Lucas Leiroz, researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.
Since the beginning of the mass protests in Iran, many suspicions have arisen that this could be another attempt of color revolution. In fact, the existence of foreign agents interested in promoting a regime change operation in the country seems increasingly clear. Recently, Iranian authorities arrested subversive agents linked to British intelligence. The case shows once again that the demonstrations are not really focused on guaranteeing women’s rights, but on attacking the West’s geopolitical enemies.
Members of the Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced on December 25th the arrest of seven leaders of a dissident group involved in the protests that have hit the country in recent months. According to the Guard authorities the criminals were involved with British intelligence agencies, and supposedly interested in destabilizing the Iranian political situation, making a regime change operation possible.
Although the arrest has happened now, when the suspects were finally identified and located, the investigation about the dissident group they were part of is old. The organization is called “Zagros” and would be, according to Iranian intelligence, creating a wide network of “counterrevolutionary elements” inside and outside Iran – receiving support from the British in order to foment social chaos in the Persian country. The seven leaders were found in Kerman province, where they were in constant contact with foreign agents. According to the Iranian police, the British agents have also been identified.
“An organized group called Zagros, which was led by agents from the UK and created a team of active counterrevolutionary elements inside and outside the country to lead subversive activities, especially during recent protests, has been identified as a result of a successful operation”, the Guard’s spokespeople informed Iranian media in a statement.
As well known, Iran has been the target of a drastic mutiny since September. Apparently, the reason for the start of the protests would be the alleged “murder” of Masha Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died when she was in the custody of the Iranian police after being detained for breaking some Islamic moral norms.
Iranian authorities have denied any involvement in Amini’s death, stating that the woman died of natural causes while in custody. In fact, images taken by prison cameras show that Amini was fine, healthy and without any injuries until minutes before she died, which contradicts the Western narrative that she was tortured and beaten to death.
However, even so, mass protests erupted across the country, leading to utter chaos. Quickly, the demonstrations ceased to be peaceful, and the protesters adopted extremely violent methods, resorting to acts of vandalism, sacrilege and beatings. Mosques were destroyed, religious leaders attacked, and government facilities vandalized. Later, the violence escalated to the open use of firearms by the protesters, who murdered several police officers in the streets of the country. Between late October and early November there were also two terrorist attacks, with attackers bombing civilian and military facilities.
The government implemented some counterterrorism measures to neutralize the rebellion. Several protesters were arrested, and investigations gradually progressed to find possible signs of connections between the protesters and foreign groups. Since the beginning of the unrest, the Iranian authorities made it clear that they suspected the existence of an intelligence operation to incite chaos and start a color revolution. The suspicions were corroborated by several geopolitical experts around the world. Now, with the arrest of these Iranian agents at the service of British intelligence, the veracity of suspicions of foreign involvement is even more evident.
Indeed, Iran, regardless of any criticisms that may be made about the local government, is a revolutionary regime safeguarded by broad popular support. Even during the recent demonstrations, there was a great movement of response from the masses supporting the Shia theocracy, who also took to the streets to fight the dissidents. Also, despite maintaining strict moral rules in respect of the traditional Islamic religion, the country has a progressive stance towards women, having high rates of female representation in universities and in high level jobs.
This makes it at least difficult to believe that protests of this magnitude could have developed “naturally” in the country, without incitement to riot by destabilizing groups. What is happening in Iran is something very similar to what happened in several emerging countries during the 2010s, when mass demonstrations evolved into armed clashes and civil wars, resulting in regime change attempts in enemy nations of the West.
But Iran has managed the situation well and seems to have avoided the possibility of a civil war.