Protesting on the First Anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s Death

iran protest

This being the week of Mahsa Amini’s death a year ago in Iran has seen a number of protests and demonstrations along with think tank panel discussions all centered on the present state of affairs in Iran and the country’s future moving forward.

On September 14, two days ahead of the first anniversary of the 22-year-old Amini’s death at the hands of the infamous Morality Police in Iran for the crime of wearing her hijab incorrectly, a peaceful demonstration was held outside the office of the Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Section is part of the Pakistani Embassy and acts as the de facto consular representation for the Islamic Republic of Iran. By holding the protest at the entrance of the building, a steady stream of Iranians going to their offices were able to witness the dissonance expressed by activists as they called for a revolution to replace Iran’s theocratic regime.

Part of their protest included reading the names of those killed by the regime while others picketed the building’s entrance carryings signs and posters with the victims’ portraits and chanting the now well-known catch phrase, Women, Life, Freedom.

Amini’s death is evocative of Mohamed Bouazizi, a vendor who self-immolated after his vegetable cart was confiscated by police and his pleas for restitution were ignored. Having finally had enough his only recourse to address his repression was his self-sacrifice which resonated with the nation in helping restore dignity to the Tunisian people and in turn ignited the Arab Spring.

To that point, it was at the Atlantic Council, a think tank in Washington on September 15 in a discussion on the present and continuing turmoil in Iran and its future that it was noted that this moment is a pre-revolutionary one prior to a major change taking place in the country.

At Lafayette Square today several hundred Iranians and their supporters gathered to express solidarity and contempt, hoping to usher in the demise of the Iranian regime by commemorating Amini’s death and calling for the establishment of a new democratic government. Demonstrations were held around the globe in solidarity with the movement to see a change in the Iranian regime.

One speaker at today’s rally called on the US to underwrite the freedom movement in Iran by supporting those brave enough to stand up against the regime while posing the question of why so many resources are directed towards Ukraine while so little are made available for opposition groups in Iran. For that matter, the question of why support from the international community who espouse democratic values has been so slow and anemic in helping Iranians in those efforts. Questioned, too, was the recent Biden administration’s decision to release $7 billion in frozen Iranian assets =in exchange for five American hostages while imposing additional sanctions on the country.

Among those demonstrating today were a small contingent of monarchists who are calling for Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi to become king when the present regime falls. In an interview on France 24 TV, Pahlavi said that “The regime like many totalitarian regimes we have seen in history is doomed to fail and fall” due in no small part to its violent crackdown against protesters which he sees as “a sign of weakness.” Pahlavi’s father was the last Shah of Iran who was deposed by a violent revolution in 1979 that established Iran’s present theocratic regime.

Since the fateful day of her death, demonstrations in Iran and across the globe have repeatedly called for revolutionary change utilizing the now familiar Woman, Life, Freedom call as inspiration. Iran’s youth are desirous and motivated as never before in overthrowing the brutal, outdated and ossified theocratic regime of ancient mullahs so out of touch with their generation who now make up the majority of Iran’s population. Masha Amini’s death has sparked a fire of revolution that will not burn out.

In their quest to succeed it has been reported that many demonstrators in Iran have now said that after personally experiencing the brutal tactics and torture by police, this has only added further to their desire and encouraged them in their resolve to see that change is made by any means necessary.

After the lively rally, the group marched to the Capitol in their continued quest in solidarity with their counterparts in Iran for their success in seeing that change becomes a reality.

Photo by Phil Pasquini

Phil Pasquini is a freelance journalist and photographer. His reports and photographs appear in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Pakistan Link and He is the author of Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America.

(This article has appeared in Nuzeink)

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