Iran: the beginning or the beginning of the end?
After more than three months of widespread protests in Iran, many are assured that the situation could grow into a second Iranian Revolution. But one thing remains unclear: it is impossible to tell whether the end is in sight or if it's just the beginning.
On September 16, 2022, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was killed after being detained by morality police in Tehran on the grounds of disobeying Iran's strict policy of wearing a hijab (headscarf) in public. What many have quickly called out as abuse by Iran's morality police, the tragic death of the young woman sparked rage among women, men and youth across dozens of cities in the country.
In response to the demonstrations, the Iranian government has ordered arrests of thousands of protesters. Iran Human Rights, a non-governmental organization based in Norway, says that at least 469 protesters (including 29 children) have been killed by security forces. However, it is hard to tell the exact number due to the internet shutdown by the authorities.
Could the protests grow into a revolution?
The protests are unlike anything Iran has seen in decades - it seems like the entire country has united against the harsh regime - rooted in misogyny, corruption and absolute power - under Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The political regime is equally well-known for its association with Russia and China - countries that are also often referred to as authoritarian and corrupt.
It is important to remember that this is not the first time the people of Iran have taken it to the streets to fight for their rights. Iranian revolution of 1979 was, at least initially, not about establishing an Islamic state. While it did result in the creation of the Iran we know today, it was still about people wanting to liberate themselves from a repressive government.
Though the current protests are centered around unjust treatment
of women - with Woman, Life, Freedom being the slogan - the people of Iran are on a pursuit of a secular, democratic government based on equality, freedom and peace for all.
Iranian women need and deserve our support, and it is our duty to stand by them with by all the means we can, actively spreading word on the matter. Whether Iran is on the brink of a revolution or not, we are witnessing a remarkable chapter in the history of Iran, which, hopefully, will transform the lives of its people for the better.