TEHRAN, IRAN — During the past few nights, we Iranian youth have been agitating — at great risk to our lives — to remove the 24-year-old plague that has stricken our homeland. Our goal is to topple the theocratic regime of the mullahs. Our opponents are barbarian vigilantes — members of Ansaar-e-Hezbollah — who are backed by heavily armed Iranian riot police.
Westerners may have difficulty imagining what these people are like. In fact, it’s quite easy: Simply remember the Taliban. The only difference is that they don’t wear Afghani clothes.
In the past few nights, my peers — and our mothers and sisters — have poured into the streets of our city. Some of us have been arrested and many have been injured by the ruthless attacks of Ansaar-e-Hezbollah. These people attack whomever they see in the streets with tear gas, sticks, iron chains, swords, daggers, and, for the last two nights, guns.
It has become almost routine for us to go out at night, chant slogans, get beaten, lose some of our friends, see our sisters beaten, and then return home.
Each night we set to the streets only to be swept away the next dawn by agents of the regime. Two nights ago, on Amirabad Street, we wrote “Down with Khomeini” on the ground. Before long, the mullah’s vigilantes attacked us on their motorcycles. They struck a female student before my eyes so harshly that she was no longer able to walk. As she fell to the ground, four members of Ansaar-e-Hezbollah surrounded her, kicking her. When I and two other students threw stones at them so that they would leave her alone, they threatened us. We escaped into a lane and hid in a house whose owner, an old lady, had left the door open for us. A few minutes later, we saw the young lady being carried away by riot police, her feet dragging on the ground, her shattered teeth hanging out of her still-bleeding mouth.
At least three of my best friends have been detained; nobody knows anything about their fate.
Yesterday I heard that the prosecutor of Tehran has announced that most of the detainees are hooligans with criminal records. What sort of criminal record does he mean? Perhaps the crime of walking with a person of the opposite sex? Of wearing Western clothes or playing a cassette in the car?
I was just talking to a friend who lives in a dormitory called Allammeh tabatabayee. He told me about what happened three nights ago when Ansaar-e-Hezbollah attacked the dormitory:
It started just before 10 P.M. We were chanting slogans against the regime, specifically the so-called leader. At first we were behind the gate of the dorm, inside the yard. When we went to the highway in front of the dormitory, a group of around 100 riot police arrived and started throwing stones at us. We retaliated from the roof of the dormitory building. At 2 A.M. Ansaar arrived.
They got shields from the police and entered the dormitory. There were about 600-700 of them — armed with swords, sticks, daggers, iron chains, and tear-gas guns — to 700 of us students, mostly in pajamas. We had run out of stones to resist any longer….
They entered the dormitory and shot tear gas, sending all the students fleeing to their rooms; then they entered the buildings, and started kicking in and breaking down the doors….
They were shouting “Rahbaraa az maa bepazir” — “Leader accept this from us.” They captured my roommate and tried to stab him in the stomach with a dagger. He managed to grab the blade of the dagger, holding it tightly in his hands. His attackers pulled it out and struck him on the back. He now has a wound 15 centimeters long and 3 centimeters deep. As a result, he has been hospitalized, his thumbs almost detached from his hands….
Three attackers found an unlucky student alone in his room. Two held his hands at his sides while a third sodomized him with a dagger, inflicting a wound 12 centimeters deep. The student was taken to a Shariati hospital and bled for hours. He is still fighting for his life….
In another room, a student jumped from a third-floor balcony to the ground when he saw the tip of an attacker’s sword breaking through the door to his room….
I visited the dormitory myself. The blood spots were still there. The doors were mostly broken. But we will continue to shed our blood, if that is what it takes to obtain the freedom we seek.
— Koorosh Afshar is a pseudonym for a student in Tehran. His name has been changed for his protection.