What’s Going On In Iran?


Protesters in Iran fighting for their rights.

Iran has been in the news frequently lately with ongoing protests and deaths making news. Protests have happened before in the country, as Iranians have been protesting against the dictatorial political system of their government and the bad economical system for about a year. 

Iran’s political system consists of an Islamic theocratic government, established in 1979 after the overthrow of the long-term monarchist system of the country. This new system has given rise to many revolts and disputed opinions over the years, especially since Iran’s constitution, adopted in 1979, mandates Sharia law, which is a body of Islamic religious law that stipulates that women who are not wearing a veil, or an item of clothing to cover their body in public can be punished by law. According to Sharia, women also inherit half of what a man would, and the compensation for their death is also half. These restrictions against women have led to disagreements regarding the government’s policies, on behalf of both men and women. 

If protests were already occurring, they started again last month and they have been more violent. They started on September 16, 2022, following the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, who was killed in custody of the morality police for not wearing her hijab correctly, according to the Guidance Patrol’s policies. Police claimed that Amini had a heart attack and collapsed into a coma. However, many witnesses claim she was severely beaten by the police. 

This event caused an eruption of protests in the country with young people showing anger and discontent toward the official Iranian rules. Some Iranian women, in bold acts of defiance, are taking off their hijab. This required piece of clothing consists of a veil that women are forced to wear so that their hair is covered and has been the subject of many conflicting opinions in Iran over the years. Others are showing their anger by protesting loudly in the streets of Tehran, Iran’s capital. It is believed, according to the Norwegian non-profit organization Iran Human Rights, that around 150 people died in the protests over the past month, including a 16-years-old protester, Nika Shakarami.

On September 19, Iran’s internet was shut down, preventing the citizens from communicating with other countries and preventing the world from being informed on the situation in the country. As it was done in the past, shutting down the internet in a country during a period of instability and revolt is a way for the government to isolate the country’s citizens from the rest of the world.

Many people from across the world are showing their support for Iranian men and women, on social media or by protesting in the streets; whether it is in Los Angeles, USA, or Istanbul, Turkey, people are gathering to protest in favor of women’s rights. 

This fight is not only a demand for justice for Mahsa Amini, but also a bigger fight in which women are protesting to regain control over their own bodies and emancipate themselves from their government’s rules. 

Showing support for the people of Iran and keeping informed on the situation in the country is important during this time of instability and insecurity. Citizens from across the world could keep updating themselves on the evolution of the crisis in the country by reading the news frequently, and reading and relaying media posts about the conflicts. 

The New York Times in a recent article published on October 8, 2022, suggests ways that American citizens could help support Iranian women, for instance by making sure that Iranians don’t stay isolated from the rest of the world. Other ways to help would be to donate money to funding or simply showing support by protesting or displaying an Iranian flag.