Widespread demonstrations may have diminished in Iran, but the civilian fight against Islamic leaders continues.
Iran charged 16 people with espionage on Monday, including several teenagers, because they participated in widespread protests in November. A 15-year-old girl and eight women are among those waiting to learn their fate. Meanwhile, two older teens received death sentences from a court in northern Iran.
Young people began organizing demonstrations in mid-October. They found workarounds to Iran’s internet blocks and used popular social media platforms to mobilize “neighborhood-centered” protests. Iranian authorities told Al-Monitor last fall that the average age of an arrested protestor was 15 years old.Although Tehran demonstrations have quieted since November, Heart4Iran’s Nazanin Baghestani says public rage simmers just below the surface.
“The more they (the government) kill, the more people protest. Many of those youth are so angry at the government. They don’t want to sit at home and do nothing,” Baghestani says.
“They’re screaming [from their windows at night]; people are so [en]raged and so upset.”
New data from Iran’s National Organization for Civil Registration suggests security forces killed more protestors than human rights groups previously estimated. The number of registered deaths in Iran between October 23 to November 21 rose by 5,000 compared to the previous month’s toll.
The European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States rolled out new sanctions this week, hoping to increase political pressure on Iran. However, “I don’t think the government will quiet down. They’re going to raid more houses; they’re going to hang more people,” Baghestani says.
“The regime has to collapse, and it’s going to happen sooner or later – six months [or a] year. We pray it doesn’t [take] that long because the killing will increase.”
We cannot change Iran’s leaders. But we know the One who holds our world in His hands. “Ask God to intervene and bring an end to this chaos,” Baghestani requests.
“It’s heartbreaking to see all these young girls and boys getting killed.”