suppression or appeasement? The contagion of street anger is dividing the Iranian regime

A policy of repression or appeasement?… Contagion of street anger divides the Iranian regime Updated Sunday 1/8/2023 11:03 AM Abu Dhabi time Repression or initiatives for appeasement? A question that the Iranian regime was baffled to answer, during its dealings with the unprecedented protests, which are the greatest threat to it since 1989. While the streets of Iran are full of demonstrations that have not subsided since September 16, protesting the killing of the girl, Mahsa Amini, at the hands of what is known as The “moral police,” and the regime’s behavior fluctuates between more repression and less appeasement. However, this swing was an indication of a “division” within the regime in Iran over the way to respond to the “unprecedented” protests that have been going on for months, according to analysts. The approval of the retrial of a number of protesters who were sentenced to death, and the release of prominent opponents, are indications that some are seeking a softer approach. However, Iran’s execution of two men for killing a member of the Basij forces associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard during unrest related to the protests, came to remind in a hard line. In addition, Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, USA, said, “The conflicting messages we receive from the Iranian regime indicate an internal debate about the way to deal with the ongoing protests,” adding: “In most authoritarian regimes there are hawks and doves” that differ about The extent of repression during crises. Political Calculations While the Supreme Court confirmed some death sentences and executed them against four men so far, the judiciary announced a retrial of six of the 14 people sentenced to death. Developments that Iranian expert Mehrzad Boroujerdi, co-author of the book “Iran After the Revolution: A Political Evidence,” said, reflect “political calculations.” “They know that mass executions will lead to more people taking to the streets. On the other hand, they want to send a signal that they do not hesitate to execute demonstrators in order to scare people,” the Iranian expert explained. Analysts consider the release of Majid Tavakoli and Hussein Rounqi, two prominent dissidents who were arrested at the beginning of the protests, weeks after their arrest, as another attempt to calm the situation. Venting tension Boroujerdi said the regime uses “everything from decongestion to long prison terms and executions. They are experimenting with these methods as they struggle to articulate a clearer policy.” For his part, Anoush Ehteshami, director of the Institute of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Durham University in England, says that the retrials partly reflect the growing external and internal pressures. He continued, “But even within the regime, there is a division over the way to deal with the situation. The hardliners stand on one side, and on the other side are those who believe that executions motivate the protesters’ resistance,” noting that retrials and the release of opponents are “calming measures…to try to satisfy” the demonstrators. While these measures may seem insignificant to some, “a faltering security system… considers it a generous gesture on its part and in response to people’s pressure.” And while the regime arrested celebrities for much shorter periods, the famous actress Tranh Alidosti was released on bail on Wednesday after being detained for nearly three weeks because of her support for the protests, according to what her lawyer announced in a policy that analysts said the strategy of arrest and release is tantamount to intimidation, but also “testing the pulse to know What will be the reaction?” Preventing divisions Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Keele University in England, Afshin Shahi, says that the “indulgence” that the authorities sometimes show “is an attempt to prevent further divisions within the security establishment,” as repression has alienated some of its members, noting that the regime ” He doesn’t seem to have a clear strategy” in response to the public outcry. Although some people were released, prominent figures spent months in prison, including activist Arash Sadeghi and the two Iranian journalists who helped expose Amini’s case. In early December, the Public Prosecutor, Muhammad Jaafar Montazeri, announced the “dissolution” of the morality police, but this has not been confirmed by any other official body. Hashemi explains that this announcement reflects the internal debate and shows that “at least one part of the system” favors a less strict way of enforcing the dress code. CompromiseAccording to my modesty, some people in power “have now started talking about a compromise,” although it is too early to tell what that will be. But “in the broadest sense, I don’t think they have what the people want,” which is a comprehensive change whose details were not specified. However, the regime has historically demonstrated its ability to “make concessions when it has to,” Hashemi said. To stay”. Since last September 16, Iran has been witnessing protests following the death of the 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, three days after she was arrested by the morality police for not adhering to strict dress codes. The demonstrations turned into a movement against the compulsory hijab and the Iranian Republic, in the biggest challenge to the authorities since the 1979 revolution that toppled the Shah’s rule, which prompted them to respond with “violence”, which resulted in the killing of hundreds of people, the arrest of thousands and the death penalty for 14 of them, including a large number on charges of killing elements. security or attack them, depending on the judiciary.

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