Iran Crisis Update, November 5

Dana Alexander Gray, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Zachary Coles, Nicholas Carl, and Frederick W. Kagan

November 5, 5:00 pm ET

The Iran Crisis Updates are produced by the Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute with support from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). To receive Iran Crisis Updates via email, please subscribe here.

Prominent Sunni cleric Moulana Abdol Hamid may begin regularly instigating protests throughout Sistan and Baluchistan Province rather than in just Zahedan. Protests occurred in at least five cities in Sistan and Baluchistan Province on November 4, including Zahedan, where Abdol Hamid has instigated protests during his Friday sermons in recent weeks.[1] Abdol Hamid called for a referendum on the Islamic Republic during his Friday Prayer sermon on November 4.[2] Abdol Hamid’s criticism of the regime may be resonating with a larger portion of the Sunni Baloch community, indirectly stoking additional demonstrations against the political establishment.

Abdol Hamid issued two statements criticizing the regime’s violent protest crackdown and expressing support for protesters outside of Zahedan on November 5. Abdol Hamid condemned Iranian security personnel’s November 4 protest crackdown in Khash, Sistan, and Baluchistan Province and referred to killed protesters as “martyrs.”[3] Abdol Hamid similarly penned an open letter circulated by state-affiliated media enumerating grievances against the regime. Abdol Hamid stated that government officials did not sufficiently investigate protest crackdowns in Zahedan, Sistan, and Baluchistan Province on September 30, when security personnel killed over 90 demonstrators and bystanders.[4] Abdol Hamid added that the regime had overstated the role of foreign influence in instigating unrest and stressed that the Islamic Republic had oppressed Baloch women.[5] IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency criticized Abdol Hamid for his November 4 comments and accused him of fomenting unrest.[6]

The regime is attempting to mobilize its supporters around a religious holiday honoring a historic female Shia martyr and framing its policies as pro-women. A senior Iranian cleric presented the martyr as a model of female Islamic dignity on November 5.[7] A female Basij Organization member similarly denounced Western standards of gender equality at a pro-regime rally in Tehran.[8] Armed Forces General Staff Cultural and Propaganda Deputy Abol Fazl Sherkachi also claimed that the regime defended Iranian women against Western countries that sought to commoditize them on November 5.[9] A regime-affiliated cultural official additionally framed Western feminism as an information operation against Iranian women on November 5.[10] The regime is framing its policies as pro-women to undermine criticisms fueled by the Mahsa Amini protests.

Key Takeaways

  • Prominent Sunni cleric Maulana Abdol Hamid may begin regularly instigating protests throughout Sistan and Baluchistan Province rather than in just Zahedan.
  • The regime is attempting to mobilize its supporters around a religious holiday honoring a historic female Shia martyr and framing its policies as pro-women.
  • At least 19 protests took place in 11 cities across nine provinces.
  • President Ebrahim Raisi called anti-regime protesters “rioters” who were helping foment unrest in Iran.
  • Senior Iranian officials discussed accelerating the prosecution of arrested protesters.

Anti-Regime Protests

At least 19 protests took place in 11 cities across nine provinces on November 5. CTP assesses with moderate to high confidence that protests occurred in the following locations.

Note: CTP is using asterisks to denote protests that included mourners commemorating killed protesters.

Karaj, Alborz Province (population: approximately 1,970,000)

  • Dozens of Kharazmi University of Karaj students protested on campus and chanted “death to the dictator” and “we did not get killed to compromise and praise the murderous leader!”[11]

Neyshabour, Esfahan Province (population: approximately 264,375)

  • Several dozen protesters gathered in Neyshabour streets and chanted “death to the dictator.”[12]

Shiraz, Fars Province (population: approximately 1,556,572)

  • An undetermined number of Shiraz University students protested on campus and chanted anti-regime slogans.[13]

Rasht, Gilan Province (population: approximately 679,995)

  • Approximately 50 Gilan University students protested on campus and chanted “if the students are suspended, the university should be closed” in response to security forces reportedly detaining 110 students.[14]

Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi Province (population: approximately 3,001,184)

  • An undetermined number of Azad University of Mashhad students protested on campus and chanted “you are the sleaze; I am a free-thinking woman.”
  • One to two dozen high school students protested on school grounds and chanted “death to the dictator.”[15]

*Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province (population: approximately 414,069)

  • Several dozen students gathered on an unidentified campus to protest.
  • Several dozen protesters gathered where killed protester Momen Zandkarimi is buried at a cemetery outside of Sanandaj. Protesters chanted “death to Khamenei” and “death to Basijis.”
  • An undetermined number of protesters set fires in Sanandaj streets.[16]

Saghez, Kurdistan Province (population: approximately 165,258)

  • An undetermined number of protesters set fires and blocked a Saghez street.[17]

Babol, Mazandaran Province (population: approximately 250,217)

  • Dozens of Babol Noshirvani University of Technology students protested on campus and chanted anti-regime slogans.[18]

Tehran City, Tehran Province (population: approximately 8,700,000)

  • An undetermined number of Azad University of Tehran students protested and chanted anti-regime slogans on campus.
  • Several dozen Sharif University student protesters chanted “we do not want a corrupt system, we do not want a murderous leader.”
  • An undetermined number of Kharazmi University of Tehran student protesters chanted “the system is coming to an end!” at an undetermined location.
  • An undetermined number of Tehran University students protested the arrests and suspensions of fellow students who previously participated in protests.
  • An undetermined number of high school students chanted "freedom, freedom, freedom" in the Bagh-e-Feyz area of Tehran.
  • Social media users circulated footage of a confrontation between Amir Kabir University of Technology students and a university official threatening them with expulsion if they did not disperse.[19]

Boukan, West Azerbaijan Province (population: approximately 193,501)

  • An undetermined number of protesters demonstrated in Boukan streets and chanted “death to Khamenei!”[20]

CTP assesses with low confidence that protests occurred in the following locations:

Marivan, Kurdistan Province (population: approximately 136,654)

  • Footage from social media does not directly show people protesting, but active fires and debris spread across a Marivan road suggests that protests possibly occurred. Additional footage features audible gunshots in the background.[21]




President Ebrahim Raisi labeled anti-regime protesters as “rioters” helping the perceived US-led efforts to foment unrest in Iran.[22] Raisi additionally discussed accelerating the prosecution of arrested protesters with Judiciary Chief Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei and Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf on November 5.[23]

State-run IRNA reported that security officer Morteza Gholamian died in Khash, Sistan and Baluchistan Province, on November 4.[24] IRNA described Gholamian as a martyr, suggesting that he died in clashes with anti-regime protesters. Iranian security personnel violently suppressed protests in Khash on November 4, as CTP previously reported.[25]

Unidentified gunmen attacked the office of a senior regime cleric in Shadegan, Khuzestan Province. A reformist-affiliated outlet reported that the attack followed threats against the cleric for criticizing local government entities of corruption.[26]

The Iranian rial has reached an all-time low amidst ongoing, anti-regime protests. Al Jazeera reported that the exchange rate declined to 362,000 per US dollar on November 5.[27] Economic issues will likely exacerbate anti-regime sentiment and could incite further unrest.

Axis of Resistance and Regional Developments

There was nothing significant to report today.


[1] ...


[3] https://t dot co/kytOwWDPsH

[4] https://www.isna dot ir/news/1401081409275/%D9%85%D9%88%D9%84%D9%88%DB%8C-%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%86-%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%87-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF ; ; https://www.rfer...

[5]  https://www.isna dot ir/news/1401081409275/%D9%85%D9%88%D9%84%D9%88%DB%8C-%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%86-%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%87-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF

[6] https://www.tasnimnews dot com/fa/news/1401/08/14/2799031/%D8%A2%D9%82%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%B1%D9%81%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%85-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AF%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AF%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%B3%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%BE%DB%8C%D8%B4%D9%86%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D9%86%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D9%87%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%A2%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%A8-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D9%BE%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%AF%D9%87

[7] https://basijnews dot ir/fa/news/9466196/مقام-شفاعت-یکی-از-شئون-و-منزلت-حضرت-معصومهس-است

[8] https://basijnews dot ir/fa/news/9466291/برگزاری-اجتماع-مادران-آرتین-در-امامزاده-صالح-بانوان-اقدامات-تروریستی-شاهچراغ-را-محکوم-کردند

[9] https://www.irna dot ir/news/84933360/زنان-پایه-اقتدار-نظام-جمهوری-اسلامی-هستند

[10] https://defapress dot ir/fa/news/554260/جنگ-امروز-دشمنان-با-ایران-جنگ-ادراکی-و-شناختی-است





[15] ttps://







[22] https://president dot ir/fa/140579

[23] https://defapress dot ir/fa/news/554317/تأکید-سران-قوا-بر-ضرورت-تسریع-در-رسیدگی-به-پرونده‌های-عوامل-اغتشاش-و-ایجاد-ناامنی



[26] https://www.etemadonline dot com/بخش-سیاسی-9/580990-دفتر-امام-جمعه-شادگان

[27] ttps://



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