Iran has intensified the suppression of civil liberties as the US’s “maximum pressure” campaign batters the regime from all sides.
Faced with a stalemate against the increasing regional tensions, comprehensive sanctions and a population on the verge of explosion, Iran is playing the card of suppression, desperately trying to maintain the tattered regime.
Police arrest and harass Iranians for eating in Ramadan
The Social Deputy of the Kermanshah Police announced that 731 people were forced to write pledges not to eat in public in the month of Ramadan. He also said that 412 people were arrested for the same reason from which 170 were prosecuted while 49 cars were confiscated.
The Chief of Police of the town of Kuhdasht in the western province of Lorestan also announced that five food stores and a café were shut down while three food trucks were confiscated for selling food during the Ramadan fast.
The head of Isfahan’s Public Security Police said that 305 food stores were shut down from the beginning of the month of Ramadan for selling food during the day.
Partygoers arrested in several cities
The Iranian police regularly attacks private parties and arrest party-goers in a suppression of civil liberties. The latest was an attack on a party in the southwestern province of Khuzestan where 34 young men and women were arrested. The organizers of an all-female party in Tehran were also recently arrested.
Some of those arrested have even been sentenced to lashes in the past.
On March 3, state-run media announced that “Morality Police” attacked a party in Ahvaz and arrested 30 people.
On March 2, another official in Fars Province said that 14 young men and women were detained in the town of Sepidan in a party where up to 13 liters of alcohol were found.
Women banned from playing in concert
The female musicians of a traditional musical group were banned from playing in one of the largest annual charity programs in the northwestern province of Qazvin held in the Azad Qazvin University. Reports indicate that the ban was ordered by the president of the university, Moussa Khani. The women were not even allowed to sit among the audience and watch the May 22 concert event. According to the state-run ILNA news agency, many of the other musicians left the auditorium in protest.
Speaking with ILNA, Ahmad Shokri, the organizer of the charity event said that the music group was “the most respected traditional music group in Qazvin province” that had agreed to perform for the charity event for free.
Cracking down on arts under the pretext of religious regulations is prevalent in Iran. Women are not allowed to perform as vocalists in front of male audiences. The monopolized state-run TV never shows musical instruments.
In February, a pop group was banned by Iran’s religious police after a female guitarist sang a 12 second solo at their concert in Tehran.
In another development on May 17, a female singer by the name of Negar Moazzam was summoned by Isfahan Prosecutor’s Office for publicly singing during a sightseeing tour to the historical village of Abyaneh.
Iran blocks street musicians’ Instagram pages
Iran’s Judiciary has closed the Instagram pages of a number of street singers and musicians.
Messages placed on these pages say that they have been blocked “on orders of a judicial official”.
It says that the pages had “criminal content” and that “those involved” were under prosecution.
Iran has blocked the Instagram pages of artists, photographers, dancers and those active in modeling agencies in the past few years and has summoned a number of them to court.
Yoga students arrested for “unsuitable attire”
Around 30 men and women were arrested for “unsuitable attire” during a yoga class in the northern town of Gorgan.
The Revolutionary Guards affiliated Tasnim news agency quoted a Public and Revolutionary Court official as saying that these people “who were gathered in a home under the guise of a yoga class with unsuitable clothes” were arrested.
The official called yoga movements “abnormal behavior”.