We need to keep talking about Iran and amplify Iranian voices all over the world

Activism News Resources

Written by Scarlett Musu in consultation with Sahar Tavassoli / 31.10.2022

Content note: institutional and state violence and protests

One of the world’s largest feminist movements is happening right now in response to the human rights crisis unfolding in Iran. Protests have been going on across the country for several weeks since the death of Mahsa Amini in custody on September 16, 2022.

Written by Scarlett Musu in consultation with Sahar Tavassoli / 31.10.2022

An illustration of a woman standing with her fist in the air and hair blowing all around her face. Her hair is coloured with the colours of the Iranian flag, and the ends of her hair turn into red drops of blood.
Artwork by Yael Hofri

For decades, Iranian women have been forced by the Islamic Republic of Iran to wear a hijab and dress modestly, regardless of religion or personal beliefs. These so called ‘morality police’ target women and girls as young as nine, arresting them if their hijab is worn incorrectly or if they are wearing what they deem to be ‘improper’ clothing.

Now, after the death of Mahsa Amini, who died in a hospital under suspicious circumstances after being arrested for not wearing a hijab, women of Iran have been risking their lives to speak out and demand the basic right of having freedom to choose how they dress.

What's happening now in Iran?

Mahsa was a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman who was arrested by ‘morality police’ for an alleged breach of Iran’s strict dress code for women. She died in custody three days later, on September 16, 2022, after suffering multiple blows to the head.

Mahsa’s death has become a catalyst for the current uprising. Iranians have taken to the streets in protest, with the chant “woman, life, freedom”. The movement has spread to at least 40 cities all over the country, with women and their allies protesting for weeks – chanting, uncovering and cutting their hair, burning their headscarves, striking, and demanding justice and accountability.

Unfortunately, state violence has only increased in Iran in response to these protests and continues to unfold every day:

  • Dozens more people have reportedly been killed, including women and children. Among those are 22-year-old woman Hanane Kia, 16-year-old Sarina Esmailzadeh, and 20-year-old Hadis Najafi.

  • Severe sentences have been threatened for over 14,000 protestors with one protestor already sentenced to death, despite already being met with violence from police and authorities. The Islamic Regime has a long history of using harsh sentences, such as the death penalty, as a weapon of repression against protestors.

  • Students were barricaded into Sharif University of Technology by riot police, leaving several injured and several arrested.

  • Authorities have restricted access to the internet, so the people in Iran have struggled to communicate with those outside the country, and news and media coverage has been limited.

  • School girls have been arrested, attacked, and injured for not wearing hijabs.

  • At least four people have died, and 61 others injured after a fire broke out at Tehran’s Evin Prison. The prison has a long history of serious human rights abuses and has allegedly subjected prisoners, including human rights activists, lawyers, and journalists, to torture and rape. There are reports that women in prison and detention centres have been raped and are requesting abortion pills.

  • Concerns persist for athlete Elnaz Rekabi. Elnaz bravely competed in the Asian Climbing Competition final in Seoul without a hijab, then briefly ‘went missing’ and gave a mandatory confession that her hijab had ‘fallen off’ whilst competing. She is now under strict surveillance by the government.

  • Nine foreign nationals have been arrested.

Source: Al Jazeera and Al Aribaya

How can we support this movement?

Sign this petition to end the death penalty against protestors

Amplify the voices of people in Iran. Share, repost, and retweet news from Iran and keep circulating information.

Some people we are following right now include:

Implore your government to put pressure on the Iranian state:

  • Write, email or phone your local government.

  • Demand that they condemn the Iranian government’s use of violence.

  • Ask that they put pressure on the Iranian government to end this violence, free all detained protestors, give women choice and freedom, and resign.

  • Request that Iran’s diplomats be expelled from the country by signing and sharing this petition.