Iran has been experiencing nights of civil unrest across many of its cities. Authorities have imposed martial law in Karaj (20 kilometers west of the capital), the site of some of the most intense demonstrations in recent days. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is enforcing a strict curfew in the city. Plainclothes Basijis patrol the streets and prevent residents from congregating or even standing outside their homes. Riot police has attacked protesters on a few occasions in the Gohardasht neighborhood of Karaj.
The semi-official Fars news agency reported that one person was shot dead during the protests in Karaj. It added that an unknown person carried out the drive-by shooting from inside a Peugeot 206, using unregistered weapons. Fars said women led the street protests and “police arrested 20 people.”
There were also protests in Towhid square, in the holy city of Qom (125 kilometers southwest of Tehran). Video clips show protesters chanting “death to Hezbollah” and “Seyyed Ali, do the honorable thing and let go of the country,” a reference to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The unrest in the religious capital of Iran is a sign of the leaders’ waning power.
There have also been reports of clashes between security forces and protesters in and around Mosala Square in Abhar, the northwestern province of Zanjan. Riot police used tear gas to disperse the crowd which prompted the protesters to fight back by throwing stones at the officers.
According to eyewitnesses, many residents of Shiraz, the southern province of Fars, staged massive protests on August 4. People have posted video clips of protesters in Dariush Street on social media.
Despite tight security, people in Tehran held massive protests at the Valiye Asr intersection and near College Bridge. Demonstrators gathered in small groups at side streets before joining together and marching on main roads.
Authorities have also restricted the Telegram channel in the past 48 hours. The Internet is very slow, making it next to impossible to upload audio files. There is significant interference with satellite signals.
Speaking to the Mehr news agency, Mohammad Ismail Kowsari, the deputy commander of the IRGC’s Sarollah Base, said: “America and the Zionists have pinned their hopes on the Monafeghin [People’s Mojahedin of Iran, MKO], hoping for a miracle. However, if the Iranian people supported the MKO, as the U.S. has claimed, why then do the protesters shout ‘God bless your soul, Reza Shah’ or ‘Iranian monarch, please return’? Video clips taken on August 3 show people chanting ‘Shah return, Shah return.’
During a recent speech, Gholamhossein Gheybparvar, the commander of the Basij Forces, said: “In the past 40 years, the Revolution has not been safe from the enemy’s onslaught not even for a day. There are no precedents for this in the world.” Mr. Gheybparvar has said that only a system of Jihadi management can solve the country’s problems.
Hossein Ashtari, the commander of the Law Enforcement Force (NAJA), has made a series of contradictory statements. He has, on the one hand, maintained that “there is currently no security concern in Iran.” On the other hand, he has warned that “our enemies are trying to destabilize the country.”
Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi