Iran marks one year since the death of Mahsa Amini
On Saturday, Iranian security forces briefly kidnapped Mahsa Amini’s father and dispersed across the country, primarily in Kurdish areas, a year after her death in police detention sparked some of the country’s worst riots since the Shah’s fall in 1979. Authorities barred the family from commemorating the incident with a ceremony.
What was the Iranian Hijab Movement?
- Since 1981, the hijab, or Islamic headscarf, has been required in Iran. In public, women are required to wear loose-fitting attire and a headscarf. Fines and two months in prison are the penalties for not wearing the hijab.
- After Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini commanded women to wear the hijab in public, it became law in 1983. Many ladies objected to this choice.
- Mahsa Amini, 22, died in September after being arrested for reportedly not properly covering her hair and wearing narrow pants. This generated widespread public outrage and anti-government protests. During these protests, women torched their hijabs.
- Although public demonstrations against the hijab have ended, more women are refusing to wear it. Iranian politicians, on the other hand, are working on new legislation to crack down on women who wear the hijab incorrectly.
- The law applies to girls as young as nine years old. In practice, authorities have made veiling compulsory for females as young as seven years old.
What was the recent development in the Iranian Hijab Movement?
- Detention: Amjad Amini, Mahsa Amini’s father, was temporarily held by Iranian security authorities on the anniversary of her death. According to various reports, it is unclear whether he was arrested or merely held. According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, he was advised not to observe the anniversary of his daughter’s death.
- Security deployment: On the anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death, there was a considerable security presence in Iran’s predominantly Kurdish provinces. Human rights groups had expressed concerns about protests and disturbances, thus the increased security presence was in response.
What were the reactions from around the world?
- International Reaction: The killing of Mahsa Amini in police custody sparked significant protests in Iran and drew international outrage. US President Joe Biden praised her significance, adding that her narrative spurred a historic campaign known as “Woman, Life, Freedom” that has had an impact both in Iran and beyond.
- Sanctions: Both the United Kingdom and the United States slapped sanctions on Iranian officials and entities in response to Iran’s handling of protests and suppression of dissent. The United Kingdom sanctioned four Iranian officials, while the United States sanctioned over two dozen individuals and businesses associated with Iran’s “violent suppression” of protesters.
These incidents highlight the country’s continued difficulties, particularly in areas of ethnic and cultural variety, such as Kurdish districts. The death of Mahsa Amini has been a focal point for opposition to the Iranian government’s policies and actions.