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Demonstrators display images of Mahsa Amini, who died in policy custody in Tehran in Sept. 2022.


Viewpoint: Iran braces for anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death

This Saturday marks one year since Mahsa Amini’s death at the hands of Iran’s morality police sparked months of protests, and the authorities are taking steps to prevent another massive outbreak of unrest. They have preemptively arrested women’s rights activists, closed public spaces, and bolstered security forces in major cities. Yet public discontent continues to simmer in the Islamic Republic as ordinary people perceive a widening gulf between their hopes and concerns and the interests of the country’s clerical regime.

We asked Eurasia Group expert Gregory Brew if he thinks the authorities will be able to keep a lid on tensions in the coming days.

Do you expect Iranians to take to the streets this weekend?

Anniversaries are important in Iran, particularly those marking the passing of major political figures. The death of the 22-year-old Amini became hugely important for millions of Iranians, both in Iran and among the Iranian global diaspora, so there are bound to be demonstrations to mark the anniversary. They’re unlikely to be very large, however. The regime has been taking steps to deter new protests. Ordinary Iranians are reluctant to take to the streets since the crackdown last year, which saw security forces killing hundreds of protestors while wounding and arresting thousands more. Several high-profile trials and executions of arrested protestors hammered home the repressive message. The legacy of that crackdown will deter people from coming out in large numbers. But there’s sure to be some fireworks, both on 16 September and in subsequent days.

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Luisa Vieira

Iran’s leaders are asking for trouble

It’s impossible to predict when and where a wildfire will begin, but it’s easy to know when the ground is dry. In today’s Iran, the ground is ominously dry.

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A general view as North Korea fired two missiles from a submarine at an underwater target at an undisclosed location in North Korea March 12, 2023.

North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) via REUTERS

Hard Numbers: North Korea goes ballistic about “puppets”, Iran pardons protesters, Lula sacks soldiers, Freddy ravages Southern Africa

2: In response to new military drills by “the US imperialists and the South Korean puppet forces,” North Korea on Monday announced it had tested two new cruise missiles, which it says it plans to fit with nuclear warheads.

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The suspected Chinese spy balloon drifts to the ocean after being shot down off the coast in Surfside Beach, South Carolina.

REUTERS/Randall Hill

What We're Watching: US-China balloon fallout, Iranian "amnesty"

As US shoots down Chinese spy balloon, China cries foul

If we'd told you a week ago that the recent US-China thaw would be upended by X, you'd have probably guessed X had something to do with Taiwan, US semiconductor export controls, or perhaps China's covert profiteering from Russia's war in Ukraine. Nope. It was all over ... a balloon.

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Annie Gugliotta

Then and Now: Iran’s public trials, Somalia’s new cabinet, El Salvador’s state of emergency

Three Months ago: Islamic Republic announces (sham) public trials

Media attention may have subsided, but protesters in Iran remain unbowed four months after the in-custody death of Mahsa Amini – she was arrested by the Islamic Republic’s “morality police” three days before her death – set off something resembling a revolution. Three months ago, we wrote that the mullahs who rule the country with an iron fist had announced the public trial of around 1,000 Iranians for participating in anti-regime demonstrations. Since then, at least four men have been publicly hanged: Sayed Mohammad Hosseini, 39, Mohammad Mehdi Karami, 22, a karate champ, Majid Reza Rahnavard, 23, a store worker, and Mohsen Shekari, 23, a barista. They were each accused of killing a member of the Basij paramilitary, a ruthless volunteer force that operates under the draconian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp – though rights groups say their confessions were coerced under torture.

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In Davos, Iranian protesters demand IRGC to be declared "terrorist"
Iranians Seek Attention From the World Economic Forum | Davos 2023 | GZERO Media

In Davos, Iranian protesters demand IRGC to be declared "terrorist"

While I’ve read reports of protesters in the vicinity of the 2023 World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland I haven’t witnessed any activity near the Congress Center itself. That’s what made this demonstration stand out for me and why I wanted to speak to the participants.

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Commuters ride a subway train during the morning rush hour in Beijing.


What We’re Watching: China’s open door, sticky US border policy, Iran’s “mercy” deficit, Kosovo’s creeping crisis, Nepal’s “Terrible” new top dog

China’s COVID opening worries the neighbors

China’s National Health Commission announced on Monday that beginning January 8, travelers entering China will no longer be required to quarantine for eight days. Hong Kong followed the mainland by similarly relaxing testing requirements for international arrivals. It’s the latest signal that China has abandoned its zero-COVID lockdown-intensive policy, despite evidence the virus is now sweeping through a country where millions remain unvaccinated and even larger numbers have been jabbed only with less effective Chinese-made vaccines. An announcement last week that China will change the way it counts COVID deaths had led to anxiety elsewhere that Beijing has decided it can no longer contain new infections, that the economic cost of its zero-COVID approach is too high, and that it will now hide the true number of infections and deaths across the country to weather domestic and international criticism of its handling of the virus. This worry will feed the fear that much higher rates of transmission across this country of 1.4 billion people will help the virus mutate, spawning new variants that again infect people around the world. It’s no wonder then that Japan’s government has announced that, beginning Friday, it will tighten border controls for all travelers entering Japan from China, while the US is also mulling restrictions for Chinese arrivals.

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Women rising up against Iran's regime: journalist and activist Masih Alinejad
Women Rising Up Against Iran’s Regime: Journalist and Activist Masih Alinejad | GZERO World

Women rising up against Iran's regime: journalist and activist Masih Alinejad

Iran is facing the biggest uprising Iran since the so-called "Green Movement" in 2009.

The rallying cry began after a young woman, Mahsa Amini, died after being beaten by cops for not wearing her headscarf properly. Since then, more than 14,000 people have been arrested, at least 326 killed, and one executed.

On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer speaks to Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad, a sworn enemy of the Supreme Leader; it's widely believed that Iranian spies have tried to kidnap and assassinate her in New York.

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