The death of Mahsa Amini became in this 2022, an activating element of a powerful fight against the regime’s treatment of the women of Iran, and beyond, against the essence of the political power of that country. Yet as 2023 dawns, the ruthless clerical leadership is ready to prolong the brutal repression and show of force with public executions. It does not consider giving in and is preparing to become even more radical, enlisting, for example, surveillance technology to monitor and harass any woman who does not comply with the mandatory veil.
Despite such a not very encouraging scenario, the protests have not diminished their intensity. The suffering of the population is expressed against the imposition of the political, cultural and religious values established by the theocratic regime that replaced Shah Reza Pahlavi in 1979, even more ruthless since 1983, when the law on the compulsory veil was approved, establishing that both Iranian and foreign women, regardless of religion, are required to veil their hair and wear loose-fitting clothing in public. But it is not only the veil that is imposed in that society; the reality is that in Iran women are despised. The world has changed, but the supreme leader of that country, Ali Khamenei, does not take it for granted.
Now women of all ages and the Iranian youth have revolted. The people, moreover, are overwhelmed by the economic crisis and have joined them.
The protests have been described by analysts as a revolution since the assassination of Mahsa Amini on September 16 after being detained and tortured by the Iranian moral police. Amini, known as Jina, was an ordinary girl, not even an activist. Perhaps that is why society was shaken by crime, because it could have happened to any mother, daughter, grandmother. Stories of abused, humiliated, mistreated women abound. In Iran, discrimination is institutionalized, “a woman’s life is worth half that of a man, her testimony is worth half that of a man, and they have lost the right to divorce, to custody of their children,” he said. Roya Boroumand, co-founder and executive director of the Iranian rights organization Abdorrahman Boroumand Center.
Mahsa’s crime was publicized thanks to the courage of two reporters, Nillofar Hamedi and Elshe Mohammadi, immediately imprisoned. Then the images of women tearing off their hijabs, shaking their hair under a battle cry: “women, life, freedom” multiplied, achieving the recognition of the world.
But like any bloody regime, the lives of the people matter little to them as long as they stay in power. The figures that transcend the repression are dizzying. The most recent Human Rights Watch record is 469 deaths in riots, including 63 children. The number of prisoners is 18 thousand, 39 at risk of being executed. Among those detained are familiar faces, such as actress Taraneh Alidoosti, star of The Salesman, winner of the 2017 Oscar for best foreign language film. The doctor Hamid Ghareh Hassanlou is sentenced to death, incommunicado and tortured, preceded by having built four hospitals in poor neighborhoods. Most recently, Nasr-Azadani, a 26-year-old soccer player who was part of the Iran Under-16 team, is in custody facing a possible death sentence. A
Other activists have reopened proceedings against him, including the Kurdish rapper Saman Seydi, whom they also want to execute.
The Iranian government is in charge of showing the fate of the rebels. Two public executions have been carried out. On December 8, 23-year-old Mohsen Shekaru was hanged and four days later Majid-Reza Rahnavard, also 23, was hung to death on a crane whose rope lifted his helpless body with his face hidden under a mask, his feet tied up and his arms cuffed back.
The trials carried out are a farce. The defendants are accused of “enmity with God”, a very serious crime for the Iranian theocratic regime.
Although countries of the European Union and the United Nations Organization have raised their voices against the serious crimes in Iran, it is imperative to activate with greater force and take firmer measures to achieve pressure. To tell the truth, the Iranian regime continues to be recognized by most of the world’s countries and has the unwavering support of regimes such as Venezuela’s. It is already known that Maduro always portrays himself as totalitarian.
What do the people of Iran want? Freedom, respect, live better. The urgency of a profound change is undeniable.
A teenager whose mother tried to stop her from going out to protest for fear of being killed gave a lapidary response: “I can’t choose what I wear, I don’t have the right to dance in public. By law, I’m not allowed to be myself. I’m already dead. But when I go out into the street I have a dream. And that gives me life.”