Since the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old, detained by the morality police for incorrectly wearing her hijab in public, protests against the severe repression of expression, led by the slogan “Women Life Freedom“, have swept through Iran and supporting nations.
The end of 2022 for Iran has been packed with civil unrest. The civil rights movement, led by women, and sparked by another unjust death of a young woman over restrictive laws, has seen hundreds of protestors killed in the government’s violent crackdown.
Iran’s clerical governance has long been a hot topic due to the nation’s arbitrary history, swinging repetitively between more liberal approaches to more religious governments. Since Mahsa Amini’s unjust death, many have taken it as a sign that it is now time to fight back against the current government’s strict morality police.
The protests have spread across 140 cities and towns and have been highlighted as one of the strongest movements against the Islamic Republic of Iran in over 10 years. This is also due to the high rate of lives taken in the movement’s cause. Since its beginning, at least 341 lives have been taken, which include children as well. This statistic is taken from the data of the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).
HRANA also claims there have been around 15,800 protestors detained and a further 39 deaths of security personnel.
The Iranian government has recognized these protests as riots instigated by the nation’s foreign enemies. The large support for the protests across social media globally also renders international relations all the more delicate.
French President Emmanuel Macron has publically called the civil unrest a “revolution” in a radio interview on France Inter on Monday.
It is women who launched this revolution. The grandchildren of the 1979 Islamic revolution are making a revolution.Macron, France Inter Radio
President Macron has also urged for diplomatic collaboration with the Iranian government, but the Iranian foreign ministry simply responded by saying Macron’s comments were “regrettable and shameful”.
(Contextually, Macron has also instilled rather strict approaches to accepting refugees from the MENA regions, urging many EU countries and with emphasis Germany, to follow suit with stricter restrictions.)
The Iranian government is trying to use its power to repress any further rioters, and using detentions against those caught as ways to deter others. Judiciary Chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei has said that identified “rioters” would be charged with “moharebeh“, “efsad fil-arz“, and “baghy” (enmity against God, corruption on Earth, and armed rebellion, respectively). The Iranian government is based on Sharia laws, and these condemnations all vow the death penalty.
The Judiciary Chief extended these warnings to include that if someone has been identified as using a weapon or firearm, then, they would receive retaliation in kind.
As of late, this has seen more than 2,000 people charged with the penalty of “recent riots”, and local media has cited further numbers of detention.
On Sunday, apparently, there have been 164 charged in Hormozgan, in southern Iran. There have been 276 people charged in central Iran, Markazi. And an additional 316 in Isfahan province. The numbers only continue to increase as the government continues to attempt to repress further human rights protestors.
Today, the Iranian government has condemned its first captive to the death penalty.
The Revolutionary Court in Tehran has detained a protestor involved in the protests that have been accused of setting fire to a government facility. This unnamed person has been charged with “enmity against God”.
Many human rights groups in the area are warning that with the breaking of the ice with this first execution, there may be many hasty executions to follow.
In fact, there are currently at least 20 pending death penalties, according to the Iran Human Rights organization.
The director of Iran Human Rights, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, has called on international communities to action, and urged the need to “strongly warn the Islamic Republic of the consequences of executing protestors.”
Since, there has been action on behalf of the EU imposing sanctions directly on 29 Iranian nationals, and three entities identified as being “responsible for the suppression of the Iranian protestors.” Such individuals were: Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi; the morality police group that arrested Amini; the head of the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF), and the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC).
The UK also came in with support, adding more sanctions against the Iranian Communications Minister Issa Zarepour, the chief of cyber police Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid, and numerous LEF and IRGC officials.
Iran has also instigated action in the Kurdistan region, killing two people on Monday after Iran launched missiles and drones at the exiled opposition groups of Iranian Kurds based there.
The IRGC representative has spoken with Fars, a news agency, that it was intended to target additional “separatist groups” that they claim augmented further “riots” in Kurdish cities in north-western regions of Iran.
The Iranian protests do not seem to be finishing any time soon. The beginning of state executions does not seem to signify any nearby ending. The fight for the freedom of expression, choice, and life, is one to be supported globally. The suppression of women’s choices is the suppression of all humankind.
With the rise of further human rights awareness, read here on the growing protests against Qatar’s World Cup Stadium construction and the workers claiming human rights violations.