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As young Iranians continue to lead the nation’s largest anti-government protests in recent history, the ultra-conservative Islamic Republic of Iran shows no signs of slowing down its bloody crackdown.
Months after the September 16 death of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian Mahsa Amini, who was detained by the country’s “morality police” and taken to a re-education center for not wearing her hijab, the fiery will of young Iranians continues to burn. They’re demanding equal rights for women and an end to the reign of longtime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Yet, the regime’s fiery will to maintain its grip on the people hasn’t simmered either. Two months after Amini’s death, at least 326 people, including 43 children and 25 women, have been killed in the protests, according to the Norway-based Iran Human Rights NGO (IHRNGO). Though those numbers are almost certainly higher, with the NGO calling it the “absolute minimum.”
Hundreds of children have been detained and beaten as well, including a 14-year old girl who was placed in a jail with adult drug offenders and a 16-year-old boy with a broken nose, the New York Times reports.
Iranian protests continue despite bloody crackdown
Iran’s restrictions on internet access in the country makes it unclear just how many have died, but the restrictions haven’t stopped information from trickling online.
Iranians continued to protest for freedom around the country on Tuesday as many went on strike to mark the anniversary of protests in 2019 over rising fuel prices, an event that was also marked by a bloody response from authorities, according to Reuters.
— 1500tasvir_en (@1500tasvir_en) November 15, 2022
The strike and continued protests come days after Iranians marked the anniversary of “Bloody Friday,” a September 30 massacre. According to Amnesty International, on September 30 security forces fired live rounds of ammunition at unarmed protesters, killing 66 people, including children.
In the last 8 weeks Iran’s regime has killed over 300 protestors, imprisoned nearly 15,000, and threatened to execute hundreds more, yet Iran’s women persist. Today female university students removed their forced hejab and chant, “I am a free woman.” pic.twitter.com/OjQZ6zHfG5
— Karim Sadjadpour (@ksadjadpour) November 8, 2022
The unprecedented level of protests has gained support from Iranian men and older women, some of whom have begun to take off their hijabs in social media videos as a sign of solidarity, according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW).
"My beautiful girls, I am really proud of you."
After "80 years," an Iranian woman removed her hijab in solidarity with the youth of Iran protesting for their rights in the streets. pic.twitter.com/iKnvqmy5Mp
— DW News (@dwnews) October 21, 2022
Iranians plead for international support
Meanwhile, Iranians both inside and outside the country continue to plead for the international community to take action against the brutal regime.
As Iran assigns death sentences to protesters, including at least one popular rapper whose crime was making songs in support of the movement, the United Nations is slowly planning to convene an emergency session on the blatant human rights violations.
Germany sent a letter to the U.N.’s Human Rights Council on Friday, Nov. 11 “to address the deteriorating human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially with respect to women and children.”
The requests from Germany and Iceland appear to have support, as the international organization plans to convene a meeting “if possible on Nov. 24,” according to the Associated Press.
While some U.S. politicians have proposed introducing tougher sanctions on Iran, it’s unclear what impact that would have on an already isolated nation.
The future of Iran hangs in the balance
The nation of Iran was once a close U.S. ally before the 1979 revolution brought hardline religious clerics to power. Since then, strict rules limiting the freedom of women have become the norm.
Yet, as protesters continue to defy the regime at the risk of detainment and death, the clerics’ psychological grip on its people is beginning to break. Some have even resorted to confronting clerics on the street the way morality police harass women who refuse to wear hijabs.
If you really want to know why knocking off turbans of clerics has become a sport in Iran, just watch this video, then you will understand their anger the teenagers. For years clerics have been harassing women in the streets for hijab.#MahsaAmini
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) November 6, 2022
In response to the bloody crackdown, the U.S. has condemned the recent death sentences and declined to continue diplomatic talks over a possible Iran nuclear deal. Yet, without some kind of united international response, the deadly clashes between the Iranian regime and its own people will likely continue.