The Iranian IRGC media has issued warnings that the recent popular protests would likely be suppressed more harshly after President Ebrahim Raisi returns from the UN General Assembly in New York.
Since the suspicious death of Mahsa Amini, 22, on September 16 while in police custody, most Iranian cities have seen waves of protests against police brutality, the moral police’s imposition of the hijab requirement (which was the direct cause of Amini’s arrest), Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the regime as a whole.
On September 20, the Iranian IRGC stated on Telegram that foreigners were behind the planning of the Iranian hijab demonstrations. The security forces allegedly detained numerous “leaders of the demonstrations,” who were “armed” by foreign countries, and they allegedly “admitted they meant to kill protestors” before blaming the security forces, according to Mashregh News, which is affiliated with the Iranian IRGC.
In an editorial on September 21 that was authored by political analyst Saad-Allah Zarei and published by the hard-line Kayhan daily, reformist leaders were accused of “joining demonstrators” and working with foreign foes to incite “ethnic disturbance” among Iran’s Kurds.
The IRGC’s spokesperson While Tasnim News blamed the banned Mujahedeen-e Khalq group for being the originator of the hijab protests and arson assaults against mosques, Javan News similarly rejected the hijab protests as a foreign plan.
While Khamenei himself steered clear of the topic in his first public appearance following the incident, state-censored media in Iran has responded in a variety of ways, from reformist newspapers criticizing the government’s enforcement of the hijab to unprecedented criticism of the “totalitarian regime” on Iranian television to not so subtly threatening the protesters.