The Ceaseless Fight of The Iranians
Last Saturday marked the 44th anniversary of the Iran Islamic Revolution of 1979, an event that had choked the globe. The revolution followed the abolishment of the Iranian monarchy. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini then came to power and ruled Iran as a theocracy. This governmental system still stands in the country.
Today, with the current president, Ebrahim Raisi, Iranian civilians face various extremist “Islamic” rules imposed by The Morality Police of Iran. The group was established in the country in the year of 2006. Their duty consists of enforcing a certain dress code, such as mandatory veiling for women. The organization is furthermore supported by the Iranian interior ministry. On September 13, 2022, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was arrested in the capital, Tehran, by the Morality Police for not wearing the veil as they required her to and labeling it as “inappropriate clothing.” Following her arrest, the young woman was found in a coma. Three days later, Amini passed away due to severe head trauma.
An injury like this is usually caused by a violent strike or jolt to the head, thus leading Amini’s family and local news to believe that the young Iranian endured severe physical abuse by the police.
The passing away of Masha Amini incited a wave of yearning for justice and liberation among the Iranian people. On September 17, 2022, the Iranians took their anger to the streets and protested against the government. Outside, the crowds were believed to be chanting “Death to the dictator” as well as “Woman, Life, Freedom.” Some women were even seen removing or burning their enforced garments. The movement was reproduced in over 50 cities, including some of Iran’s biggest cities, such as Tehran, Tabriz and Shiraz.
On December 1st, Iran’s attorney general, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, stated during a press conference that “Morality police have nothing to do with the judiciary. It was abolished from the same place it was launched. Of course, the judiciary will continue to monitor society’s behavior.” However, The Student News Network of Iran (SNN) remains wary of the matter and claims that it is simply a government ruse to distract them from the protests.
The Iranians have been protesting nearly every day since September 17th. The Iranian force was, as a result, granted permission to open fire at the protesters. On December 6th, the BBC stated in an article covering the protests in Iran that The Activist News Agency (HRANA), which is an Iranian non-governmental organization that advocates for human rights, says that “448 protesters have been killed, including 63 children, in addition to 57 members of the security forces”.
The Deutsche Welle news company released an article on the 8th of January, 2023 stating that there have been over 18 000 arrests around the country. In the same week, news spread that the Iranian juridic parliament sentenced 15 000 protesters to the death penalty. This release outraged the world; many statements on the suddenness of the decision came forward, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who tweeted: "Canada denounces the Iranian regime's barbaric decision to impose the death penalty on nearly 15,000 protesters. These brave Iranians were fighting for their human rights — and we continue to stand united in support of them, and united against the regime's heinous actions."
Via The New York Post
The news had originally spread from a parliament conference in Iran where 227 lawmakers labeled the protesters as “mohareb,” a term used in Persian that translates to “war against God and the state” or “enmity against God.” To do either of these things is punishable by the death penalty in Iran. Al Jazeera moreover quoted that lawmakers stated that the arrested protesters “should be dealt with “decisively” with a response that would “teach an example.” The usage of such a term, as well as the lawmakers’ statements, caused the assumption of the execution of 15 000 protesters. After the clarifications, Present Trudeau proceeded to erase his tweet. Afterwards, a list of the 227 parliament members began circulating online along with a letter insisting that the judiciary treat all the arrested protesters “as people engaging in moharebeh.” The letter and the list, which had included resigned members of the parliament, were proven to be false as well.
Despite not sentencing all “moharabeen” to death, Iran is still advancing in its death penalty decisions. The New York Times stated in an article that 8 men have been executed, including “a doctor, a rapper, a karate champion, a barber and an actor, sons, grandsons and fathers.” The newspaper additionally states that “At least 15 other men and boys remain at risk of execution. Some human rights groups cite higher numbers, which The New York Times was not able to independently verify.”
On February 11th, the anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution, president Ebrahim Raisi made a speech at the Azadi Square in the city of Tehran. The speech was televised for the gathered public. Throughout Raisi’s speech, he denounces the West for implementing propaganda against his government: “Those who have been deceived by the enemy now know that the enemy’s issue is neither woman nor life or freedom or human rights, but it wants to take away the independence and the tranquil life of the Iranian nation.” He furthermore stated “You [the West] use women as tools and have turned them into commodities […] you propagate the vilest form of obscenities, meaning homosexuality.”
During the speech, the screen suddenly got hijacked by protesters. In the center of the interrupted screen, appeared a veiled woman who declared the following statement: “Death to the Islamic republic,” inciting the civilians to stand their ground and persist with the protests. The interruption was believed to have lasted 18 seconds.
Via The Independent UK
Despite the interruption, the government ensured that the day was properly celebrated. Rallies and celebrations were held on the decorated streets of around 1400 cities in Iran. The Posters of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, and the president, Ibrahim Raisi, were held high. The government furthermore paraded its military advances.
According to the Washington Post, many prisoners are beginning to get released, including “seven Iranians […], five local and international rights groups, as well as Iranian doctors and lawyers in direct contact with people arrested after supporting the protests.” Despite the release of some Iranian civilians, Iranians believe that most of the arrested protesters come back as bruised beings with a trauma they will have to bear. The government of Iran has yet to speak on what prisoners undergo in their penal institutions.