Protests in Iran: Protests began in Iran after a woman, who was arrested for breaking a modesty law, died in an intensive care unit

By: Brian Lines

According to AP News, it was on March 7, 1979 that the Islamic state in Iran first announced that all women must wear hijabs in public. Today, 43 years later, this is still the law. All women who are citizens of Iran and who are visiting the country must wear a hijab in public. While there have been protests surrounding this law since the day after it was passed, these protests have recently taken up a new vigor. Mass groups of women are reported in Iran stripping off their hijabs and waving them in the air, sometimes even lighting them on fire.

As Amanda Taub states in her New York Times article, “it has come to symbolize the gulf between the population’s demands and what the government is willing, or even able, to provide.” These “modesty laws” were the reason for the arrest of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, in September.

Amini died in an intensive care unit, having been transferred there by the police, three days after her original arrest where she acquired injuries. The government has released a statement claiming that Amini died of a heart attack, but a released video of Amini in the police station with bruises and blood on her face mixed with her father’s claims of her being abused by the police has sparked the newfound fire in these protests.

In fact, as Taub wrote in her article, this is one of the most significant movements in the Islamic Republic since 1979. The conversation surrounding women’s rights, which continues to be a forefront conversation all around the world, is taking the form of protests against the hijab laws and the morality police enforcing them in Iran.

Amir-Hussein Radjy, for AP News, quoted Susan Maybud, a woman who participated in the original protest in 1979 the day after the passing of these so-called “modesty laws.” Maybud is quoted saying “It wasn’t just about the hijab, because we knew what was next, taking away women’s rights.” 

Sources: AP News, The New York Times

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