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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

The Iranian Protests: A Battle For Women’s Rights

It has been over a month since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini rocked the people of Iran. Her death was the result of police officers allegedly beating her with a baton, leading to her eventual death in police custody. The police originally said that Ms. Amini had suffered a heart attack while in custody, but this claim is questionable. The protests against the police began September 16th, and have grown bigger, spreading across the world as people take up the fight in support of women’s rights.

 

Mahsa Amini was allegedly beaten with a baton by police officers for not properly wearing her hijab. In Iran, women are required to wear a hijab whenever out in public; this includes women who are not Muslim and women who are visiting the country. This law was instituted in 1983, a few years after the Islamic Revolution. Before this time, women were valued in the Persian region, even being able to own land, have businesses, travel freely, and have equal pay. It has been a couple of generations since that time. Now, the improper wearing of a hijab can mean up to 2 months in prison, and the woman usually pays a fine. 

 

Unfortunately, the arrest of Ms. Amini was accompanied by a severe beating, leading to her eventual death three days later while in custody. Following her death and family calling into question the validity of the police’s claims that Amini died from a heart attack, protests over her death and the mistreatment of women by the Iranian Regime began. This has set off a firestorm across the world. 

 

In Iran itself, the protests led to women burning their hijabs and cutting their hair, as they stand in solidarity against cruelty and inhumane treatment. The protests have spread to over 30 cities in Iran itself, sparking the government’s response of shutting down the internet in an effort to curb access to information.

 

For a group of people who have spent over two decades as second class citizens, this protest has become a cultural movement. Some speculate that the added economic woes of Iran are contributing to the unrest, and that Amini’s death was just the catalyst to turn the citizenry further against the Regime. 

 

As Amini’s story spreads outside of Iran, however, many individuals have woken up to the depravity that many women still endure as their basic human rights are violated.  The protests have grown far beyond Iran, including London, Paris, Los Angeles, Istanbul, and Toronto. Additionally, the United States has imposed more sanctions on Iran in response to Amini’s death.  

In Iran, these protests have led to the deaths of more than 100 individuals. Although the people protesting appear to have been peaceful, the government’s response has been quite violent, sparking further anger from its citizenry. 

In other countries, the protests have brought people together as they seek to support Iran. People hold up signs in support and lament that “Iran has become one big prison.” As all eyes are on Iran, the world has become more aware of the mistreatment of the Iranian people by the Islamic-led regime. 

It will be interesting to see if these protests and sanctions will lead to any true change in Iran, or if it will slowly lose its momentum and return to business as normal. Only time will demonstrate whether these protests have been successful, but it is the hope of many that the worldwide outcry will further aid the Iranian people and its women.

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