On Saturday, the Islamic Republic commemorated the 44th anniversary of the Iranian revolution with state-sponsored protests, during which anti-government hackers momentarily disrupted a broadcast address by President Ebrahim Raisi.
Raisi, whose conservative administration facing one of the most audacious threats from youthful demonstrators demanding for its overthrow, pleaded with the “deceived youth” to repent so that Iran’s supreme leader would forgive them.
In that scenario, he assured a large throng gathered in Tehran’s Azadi Square, “the Iranian people would welcome them with open arms.”
His live broadcast address was interrupted on the internet for about one minute by the logo of a gang of anti-Iranian government hackers known as “Edalate Ali” (Justice of Ali). Death to the Islamic Republic was yelled.
Following the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the hands of the country’s morality police, widespread demonstrations rocked Iran.
Among the most significant threats to the Iranian leadership since the 1979 revolution ended 2,500 years of monarchy, security forces have retaliated with a violent crackdown on the protestors.
As part of an amnesty commemorating the anniversary of the revolution, Iranian authorities on Friday freed hunger-striking dissident Farhad Meysami and Iranian-French professor Fariba Adelkhah.
On Sunday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared an amnesty for a huge number of convicts, some of whom were jailed during recent anti-government demonstrations.
HRANA, a rights organisation, said that scores of political prisoners and protestors, including a number of notable personalities, had been released under the amnesty, but that the actual terms of their release remained unknown.
On social media, campaigners for human rights have voiced worry that many prisoners may have been coerced into signing promises not to repeat their “offences” before being freed. Friday, the courts refused this.
HRANA said that as of Friday, 528 protestors, including 71 kids, have been slain. It was reported that 70 government security personnel had also perished. It is reported that as many as 19,763 demonstrators have been detained.
In an apparent reaction to the demonstrations, Iranian officials and state media had pleaded for weeks for a large attendance for Saturday’s rallies as a display of unity and popularity.
On the eve of the anniversary, official television broadcast fireworks and people yelling “Allahu Akbar!” (God is the Greatest) as part of government-sponsored festivities. On social media footage, though, several could be heard shouting “Death to the tyrant!” and “Death to the Islamic Republic.”
Reuters was unable to independently verify the social media postings.
Saturday, government television broadcast live images of state rallies around the nation.
As part of the festivities in Tehran, anti-ballistic missiles, a drone, an anti-submarine ship, and other military hardware were on show.
“People have realised that the enemy’s issue is not women, life, or freedom,” Raisi said in a live broadcast address in Azadi Square in Tehran, referring to the demonstrators’ famous phrase.
“Rather, they want to take away our autonomy,” he said.
“Death to America” is a signature slogan at state rallies that regularly interrupted his address. Additionally, the audience yelled “Death to Israel.”
Adelkhah was one of seven French citizens jailed in Iran, a factor that has strained ties between Paris and Tehran over the last several months.
She was sentenced to five years in jail in 2020 on allegations of national security. Later, she was sent to house arrest, but she returned to prison in January. Adelkhah denies the accusations.
Meysami’s release occurred a week after his supporters worried that his hunger strike put him at danger of death. In 2018, he was detained for opposing the mandatory wearing of the hijab.
Friday, the French foreign ministry announced Adelkhah’s release and demanded that her freedoms be restored, including her ability to return to France if she so desires.
Legally, her dossier is deemed complete, and she should be able to leave the country without difficulty, but this matter must be evaluated. So… it is unclear how long it will take,” her attorney Hojjat Kermani said.