ran’s notorious Evin prison was engulfed in fires on Saturday, a few hours after prisoners defiantly chanted “death to the dictator” as anti-regime protests across Iran entered their second month.
Locals heard gunshots and explosions. Video from Iran showed several anti-riot unit convoys being deployed to oppress prisoners. Infamous as one of Iran’s most horrific prisons, Evin is also known as a bastion of resistance against the ruling theocracy and the Shah’s regime. This prison’s walls, located in northern Tehran, bear the memories of thousands of heroes who sacrificed their lives for a free Iran.
According to reports obtained by the leading Iranian opposition group, Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), from inside the prison, political prisoners in the seventh and eighth wards chanted “death to the dictator” while rallying in the prison’s yard. Shortly after, prison guards attempted to quash their protest while firing tear gas. Prisoners clashed with the security forces. Unable to oppress the detained but determined inmates, the clerical regime deployed more units to the prison, the IRGC special unit (NOPO), which brutally cracked down on unarmed prisoners until 1:30 AM local time. According to reports, roughly 60 prisoners were killed. Initially, state media reported four deaths and revised the count to eight after 48 hours.
A ravaging fire engulfed the Evin prison, and the regime refused to extinguish it in a bid to kill as many inmates as possible while denying any culpability. Footage posted on social media even showed four individuals pouring fluid material on the roof of a building identified as the prison’s sewing workshop, which oared the flames.
While prisoners’ anti-regime slogans were heard, officials bogusly claimed that Saturday’s incident resulted from a prison fight between inmates charged with fiscal-related crimes. They also blamed prisoners for setting the sewing workshop on fire.
While officials claimed they had controlled the situation, the incident showed how the uprising had morphed into a nationwide revolution calling for regime change.
While protests continued in different parts of Tehran and other cities across Iran on Saturday, many citizens rushed to the prisoners’ aid. Protesters clashed with security forces on their way to Evin prison, who responded with tear gas. Anti-riot forces also attacked family members and locals who gathered in front of the prison, using live ammunition and tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Despite its utter brutality, the clerical regime failed to stifle the voice of defiant prisoners in Evin prison. Their cries echoed throughout the world as members of the Iranian diaspora and MEK supporters in dozen European countries and in the United States held nightly protests, supporting brave inmates of Evin. Soon, global condemnation of this brutality poured in solidarity with the risen prisoners.
The unrest in Evin prison happened a week after prisoners in Lakan prison in Rasht joined the nationwide uprising. Authorities tried to quash this protest by setting the prison on fire and using live ammunition. Dozens were killed and injured. A week after, a protest erupted in the Evin prison. When the regime savagely oppressed prisoners in Evin, it only took three days for inmates in Ghezelhesar prison in Karaj to hold a rally and chant anti-regime slogans.
Since Iran’s uprising began on September 23, the authorities’ crackdown has had the opposite effect. Instead of spreading fear in people’s hearts, the regime’s ‘attempts to quash demonstrations increased citizens’ courage and determination to topple this regime.
These protests are the broadest picture of a defiant nation that has had enough of the regime’s corruption, ineptitude, and oppression. What many consider as Iran’s revolution with its culture of resistance didn’t happen a fortnight; it is the result of four decades of organized resistance against the tyrannical regime.
The remarkable courage and resilience of prisoners in Evin and other prisons are in line with those brave souls who refused to disavow their ideal of having a free Iran in the 1980s and sacrificed their lives for this cause. In the summer of 1988, over 30,000 political prisoners were massacred across Iran. Evin prison had a large share of these inmates, who refused to bow to the regime.
In a nutshell, what happens in Iran, is no coincidence. It has regime change as its objective and as 43 years of perseverance is a guide, the pro-democracy movement will succeed at all costs.
The people of Iran have shown their determination, and it’s only a matter of time before they will overcome the brutal tyranny. The world powers should go beyond their routine condemnations and recognize the Iranian people’s right to self-defense. Exercising an international firm policy vis-à-vis, Tehran would undoubtedly break the regime’s cycle