Kava adjusts his baseball cap and sips his hot tea.

He is a slight, soft-spoken young man with few distinguishing features.

His friends roar with laughter when he asks us not to show our ears on camera. It’s a moment of levity, but Kava is deadly serious.

As one of of Iran A protest leader, he is a wanted man, and faces imprisonment and torture.

“At night, if they raid our house, I’m always ready to run. I’ve got everything ready.”

We are in a safe house on the northern border. Iraq. He has briefly left Iran but is still taking no risks – Iranian agents operate here.

“You feel fear and terror in society,” he admits, but adds “spirits are very high”.

“We’re waiting and looking for a window to get back on the street. Anything short will bring people back on the street.”

More than 500 people are estimated to have died since nationwide protests began in September, over the death in police custody of a young woman who was “wrongfully” arrested for wearing a hijab.

Kava believes that Iranian society is hardening against the government. He tells me a story about a night when terrified Basij paramilitaries opened fire on a mosque as they were preparing bodies for burial.

A fire in a mosque in Basij, Iran.  For VT on Iran protest with Alastair Binkle.
A fire in a mosque in Basij, Iran

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Iran’s Digital Protesters Demand Designation of Revolutionary Guards as ‘Terrorists’

A British-Iranian was executed in Iran for being a British spy.

“People went to hospitals so that the government would not take away the bodies. [the protesters] He brought a body to wash and bury,” he says.

“At that time the government opened fire on the mosque.

“People gathered in the mosque and the government opened fire from the roof and many people were injured. They shot at people with AK-47s, opened fire.

“We had women and children with us and I did not see anyone wearing military uniform with us. The way they fired at us was as if they were attacking an armed group, but we were civilians. “

‘More violence ahead’

Kawa also believes there will be more violence in the coming months as the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution approaches.

Sky News has been sent footage of protesters with hundreds of bullets lodged in their skin. This is evidence that the Iranian government is using shotguns against protesters.

We also have video of doctors working to save these patients in secret makeshift clinics in private apartments – if protesters go to a hospital for treatment they will immediately identify themselves to the government.

Doctors are also taking huge risks, smuggling medicines and supplies from hospitals to help the protesters.

A police motorcycle is on fire during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic Republic. "The ethics police", in Tehran, Iran on September 19, 2022.  WANA (West Asia News Agency) by REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - This photo has been provided by a third party.  Attention Editors - This image was provided by a third party
There were protests in Tehran in September last year.

This is evidence of a vast underground network – anti-government sentiment runs deeper than street level.

An activist inside Iran told Sky News, “Doctors’ help … is of the utmost importance for injured protesters.”

“Had these undercover medical teams not been available, most of the wounded would have died as infections from their wounds spread throughout their bodies.

“Some, whose medical conditions were not good, had to have their hands or arms amputated.”

‘People have become braver’

Kava will return to Iran to organize the rebellion. I ask him how he feels about the prospect.

“I feel it is my responsibility to go back and resume my activities until my people are free,” he says.

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“I see victory in the fact that people are united, they have a goal and they are close to each other.

“People have become more emboldened and moved towards the end of the Islamic Republic.

“I want the Islamic Republic to end and our people to be free.”

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