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Protests in Iran Smaller but Fiercer
As Theocrats Execute Prisoners, Torture Children, Punish Hijab-less Women

Execution for alleged “membership in a banned group”

In a new outrage, and a vile threat to all political prisoners, Muhyaddin (or Mohyeddin) Ebrahimi was secretly executed on March 17. "Muhyaddin Ebrahimi, a Kurdish political prisoner, was secretly executed in Urmia prison," Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, March 17, 2023.

Muhyaddin (or Mohyeddin) Ebrahimi


Muhyaddin (or Mohyeddin) Ebrahimi    Credit:

He was a Kurdish political prisoner sentenced to death in 2018. He was charged with membership in the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan which he denied. His death sentence was overturned and then reinstated in 2020. His father and brother were also murdered previously by the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). Along with Ebrahimi, five other prisoners, allegedly on “drug-related” charges (e.g. having alcohol) were also executed that day in Urmia prison near the Turkish border, an area populated mainly by Kurds and Azerbajani minority nationalities. Using the death penalty for “drug crimes” violates international law. According to human rights groups, Iran has executed 144 people this year,1 that is nearly two per day, with an overall increase in executions for all kinds of alleged “crimes” since the uprising began in mid September 2022.

Cruel and Inhumane Protest Crackdown: On Children

Amnesty International (AI) issued a gruesome report on March 16, “Iran: Child detainees subjected to flogging, electric shocks and sexual violence in brutal protest crackdown.”2 AI documents Iran’s police and paramilitary forces using depraved violence against boys and girls during and after arrests at protests, as revealed in interviews with some unnamed victims and their parents:

“My son told me: ‘They hung [me] to the point I felt like my arms were about to rip off. I was forced to say what they wanted because they raped me with a hosepipe’…. They give us electric shocks, hit me in my face with the back of a gun, gave electric shocks to my back and beat me on my feet, back and hands with batons. They threatened that if we told anyone, they would… do even worse and deliver our corpses to our families.”

Fanatical Theocrats vs. Hijab-Rebels on Collision Course

As more and more women, especially in cities like Tehran, refuse to veil, or even burn their hijabs in bonfires, the IRI keeps doubling down to force women to veil. On March 14, Iran’s judiciary reiterated ever more draconian measures to mobilize the whole society to exert maximum force on women to veil as anti-hijab protests continue. Women who are hijab-less have been publicly beaten by Iran’s police forces, threatened with state-wide surveillance with facial recognition even in their cars, deprived of social services, jobs, bank accounts, use of internet and mobile phones. Businesses that had allowed bare-headed women were shuttered, their owners publicly beaten by Iran’s police forces, threatened with state-wide surveillance with facial recognition even in their cars, deprived of social services, jobs, bank accounts, use of internet and mobile phones. Owners and operators of stores, tourist sites, malls are all being threatened—unless they act as enforcers, turning ordinary Iranians into possible hijabless woman vigilante. One fascist mullah official even proclaimed that women must wear the headscarf/veil, “otherwise women will come to the street naked this summer.”3

Response to Regime: Breathtakingly Fierce Resistance

In the face of the vicious repression described above, there is stunning bravery by the people even if the resistance is quantitatively less (for now). One such example that indicates the fierce determination we saw in the “women, life, freedom” protest movement is that of political prisoner Sepideh Gholian in the March 17 press release by the IEC. The same spirit was captured in a homemade protest sign on social media, “Revolution will not fall from a tree like an apple. We have to force it to fall.” More broadly, it is expressed in Iranian New Year protests last week (see box).

“Revolution is not like an apple that falls from the tree when it is ripe, we have to force it to fall.”


Protest sign in Zahedan, Iran, March 17, 2023 “Revolution will not fall from a tree like an apple. We have to force it to fall.” (Twitter: @IHRights)   

Reject False Hopes of Painless Progress

There are negative trends that will end up in a catastrophic end for the courageous struggle of the Iranian people. Some family members and supporters of the political prisoners are promoting reliance on (western) imperialist institutions and governments. There have been appeals to the U.S. imperialists (Jill and Joe Biden), European imperialists (Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron of France) etc. Calling for these imperialists to do more is either acting out of sheer ignorance or ignore-ance of history and reality of these oppressive systems. It is acting AGAINST the interest of the oppressed and exploited peoples of the world, and inside these countries that need revolutions, by promoting illusions of class-neutral forces and being stupefied by the mere incantation of “democracy.” What is needed in the interest of the people is the revolutionary science of BAsics 1:22

In a world marked by profound class divisions and social inequality, to talk about “democracy”— without talking about the class nature of that democracy and which class it serves— is meaningless, and worse. So long as society is divided into classes, there can be no “democracy for all”: one class or another will rule, and it will uphold and promote that kind of democracy which serves its interests and goals. The question is: which class will rule and whether its rule, and its system of democracy, will serve the continuation, or the eventual abolition, of class divisions and the corresponding relations of exploitation, oppression and inequality.

Instead, what is needed is to link up with the movement for revolution led by the Communist Party of Iran, MLM to fight for a liberating future free of oppression and exploitation at this momentous time in world history. 

Protesters in Iran Take Advantage of "Red Wednesday” Fire Festival

The week before Nowruz,* the Persian New Year, saw significant, if mostly small, protests in Iran, cleverly piggy-backing on the traditional fire dance festival on the last Wednesday of the year. Chaharshanbe Suri, or “Red Wednesday,” is an ancient, pre-Islamic Zoroastrian ritual, and is an opportunity for people to get together to protest, so it is actively discouraged by the Islamic Republic theocrats and their media. People light fires and jump over them, symbolizing burning away the old and negative and preparing for the new, while chanting, “Take away my sickly pallor and give me your red glow!”

So far this year there has been a relative lull in protests after the intense uprising for three months after the murder of Jina Mahsa Amini by morality police in September 2022. The Chaharshanbe Suri festival, coinciding with the surge of gas poisoning of mostly girl students,** provided an opportunity for people to come out on the streets.

Social media posts showed protests in Tehran, Rasht, Karaj, Gorgan, Arak, and several cities in the Kurdistan region.

In Rasht, in northern Iran, large crowds filled the municipal plaza chanting, “This is the year of the bloody (uprising), Sayyed Ali (Khamenei) will be toppled”.

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In Tehran, some women burned their hijabs in the street bonfire to cheers.

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In the Kurdish city of Sanandaj, youth blocked streets with fires.

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* Nowruz, an ancient Zoroastrian festival, which predates the arrival of Islam, falls on the spring equinox to the minute. It is a 13-day celebration which in 2023 begins on March 21. [back]

** Iran: Wave of Chemical Attacks Sickens, Hospitalizes Thousands of Iranian Schoolgirls Regime Did Nothing for Months… Now Arrests Those Exposing and Protesting This Crime,, March 13, 2023. [back]



1. "Iran executes Kurdish ‘political prisoner’: Rights groups," Alarabya News, March 17, 2023. [back]

2. “Iran: Child detainees subjected to flogging, electric shocks and sexual violence in brutal protest crackdown,” Amnesty International, March 16, 2023. [back]

3. "Iran Renews Oppressive Measures As Hijab Crackdown Continues," Iran International, March 16, 2023. [back]

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