Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Law Enforcement on 25 Bahman - Video and Image Analysis

By Mark Pyruz

The demonstration called for on 25 Bahman by two of the defeated presidential candidates in the 2009 election, Mousavi and Karoubi, was denied a permit and ruled unlawful by Iranian authorities. Law enforcement was called upon to enforce this ruling. Below are interpretations of the image and video evidence from the ensuing demonstrations and counter-demonstrations of 25 Bahman, made available through open sourced gathering.

Images: Law Enforcement Deployment
(click to enlarge)
Law enforcement detachment consisting of NAJA cadre policemen and attached conscript soldiers.

NAJA cadre officers positioned to prevent unlawful assembly.

Background: motorized NAJA “guard-e vijeh” (Special Guards). Foreground: Motorized detachment of Basijis.


NAJA “guard-e vijeh” (Special Guards) in blocking actions preventing unlawful assembly.

NAJA “guard-e vijeh” (Special Guards) engaged in crowd dispersal.

Motorized elements of Basij on a patrol.

Tear gas employed in crowd dispersal.

There are a few videos where demonstrators numbered over 100. The overwhelming majority of demonstrators appeared to be student types of northern Tehrani stock. In fact, the demonstrations of 25 Bahman can be more aptly described as a student rebellion of sorts.

Lawlessness on the streets of Tehran. There were many cases of arson as depicted in numerous videos. Most of the videos depict demonstrators numbering in the low dozens with no detectable presence of law enforcement, evidence perhaps of a restrained attitude as well as statically inclined positioning.

Students protesting at Sharif University; evidence for characterizing the demonstrations of 25 Bahman as a student rebellion.

More video evidence depicting student type demonstrators congealed in numbers of low to mid dozens.

Civil disorder and cases of arson lasted into the night. The rebellion doesn't appear to have been resumed the following day.

Protesters resort to beating people in the crowd identified as pro-establishment.

ID card provided by Iranian authorities of a Basiji bystander reportedly murdered by anti-government demonstrators.

A pro-establishment journalist beaten by anti-government protesters.

A demonstrator sustains a leg injury. There are two cases of similar injuries documented by the video evidence.

Emergency services performing during the civil unrest.

Pro-establishment elements counter-rallying against the demonstrators in Tehran.

Students rallying in favor of the political establishment at Sharif University. In various locations their numbers competed with those demonstrating against the establishment.


Judging by the video evidence and some eyewitness accounts, NAJA and the Basij were relatively restrained in their conduct. After the Ashura rioting, Iranian public opinion favored law enforcement efforts by a 3:1 margin. It's plausible this latest case of civil disorder will reinforce this public opinion.

It's difficult to ascertain using the video evidence at hand but a liberal count fof anti-establishment demonstrators in Tehran numbered somewhere in the 1000s (compared to the high tens of thousands that participated in the anniversary rally a few days before). In cities such as Isfahan and Shiraz, the evidence provides counts that are possibly in the low 100s. Furthermore, the demonstrations could arguably be best characterized as something of a student rebellion, a "venting" of the disenfranchised if you will. These student types are increasingly becoming radicalized judging by the video depictions of arson, destruction of public property, disruption of traffic and beating of persons among the crowd. This element has become politically marginalized by the political vetting process as well as the electoral majority, so this vocal minority appears to be driven towards spats of civil unrest. It's a situation the Iranian leadership, law enforcement and investigative security services will have to contend with. And it's a situation Iran's external adversaries will seek to exploit.


Anonymous said...

The Basij ID card has been issued in Paveh (Kurdistan - see the stamp on photo), but the return to address in case of loss is in Tehran (PO Box number mentioned on back of card).

Is this normal? Or should the return address be local too?

Alborz said...

good analyse

Anonymous said...

Good summary

Alborz said...

Learning from Ashura, 2 Years ago
and dsonot let The Demo to escalate.

Nader Uskowi said...


A powerful analysis, as always. My suggestion is to call the more radical elements by what they really are: youths. Calling them student-type risks marginalizing their position in the society, making it difficult to provide the type of solutions called for here in this post.

Mark Pyruz said...

Thanks Nader.
I call them student types based on their age and profile. My guess is the rallying point before and at the beginning of this "student rebellion" was at school. Overwhelmingly they appear to be middle class or upper middle class, likely from northern Tehran.

Anon 3:10,
Yes, that's been pointed out. It's not easily explained. All I can say is that in my family, our ID documents also contain irregularities.

Nader Uskowi said...

The youths participating in 25 Bahman demonstrations are the third generation after the revolution; they are raised and educated in the Islamic Republic, the products of times under the Islamic rule. Being middle class or upper middle class also means they are coming from the middle and upper middle classes of the Islamic Republic. This is an important consideration as no government can afford to alienate its educated and middle classes. It was time not long ago that the Islamic Republic would explain away all the malaise in the society as the work of middle and upper-middle classes of the Shah’s regime, but they do not have that luxury anymore: these youths are the products of their own rule. Loosing them would be disastrous for the country.

Anonymous said...

looking at the BBC internet site is like masturbation for Anti Iranians.

They give them what they need and keeps their hopes alive.

I assure those wank...s, at the end of the day, Iran will never be a monarchy again nor an MKO terror state, the rest of the countries will join it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Uskowi, you put 17 you tube Videos to resonate the protests in Iran, I wonder how many you shall put up on the coming Friday.

Nader Uskowi said...

non 6:14 AM,

Thanks for the question. Let me explain to you how we ended up using so many videos. The great majority of them (11 out of 14) were used in this post analyzing the reaction of the security and law enforcement agencies to the 25 Bahman demonstrations. The large number of the videos was not meant to make a statement on the size of the demonstrations. If on Friday, the security forces would contain the Basijis and use tear gas and buttons against them, we will need to analyze their tactics as well, with as many videos we can get our hands on.

Anonymous said...

understood and given the benefit of the doubt.

But the name of Basiji is not a negative phrase. and not every supporter is a basiji.

The Basijis are like the US National Guard, without the Guns.they go and help out by earthquakes and floods. You should know and am certain you do know who they are.

When some "Jujefokoli" from uptown has his party disrupted khe claims it was the basij,but actually it was the Police upon being called by a disrgrunteled neighbour.

but OK, have it your way and insult them as chomaghdar..but they are youth just like Moussavis son and daughter with other ideas.... they are simply the Majority.

Nader Uskowi said...

Anon 8:30 AM,

You are absolutely right. I should not have used the word Basijis, instead I should have said pro-government protesters. My apologies for the mistake. I do agree with you, the Basijis form a large segment of the population, if not the majority, and looking at them as a monolithic force is a mistake commonly made by commentators, but I should have known better. Thanks for reminding us.

Anonymous said...

Thugs not bassijis.
Democracy and rule of people will eventually prevail.