Women’s rights, hijabs and protests in Iran


Iran is one of the most challenging areas for women to live. The state controls every element of women’s lives, including how they should dress, what they study, how they work, and what they choose to do with their lives.

The Iranian morality police detained Masha Amini, a 22-year-old woman, last month. Her offense? Too much hair was visible and she wasn’t properly donning her hijab. According to eyewitnesses, the young girl was approached and taken into a police van where she was mercilessly abused. She suffered such serious physical harm that she went into a coma. When she was taken to the hospital, she passed away on September 16.

The breaking point in decades of female repression was Amini’s passing. 80 towns and cities participated in the nationwide protests that were sparked by it. Women are outraged by brutality, oppression, prejudice, and mistreatment. Men have backed the rallies as well, arguing that the state’s use of violence does not reflect the principles of Islam. To protest against Islamic radicalism, women’s hijabs and effigies of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Sayyid Ebrahim Raisolsadati (also known as Ebrahim Raisi) were set on fire. Violent conflicts between residents and security personnel have occurred as a result of the protests. About 50 individuals have died in the fighting as of this writing.

Women who are unable to participate in the street protests are instead protesting online. Women are increasingly showing up on live streams without headscarves and cutting their own hair. The hair cut serves as a symbol of support for Amini. The message is that women are giving up their ideal of beauty in order to defend their rights. They want to be treated better, given more freedom, and given more respect.

Since the protests started, the Iranian government has started a cover-up operation. At first, they insisted that Amini was never physically abused by the morality police and that she experienced heart failure while detained. Days afterwards, all social media networks filtered and deleted the police statement.

Social media tools like WhatsApp are used to organize protests by ordinary citizens. In order to stop the protests, the Iranian government turned off the internet in numerous areas of the nation. Elon Musk intervened and provided Iranian internet users with access to his Starlink satellite-based service.

Amini’s death is being investigated after President Raisi took note. However, the public is not persuaded that a fair investigation will be conducted or that changes for better treatment of women would be made. Even further limitations on what women can wear and the freedoms they can exercise are what Raisi himself wants.

Raisi has consistently been a prominent opponent of women’s attempts to repeal the hijab laws. He describes it as an abuse of Islamic principles. He added that demonstrators have to be dealt with forcefully.

As a spectator on the other side of the continent, we express our condolences to Mahsa Amini’s family and friends as well as to the Iranian women who are still subjected to harsh treatment by their own government.

We must note that Iran is a member of the United Nations and a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights even if we are fully aware that we cannot meddle in this sovereign country’s domestic affairs (UDHR). Five fundamental human rights documents have been ratified by it. Iran is nonetheless obligated by treaty to uphold life and the rule of law, even if the Organization of the Islamic Conference, of which Iran is a member, approved an alternative Islamic version of the human rights agreement known as the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam in 1990.

Nevertheless, we still expect for an impartial and thorough investigation into Amini’s death and a just resolution to the harsh treatment of women.

President Raisi was focused with his upcoming speech to the United Nations General Assembly despite the escalating domestic protests. On September 21, the Iranian president made an appeal to relax economic sanctions against his country during his speech.

As was the case when the US Embassy in Tehran was taken over in 1979, the US placed limitations on business dealings with Iran under a number of legal frameworks. Numerous penalties have been lifted, reinstated, and/or tightened over the years. This was because of a number of things, including as Iran’s attacks on Western ships in the Persian Gulf, its support for terrorism, its uranium enrichment program, and, most recently, its inability to strike a nuclear deal. Russia recently overtook Iran as the nation with the most sanctions in the world.

Twice this year, Iran pulled out of negotiations to sign a nuclear agreement. If he were to sign the agreement, President Raisi had two requirements. First, he wants to ensure that the US won’t abandon the agreement, as President Donald Trump of the US did in 2018. Raisi wants written commitments and guarantees that Iran will receive compensation if the US withdraws once more. Second, that all future investigations into Iran be halted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog. Only those investigations that were authorized by the 2015 deal should be continued, according to Raisi.

Raisi’s requests, however, come with two issues. Regarding guarantees, since this is not a treaty

Twice this year, Iran pulled out of negotiations to sign a nuclear agreement. If he were to sign the agreement, President Raisi had two requirements. First, he wants to ensure that the US won’t abandon the agreement, as President Donald Trump of the US did in 2018. Raisi wants written commitments and guarantees that Iran will receive compensation if the US withdraws once more. Second, that all future investigations into Iran be halted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog. Only those investigations that were authorized by the 2015 deal should be continued, according to Raisi.

Raisi’s requests, however, come with two issues. President Joe Biden cannot provide promises because this is not a treaty and he has no influence over how future presidents will act. The likelihood of the US backing out of a nuclear agreement with Iran is very probable if a Republican is elected as the next president. The US cannot speak for the IAEA on the subject of probes because it does not submit reports to the US.


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By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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