Iranian Daughters: Struggling for the Rights Their Mothers Lost in the Revolution

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The young collective, made up of a dozen women, many of whom are mothers, has been making waves in France in the months since it was founded online. The group posted a viral video — with more than 4.3 million views — they filmed showing the Iranian regime’s repression of its population.

Alinejad has reported on human rights abuses and corruption within the Iranian government and has led a social media movement against Iranian laws making hijabs mandatory for women. Mahsa “Zina” Amini, whose death in custody 40 days earlier had sparked an outpouring of public grief and outrage that has evolved into a mass movement. Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian, had been visiting family members in Tehran when she was arrested by the morality police for allegedly violating Iran’s hijab law. Witnesses claim that the police severely beat her; she died three days later in a hospital after slipping into a coma. Prominent human rights advocate Narges Mohammadi has called on Iranian women to flood the country’s streets with female symbols to mark International Women’s Day amid monthslong anti-regime protests sparked in large part by the government’s treatment of women. The protests began as a rebuke against the brutal enforcement of the hijab law but soon snowballed into one of the most sustained anti-regime demonstrations against Iran’s theocracy, with protesters calling for an end to clerical rule and demanding their social and political freedoms.

  • One video shows them, hair uncovered, expelling an Education Ministry official from their school while they shout “Bi-sharaf!
  • In 1951, Iran’s parliament voted to nationalize the country’s British-owned oil industry, making Iran the first nation in the Middle East to do so.
  • Tehran-based women’s rights activist Leyla Mirghafari said the antiestablishment protests have intensified women’s opposition to the hijab, a key pillar of the Islamic republic.
  • In 2012, Francesca and colleagues using the qualitative method studied the role of peer support within the Clubhouse model.
  • The economic crisis that predated this uprising has pushed many in Iranian society to the margins of poverty, affecting women disproportionately.
  • Women in Iran had previously been restricted to the private sphere, which includes the care of the home and the children, they have been restricted from mobility, and they needed their husband’s permission in order to obtain a job.

Mahsa Alimardani, who researches freedom of expression in Iran at the University of Oxford, has recently heard reports of women in Iran receiving citations in the mail for hijab law violations despite not having had an interaction with a law enforcement officer. Iran’s government has spent years building a digital surveillance apparatus, Alimardani says. The country’s national identity database, built in 2015, includes biometric data like face scans and is used for national ID cards and to identify people considered dissidents by authorities. Shuttering a business to force compliance with Iran’s strict laws for women’s dress is a familiar tactic to Shaparak Shajarizadeh. She stopped wearing a hijab in 2017 because she views it as a symbol of government suppression, and recalls restaurant owners, fearful of authorities, pressuring her to cover her head.

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By the UN high commissioner on human rights, criminalizes abortion and restricts family planning and reproductive health care, such as fetal monitoring, access to contraceptives, and voluntary vasectomies. From the start, women have set the tone of these protests and have found innovative ways to register their anger with the government. Although men have also participated in large numbers, they have done so in the name of Amini and by embracing more feminist rhetoric than ever before. In this way, women’s organizing and outrage have laid the groundwork for a much wider pro-democratic uprising. Viral videos of the morality police violently enforcing the law have generated a swell of anger and defiance. “School is a safe haven for children and teenagers to learn in a safe and supportive environment. Such events can have a negative impact on the high rate of education of children, especially girls, which has been achieved in recent decades,” UNICEF Iran said in a tweet on March 2. In December, Samimi reportedly issued a message from prison supporting the ongoing nationwide protests resulting find more at from Amini’s death.

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Veil was a status symbol enjoyed by upper-class and royal women, while law prohibited peasant women, slaves and prostitutes from wearing the veil, and violators were punished. After ancient Iranians conquered Assyrian Nineveh in 612 BC and Chaldean Babylon in 539 BC, their ruling elite has adopted those Mesopotamian customs. During the reign of ancient Iranian dynasties, the veil was first exclusive to the wealthy, but gradually the practice spread and it became standard for modesty. In 1979 the United States imposed an economic boycott on Iran, which has affected many of their economic sectors.

Iran seeks the release of Assadollah Assadi, sentenced in Belgium in 2021 over an unsuccessful 2018 bomb plot. The developments come amid struggling efforts to revive the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers that eased international economic sanctions in exchange for limits on Tehran’s nuclear program. Iran has announced the discovery of a large deposit of lithium, a key component of batteries for electric vehicles and electronic devices, state media reported on March 4.

During those same months, the morality police escalated attacks on young women for “improper hijab,” accusing them of insufficiently covering their hair or other body areas. The current unrest broke out in the wake of several smaller uprisings over the past several years. In 2017, young women began a series of anti-hijab protests in which they posted selfies on social media that showed them unveiling in public. In September 2019, a young woman, Sahar Khodayari, died after setting herself on fire to protest a prohibition on women attending soccer matches. Later in 2019 and in 2020, demonstrations over gasoline prices grew into nationwide anti-government protests concentrated in smaller cities and rural areas. However, these two types of protests, one prompted by gender apartheid and the other stemming from economic grievances, remained largely separate.

That early protest against the state-imposed dress code led to years of socioeconomic marginalization of women who rejected the imposition of compulsory hijab. Many well-educated Iranian women, including doctors, nurses, and teachers, lost their jobs as a result of their involvement in that pioneering protest. Sara Bazoobandi argues that women’s struggle for freedom of choice began decades before the most recent protests launched in the aftermath of Mahsa Amini’s death, and she details the early history of women’s resistance to the regime. Thus, by tracing the historical roots of current unrest, Bazoobandi argues that Iranian protesters’ current rejection of the headscarf does not necessarily mean a rejection of Islam, or Islamic values.

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