November 11, 2022

Iran Crisis Update, November 11

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.

Overall protest turnout throughout Iran has diminished in recent days but surged in Sistan and Baluchistan Province on November 11. Protests have occurred almost every Friday in Sistan and Baluchistan Province since the brutal regime crackdown in Zahedan on September 30.[i] The Friday protest activity on November 11 was the most geographically widespread yet, occurring in at least six cities in Sistan and Baluchistan Province. The previous Friday, November 4, saw protest activity in five cities in the province.[ii]

This protest turnout across an increasing number of cities in southeastern Iran accords with CTP’s previous assessment that prominent Sunni cleric Moulana Abdol Hamid and his supporters may begin inspiring protests throughout Sistan and Baluchistan Province rather than in just Zahedan.[iii] Abdol Hamid again criticized the regime and expressed support for protesters during his Friday sermon in Zahedan on November 11.[iv] Abdol Hamid also commended Chabahar parliamentarian Moinoddin Saeedi, who criticized on November 9 the regime protest crackdown.[v] Abdol Hamid’s message may be resonating with a growing portion of the Sunni Baloch community in southeastern Iran.

US defense officials continue to warn of a potential Iranian attack into Saudi Arabia or Iraq in retaliation for the alleged roles of the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia in stoking the protests. Two Defense Department officials told Politico that Iran continues to plan to attack Saudi Arabia, likely targeting its energy infrastructure, and that Iran also poses an increased threat to targets in Iraq.[vi] US and Saudi officials previously warned of an imminent Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia and Iraq in a Wall Street Journal report on November 1, though the disclosure of this intelligence may have delayed the Iranian attack.[vii] Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Deputy Commander Brigadier General Ali Fadavi repeated the threat that the regime will retaliate against foreign and domestic actors who stoked the protests on November 11.[viii]

Iran may have already tried and failed to attack US positions in Syria on November 9. Syrian media outlet DeirEzzor24 reported that Russian military police arrested two individuals tied to the IRGC who were preparing to conduct a rocket attack on US forces at the Conoco gas field in eastern Syria.[ix] Iranian-backed militias have attacked this location previously.[x] CTP previously assessed that Tehran and its proxies may attack US positions in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for the alleged US role in stoking protests and for an Israeli drone strike on an Iranian convoy in eastern Syria on November 8.[xi] CTP cannot verify the report from DeirEzzor24, however.

Key Takeaways

  • Overall protest turnout throughout Iran has diminished in recent days but surged in Sistan and Baluchistan Province.
  • US defense officials continue to warn of a potential Iranian attack into Saudi Arabia or Iraq in retaliation for the alleged roles of the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia in stoking the protests.
  • At least 14 protests took place in 12 cities across six provinces.
  • Reformist parliamentarian Gholamreza Nouri Ghazaljeh criticized the regime for allowing security and law enforcement personnel to enter university campuses.
  • The IRGC Intelligence Organization issued a statement warning that anti-regime group Mojahedin-e Khalq is contacting citizens to incite protests and the destruction of public property.

Anti-Regime Protests

At least 14 protests took place in 12 cities across six provinces on November 11. CTP assesses with moderate to high confidence that protests occurred in the locations below.

Note: CTP is using asterisks to denote protests that included mourners commemorating killed protesters.

*Deh Sefid, Lorestan Province (population: unknown)

  • An undetermined number of mourners chanted anti-regime slogans at Sepehr Beyranvand's funeral. Social media users and protester chants framed Beyranvand as a martyr. Security personnel reportedly fired tear gas to disperse crowds, although there is currently no available footage of this. Security personnel reportedly killed Beyranvand for writing anti-regime slogans on public property.[xii]

Chabahar, Sistan and Baluchistan Province (population: approximately 106,739)

  • Dozens of protesters joined hands on a city street. Roughly 50 protesters chanted anti-regime slogans, possibly at another location. Security personnel fired what appears to be tear gas at protesters.[xiii]

Iranshahr, Sistan and Baluchistan Province (population: approximately 113,750)

  • Dozens of protesters fled from what appears to be tear gas on an Iranshahr city street.[xiv]

Khash, Sistan and Baluchistan Province (population: approximately 56,584)

  • Hundreds of protesters chanted anti-regime slogans while protesting on a Khash city street. Security personnel fired tear gas and reportedly shot at protesters. Some protesters were documented destroying a sign featuring Qassem Soleimani's name.[xv]

Rask, Sistan and Baluchistan Province (population: approximately 10,115)

  • Footage shows dozens of protesters setting fire to and throwing rocks into an IRGC-operated building and throwing rocks at the Rask governorship building. Another dozen captured chanted "free Baluchistan" on a city street. It is unclear if this protest operated independently of groups throwing rocks at public property.[xvi]

Saravan, Sistan and Baluchistan Province (population: approximately 60,114)

  • An undetermined number of protesters chanted anti-regime slogans on a Saravan city street. Footage shows security personnel shooting at unidentified figures, whom some social media users claim are worshippers at the Nour Saravan Mosque.[xvii]

Zahedan, Sistan and Baluchistan Province (population: approximately 587,730)

  • Hundreds of Zahedan residents participated in an anti-regime march following Friday prayer sermons. Many protesters held handwritten signs with anti-regime slogans like "death to the dictator" and "woman, life, freedom." Some protesters were pictured holding anti-regime signs in what is likely the vicinity of a mosque or another communal structure. Social media footage depicts security personnel armed with Kalashnikov-style weapons arresting protesters. Some social media users reported that live ammunition was fired at protesters.[xviii]

*Tehran City, Tehran Province (population: approximately 8,700,000)

  • An undetermined number of mourners chanted slogans comparing the Basij to ISIS at the 40-day commemoration ceremony of Amir Mehdi Farakhipour at the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in southern Tehran. Security personnel killed Farakhipour for participating in anti-regime demonstrations days before his 17th birthday. Mourners framed Farakhipour as a martyr and played a nationalist Iranian song.[xix]
  • Dozens of protesters chanted “we don’t want a government that kills children” on a street in Tehran Pars in northeastern Tehran.[xx]
  • Dozens of protesters chanted “death to Khamenei” in Nazi Abad in southern Tehran.[xxi]

*Boyouran-e Sofla, West Azerbaijan Province (population: approximately 1,261)

  • Over 50 mourners chanted anti-regime slogans while attending Kolbar Hayman Hamzeh's funeral, whom security personnel killed. It is unclear if Hamzeh died participating in anti-regime protests. Mourners reportedly continued protests in front of the local governorship office. Security personnel reportedly shot at protesters, seriously injuring Hamzeh’s sister. Protesters set fire to a local Basij base and a border patrol vehicle.[xxii]

CTP assesses with low confidence that protests occurred in the locations below.

Bushehr City, Bushehr Province (population: approximately 223,504)

  • Footage purportedly shows clashes between protesters and security forces, although available footage does not feature protests. These protests may not meet CTP’s threshold for protest activity.[xxiii]

Saghez, Kurdistan Province (population: approximately 165,258)

  • Footage shows that protesters lit a fire on a Saghez city street, suggesting that protest activity may have occurred after the clip was filmed.[xxiv]

Mahabad, West Azerbaijan Province (population: approximately 168,393)

  • Footage shows that protesters lit a fire on a Mahabad city street, suggesting that protest activity may have occurred after the clip was filmed.[xxv]

A parliamentarian representing Chabahar, Sistan and Baluchistan Province denied reports that he had resigned from his post. Moinoddin Saeedi stressed his commitment to fighting for his constituents’ rights and improving their quality of life. Some social media users reported that Saeedi had resigned from his post on November 10.[xxvi] State-affiliated media circulated Saeedi’s comments.[xxvii] Saeedi had previously criticized security forces’ protest crackdown in Zahedan, Sistan and Baluchistan Province on September 30 in a parliamentary address on November 6.[xxviii]

Reformist parliamentarian Gholamreza Nouri Ghazaljeh criticized the regime for allowing security and law enforcement personnel to enter university campuses on November 11. Ghazaljeh emphasized that all students should be permitted to speak their minds and called on security forces who had entered university campuses to be held accountable.[xxix] Iranian university students have reported increased security presence in academic spaces throughout the Mahsa Amini protest wave, as CTP has previously noted.[xxx]

Parliament-affiliated Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency (ICANA) published an article questioning the authenticity of a picture of a letter signed by 227 parliamentarians advocating for harsh protester sentencing.[xxxi] ICANA cited factual inaccuracies—including the names of ex-parliamentarians listed as signatories—as evidence to its claim that the letter is fake. Social media users circulated a picture of the letter on November 11. Signatories signed the letter on November 6, as CTP previously reported.[xxxii]

The IRGC Intelligence Organization issued a statement on November 11 warning that anti-regime group Mojahedin-e Khalq is contacting citizens to incite protests and the destruction of public property.[xxxiii]

Axis of Resistance and Regional Developments

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev emphasized the need to ensure the “rights, freedom, and security” of Azeris living outside of Azerbaijan—possibly a veiled reference to the Azeri communities in northwestern Iran although possibly referring in addition or instead to Azeris still in Armenian-controlled areas or in the Azeri exclave of Nakhchivan—on November 11.[xxxiv]  Aliyev expressed his commitment to ”helping our compatriots, who have been separated from the Azerbaijani state by an unfortunate twist of fate...” Aliyev made these remarks at a summit of the Organization of Turkic States in Uzbekistan. Iranian authorities have repeatedly accused foreign actors of using the protests to drive separatism and erode the country’s territorial integrity in recent weeks.[xxxv] Aliyev’s comments follow IRGC social media accounts calling for Iran to annex parts of Azerbaijan, as CTP previously reported.[xxxvi]


[i] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/iran-crisis-update-september-30

[ii] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/iran-crisis-update-november-4

[iii] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/iran-crisis-update-november-5

[iv] https://abdolhamid dot net/persian/2022/11/11/12958/

[v] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/iran-crisis-update-november-10#_ednc7afade02c2b8225776c60d99e680925c415412657dab9e270cc24dca66087607

[vi] https://www.politico.com/news/2022/11/11/u-s-bomber-flight-meant-as-a-message-to-iran-amid-threat-to-saudi-infrastructure-00066464

[vii] https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-u-s-on-high-alert-after-warning-of-imminent-iranian-attack-11667319274

[viii] www.tasnimnews dot com/fa/news/1401/08/19/2802172

[ix] https://deirezzor24 dot net/en/russian-forces-thwart-an-attempt-to-target-the-coalition-base-in-deir-ezzor/

[x] https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/u-s-says-airstrikes-killed-4-iranian-backed-militia-members-in-syria

[xi] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/iran-crisis-update-november-9

[xii] https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591096699392782336?s=20&t=KHWT8M6dYBzwntxBFng1vw ; https://twitter.com/HichkasOfficial/status/1590774058056286208?s=20&t=fLfGYTazgclbEgGRwLbd-g ; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591095868538880001?s=20&t=nrTPvZniaim26e_IyzjCew ; https://twitter.com/hra_news/status/1591081968988557312?s=20&t=nrTPvZniaim26e_IyzjCew

[xiii] https://twitter.com/1500tasvir/status/1591018068339482626?s=20&t=jHX41Iu632pO-y8RaO8CAQ ; https://twitter.com/1500tasvir/status/1591017661475217408?s=20&t=KHWT8M6dYBzwntxBFng1vw ; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591057952554639360?s=20&t=KHWT8M6dYBzwntxBFng1vw ; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591033611062738950?s=20&t=KHWT8M6dYBzwntxBFng1vw

 

 

[xiv] https://twitter.com/1500tasvir/status/1591035486520459265?s=20&t=KHWT8M6dYBzwntxBFng1vw ; https://twitter.com/1500tasvir/status/1591025935163219968?s=20&t=Ck5BEODKk3W0nQSwXJ3Z0Q

 

[xv]  https://twitter.com/1500tasvir/status/1591046616265678848?s=20&t=KHWT8M6dYBzwntxBFng1vw ; https://twitter.com/1500tasvir/status/1591026681950916610?s=20&t=T-GO-FVOp95Ff-TEJr2F2w ; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591046921715867649?s=20&t=KHWT8M6dYBzwntxBFng1vw ; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591017690759450624?s=20&t=KHWT8M6dYBzwntxBFng1vw

 

[xvi] https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591098664499703811?s=20&t=W-Rx2HxlcroafpjOirrhnA ; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591063959381344257?s=20&t=rkqwksRPaGMmsa2e_ucjHA ; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591050030362034176?s=20&t=qB1jiBunSyI9HkZUYEyZCg

[xvii] https://twitter.com/1500tasvir/status/1591018619626045440?s=20&t=UT8pNKBEktIFomDkhjLPCQ ; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591064550786596864?s=20&t=QNakg1_GwxBjZY6x-wetGQ ;

[xviii] https://twitter.com/farzinkadkhodae/status/1591086896155099137?s=20&t=y2oucROgQgN34kMQs1Iesw ; https://twitter.com/1500tasvir/status/1591058633885892608?s=20&t=KHWT8M6dYBzwntxBFng1vw ; https://twitter.com/FSeifikaran/status/1591046230687514624?s=20&t=KHWT8M6dYBzwntxBFng1vw ; https://twitter.com/1500tasvir/status/1591040274976755712?s=20&t=KHWT8M6dYBzwntxBFng1vwhttps://twitter.com/1500tasvir/status/1591033350390566912?s=20&t=KHWT8M6dYBzwntxBFng1vw ; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591019270921588736?s=20&t=KHWT8M6dYBzwntxBFng1vw

 

[xix] https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591053611492311040?s=20&t=hpKU5fGKOXjBaGcs5hfiCQ ; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591062727862390785?s=20&t=pONzOE-RnTKYiwBhJxLC2Q ; https://twitter.com/hra_news/status/1591053106263085057?s=20&t=pONzOE-RnTKYiwBhJxLC2Q ; https://twitter.com/MShakiba0/status/1591059965145673729?s=20&t=pONzOE-RnTKYiwBhJxLC2Q

[xx] https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591135905502597120?s=20&t=nrTPvZniaim26e_IyzjCew

[xxi] https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591154397148487680?s=20&t=nrTPvZniaim26e_IyzjCew

[xxii] https://twitter.com/Tavaana/status/1591094920470986752?s=20&t=6-2X2Y9JDEkaQbijow_jiA  ; https://twitter.com/HengawO/status/1591068087742234624?s=20&t=VQZXRGWS5J5MQFtuOY9oWA ; https://twitter.com/HengawO/status/1591068087742234624?s=20&t=VQZXRGWS5J5MQFtuOY9oWA ; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591118771917565952?s=20&t=nrTPvZniaim26e_IyzjCew

 

[xxiii] https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591170979761225728?s=20&t=nrTPvZniaim26e_IyzjCew

 

[xxiv] https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591105056241487872?s=20&t=KHWT8M6dYBzwntxBFng1vw

[xxv] https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1591144244630392832?s=20&t=T6FabglkjAtmrGLh478JRw

[xxvi] https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1590653946938331136?s=20&t=1fzVA7gmMXESy3K6S3JHqg

[xxvii] https://www.isna dot ir/news/1401082013854/%D9%86%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87-%DA%86%D8%A7%D8%A8%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%B9%D9%81%D8%A7-%D9%86%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%85

[xxviii] https://aftabnews dot ir/fa/news/807136/%D8%AC%D9%86%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3-%D8%A8%D8%B1-%D8%B3%D8%B1-%D9%86%D8%B7%D9%82-%D9%86%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87-%DA%86%D8%A7%D8%A8%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D9%88-%D8%AA%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%B6-%D8%B3%D8%AE%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%81-%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D9%88%DB%8C%D8%AF%D8%A6%D9%88%DA%86%DA%A9-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D9%BE%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%84%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86

[xxix] https://www.isna dot ir/news/1401081812921/%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D9%86%D8%A8%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%AA%DB%8C-%D9%88-%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AA%D8%B8%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C-%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AF-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%B4%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%87-%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%B4%D9%88%D9%86%D8%AF

[xxx] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/iran-crisis-update-october-23 ; https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/iran-crisis-update-october-30

[xxxi] https://www.isna dot ir/news/1401082013874

[xxxii] https://twitter.com/Goftaniha/status/1591058525148807174 ; https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/iran-crisis-update-november-6

[xxxiii] www.tasnimnews dot com/fa/news/1401/08/20/2802607

[xxxiv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwoo-O2OMOU

[xxxv] https://www.tasnimnews dot com/fa/news/1401/07/19/2786776/%D8%AF%D8%B4%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%AA%D8%AC%D8%B2%DB%8C%D9%87-%D8%B7%D9%84%D8%A8%DB%8C-%D9%88-%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%B1%D9%82%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%81%DA%A9%D9%86%DB%8C-%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AF-%DA%A9%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%A2%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%A8-%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%B4%D8%AF ; https://www.isna dot ir/news/1401080603923/%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%A8-%D8%AF%D8%B4%D9%85%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AA%D8%AC%D8%B2%DB%8C%D9%87-%D8%B7%D9%84%D8%A8%DB%8C-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B1%D9%88%DB%8C%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AA%D8%B9%D8%A8%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D9%86%D8%B4%D8%AF%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA

 

 

[xxxvi] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/iran-crisis-update-november-7

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