With less than two weeks remaining until the anniversary of Mahsa Amini's death in police custody, information obtained by IranWire indicates that security forces have become increasingly aggressive against dissent.
Summonings, threats, physical assaults and even daytime kidnappings are being used to deter young people from participating in street rallies on September 16.
In the past few weeks, the authorities have compelled many young men and women who had previously been detained and arrested across Iran during last year’s monthslong protests to return to public and revolutionary courts or other institutions.
Donya Hosseini, a blogger active on Instagram under the username Donya Azad, was "abducted" from the streets on August 12 and remains in custody.
Security agencies have threatened Nima Ebrahimi, a young actor and model previously detained due to his support for the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protest movement, warning him not to participate in any public gatherings starting from September 16.
These citizens who have been summoned and threatened were previously subject to an “amnesty” granted to political and ideological prisoners.
These individuals have also been coerced into signing letters pledging not to participate in protests next month.
A source told IranWire that security forces at the Evin Prosecutor’s Office in Tehran have pressured those summoned to sign prepared forms after a series of interrogations.
Violently Abducted on the Streets
Information obtained by IranWire indicates that a significant number of activists who have recently been interrogated had been summoned via telephone.
"They called me and asked me to come and answer some questions,” a Tehran resident said.
“Since my release, they haven't given me a moment's peace. Every week, they call me for some reason and say, 'Come over.' Once, some time after my release, I didn't go. They came to me on the street, assaulted me and beat me. So now, whenever they call, I go," the former prisoner added.
According to the Islamic Republic’s laws, summonses to judicial and security authorities must be delivered in writing.
Mehdi Tawhidi, 27, originally from western Khorramabad, lives in Karaj, near Tehran. He received a summons via telephone last week but refused to comply.
"They accused him of engaging in activities against the Islamic Republic and used threatening language like 'we'll break your neck,'” a source close to Towhidi told IranWire. “Mehdi hung up and turned off his phone. However, when he went shopping in the morning, he noticed three individuals following him on foot. One of them discreetly showed his identification card and quietly ordered Mehdi to get into their car."
“Mehdi raised his voice, prompting the three individuals to…beat him severely before forcing him in the car," the source continued.
Towhidi’s face was maintained on the car's floor while security officers held him by the neck.
If Towhidi moved, the agents struck him in the head and neck with their fists.
"More than a week later, his neck still aches, and we are concerned about the potential permanent damage they inflicted," the source said.
After an hour and a half of driving, the vehicle stopped at an isolated parking area.
The agents subjected Towhidi to hours of physical abuse, threats, insults and starvation to force him to give his phone's passcode: "From morning until midnight, they denied Mehdi any food. Mehdi suffers from a stomach ulcer, so hunger is particularly agonizing for him. Yet, they still refused to give him any food."
In the dead of night, the officers drove the car to a remote village and dropped Towhidi in a cemetery.
After hours of waiting, a passing car took him back to Khorramabad.
With his phone's passcode, the officers disabled Towhidi’s access to social networks, according to the source: "He didn't have a large following, but they still shut down his Instagram page to prevent his voice from reaching others. Lately, as they realize that fear and intimidation aren't producing the desired results, they are cutting off our means of communication with the wider public."
Thrown off from a Motorcycle
Daniyal Aghili, a 20-year-old individual who had been arrested during the nationwide protests and subjected to torture, was summoned to the Evin Prosecutor's Office on August 26, a source told IranWire.
Aghili was questioned for three hours about his presence at the grave of Yalda Aghafazli, a young woman protester who died shortly after her release from prison.
The young man refused to sign a document pleading not to participate in protests next month, the source said, adding: “They instructed him to leave but warned him that they were keeping a close watch on him."
After leaving the Evin Prosecutor's Office, Aghili was followed by two individuals on a motorcycle.
"They encircled him on the Avini highway, and kicked his motorcycle, causing Daniyal to lose balance and fall to the ground. Despite wearing a helmet, his head and face sustained significant injuries."
Photographs and documents received by IranWire depict extensive injuries to the right side of Aghili's face, including severe scratches and damage to his eye.
His skull and jawbone were fractured. The man is currently under medical care and supervision.