On December 8, Iran’s ruling theocracy hanged Mohsen Shekari, an arrested protester, after months of torture. Four days later, Majidreza Rahnavard was executed at dawn on Monday. Could these executions help the regime control the restive society?
Majidreza was executed on Monday morning, surrounded by a group of Basij militants, in the darkest hours and hidden from the public. Following weeks-long calls for “resolve” and “capital punishment” of “norm breakers” by MPs and some senior officials, the regime’s Judiciary made sure the cruel undertaking made rounds on state media.
The regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, vowed on several occasions that defiant youth, whom he described as “rioters,” would be harshly treated. By executing Mohsen, Khamenei opted to send this message to society that demanding freedom comes at a heavy price. But the Iranian people’s reaction to Mohsen and Majid’s execution had Khamenei fall at the first hurdle.
Hours after his martyrdom, Iranians gathered at Majid’s grave and vowed to continue their struggle for freedom.
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) December 13, 2022
From south to eastern Iran and north to west, defiant youths torched the Basij paramilitary bases, seminaries, and regime symbols. In Sattarkhan Street in Tehran, where Mohsen was arrested, people blocked the road and clashed with security forces.
These protests and operations against the regime continued in the past three days, despite the authorities showing teeth, threatening protesters, and defiant youth. On Friday, protesters in Sistan and Baluchestan province took to the streets and vowed to continue Mohsen’s path for democracy and freedom by chanting, “We swear on the blood of those killed, we will [resist] to the end!” These protests debunked the regime’s efforts to divide and conquer the nationwide uprising by branding ethnic minorities as separationists.
Furthermore, the state murder of Mohsen and Majid triggered worldwide condemnation. Iranians across the globe, mainly the supporters of the Iranian opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), held protest rallies from early in the morning until the coldest hours of the night, also vowing to “resist to the end.”
These executions and society’s reaction have caused a lot of stir in the regime, increasing its infightings. Many mullahs and former officials criticized this execution, questioning the charges of “Moharebeh,” which Mohsen was accused of. Since he hadn’t killed security forces and only blocked the road, he shouldn’t have been executed, some argue. Others asserted that even if a security guard was killed, the state shouldn’t use Moharebeh charges and rather it should have sought “the path of amnesty” instead.
“Even if a protester takes up arms and kills the sacred Imam, he is not a Mohareb, and the state shouldn’t sentence him to death. Despite his crime, we should show mercy and amnesty,” Soroush Mahalati, a state-affiliated cleric, told the Sarpoosh website on December 9.
Other officials warned their peers that these executions wouldn’t break the ongoing and relentless wave of dissent across Iran.
“If you care to hold power, note that you can’t fortify your ruling by hangings. If you care to safeguard the system, ask yourself: why are people protesting against us? What have we done that youths are not quitting the streets after three months?” Fazel Meibodi, another seminary teacher, said on December 11, according to the state-run Sarpoosh.
“We cannot freely execute individuals anymore,” the state-run Farhikhtegan daily, affiliated with former Foreign Minister and Supreme Leader Khamenei’s senior advisor, Ali Akbar Velayati.
It should be noted that these executions do not show the regime’s strength. In November 2019, Khamenei ordered the slaughter of unarmed protesters. As a result, over 1500 protesters were gunned down in three days, and Tehran arrived to quell the society temporarily.
But, following the November 2019 uprising, and after decades of oppression and mismanaging the country’s resources, Khamenei knew that Iran’s volatile society was on the verge of explosion, and inflicting more violence could immediately backfire.
So, when the nationwide uprising began on September 22, the clerical regime started its so-called “smart” oppression. In its statement on October 25, the Iranian Resistance revealed a classified report of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in this regard.
“Targeted arrest of the enemy’s effective elements: Individuals who have been staying on the field during the past 25 days represent act as the engine for the rioters. Therefore, arrest and neutralize them,” the IRGC’s commander, Hossein Salami’s directive to all IRGC commanders, reads, as revealed by the Iranian Resistance.
The recent executions are Khamenei’s desperate efforts to postpone his regime’s downfall somehow, as protests have morphed into a democratic revolution. But society’s reaction has disrupted his plan.
Though the recent executions have been widely condemned by the world community, this vocal support wouldn’t stop Khamenei’s killing spree. He wouldn’t stop his killing machine with nice words, well-versed resolutions, or verbal condemnations. Dictators like him only understand the language of force.
The time has come for the Western democracies to practically support the Iranian people’s revolution by cutting all ties with Tehran, closing its embassies, expelling its agents, and recognizing the Iranian people’s right to self-defense. These steps certainly render Khamenei’s oppressive apparatus weaker.
Source » ncr-iran