June 6, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iranian Protester Partly Paralyzed After London Attack

June 6, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iranian Protester Partly Paralyzed After London Attack

Latest Developments

An Iranian dissident may have permanently lost the ability to walk after Tehran loyalists assaulted him in London, The Jewish Chronicle reported on June 5. Navid Bavi, 32, to whom Britain had granted asylum, was protesting outside a memorial ceremony for the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in the north London suburb of Wembley on May 24 when a group of regime supporters approached and threw him to the ground, rendering him unconscious.

“I don’t know how many times they kicked me in the back, but now I can’t stand or walk,” Bavi said. “I have no sensation in my left leg. It is totally numb. I have had MRI scans, but I don’t know if I will ever walk again. But I will not give up the fight against the regime. We grew up in Iran. We witnessed the atrocities committed by the Basij [paramilitary militia] and the Revolutionary Guards. We want peace and tranquility for the Middle East, not terrorism, and that’s why we support Israel.”

Expert Analysis

“The Islamic Republic has a long and bloody history of targeting its critics abroad. For the past four decades, Western governments have turned a blind eye to the true nature of the regime: a radical Islamist terrorist state. This ignorance has come at a high cost, with dual nationals and Iranian dissidents bearing the brunt of it.” — Saeed Ghasseminejad, FDD Senior Iran and Financial Economics Advisor

“Iran targets dissidents not only at home but around the world. The United Kingdom is no exception. Expect more attacks on British soil so long as the Islamic Republic fears no meaningful consequences for its aggression.” — Tzvi Kahn, Research Fellow and Senior Editor

Protestor Sexually Assaulted by Regime Supporters

The assailants wounded three other people in addition to Bavi. Bahar Mahroo, 24, recalled that she “cried out, telling them to stop. But then they sexually assaulted me, trying to grab my breasts.” Ellie Borhan, 43, told The Telegraph that the protesters “were standing peacefully, and then the men came. They surrounded us. They threatened us. They slapped and punched my face, my body, my legs. One of the men said: ‘We are going to kill you.’” Police arrested only one man on suspicion of violent disorder. Approximately 600 people attended the memorial ceremony for Raisi, which took place at the Dewan Al-Kafeel Community Center.

Iranian Provocations in the UK

The Islamic Republic has a track record of targeting its opponents in Britain. In November 2022, counter-intelligence officers from London’s Metropolitan Police foiled an Iranian plot to assassinate two Iran International anchors. In response, the British foreign secretary summoned Iran’s chargé d’affaires and sanctioned eight senior Iranian officials as “part of wider efforts to hold the regime to account over its behavior globally.” Last year, Iranian journalists working for the BBC’s Persian language service reported receiving death threats from Iranian officials. In February 2023, British counter-terrorism officials said that police and security forces thwarted 15 Iranian plots to kidnap or kill British or UK-based individuals whom Tehran regards as enemies.

Maryland Court Issues Restraining Order Against U.S.-Based Iranian Diplomat,” FDD Flash Brief

Biden’s State Department ignores Iranian death plots inside America,” by Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow

DOJ Reveals New Iran-backed Assassination Attempt on Iranian American Journalist,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Human Rights