As a family mourns the death of their daughter Mahsa Amini, the citizens of Iran are taking to the streets to protest for their rights. The largest protest since 2009 was sparked earlier in September when Mahsa Amini, a citizen of Iran, was arrested and killed by what the Iranian government calls the Morality Police. These police officers are put in place to uphold the laws of the Islamic Republic by imposing a strict dress code that forces women to dress modestly and cover their hair. As soon as Amini got off the train in Tehran with her brother, she was taken away because her pants were considered inappropriate. She was then brutally beaten into a coma and later died from a heart attack at a nearby hospital.
Amini was the spark that ignited the long-awaited fire. Iran has been in extreme economic despair due to the government’s unwillingness to cooperate with the United States. The U.S, along with other countries, has issued heavy sanctions that are strangling the Iranian economy. The U.S has imposed sanctions since the 1979 revolution, but recently, the U.S has used sanctions to try to limit Iran’s nuclear power. The citizens, rather than the government, are feeling the full effects of the declining economy while the government stays wealthy and protected. Inflation doubled in the last couple of years, causing even basic necessities like food to become a luxury. Similarly, Iranian citizens can earn a degree yet not be able to find suitable jobs that relate to their majors.
At the top of the government, put into power almost 40 years ago, is the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Although he expressed his condolences for Amini, he has gone to extremes to suppress what he claims are riots. The use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and even open fire have been methods used to suppress the protesters. Khamenei puts the blame on foreign influences, specifically the United States and Israel. He has violently suppressed the protests, which results in the murdering of innocent men and women. Khamenei has also made efforts to cut internet access in and out of Iran. Just within the last couple of days, students were violently held hostage and beaten at Tehran University. People are afraid to speak out against the violence of the government, even on places like social media, in fear of retribution.
protests have taken place not only in Iran but around the world as well. Places like Washington, California, Istanbul, Paris, New York, and many more places have joined in solidarity with the women of Iran. In many cases, women are taking scissors to their hair and men with razors to theirs. Chants such as “Women, life, freedom” are being spread, and signs with the face of Amini are being held. People are not surprised at the immorality of the Persian regime because many women have first-hand experience with it, but they are fed up.
There is not only terror and violence across Iran but also hope for a revolution and a new future that could possibly revert Iran back to its pre-revolutionary days. These protests involve women and, most importantly, men supporting those women. The optimism of a better life and rights for citizens will likely be the catalyst for monumental change.