A week after a major brutal crackdown against Iranian prisoners in Tehran’s Evin prison, Gholamhossein Esmaili, the head of Iran’s prisons service is moved to another position. His new position is “prosecutor and head of the appeals court in Tehran”.
Some believe that this was a quiet dismissal for Mr Esmaili. I disagree. Before this, he was in charge of prisons. Now he is one level higher where he can send people to prisons. If anything, this looks like a promotion.
There is no question that Esmaili should be placed under arrest. But this is Iran after all.
The reaction of the regime shows that brutality still rules.
More importantly, it shows fear. The regime is sending a message that anyone who rises against the regime will be violently put down, and anyone who helps the regime do this will be rewarded. That it will not back down.
The question we have to ask ourselves is: why now?
What is it about recent developments inside and outside of Iran which has made the regime so nervous? After all, the 2009 Green uprising is over. Its leaders are under house arrest. Iran has a new president who is a former insider and popular with the people. So what is making the regime so nervous and fearful these days?