October 31, 2022
Iran Crisis Update, October 31
October 31, 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 has begun indicting and sentencing arrested protesters as part of the increasingly harsh and uncompromising stance that the regime has adopted toward the ongoing protests. Tehran Provincial Chief Justice Ali al Ghasi Mehr announced the indictment of around 1,000 protesters on October 31.[i] Shiraz Provincial Chief Justice Asadollah Jafari announced the indictment of 70 protesters, six of whom the regime has already found guilty.[ii] Mehr and Jafari both noted that the judiciary will open protester trials to the public. The regime will likely use these show trials to make an example of some arrested protesters and deter future demonstrations. If the regime shows trials, convictions, and then death sentences of teenagers, it may further fuel rather than diminish enthusiasm for demonstrations.
Regime officials have begun using increasingly harsh rhetoric toward the protests, framing the demonstrations and the Shiraz terror attack as connected and parts of the Western-led hybrid war against Iran. Judiciary Chief Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei stated that individuals who participate in multiple protests are “in the enemy’s ranks” and thus subject to more severe sentences on October 31.[iii] Ejei ordered the judiciary to work with media services to identify individuals who attend multiple protests. Ejei did not provide a legal basis for this new standard of evidence, suggesting that the judiciary will prosecute some protesters as foreign agents under the presumption of guilt. Hardline parliamentarian Brigadier General Mohammad Esmail Kowsari threatened that the regime will intensify its crackdown on October 31.[iv] Kowsari is a retired Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) officer who has historically supported and overseen brutal crackdowns on protesters.[v]
The regime is increasing its outreach to university students to placate student protesters. Parliament Speaker (and former IRGC Brigadier General) Mohammad Bagheri Ghalibaf met with university students to solicit criticisms and feedback on October 31.[vi] Ghalibaf stated his intent to hold such a meeting again. Iranian state media reported that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will meet with university students on November 2 as well.[vii] Khamenei will likely use the meeting to affirm the importance of students to the country and reiterate his harsh stance on the protests. These meetings come after Raisi administration spokesperson Ali Bahadori Jahromi visited universities on October 24 and 25 to discuss popular grievances, as CTP previously reported.[viii] Students heckled and chanted anti-regime slogans at Jahromi on both dates.
- Regime officials have begun indicting and sentencing arrested protesters as part of the increasingly harsh and uncompromising stance that the regime has adopted toward the ongoing protests.
- Regime officials have begun using increasingly harsh rhetoric toward the protests, framing the demonstrations and the Shiraz terror attack as connected and part of the Western-led hybrid war against Iran.
- At least 30 anti-regime protests occurred in 17 cities in 14 provinces.
- Parliamentarian Mehdi Bagheri stated that the Law Enforcement Command (LEC) is not currently operating the guidance patrol (morality patrol) because of manpower shortages.
- Medical professionals in Kurdistan Province condemned the regime crackdown on October 31, according to unverified social media reports.
- Reformist-affiliated Ham Miham newspaper published an article calling on LEC officers to protect Iranian protesters from the LEC Special Units—the regime’s highly trained, anti-riot police.
At least 30 anti-regime protests occurred in 17 cities in 14 provinces.
Note: CTP is changing the format of its presentation of regime activity to capture multiple protests within a single city when it can reliably distinguish different protest activities.
CTP assesses with moderate to high confidence that protests occurred in the following locations:
Karaj, Alborz Province
- Undetermined number of student protesters chanted anti-regime slogans on a city street. It is unclear if protesters were university or high school students.[ix]
- Undetermined number of Azad University of Karaj student protesters chanting anti-regime slogans, likely on a university campus.[x]
- Over 150 subway riders chanted anti-regime slogans at the Golshahr Metro Station.[xi]
- Dozens of Rasam Institute for Higher Education University students chanted "killing our daughters and replacing them with brothers."[xii]
- Tabriz, East Azerbaijan Province
- Shiraz, Fars Province
Rasht, Gilan Province
- Undetermined number of Rasht Pharmacy University student protesters linked hands and participated in demonstrations.[xvii]
Ghazvin City, Ghazvin Province
- Roughly 100 Imam Khomeini International University students chanted "death to the dictator" on the university campus.[xviii]
Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi Province
- Over 70 Khayyam University student protesters chanting anti-regime slogans at the university entrance.[xix]
Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province
- Undetermined number of Chamran University student protesters chanted anti-regime slogans at pro-regime demonstrators on campus. A social media account dedicated to tracking protests alleged that most pro-regime demonstrators were not university Basij students and had been transported into the university by Iranian authorities.[xx]
Dezfoul, Khuzestan Province
- Undetermined number of Ahvaz Jondishapour University of Medical Sciences chanted “freedom, freedom, freedom.” [xxi]
Marivan, Kurdistan Province
- Dozens of students chanted "death to the dictator" on city streets. It is unclear if protesters were high school or university students.[xxii]
Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province
- Over 100 mourners gathered at the tomb of Peyman Manbari, whom security personnel shot and killed for participating in anti-regime protests on October 8. Mourners chanted “woman, life, freedom” and “martyrs don’t die.”[xxiii]
- Over 100 mourners gathered at the grave of Sarina Saeidi, a 16-year-old girl whom security personnel killed for participating in acts of defiance on October 26. Mourners chanted “Kurdistan, Kurdistan, the graveyard of fascists.”[xxiv]
- Undetermined number of Azad University of Sanandaj students participated in anti-regime protests. There is no footage of this protest. Footage shows security personnel entering and closing all entrances to the university. Audible sounds of gunfire.[xxv]
Khorramabad, Lorestan Province
- Hundreds of Lorestan University students participated in anti-regime protests on campus.[xxvi]
Neyshabour, Razavi Khorasan Province
- Undetermined number of Azad University of Neyshabour protesters chanting "freedom, freedom, freedom.”[xxvii]
- Arak, Markazi Province
Shahroud, Semnan Province
- Over 100 Shahroud University of Technology student protesters chanted "freedom, freedom, freedom," possibly facing smaller crowd of pro-regime protesters.[xxx]
Zahedan, Sistan and Baluchistan Province
- Undetermined number of Sistan and Baluchistan University student protesters chanted "freedom, freedom, freedom."[xxxi]
Tehran City, Tehran Province
- Hundreds—possibly over a thousand—of Shahid Beheshti University students marched and chanted "woman, life, freedom” and "we don't want a child-killing regime." Some professors reportedly joined the protest.[xxxii]
- Over 100 mourners gathered to commemorate 40 days since security personnel killed Erfan Khazaei for participating in anti-regime protests. Mourners chanted “death to the dictator,” “One person is killed but another thousand remain,” and played “Baraaye,” a song summarizing protesters’ grievances with the regime.[xxxiii]
- Hundreds of Amir Kabir University of Technology students participated in anti-regime protests in a university building.[xxxiv]
- Roughly 50 high school students chanting anti-regime slogans in the Tehransar neighborhood.[xxxv]
- Undetermined number of Azad University of South Tehran University students chanted "Sharif has become a detention center and Evin has become a university" and “we will fight, we will die, we will take Iran back.”[xxxvi]
CTP assesses with low confidence that protests occurred in the following locations:
Marivan, Kurdistan Province
- Fewer than a dozen protesters set fires on a city street, possibly preventing security personnel from entering an area where protests will occur at a later time.[xxxvii]
Saghez, Kurdistan Province
- Fewer than a dozen protesters set fires on a city street, possibly preventing security personnel from entering an area where protests will occur at a later time.[xxxviii]
CTP assesses with moderate to high confidence that university students participated in anti-regime sit-ins in the following location:
- Tehran City, Tehran Province
Zanjan City, Zanjan Province
- Roughly 100 Zanjan University of Medical Sciences dental students gathered and participated in a sit-in on the university campus.[xli]
Parliamentarian Mehdi Bagheri stated that the Law Enforcement Command (LEC) is not currently operating the guidance (morality) patrol because of manpower shortages on October 31.[xlii] Bagheri stated that the LEC is prioritizing managing the protests and cannot simultaneously operate the guidance patrol. Bagheri’s remarks reflect a key vulnerability in the regime’s security forces: the regime does not have enough security personnel to manage large-scale, countrywide protests.[xliii] CTP has previously reported on security forces facing bandwidth constraints, exhaustion, and low morale due to the extent and scale of the protests.[xliv]
Medical professionals in Kurdistan Province condemned the regime crackdown on October 31, according to unverified social media reports. Healthcare workers and professors from the Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences and various hospitals published open letters criticizing regime violence against students.[xlv] The healthcare workers called on security forces to leave hospitals, where they have reportedly deployed to arrest and identify injured protesters.[xlvi] The professors stated that they will not hold classes until the regime ensures student safety.[xlvii] Physicians have begun treating injured protesters in private homes so that the protesters can avoid clinics and hospitals, as CTP previously reported.[xlviii] Growing anti-regime sentiment among Iran’s medical community could lead more physicians to support protesters.
Reformist-affiliated Ham Miham newspaper published an article calling on LEC officers to protect Iranian protesters from the LEC Special Units—the regime’s highly trained, anti-riot police. The article criticized the LEC Special Units' use of indiscriminate violence against Iranians participating in anti-regime demonstrations and urged Iranian legislators to hold them accountable.[xlix] Ham Mihan reported on Mahsa Amini’s death and has become increasingly critical of the regime’s protest suppression tactics in recent weeks.[l]
Moderate politician Abdol Nasser Hemmati tweeted criticizing President Ebrahim Raisi for his approach to the protests on October 30.[li] Hemmati stated that the Raisi administration’s failure to address social issues, improve people’s lives, and reform has caused the protests. Hemmati was the Central Bank of Iran governor in the Rouhani administration and ran against Raisi in the presidential election in June 2021.[lii] Hemmati’s criticism against Raisi reflects the more conciliatory tone that Iran’s moderates and reformists have adopted in addressing the protesters.
The Tehran Neighborhood Youth repeated its calls for protests on November 1 and 2.[liii]
Axis of Resistance and Regional Developments
There was nothing significant to report today.
[i] https://www.irna dot ir/news/84928712
[ii] https://www.etemadonline dot com/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-9/580366-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B6%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%DA%A9%DB%8C%D9%81%D8%B1%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D9%85%D8%AA%D9%87%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AC%D9%85%D9%87%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C
[iii] https://www.tasnimnews dot com/fa/news/1401/08/09/2796689
[iv] https://www.etemadonline dot com/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-9/579892-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B6%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AD%D9%85%D9%84%D9%87-%D8%AA%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%B3%D8%AA%DB%8C-%D8%B4%D8%A7%D9%87%DA%86%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%BA-%D8%AC%D9%85%D9%87%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C
[vi] www.tasnimnews dot com/fa/news/1401/08/09/2796894
[vii] www.tasnimnews dot com/fa/news/1401/08/09/2796600
[xxiii] https://twitter.com/1500tasvir_list/status/1580486862732668928?s=20&t=t0XBi9H-RjYQzdq5guBL-Q https://twitter.com/HengawO/status/1587075724950884352?s=20&t=t0XBi9H-RjYQzdq5guBL-Q
[xxiv] https://twitter.com/RadioFarda_/status/1587084854616891394?s=20&t=ImRrmcIzHU2dEqt4RDXegg ; https://twitter.com/jiyargol/status/1586787502936965129?s=20&t=ImRrmcIzHU2dEqt4RDXegg ; https://twitter.com/HengawO/status/1587048449282908161?s=20&t=vMJGq9W6VhdQG-aC_jRiJA
[xxxiii]https://twitter.com/1500tasvir/status/1587066683377721344?s=20&t=F_q5FpVzMYuWHvjcm5vawg ; https://twitter.com/Vahid/status/1587089259982458883?s=20&t=F_q5FpVzMYuWHvjcm5vawg; https://twitter.com/1500tasvir/status/1587087693514739712?s=20&t=F_q5FpVzMYuWHvjcm5vawg ; https://twitter.com/IranIntl/status/1587101331298320384?s=20&t=hVIJUX49y856TaydzX8kbA
[xlii] https://www.ghatreh dot com/news/nn65464060
[xlv] https://twitter.com/SasanAmjadi/status/1586978606168870914; https://twitter.com/SasanAmjadi/status/1587046556137668611
[xlix] https://hammihanonline dot ir/news/title-one/plys-ya-plys-nma