Mehr News Agency, an Iranian official news agency, is reporting that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has cracked down on a “large circle of Satanism and Sodomy” in the city of Kermanshah. Many other websites close to the government are also reporting the same news. Mehr reports that the “circle” had “tens” of members, among them a number of “foreign nationals from Iraq and other countries in the region” that had gathered in one of the city’s party halls, “with the excuse of a birthday party”. The report states that the guests were dancing when IRGC forces and government backed militia members attacked the party and arrested them. Among the allegations against the individuals in the party are, “promotion of Satanist symbols and sodomy”. The official website of the IRGC in Kermanshah province is also reporting that 8 individuals in the party, that the website claims are gay, were married to each other.  

IRQO can confirm that a party in Kermanshah was attacked at 9:00 pm local time, on October 8th, by government backed militias (IRGC forces and Basij members) and there were no police forces among the attackers. Guests were trapped in the hall for three hours, beaten up and filmed. Cables, pepper spray and tasers were used in the assault. An ambulance was present at the location before some of the guests were allowed to leave the hall. About 80 individuals from Karaj, Tehran, Sanandaj, Mahabad, Kermanshah and other cities had attended the party.

Based on the official reports and the reports from our sources, it looks like the individuals subjected to the assault over the perception that they were homosexual were attacked based on their appearances. The Iranian government enforces vague and unwritten rules and regulations regarding clothing and make up. Individuals around the country are often arrested or harassed by the police or government backed militias for having tattoos or wearing clothes that the officials might believe are not compatible with “Islamic values”.

Three hours after the raid began 30 of the guests were kept and the rest were allowed to leave the location. Some of the 30 guest were released the next day; a number of them on bail. Our sources believe 7 to 10 individuals are currently in detention in Kermanshah prison. At least two individuals need urgent medical care after being beaten and tased.

Our sources also tell us that a number of the individuals assaulted and detained in the party are Ahl-e Haqq dervishes. Despite sharing some of the ideas of Muslims, the religious group has been under heavy pressure from the side of the Islamic government of Iran and extreme Shiite groups. This group has falsely been called “Satan Worshippers” – as an insult –  by hard-line  Islamic blogs, extremist groups and some groups close to hard-line circles inside the Iranian leadership.

All the cell phones were confiscated and guests were forced to give the passwords of their phones to the forces. Guests were told that the phones might be returned on Eid-e-Qorban holiday (October 16). All the gifts, the music equipment belongings to the DJ and even the birthday cake were also confiscated.

The charge of Satanism is highly unlikely to have any kind of foundation, as the Iranian government has used the charge time and again to incite the public against individuals and groups they try to crack down on over other social, ideological and “moral” issues. The same charge was used against a number of homosexuals arrested in a party in Shiraz, a number of years ago, and other parties in recent years. The charge of the 8 men being married to each other is clearly a PR attempt to diminish the detainees and the individuals who have been assaulted in the party, as neither Iran nor any of its neighbors recognize any kind of marriage or union between homosexual couples.

Mehr is shaping the story as a part of a major conspiracy that is baseless at best. Its report concludes: “some foreign groups are sending individuals from Satanist and Homosexual groups into the country to promote corruption in the country.”

IRQO will update the story as we receive more information.