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Women In Iran Threaten the Ayatollah's Regime. The End Of the Islamic Revolution?

A recent wave of protests by women in Iran has captured the world's attention. Burnt hijabs and cropped hair are some of the strategies they have used to show their nonconformity with machismo and the violation of human rights in that country.

Woman in a printed newspaper

Photo: YT-DW

LatinAmerican Post | Christopher Ramírez

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Leer en español: Mujeres en Irán ponen a temblar al régimen del Ayatola ¿El fin de la revolución islámica?

In Latin America there is a well-known phrase throughout the region that tries to imply that a specific and "normal" situation was enough to unleash a reality of chaos: "The drop that overflowed the cup"; and this is precisely what happened to women in Iran a few days ago.

It has happened on several occasions in recent years around the world, and in most cases it is extrajudicial killings that trigger such chaos. It happened in 2020 when the death of George Floyd in the United States at the hands of a white police officer sparked a series of demonstrations against racism and inequality in that country.

Thus, replicating what happened in North America, women in Iran (Asian continent) have decided to assume an attitude of protest and rejection of the Islamic customs of that country, after the so-called 'Morality Police' or Police of customs murdered Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old girl, who was being held for allegedly wearing the veil (Hijab) on her head incorrectly.

This extrajudicial murder was “the last straw that overflowed the cup”, as evidenced by the recent demonstrations in which Iranian women have shown their nonconformity against the chauvinist and religious traditions that oppress them within society.

The signs of rejection range from "simple" acts such as removing their hijab in the middle of a public street, exposing their hair (something prohibited in Iran), to burning their veils in front of the astonished gaze of hundreds of people.

In fact, the protests have also been transferred to social networks, through photos and videos in which not only the situations experienced in the streets of the Muslim country are shown as a show of support for the demonstrations, but also women appear cutting their hair or hijab, precisely as a symbol of the rejection of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his regime.

However, the international media have shown their astonishment to observe that, what was previously a solitary struggle by the feminist movement in Iran, today has turned into a demonstration in which both sexes have rejected the system. 

Videos circulating on social networks show hundreds of people, both women and men, demanding justice for Amini's death and freedom for the rest of the Iranian women. "Justice, freedom, no to compulsory hijab", is one of the harangues that has been repeated forcefully in Tehran, the capital of this country.

How has the struggle of women for the vindication of their rights in Iran been?

Amnesty International (AI), one of the most important NGOs in the world in terms of human rights, launched an article in 2020 in which it explains in detail, through real stories, how women have fought for their freedom religious.

In the story provided by AI, it is expressed how the defenders of women's rights, both in the social, cultural, and political spheres, tend to be not only criticized but also persecuted, captured, and sentenced to prison.

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An example of this is the case of the lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes, for the crimes of "inciting corruption and prostitution", as well as "openly committing a sinful act (...) appearing in public without a hijab.”

However, the evidence that they showed before the courts to demonstrate the validity of these crimes, is precisely the same that ends up invalidating them.

Among the evidentiary resources used by the accusing body against Sotoudeh are: "removing the hijab during prison visits, defending women who peacefully protest against its forced use, and granting interviews to the media to talk about the arrest and violent detention of these women. ”, explains AI.

As in this case, the censorship against women in Iran has turned to acts of violation of their rights, both in freedom and in prison. Realities such as the non-participation in football matches (which led to the immolation of Sahar Khodayari in 2020 as a protest against a 6-month prison sentence), and the authoritarian measures of the 'Moral Police', have made women , and some men, rise up against the Iranian system.

For experts, and even for those who are not, the protests that are growing more every day could mean an important change in the society of that country with women in control of their own rights and faculties. Although the division between the new generation and its radical rulers does not seem to lead to a near revolution, the truth is that the gap is widening every day.

Will the women's movement be enough, not only to claim the rights of women in Iran, but to guarantee the freedoms of the entire population in the Asian country?