June 16, 2023 | Flash Brief

Protests Across Iran Persist, Now Nine Months On

June 16, 2023 | Flash Brief

Protests Across Iran Persist, Now Nine Months On

Latest Developments 

Today marks the nine-month anniversary of nationwide protests in Iran, which began last September when Tehran’s morality police killed 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for allegedly wearing a hijab improperly. While media reporting about this latest round of protests has largely faded, the uprising continues. An FDD tracker estimates that at least 3,598 protests have taken place across Iran, including at least 38 this week alone. To date, Iranian security forces have killed some 628 protesters, including 75 minors, and arrested more than 21,000. 

The nine-month milestone comes as the United States continues negotiating with Iran to achieve an interim agreement that would provide Tehran with billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for limited and temporary constraints on the regime’s nuclear program.  

Expert Analysis 

“Nine months and counting, Iranians of all stripes and geographies continue to risk life and limb to protest the Islamic Republic, even as the regime continues its execution spree. The Biden administration promised to stand with the Iranian people last fall, but those words will ring hollow if an informal nuclear and hostage deal goes through. Such an agreement would empower the regime’s repressive apparatus and underwrite the next round of repression at home.” — Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow 

“As nine months of protests demonstrate, the brave Iranian people know who their real enemy is: the Islamist regime. These protestors seek regime change and freedom, not a nuclear agreement that would only supercharge Iran’s malign activity abroad. Yet the Biden administration continues its quixotic campaign for a nuclear deal with Tehran at the expense of the oppressed Iranian people.” — Tzvi Kahn, FDD Research Fellow and Senior Editor 

Challenging the Regime’s Oppression and Mismanagement 

The protests began in September as a feminist rebellion against the theocracy, quickly expanding to challenge the regime’s human rights abuses, economic and environmental mismanagement, and support of terrorist groups throughout the Middle East. The uprising’s persistence despite a bloody crackdown by the regime suggests that Tehran faces a long-term threat to its survival that it cannot deflect solely with force. 

Iran’s Increasing Rate of Executions 

In an apparent effort to deter dissent, the regime in Iran has increased its rate of executions. According to the Oslo-based nonprofit Iran Human Rights, the regime has executed 337 people in 2023 to date, including at least 142 in May alone — the highest monthly number since 2015. By contrast, the regime executed 582 people in all of 2022, up from 331 in 2021, Iran Human Rights said. 

Related Analysis 

Protests in Iran Persist Eight Months After Death of Mahsa Amini,” FDD Flash Brief 

Iranians Renew Protests as Regime Brutality Persists,” FDD Flash Brief 

Mapping Protests in Iran,” by Mark Dubowitz 


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Human Rights