Iran erupts in protests after young woman dies in regime custody
In July, Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi ordered the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution to step up the enforcement of the nation's hijab law.
Just weeks later, a young woman standing with her family in a Tehran subway station was arbitrarily taken into a van by the "morality police" for an unknown dress code violation. While in custody, Mahsa Amini, 22, fell into a coma and was taken to a hospital, where she died three days later. Her father said her legs were bruised; others say she had been beaten on the head near her neck. The government says she died of a heart attack. But the Iranian people, who are already outraged over abuses by the "morality police" and other Iranian military forces, are protesting in the streets. "Women, Life, Freedom" is a common chant. So is "I will kill whoever killed my sister."
Raisi is in New York, where he is planning to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in October. Opponents of Iran's regime are protesting his visit, saying a murderer like him cannot be welcomed by the international body that upholds human rights. Raisi was a key overseer of the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988.
The death of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian of Kurdish ethnicity, has now intensified the calls for the world's leaders to rebuke Raisi, not only for mass murder, but also for his misogynistic and brutal treatment of women.
The UNGA should be a place to "take immediate action" on the atrocities of the Iranian regime against women, said Mrs Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
"The dossier of the Iranian regime's crimes should be referred to the Security Council, and its leaders should be brought to justice," Mrs. Rajavi said, adding that Iran's women should hold a national protest against the mullahs' cruel laws and their "morality police," who terrorize the population.
Raisi's upcoming presence at the U.N. "will be a terrible affront to the U.N. charter," as he and the Iranian regime "systematically executed my husband and many of my dearest friends, burying them in secret mass graves," Zahra Afshari Amin wrote in a September 18 article in The New York Post, referring to the 1988 massacre.
"The United Nations and its leading member-states must understand that by granting Raisi a platform, they'll effectively be overlooking these killings and legitimizing the position held by a man known to countless Iranians as the 'Butcher of Tehran.'"
The outcry after Mahsa's death has been fierce and widespread. Even Mahsa's funeral was invaded by the regime.
Enraged residents of Tehran staged a protest rally outside Kasra Hospital, where Mahsa passed away. Demonstrators chanted, "Death to the dictator," "We are all Mahsa," "From Kurdistan to Tehran, oppression against women," and "Khamenei is a murderer, his rule is illegitimate." Plainclothes agents arrested protesters and tried to disperse the crowds, but the protesters grew stronger, chanting, "Vigilant Iranian, support, support" to encourage others to join them.
Due to the outcry, regime forces tried to force Mahsa's family to bury her at night in her hometown, Saqqez, to prevent large crowds from attending her funeral. Her family resisted and postponed the burial to the morning of September 17.
From the early hours of September 17, state security forces blocked the entrances of Saqqez to prevent people from coming to the funeral. However, thousands of Saqqez residents still gathered at the main cemetery and vocally chastised the regime for its murder of Mahsa.
After Mahsa's burial, protesters held a rally outside the governor's office and confronted the security forces while chanting, "I will kill whoever killed my sister." The police responded by firing tear gas and pellets at the protesters, arresting some people and wounding several others.
On the third day of protests, uprisings occurred in Sanandaj, Mahabad, and Karaj, and a demonstration was held by students at Tehran University. The regime tried to hamper the protests by disrupting the internet in Saqqez and Sanandaj, but the crowds could not be stopped. Women had a significant presence in the protests. Mrs. Rajavi offered her sympathies to Mahsa Amini's family and called for public mourning over her murder.
Meanwhile, on the fifth day of the uprising in different areas of Tehran and dozens of cities across Iran, at least 25 provinces have continued. people in Tehran and other cities, including Mashhad, Sabzevar, Arak, Ilam, Marivan, Gorgan, Birjand, Isfahan, Sari, Tabriz, Karaj, Fardis Karaj, Kermanshah, Qazvin, Shiraz, Bandar-Abbas, Kish, Kerman, Rafsanjan, Sanandaj, Qom, Khorramabad, Zanjan, Rasht, Ahvaz, Urmia, Bukan, Mahabad, Ardabil and Hamedan took to the streets and demonstrated against the mullahs' regime.
On Tuesday, the state-run website Eslam-e No reported a tweet by Mohsen Mansouri, the governor of Tehran, in which he wrote, "The main elements of tonight's gatherings in Tehran were fully organized, trained and had plans to create disturbances in Tehran. Pouring diesel fuel on roads, hurling rocks, attacking the police, setting fire to motorbikes and garbage cans, destroying public property, etc. are not things that ordinary people would do."
Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), saluted the protesting youths and said that Iran is united in the uprising for freedom. Rebellious cities are joining together. The resounding cries of "this month is the month of sacrifice, Seyyed Ali [Khamenei] will be overthrown," and "this is the last message, the regime itself is the target" have shaken the mullahs' regime's pillars in the streets of Tehran. Is it not time to listen to the opponents of the regime and call on the U.N. and Western governments to "take immediate action" on regime atrocities?
Saeed Abed is a member of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee, Human Rights Activist, and expert on Iran and the Middle East.