April 30, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iranian IRGC Agents Murdered Teen Protestor Whose Death Was Ascribed to ‘Suicide,’ Leaked Document Reveals

April 30, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iranian IRGC Agents Murdered Teen Protestor Whose Death Was Ascribed to ‘Suicide,’ Leaked Document Reveals

Latest Developments

A leaked document from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) revealed that a young female protestor whom the Tehran regime claimed had taken her own life in 2022 was in fact brutally murdered by IRGC agents after being sexually assaulted, the BBC reported on April 29.

Nika Shakarami, 16, disappeared following a September 20, 2022, “Women, Life, Freedom” protest in Tehran that was sparked by the murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini by the regime’s “morality police” earlier in the same month. The Iranian authorities claimed that Nika had committed suicide when her body was discovered nine days later.

However, research by the BBC established that Nika was arrested by a team of IRGC agents after she publicly burned hijabs in central Tehran’s Laleh Park amid a crowd of demonstrators who chanted “death to the dictator” — a reference to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. According to the leaked IRGC report obtained by the BBC, allegedly written by the head of the undercover unit that arrested her, Nika had been suspected of leading the protests, “due to her unconventional behavior and repeated calls with her mobile phone.”

The leaked report stated that Nika was transported in the back of an unmarked vehicle accompanied by three IRGC agents, named as Arash Kalhor, Sadegh Monjazy, and Behrooz Sadeghy, while their team leader, Morteza Jalil, traveled in the front alongside the driver. After two detention centers holding protestors turned Nika away on the grounds that they were overcrowded, Jalil received instructions from IRGC headquarters to deliver her to Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison. While en route, Nika reportedly began shouting, leading Kalhor to gag her with his socks. She was then forced face down on a freezer in the back of the vehicle as Monjazy sat on top of her and pushed his hand down the back of her pants. Although her hands were tied behind her back, Monjazy claimed that Nika began struggling, knocking him over. Hearing the struggle, Jalil ordered the driver to pull over, where he discovered Nika’s lifeless body upon opening the rear door, noting that her bloodied head and face “were not in a good condition.” Jalil then called an IRGC officer codenamed “Naeem 16” — named by the BBC as Capt. Mohammad Zamani — who ordered him to “dump her on the street” to avoid increasing the number of protestors who died while in official custody.

Expert Analysis

“Dozens of Iranians have accused the Islamist regime in Tehran of weaponizing sexual violence to crush the “Women Life Freedom” demonstrations. It is not just the intelligence and security forces that must answer for the rape and torturing of Iranian women, but also the failed justice system, the state-run press, and the feckless leadership that continue to brutally oppress the brave women of Iran.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“Nika’s bravery in the face of the IRGC’s brutality exemplifies the resilience of Iranian women combating this gender-apartheid regime. To meaningfully signal its commitment to protecting women’s rights and preventing further atrocities, the European Union must now designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity.” — Janatan Sayeh, FDD Research Analyst

Iranian Leaders Back Pro-Hamas Protests at U.S. Universities

The BBC’s revelations came as Iranian leaders loudly welcomed the current wave of pro-Hamas protests currently roiling several U.S. university campuses. During a cabinet meeting on April 28, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi praised “the uprising of Western students, professors and elites in support of the oppressed people of Gaza,” calling the protests “a big event with vast dimensions that cannot be extinguished by beatings, arrests and acts of violence.” The next day, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani hailed the “depth of public hatred toward the crimes of the usurping Zionist regime and the genocide supported by America and some European governments.”

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