Women, Life, Freedom: Recent Protests in Iran

By Elika Kalami 

Across Iran, countless protests have erupted over the suspicious and violent death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died in police custody after wearing her hijab incorrectly. The atrocity sparked a wave of anger and defiance stronger than ever before in the country; citizens are finally grouping together to fight against the corrupt Islamic Regime that has taken control of the Iranian government. Amini’s tragic death has become the focal point for the seething anger of Iranian women at the continuous gender discrimination, and of the Iranian men who are distraught and enraged with the dishonorable regime. Beginning in September 2022, the youth and citizens of Iran have gathered in their battles for equality in numerous, remarkable protests, but to little avail, as recent news has shown. 

Iranian citizens call for democracy; women insist on equality; the majority want a normal, peaceful government and basic human rights. The current regime offers misogyny, oppression, and iniquity. These protests aim to finally overthrow the government and reclaim the freedom and secular lifestyles in Iran before the Islamic Revolution of 1979. 

Despite the citizens’ vibrant energy and resilience, the protests put them at risk of constant danger. Since the weeks of unrest, at least 300 innocent citizens have been unjustly killed by Iran’s “morality police,” many of whom were adolescents. Names of bright, young children who were among the victims, such as Nika Shakarami, Sarina Esmailzadeh, and Omid Sarani have been circulating the internet. The Iranian authorities’ strict control of information and speech makes the exact number and identities of those unjustly killed difficult to determine. 

The current protests are certainly not the first to erupt in the country. For instance, a few years ago, riots broke out over a significant and sudden increase in gas prices. However, with the addition of technology and social media, the injustices have become vocal and spread all over the world. Iran now has the support of millions worldwide like never before. 

The backlash from the authorities, purposeful shortages, and deaths continue to fuel the anger of Iranian citizens, despite being met with police brutality. With the support of others, Iran’s protests have transformed into a national uprising. Today, we can only continue to stay updated with news and attend the many protests held locally. 

Iran is not a corrupt Islamic regime. It is more defined by the likes of Mahsa Amini rather than the brutes who killed her. Iran is a beautiful, misunderstood country with regions that range from mountains to deserts. Its citizens are helpful, passionate, and hospitable. It is important to not believe the propaganda and stereotypes spread in the media and instead show our support for Iran.