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  • Writer's pictureGüldeniz Kurtulus

Women, Life, Freedom. – Something is Wrong With Iran

A 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman Mahsa (Jina) Amani killed by Iran’s so-called morality police while she was taken in custody. Though the authorities in Iran claims that she fainted during custody, her pictures which taken in the hospital say a lot about the violations of Iranian government towards its own citizens.

After her sorrowful death, people of Iran revolt against to Raisi government, started to make protests especially led by women and young women in contradistinction to previous protests of citizens of Iran.

Why Amani’s death led this much anger appear? What’s the difference between previous protests and the recent one?

First, in my opinion, the Islamic revolution in 1979 was the “death warrant” of the Iranian women. This revolution took almost every fundamental right of Iranian women from their hands literally which they could not do anything afterwards. If I will give some examples, you can imagine why did women revolt against the regime.

For instance, in terms of marriage, Iranian women, legally, marry by the age 13 and if her father or elders of her would allow her to marry for younger ages a judge may allow it. [1]

Let’s look another one.

Women in Iran must not sit down by a man in public transportations, in wedding ceremonies and even in some universities the entrances are different for women. If we look from the economic opportunities of the women in Iran, the case is not so different. Women cannot work if their husband don’t allow or even worst, laws restrict women to work in different types of works such as engineering, archeology, business, and English literature [2].

Last example is about inheritance law, each son of a deceased person inherits twice as much as each daughter [2] In 2022, Iran has ranked one of the worst country that economic and opportunity and participation for women in the Global Gender Gap Report among 146 countries.

Although Iranian women have higher education levels including higher learning, in the fields of STEM, when it comes to find a job, they are bound to their fathers, husbands, or elder men in their family. And the mandatory headscarf (hijab) wearing for women. That’s the reason why they took Mahsa in custody because the so-called morality police found her hijab inappropriate.

After her death the anger that accumulated over time kind of released by citizens during protests. Women took their hijab off, burned their headscarves, cut their hair, hit, and fall mullahs’ hat and many more examples. But General Hussein Rahimi announced that even though the punishment of not wearing hijab is two months in jail, the ones who encourage others to not to wear hijab will be punished for ten years in jail [3] (UANI report).

We can clearly see that the government, still, does not listen to the demands of its citizens. In the second week of the protests country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini, spoke and claimed that all these rioters are puppets of the USA and Israel and insisted that they are trying to separate their country. Also, the president Ebrahim Raisi praised his country for protecting the people’s rights and freedoms, defending the ruling regime amid its crackdown on anti-government protesters. “The constitution guarantees the existence of the Islamic system,” he said, adding that it also “guarantees fundamental rights and legitimate freedoms.” [4]

It is sad to say that there is a government which does not care about its own citizens. The citizens outside Iran, since the beginning of the protests, supported the citizens on their fight with regime. Some of them exiled or some of them ran away from their homeland due to pressure. Like Masih Alinejad, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Shaparak Shajarizadeh and many more. Some of them created platforms like Eyes on Iran (I’ll add their website to references) and created art pieces which share the suffer of Iranian women with them. These people want Iran to be removed from the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and it has come out as two-pages paper, in New York Times signed by women leaders, a sort of call to the UN, to the world [5].

Also, the Amnesty International sent messages to leaders of different countries and demanded support for Iranian government which have been remained without penalty [6]. It is correct because Iranian authorities had never been faced to harsh sanctions, beside embargo, and it sort of encouraged the government to exercise force violently on its own citizens and we are talking about bad custody conditions, torture, execution, and ill treatment.

The protests gained support from all over the world, women cut their hair, cursed Iranian government, and said a common motto: “Women, Life, Freedom!” to help them or sang songs like Baraye (meaning Because of…) just like the Coldplay and Golshifteh Farahani sang together.

It is all heart-warming and witnessing the freedom struggle of the women and their war for it. But will anything change in the future? This is the question.

Let’s give some data about the punishments and death penalties. According to Hadi Ghaemi, from the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, the security forces in Iran have killed at least 448 people, including 60 children and 29 women, and made up to 17,000 arrests. Thirty-six protesters have been charged with capital crimes and this news are from 6th of December. [7]

Considering all these happenings, a few things occur on the surface. Since the Islamic revolution in1979, Iran had been one of the most misogynist countries in the world, I know this is a controversial notion, but I could not think anything else - as I mentioned on the report of Gender Gap.

With the help of religion and bad economic conditions, Iran remained a conflictual country on the eyes of the world. I think the protests has demonstrated us that the regime has no intent to reform itself. I do not think that it also has intent to ease the tension between parties from the easy way.

It is, indeed, seeming as if the Raisi regime tries to make people silence after all these protests and reactions from the world. However due to all punishments of the regime there is something that permanently changed: People’s perceptions of the regime. It was hard for citizens, especially the women citizens, to revolt against its own state. Because this time, people were united firmly to the state when we compare it to the Iranian Green Movement in 2009.

In my opinion, people are hungry for democracy, equality and a rule of law which basically meets the needs rather than harsh economic conditions and economic policies that created the bad economic conditions which makes government much cruel.

On the other hand, there are some rumors about that the division between Iranian conservative parties is a trap to ease people which may be correct. It also indicates that the government may make some changes because it might considers the protesters as a legal social force but as I have mentioned before, I do not think so since the structure of the state is not proper for big reforms. To change the Islamic regime, it requires more radical ways.

Photo by Mohammad Gh on Unsplash

Also, the regime attacks the protestors with three different units: The police force, soldiers, and revolutionary guards. Revolutionary guards by far the most brutal one that exercises extreme ways to capture or punish citizens. At the rising of the protests, revolutionary guards were the ones who acted together with its youth branches to capture and kidnap protestors. Due to all these reasons the world should demonstrate much more solidarity with the people of Iran.

A sparkle scintillated in Iran by the death of Mahsa (Jina) Amani by the end of September. That sparkle flamed by other women to call out and say we are here, and we are so sick of your fogeyish government! These protests might be the sparkles for at least a couple of changes in Iran. People are craving for fundamental rights over there. Censorship is pretty extensive especially when the subject comes to women, their life, and their choices. There have been a deep mental and perceptional switch in the minds of people and things may get harder for the regime from now on. No matter what, no one or nothing can restrict people’s right to have freedom.

Women, Life, Freedom!


[1]- [3] United Against Nuclear War, Iran’s War on Women report (2022)

[2] Sahraei, Fariba. (September 22, 2012). Iranian university bans on women causes consternation. BBC News. Retrieved from:

[4] Al-Aqidi, Dalia. (December 05, 2022). Iranian Women Deserve Full Support. Arab News. Retrieved from:

[5] Eyes on Iran Release. (November 28, 2022). EYES ON IRAN ART ACTIVATION FACES THE UN IN NEW YORK CITY. Women Life Freedom Today. Retrieved from:

[6] Amnesty International. (September 30, 2022). Uluslararası Af Örgütü Mahsa Amini için tüm dünyada Acil Eylem başlattı. Retrieved from:

[7] de Bellaigue, Christopher. (December 6, 2022). Iran’s moment of truth: what will it take for the people to topple the regime? The Guardian. Retrieved from:

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