44 Years in the Making: Iran Protests

In 1978, the Iranian Revolution took place in Iran. The uprising was fueled by the fury experienced by Iran’s people, who were angered with their government for violating their constitution. The revolution led to the toppling of the monarchy before a 2nd constitution was passed in 1979, which resulted in Iran’s infamous modesty laws.

Iran’s codes of dress (and behavior) are as follows: Women must cover their heads with a headscarf, they must wear full coverage pants or floor-length skirts, and a long-sleeved tunic or coat that reaches their mid-thigh or mid-knee. These codes are strictly enforced and sometimes enforced violently.

On September 13th, 22-Year Old Mahsa Amini was abducted off of the street by Iran’s “morality police.” Amini was walking with her brother, who was met with tear gas and arm-twisting restraint when he asked questions about Mahsa’s detainment and was told his sister needed to be “re-educated.” The police violently detained Amini because she was wearing her hijab “too loosely.” That same night, Amini was transferred to the hospital after falling into a coma due to the brain injuries she sustained during her violent detainment. On September 16th, 2022, Mahsa Amini died.

Infuritation spread nationwide. Mahsa Amini’s death marked “the final straw.”

An uproar of protests broke out across Iran, becoming the boldest challenge of Iran’s regime since the Islamic Revolution. Women have taken to the streets, rebelling against Iran’s “regime” by defiantly setting their headscarves on fire and publicly chopping off their long hair in protest. Iranian women swarm their nation’s streets arm and arm in solidarity, fueled by anger, pushing to finally abolish Iran’s modesty laws.

Authorities reacted and are continuing to respond by force. The BBC is calling it the government’s “bloody crackdown.” Police have opened heavy fire from a close range, killing over 233 recorded people. Around 6,000 protestors have been detained, including roughly 170 students. Nonetheless, Iranian women have remained resilient.