Where Will The Protests Lead in Iran?

Kaveh Nematipour

Iran has once again descended into chaos and unrest. Not an unusual scene in Iran over the past years, Iran’s streets are once again the battleground for people fed up with the theocratic regime to fight against the tyranny of the mullah’s who have grasped the country over the past 4 decades. The latest round of riots was sparked by the passing away of a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, who was detained by Iran’s infamous Morality Police and was consequently hospitalized and went into a comma, apparently due to being beaten up while in detention.

The incident is the latest episode in a long series of women being roughed up and maltreated by the brutal police force designated to enforce an arbitrary version of a dress code on Iranian women, a part of which is for women to cover up their hair with a compulsory hijab. The law who came into effect almost a year after the Islamic revolution of 79 has been a constant point of contention between the regime and Iranian woman and has escalated over the years but this is the first time that it stands at the center of the contention between people and the government in decades. People, from all walks of life, are rising in different cities and the fire has spread even to some religious circles who see their faith highjacked and abused by the government methodically.

As with any similar incident in Iran over the years, the protests quickly escalate to target the regime and its legitimacy and its tyrant, The Ayatollah and his corrupted cronies. In a country that has not seen a free election in more than 4 decades and is ruled by a right-wing religious despot and his band of corrupted elite, and with economy in shambles due to years of nepotism, rampant corruption and exacerbated by international sanctions, any round of protests can easily escalate to a full-scale confrontation as is the case this time. Moreover, the Kurdish opposition groups who attended Mahsa’s funeral in mass, are calling people to resistance and strikes and the reports show at least 8 people killed so far in clashes between the government forces and the rioters. Isfahan, Shiraz, Tehran and almost all the major cities in Iran have witnessed similar protests both decrying the death of the young woman and years of oppression by the regime. Different worker’s unions especially the teachers’ association have come out in support of the protesters and women’s right to choose their outfit freely.

Whether or not this round of protests will be successfully quashed by the government, or it turns out to engender a bigger movement is yet to be seen. The public anger and dissatisfaction surely contribute to hopes that this can turn into a bigger movement against the regime but still a lack of leadership and organization between the protesters makes it more likely that, like the ones before, this flame will burn out in face of a brutal crackdown and a regime not hesitating to open fire on its own citizens.

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