A senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) provided a detailed account to a people’s tribunal of the brutality Iranian protesters were subjected to during the widespread anti-government protests in November 2019. The guards and paramilitary forces cracked down on around a thousand protesters.
The commander, who has since left the IRGC, was introduced as “Witness Number 600” and testified via video before the Iran Atrocities Tribunal, a people’s tribunal set up in London to investigate the horrors of the crackdown on the November 2019 protests.
The commander revealed that while people were not informed of the hikes in petrol prices, the IRGC were given a one week notice prior to the civil unrest to prepare for a tough response. He added that he was involved in the arrests and interrogations, as well as the killings, actions which he now repents. The former commander claimed that the IRGC even unleashed Lebanese and Syrian forces, which were being trained in Iran at the time, against the protesters.
“It was the second or the third day [of the protests] that the situation became very critical and an order came to fire at will. The November 2019 was the only case that the military people did not provide an account of the shootings or the number of ammunition they discharged,” the former commander told the Tribunal while his face covered. “It was the second or the third day that the situation was red and they said the National Radio and Television could fall and we were ordered to do whatever needed … the order, I believe came from the commander of the
armed forces, I mean the leader [Ali Khamenei].”
The witness said that two special units within the IRGC, the Sabreen and Imam Ali units, were responsible for most of the repression against the protesters. The Imam Ali Central Security Headquarters of the IRGC was established after the 2009 protest with the sole purpose of cracking down on public protest.
The commander said that hundreds of girls and boys were forced to undress and were then beaten up on Takhti Street in Tehran. Many of the families of the victims kept their dead at home, waiting for a month before they could bury their loved ones due to fear of retaliation.