Tension is rising in cities and towns across Iran, as the nation prepares to mark the September 16 anniversary of Mahsa Amini's death in police custody.
A group of Tehran residents who visited Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery on September 14 noticed a significant presence of security personnel.
"When we arrived at plot 211, where [protester] Hamidreza Rouhi is buried, we were struck by the large number of cars and police officers,” one of them told IranWire. “The scene was so overwhelming that we briefly speculated that an officer had died and his comrades were participating in a ceremony.”
According to this eyewitness, more than 100 uniformed officers surrounded Rouhi's grave.
🎞️ Officers and plainclothes agents have come out in force at Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery, Tehran, ahead of the September 16 anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death. The video shows the grave of #Hamidreza_Rouhi, a protester and victim of the crackdown after Amini’s death. #truth #Iran pic.twitter.com/NwgSetF5Or— IranWire (@IranWireEnglish) September 15, 2023
"There were so many plainclothes officers that it was impossible to keep count,” the Tehran resident said. “They had brought two cars resembling mobile prison cells. We also witnessed the apprehension of some individuals."
"The atmosphere was tense, and we hesitated to leave our vehicle. My friend asked one of the officers why these women were being detained. In response, the officer sternly told us to leave, warning that we might face arrest if we stayed. No citizen is permitted to approach Hamidreza's grave."
"Plainclothes female officers were positioned around the area, and security agents were ubiquitous. It was prohibited to take pictures, and the only footage we managed to shoot was a brief video captured discreetly from the main streets during our lunch break.”
"This footage revealed a notable presence of police vans and plainclothes female officers. Upon our return, we discovered that people were even prevented from visiting other graves, with individuals being forcibly removed from the resting places of their loved ones."
Another Tehran resident described the security situation at around noon on September 14, stating, "Today, while traveling from Rahahan Square to Shahrak Gharb, I noticed a fence in front of the 137th police station.”
"Apparently the intention was to prevent crowds and conflicts by keeping people at a distance. Along Keshavarz Boulevard, they had placed barriers and blocked certain areas. It's somewhat amusing that, despite their substantial resources, power, weaponry and force, they appear so scared of unarmed citizens."
In recent days, armed special forces and police personnel have been patrolling the main streets of Tehran and the nearby city of Karaj.
Milad Alavi, a reporter from Shargh newspaper, reported on September 13: "The presence of armed forces in Tehran and Karaj's main streets has noticeably increased, and their weaponry is openly visible."
“The speed of both landline and mobile internet has decreased significantly, with internet providers attributing the issue to external network problems. Using VPNs has become more challenging," Alavi further said on X, formerly Twitter.
Local sources reported that some streets in central Tehran have been closed and more surveillance cameras have been installed.
Similar reports emerged from other cities, including Amini’s hometown of Saqqez.
According to information obtained by IranWire, the western Kurdish city is full of security personnel, while the Aichi cemetery, where the young woman is buried, is under heavy surveillance.
Sources said that a substantial number of special forces have arrived in Saqqez in recent days and deployed in the city's main streets and squares.
In the southwestern city of Abadan, a reliable source told IranWire: "Since early September, there has been an increased number of surveillance cameras along Amiri Street, the busiest thoroughfare in the city. They have used roadwork and asphalt repairs as a pretext to block roads leading to the street."
Eyewitnesses said that numerous enforcement vehicles were dispatched between Haftkal and Suleiman Mosque.
The streets of Izeh, also in Khuzestan province, are also teeming with uniformed officers.
There have also been reports about an increased presence of security forces in Mashhad, Tabriz, Sanandaj and Zahedan.
"Basij forces have been patrolling high-traffic areas, and several major squares are crowded with special unit motorcycles," a Mashhad resident told IranWire.
Meanwhile, many civil activists and family members of those who were killed during demonstrations have been detained in recent days.
Mahbobeh Mousavi, an activist who was detained during last year's protests and injured by security forces, was rearrested on September 14 in Ahvaz, Khuzestan’s capital. Her whereabouts remain unknown.
A well-informed source from central Markazi province told IranWire that more than 30 young individuals, including teenagers, who were detained during the nationwide protests have been summoned to Revolutionary Courts.