Protests in Iran – What You Need to Know.

Photo Credit: NPR

Protests against the Iranian government began after the death of Mahsa Amini. 


What sparked the protest? 


Amini was twenty-two years old when she was arrested by the morality police for “violating” the law that enforces women to wear hijabs. 


In an NPR podcast interview, Iranian American Scholar Pardis Mahdavi said, “the morality police, as I mentioned, they’re charged with upholding right and forbidding wrong”


Mahdavi explains that the law leaves a lot of interpretation by the police as to what is “immoral”


According to NPR podcast, “Fresh Air,” “[the police] took her into custody. And three days later, she was dead. The Iranian government says Amini died of a heart attack and possibly a stroke. Her family and thousands of protesters think she was killed.”


Since her death, people have begun protests by taking off their headscarves in solidarity.


According to BBC News, protesters have been seen setting their headscarves on fire and chanting “Women, life, freedom”. 


Amini’s death has sparked the public into action; protesters incited by her death have transformed the movement into anti-government. 


Why are people protesting? 


General discontent with the government has led to widespread participation in the protests


A 20 year old student told the Washington Post, ““For us women, life is a constant battle and struggle”. 


A 53 year old mother of a son who participated in protests said in an interview with The Washington Post, “My feeling of hope is somehow more dominant…it’s like we have nothing left to lose.”


One protestor told BBC News, “I don’t know when our protests will come to an end, but today Iranian society is more awake than ever and we are ready for big changes.”


The protestors’ desire for change has maintained the protests. 


What was the Iranian government’s reaction to the protests?


The police have responded violently to the protesters. 


According to CNBC News, one woman said, “They are beating and killing protesters in all cities of Iran, and police are trying to get help from neighboring countries like Afghanistan,”


PBS News reported that according to a Human Rights group 233 people have been killed in the protests. 


Deaths were caused by ammunition during the protests. 


What is the likely impact of the protests?


The protests are not the first to rebel against the government, but they signify the younger generation’s discontent with the government and a more widespread shift in perspective. 


How long have protests been going on ? 


The protests began at Amini’s funeral on September 16, 2022 and have lasted since then. 


However, Iran has a longer history of protests that date back to the 1979 Iranian Revolution.