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Iran Geopolitical Watch – from November 12 to November 18, 2022

Iran / Pakistan / Afghanistan geopolitical watch team: Daniel Marco, Mehrad Abedisagha and Jérémie Patot.

11/14/2022 : Taliban in Afghanistan orders judges to fully implement Sharia law. -Daniel Marco-

A Taliban spokesman said on November 14 that the group would adhere to its rigid interpretation of Islamic law “Shariah”, underlining the group’s commitment to maintaining the strict regulations put in place since their takeover more than a year ago, The Washington Post informs.

According to the Taliban’s chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, it was Afghanistan’s supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada who ordered judges to fully enforce the components of Islamic law, such as public executions, stoning, flogging and amputation of limbs for thieves, The Guardian reports. “Cases that have fulfilled all the conditions of sharia in prescription and retribution, you are obliged to issue prescription and retribution, because this is the order of sharia… and it is obligatory to act” Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted on 13 November.

CNN notes that the last time the harsh interpretation of the religion took place was from 1996 to 2001 when the Taliban was in power imposing several brutal punishments. Since the organisation took control of Afghanistan last year, the security and humanitarian situation has also deteriorated, as has the country’s economy.

11/14/2022: the rise of tensions between Azerbaijan and Iran: the arrest of the five Azeri spies of the Islamic Republic. -Mehrad Abedisagha-

The tension between two neighbouring countries, Iran and Azerbaijan, continues to increase. On Monday, November 14, Aljezerra reports that Azerbaijan was informed of the arrest of five Azeri spies from the Islamic Republic. Azerbaijani officials say the spies were gathering information related to the military, Israeli and Turkish drones and other infrastructure in the country. In early November, Azerbaijan announced the arrest of 17 people accused of being part of an “illegal armed group organized by Iran on Azerbaijani territory”.

Baku summoned the Iranian ambassador on Friday, November 11 in a bid to challenge the actions of the Islamic Republic on its territory. A few weeks earlier, according to Eurasianet, on October 21, President Ilham Aliyev said: “There are many more Azerbaijanis living outside Azerbaijan than in the country alone. Of course, their safety, rights and well-being are of the utmost importance to us. We will continue to do everything to help Azerbaijanis who have found themselves cut off from our state.

On the Iranian side, Tehran denies the accusation. On November 10, Iran, in turn, handed the Azerbaijani ambassador a note of protest against the “anti-Iranian” speeches of the government of Azerbaijan. While according to Iran International and Tasnimnews, the Islamic Republic has supported Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh war against Armenia, it opposes Azerbaijan’s operations that could block Iran’s access to Armenia and Europe.

At the end of October, Iran made new military manoeuvres on the northeastern border near Azerbaijan. According to Tasnimnews, during these manoeuvres and for the first time, a floating bridge was installed on the Aras River for the formation of equipment and the transfer of forces. In addition, Iran still emphasizes defending its interests in the Caucasus. Indeed, according to the ILNA news agency, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs during his official trip to Armenia on October 21 said that his country has not authorized the closure of communication channels to Armenia.

11/16/2022 : At least seven people killed in a terrorist attack in the southern Iranian province of Khuzestan -Daniel Marco-

On November 16th, in what the Iranian state media described as a terrorist attack, at least seven people were killed and fifteen injured in the southwestern province of Khouzistan, Tehran Times reported.

According to Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), the incident occurred in the market of the city of Izeh where two gunmen in a car started shooting at onlookers. Tasnim News Agency informed that security personnel arrested three suspects who were linked to the terrorist incident. Ali Dehqani, Director General of the Khouzistan Justice Administration Department, announced that “three of the main elements of today’s events and disturbances in Izeh County have been placed under arrest”.  

Reuters notes that following the death of Iranian girl Mahsa Amini on 16 September while in custody, Iran’s ethnic Arab minority, mainly concentrated in Khuzestan, joined weeks of protests. Since the 1979 revolution, one of the boldest challenges to Islamic rule has been mounted in response to the protests sparked by Amini’s murder. Last month, 15 people were killed and many more injured in an attack on a shrine in the Iranian city of Shiraz, for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility.

11/18/2022: The death of a 9-year-old child by security forces revives anti-Regime protests in Iran. -Jeremie Patot-

The death of a child in the city of Izeh, killed by the police according to his mother, has revived anti-regime protests. At the child’s funeral on Friday 18, a large crowd gathered and chanted anti-regime chants, and at the same time, the house where the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, grew up was set on fire, reports The New York Times.

A family member of Kian Pirfalak, the deceased child, told IranWire that Kian was shot when he and his father were driving home. The vehicle was hit by 7 bullets from all four sides. According to his family, the shooters are the same who had arrested his cousins ​​and neighbours the previous weeks. IranWire points out that Iranian authorities blame a terrorist attack.

In a similar outburst of anger, anti-regime protesters set fire to Ayatollah Khomeini’s childhood home, which had been turned into a museum to the glory of the Islamic Republic, according to RFERL. Despite videos circulating showing the building on fire, the Tasnim news agency denies the incident and says the museum is still open to visitors.

But according to Reuters, the images released on November 17 match old photos of the building, but Reuters said it could not confirm the exact time of the fire.

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