Protests in Iran and Abroad




vote poverty notorious
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Fall 2022, a revolution has begun in Iran, and women are fighting on the front line.

Gilda Sahebi, Iranian German Author and Journalist: “It’s about women being able to dress as they wish, think as they wish, do as they wish.”

This is about woman, life, freedom. The protests have been met with violence.

Masih Alinejad, Women’s Rights Activist: “This is a barbaric regime telling me, a woman, that you are not allowed to show your hair!”

A struggle uniting activists, artists and intellectuals. Iranian women are fighting back like never before.

Shirin Ebadi, Iranian Lawyer Livingin Exile, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate: “It’s the first feminist revolution in the world.”

Why the World’s First Feminist Revolution is happening in Iran

The protests were sparked by the death of a young woman, Jina Mahsa Amini. She was arrested in Tehran on September 16, by the notorious morality police.

Her crime? Not being dressed as the law requires.

After her arrest, she collapsed in the police station. She was taken to a hospital with severe head injuries and died shortly afterwards.

Jina’s family is certain that her death was the result of police brutality.

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An unprecedented wave of protests gripped the nation.

Shirin Neshat, Iranian Artist Living in Exile: “The murder of Mahsa Amini unleashed this rage and it gave them a way to explode.

“Woman, Life, Freedom” became the rallying cry of the protests; the women had had enough of the hijab.

Monireh Baradaran, Spent nine Years in a Torture Prison: “It’s very very important: the headscarf is a symbol of the Islamic government.”

Schools became the site of protests, young people rose up and in this deeply patriarchal society, another form of revolution has been taking place. Women are receiving strong solidarity from men.

Shahla Shafiq, Iranian Sociologist Living in Paris: “The entire Iranian society has felt the consequences of suppressing freedoms, which are corruption, poverty and discrimination.”

Iranian pop star Mehdi Yarrahi is one of the many who have paid dearly for supporting the women. He dedicated this song to them in August 2023.

It encourages women to take off their headscarves.

The regime declared his actions illegal and he was arrested.

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The state responded to the protests with extreme violence: at least twenty thousand people have been arrested so far. Death sentences have been carried out.

More than 2000 schoolgirls were poisoned at school. Many suspect the regime —but there have been no conclusive investigations.

Sixteen-year-old Nika Shakarami was abducted at a demonstration and imprisoned. Later her body was found with the marks of torture. The regime declared it a suicide.

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Since the beginning of the revolt, people all over the world have stood in solidarity with Iranian women. They’re also demanding an end to the Iranian dictatorship.

International female celebrities and other women cut part of their hair and posted the images online.

“Hair is political”, says Iranian Masih Alinijad. For years she’s been campaigning in exile for feminist issues.

Masih Alinejad, Women’s Rights Activist: “I ask women whether they want to share their pictures with me — stealthy moment of freedom with me. I was bombarded by pictures from women inside Iran being unveiled.

So I created My Stealthy Freedom page on Facebook, on Instagram and it’s all about freedom, it’s all about dignity, it’s all about choice.”

The Politics of Women’s Hair

For nearly 90 years Iranian women’s hair has been the subject of political and religious battles. The Politics of Women’s Hair Headscarf or no headscarf, it’s always been up to men to make this decision for women — without their say.

Reza Shah, former Shah of Iran wanted to use educational reforms and repression to modernize the Islamic country. In 1936, he banned women from wearing headscarves. For him, it was a symbol that went against his idea of progress.

However in 1941, Reza Shah was forced to abdicate; his son assumed power and continued to push ahead with modernization.

Under Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, women were given the chance to break away from traditional roles and in 1963 they were given the right to vote.

Shahla Shafiq, Iranian Sociologist and Women’s Rights Advocate. “Under the previous regime, we had several freedoms, and women were allowed to join in with new aspects of society.”

The new Shah once again allowed women to wear the headscarf in public.

But he went on to establish a brutal dictatorship. Progressive and left-wing forces opposed him, as did the Islamists. Revolution followed and the Shah was deposed.

The Islamists took power. Ayatollah Khomeini declared the hijab compulsory for women.

Ayatollah Khomeini, Islamic Leader of Iran: “Going out, wearing makeup and without hijab is like going out naked and it is not in keeping with a woman’s position. By doing so, they turn themselves into dolls.”

Leftists who, like the Islamists, fought against the Shah were in disbelief.

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Government, Regime. The driving force of the demonstrators is having free and fair elections, different parties and freedom of expression. The main issue for the protesters is corruption, police brutality and censorship. True or false?

Dictatorship, Autocracy, Despotism. Did the report interview mostly teenage girls and young women?

Police State, Secret Police. People were very angry because a man robbed a bank. Is this right or wrong?

State-Run Media, Censorship. Do all Iranian women love to wear the hijab or headscarf?

Corruption, Bribery, Dishonesty. Is this movement (entirely) men versus women?

Bureaucracy, Waste, Mismanagement. Have the demonstrations been peaceful? Have people only protested in public?

Cronyism, Nepotism, Favoritism. Have women in Iran always covered their hair?

Show Trial, Prison, Torture. What do you think will happen in Iran?
Critic, Dissent, Opposition. Women have full rights in my country. Yes or no? Are there any issues that women would to address and change?

Protest, Demonstration. What has been the history of women’s rights?

Uprising, Revolution. Are protests and demonstrations common? Why do people protest or demonstrate?

Democracy, Liberty, Freedom. What might happen in the future?

Transparency, Accountability, Rule of Law. How could things change? How could things improve?

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