November 06, 2022
Iran Crisis Update, November 6
November 6, 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 regime continued linking the ongoing protests with terrorism on November 6 as part of an information operation to delegitimize protesters and their grievances. Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf accused the US and Israel of stoking the protests to create a new ISIS in Iran.[i] A group of 227 parliamentarians signed a letter similarly blaming the US for the unrest and comparing protesters to ISIS militants, calling for harsh and rapid prosecutions.[ii] Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Telegram channels previously characterized protesters as ”domestic ISIS” on November 3, as CTP previously reported.[iii]
The regime will likely use this framing of protesters as terrorists to justify brutal crackdowns and harsh judicial sentences in the days and weeks ahead.[iv]
Iranian state media has claimed that the regime has arrested terrorists trying to support the protests throughout the country, including reporting that security forces arrested “terrorist teams” in Esfahan, Fars, Kermanshah, and Khuzestan provinces on November 6.[v] Iranian state media claimed that these groups sought to organize and stoke protests and assassinate prominent Arab leaders in Khuzestan Province.[vi] Law Enforcement Deputy Commander Ghassem Rezaei claimed on November 5 that the regime has arrested dozens of individuals tied to the Shiraz attack.[vii] Rezaei stated that these individuals planned large-scale sabotage and suicide operations in Iran. CTP cannot verify whether the regime arrested anyone in these reported incidents.
A security officer killed four Law Enforcement Command (LEC) members at an LEC station in Bampour, Sistan and Baluchistan Province on November 6.[viii] Iranian state media framed the incident as a “personal dispute” between the officers. The brutality and intensity of the protest crackdown may be stoking tensions between security personnel, especially as they face bandwidth constraints, exhaustion, and low morale in the eighth consecutive week of protests.[ix] Anti-regime militancy has increased in the areas surrounding Bampour in recent days, as CTP previously reported.[x] CTP has not yet observed large-scale defections or division among the state security services.
- The regime continued linking the ongoing protests with terrorism as part of an information operation to delegitimize protesters and their grievances.
- A security officer killed four LEC members at an LEC station in Bampour, Sistan and Baluchistan Province.
- At least 17 protests took place in 10 cities across eight provinces on November 6.
- An unverified social media account alleged the presence of an Afghan proxy force member during a protest crackdown in Arak, Markazi Province.
- Security forces seized weapons shipments in northwestern and southeastern Iran.
- At least two unidentified gunmen attacked an IRGC facility in Mahshahr, Khuzestan Province.
At least 17 protests took place in 10 cities across eight provinces on November 6. CTP assesses with moderate to high confidence that protests occurred in the following locations:
Note: CTP is using asterisks to denote protests that included mourners commemorating killed protesters.
Karaj, Alborz Province (population: approximately 1,970,000)
- An undetermined number of likely high school students marched and chanted “death to the dictator” and other anti-regime slogans.[xi]
Tabriz, East Azerbaijan Province (population: approximately 1,599,000)
- An undetermined number of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences students heckled and chanted anti-regime slogans when Expediency Assessment Council official Mohammed Harandi attempted to speak at an event on campus.[xii]
Esfahan City, Esfahan Province (population: approximately 1,961,000)
- An undetermined number of Sheikh Baha’i University at Esfahan students protested on campus and chanted anti-regime slogans.[xiii]
Kermanshah City, Kermanshah Province (population: approximately 946,681)
- One or two dozen protesters gathered in Kermanshah streets and chanted anti-regime slogans.[xiv]
- Regime security forces reportedly broke up a protest being held by an undetermined number of Razi University students on campus.[xv]
Baneh, Kurdistan Province (population: approximately 115,325)
- Security forces clashed with an undetermined number of protesters on a Baneh street.[xvi]
*Marivan, Kurdistan Province (population: approximately 136,654)
- Protesters attempted to attend a funeral for protest martyr Nasreen Qadri, who was beaten to death by security forces during a protest in Marivan on November 5. One or two dozen people attended the ceremony. Security forces prevented others from attending.[xvii]
- One or two dozen protesters gathered, set fires, and built roadblocks with debris in Marivan streets. Security forces fired tear gas and used live ammunition against protesters, injuring or killing as many as 35 civilians.[xviii]
- Several dozen protesters occupied and ransacked a municipal government building.[xix]
Sanandaj, Kurdistan Provine (population: approximately 414,069)
- An undetermined number of protesters set fires and chanted death to the dictator” in Sanandaj streets.[xx]
Zahedan, Sistan and Baluchistan Province (population: approximately 587,730)
- One or two dozen children walked through a Zahedan street chanting “death to the dictator” and other anti-regime slogans.[xxi]
Tehran City, Tehran Province (population: approximately 8,700,000)
- Several dozen protesters gathered outside a Cultural and Islamic Guidance Ministry building at an unspecified location in Tehran.[xxii]
- An undetermined number of Azad University of North Tehran students protested on campu[xxiii]
- Several dozen Tehran University students protested and chanted anti-regime slogans on campus.[xxiv]
- An undetermined number of protesters gathered in Tehran streets and chanted anti-regime slogans.[xxv]
- One or two dozen high school students from Shahyar Girls’ School demonstrated on school grounds.[xxvi]
CTP assesses with low confidence that protests occurred in the following locations:
Ourmia, West Azerbaijan Province (population: approximately 736,224)
- An undetermined number of Ourmia University of Technology students protested and chanted anti-regime slogans on campus.[xxvii]
Social media accounts tweeted a video of an individual claiming to have found the identification card of a member of the Fatemiyoun Division during a protest crackdown in Arak, Markazi Province on November 3.[xxviii] The Fatemiyoun Division is an Afghan Shia proxy that the IRGC has used extensively throughout the Syrian civil war to defend despot Bashar al Assad. The video suggests that the regime is using its foreign proxies to suppress demonstrations. Hundreds of protesters gathered in Arak on November 3, as CTP previously reported.[xxix]
The regime may have deployed its proxies for protest suppression, although CTP cannot verify these social media reports. The regime would likely use these proxies to mitigate the bandwidth constraints of the security forces, as CTP previously assessed.[xxx]
Security forces seized weapons shipments in northwestern and southeastern Iran on November 5. The IRGC Ground Forces announced the seizure of ammunition and unspecified weapons in Mahabad, West Azerbaijan Province.[xxxi] LEC Border Guard Commander Ahmad Ali Goudarzi announced the seizure of smuggled pistols in Jakigour, Sistan and Baluchistan Province.[xxxii] Goudarzi noted that this shipment was the third seized in Sistan and Baluchistan Province since the protests began. These areas in northwestern and southeastern Iran are well-known arms trafficking routes where weapons seizures are common.
There are at least three possible explanations for the seemingly increased rate of weapons seizures in these regions: (1) smugglers are transporting more weapons into Iran amid the protests; (2) the regime is paying greater attention to seizing weapons shipments; and (3) the regime is cracking down harder on weapons shipments to deter smuggling. These explanations are not mutually exclusive.
At least two unidentified gunmen attacked an IRGC facility in Mahshahr, Khuzestan Province on November 6.[xxxiii] CTP has not previously reported anti-regime militancy or protest activity during the current protest wave. The IRGC conducted a brutal crackdown in Mahshahr during the gasoline protests in November 2019.[xxxiv] The IRGC deployed military snipers and armored vehicles with machine guns and killed approximately 148 demonstrators, including some who retreated into a nearby marsh. Axis of Resistance and Regional Developments
There was nothing significant to report today.
[i] http://www.tasnimnews dot com/fa/news/1401/08/15/2799598
[ii] https://www.eghtesadnews dot com/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%A7%D8%AE%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-57/532857-%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D9%81%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D9%86%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D9%82%D9%88%D9%87-%D9%82%D8%B6%D8%A7%D8%A6%DB%8C%D9%87-%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B6%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%AE%DB%8C%D8%B1
[v] https://www.tasnimnews dot com/fa/news/1401/08/15/2799988; https://www.mehrnews dot com/news/5625953
[vi] https://www.irna dot ir/news/84934154/
[vii] https://www.isna dot ir/news/1401081409715
[viii] https://www.irna dot ir/news/84934144/
[xviii] https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1589235202211352576?s=20&t=nyp5C6fKyPc1aKWyvai0BA; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1589235923568726016?s=20&t=9o9gDIJu2fm1NzMDn0289w; https://twitter.com/HengawO/status/1589187046320779264?s=20&t=BR1FWfIn6kDrF9uV1H3GRA; https://twitter.com/KurdistanHRN/status/1589247750784561153?s=20&t=zEr6Pukgr3RCCBcU9SI6wA; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1589187759809646592?s=20&t=Q6Tbn4mk_5j-u6SSrzrPKA; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1589183073970593792?s=20&t=lbaBmy4R2vXX5pIlfk9a7A; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1589176172268556289?s=20&t=ID95NZrsOiFjFklUeD57Cw; https://twitter.com/iranworkers/status/1589175514450710528?s=20&t=7st1Bx9m3Px2WxkKkKGGow;
[xxxi] http://www.defapress dot ir/fa/news/554529
[xxxii] https://irna dot ir/xjKWGN
[xxxiii] https://www.tasnimnews dot com/fa/news/1401/08/15/2799801