November 20, 2022

Has the Iranian Government Lost Control Over the Protests?

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by Farhad Rezaei, Senior Research Fellow

With people’s anger towards the regime reaching a boiling point and the security forces either reluctant or unable to suppress the protests, the regime decided to resort to proxy forces.

Reports indicate that Irian is deploying its proxy forces to assist its coercive apparatus in cracking down on protesters. Some observers described this as a psychological warfare tactic to deter Iranians from joining the anti-regime protests. These reports, however, appear accurate and demonstrate the regime’s failure to control the ongoing revolution with local forces.

The ongoing social unrest in Iran started on September 16, after the death of Mahsa Amini, a twenty-two-year-old Kurdish woman murdered by the Islamic Republic’s “morality police.” The protests quickly spread throughout the country and the regime’s security forces could not contain them despite using brutal force.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its Basij militia, police forces, and even plainclothes security personnel from the civil offices used extreme violence to suppress the unrest. Videos posted on social media show government forces using live ammunition against protesters. Media reports indicate that 389 protesters have been killed, including fifty-five children…