Kurdistan Province[vii]

Size: Small

Protester Activity: Fires in streets

Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province[viii]

Size: Small

Demographic: Mourners

Notes: 40-day commemoration ceremony for Sarina Saedi

Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province[ix]

Size: Medium

Demographic: Mourners

Regime Repression: Security forces emplaced cement barriers to prevent access to cemetery; shots heard in the vicinity of cemetery

Notes: Funeral for killed protester Houman Abdollahi

Qom City, Qom Province[x]

Size: Small

Demographic: Azad University of Qom students

Notes: Protesting visit from bonyad official

Tehran City, Tehran Province[xi]

Size: Small

Notes: Protesting death sentence of arrested protester Hamid Gharah Hasanlou in front of Evin prison

Tehran City, Tehran Province[xii]

Size: Small

Area: Sattar Khan

Notes: Protesting execution of arrested protester Mohsen Shekari, protesters allegedly marched to his family’s house

CTP assesses with low confidence that protests occurred in the following locations:

Arak, Markazi Province[xiii]

Size: Small

Notes: Coincides with 40-day commemoration ceremony for Mehrshad Shahidi, which security personnel seemingly managed to prevent from occurring

Two Iranian security personnel have died since December 7. Unidentified militants clashed with and killed a Law Enforcement Command Border Guard member near Zabol, Sistan and Baluchistan Province on December 7.[xiv] A security forces member died on December 8 due to injuries sustained in protests in Shiraz, Fars Province on October 26.[xv] Around 66 security personnel have died since protests began on September 16.[xvi]

Hossein Taeb discussed the alleged Western-Israeli hybrid war against Iran on December 8.[xvii] Taeb has been the adviser to IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami since Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei dismissed Taeb as IRGC Intelligence Organization chief in June 2022.[xviii] Taeb may be trying to position himself to replace Ali Shamkhani as Supreme National Security Council secretary. Social media rumors claimed that Taeb and his political allies are trying to install him to the position, as CTP previously reported, although their chances of success at present appear low.[xix] Taeb has become an increasingly public-facing figure since his removal, regularly making public statements criticizing the US and Israel.[xx]

Axis of Resistance and Regional Developments

There was nothing significant to report today.


[i] https://www.mizan dot news/4547346

[ii] https://twitter.com/1500tasvir_en/status/1600827123429961733?s=20&t=1CBafWMiR5x7yW6bR45c6A; https://twitter.com/Muzyar/status/1600890332656590850?s=20&t=1CBafWMiR5x7yW6bR45c6A; https://twitter.com/NazaninBoniadi/status/1600884527987134464?s=20&t=1CBafWMiR5x7yW6bR45c6A

[iii] https://t.me/unitedyouthofiran/5; https://twitter.com/javanane_t/status/1600873857946042368; https://t.me/mashhad_protests/1539

[iv] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/iran-crisis-update-december-6

[v] https://twitter.com/IranIntl/status/1600848154722697216?s=20&t=Zk_4vlzZgwIUkt5Lrl4Pjw; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1600873128124502016?s=20&t=Zk_4vlzZgwIUkt5Lrl4Pjw

[vi] https://twitter.com/1500tasvir/status/1600849904905359362?s=20&t=6jdq5tEc-PRWH2fI2ud7Zg; https://twitter.com/bbcpersian/status/1600858810087661568?s=20&t=6jdq5tEc-PRWH2fI2ud7Zg; https://twitter.com/RadioFarda_/status/1600847427833036801?s=20&t=6jdq5tEc-PRWH2fI2ud7Zg; https://twitter.com/RadioFarda_/status/1600852184207446017?s=20&t=6jdq5tEc-PRWH2fI2ud7Zg

[vii] https://twitter.com/barin_omid/status/1600888702225551363?s=20&t=WiX66PcxgoAk9fy719S-ag; https://twitter.com/indypersian/status/1600973817551421441?s=20&t=WiX66PcxgoAk9fy719S-ag; https://twitter.com/HengawO/status/1600920482928545792?s=20&t=WiX66PcxgoAk9fy719S-ag

[viii] https://twitter.com/barin_omid/status/1600827766081036289?s=20&t=NMqneDaABT-FABZaF9dcYA; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1600828311558447106?s=20&t=HgoP6B75lNki5Ay_edovlA; https://twitter.com/RadioFarda_/status/1600843355226775552?s=20&t=HgoP6B75lNki5Ay_edovlA; https://twitter.com/hra_news/status/1600836793506697218?s=20&t=HgoP6B75lNki5Ay_edovlA

[ix] https://twitter.com/Kolbarnews/status/1600883797553475585?s=20&t=LP_e1SzhClpZFUIG4P0D_w; https://twitter.com/barin_omid/status/1600876569802612736?s=20&t=UIl7pp9DhQW8ROJNPb9pJA

[x] https://twitter.com/RadioFarda_/status/1600845976624893953?s=20&t=Rf2biyqI_Zc4HbfNARnPTg; https://twitter.com/IranIntl/status/1600816118268153857?s=20&t=Rf2biyqI_Zc4HbfNARnPTg

[xi] https://twitter.com/1500tasvir/status/1600891605829193730?s=20&t=NLw58FzeHuzdSkHUnQtaIw

[xii] https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1600908399373586432?s=20&t=n8rcjn-yse-3vf_Kr5d9cg; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1600909694901653508?s=20&t=u1G_gwdvUxTaYniV4O1rBA; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1600924884070060032?s=20&t=Oqzql0JlENHgC_XAd1Sv8Q; https://twitter.com/1500tasvir/status/1600923977865576448?s=20&t=CoQkeS6P9n_uh4vhW_4vGw

[xiii] https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1600837911486042113?s=20&t=islL0sHq15zw8zRu5nGnlw

[xiv] https://www.tasnimnews dot com/fa/news/1401/09/16/2818217/

[xv] https://www.mehrnews dot com/news/5649981/

[xvi] https://twitter.com/Alfoneh/status/1600843497380417536

[xvii] https://isna dot ir/xdMV6q

[xviii] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/23/world/middleeast/iran-revolutionary-guards-intelligence-chief-hossein-taeb.html

[xix] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/iran-crisis-update-december-5

[xx] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/iran-crisis-update-november-10#_edn514892900d8c19a4d0ec68e43130c25b95ae8a47564256e164ecf4a90dfa15e0572685105675102fe1f4b933ee0f9f2422

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