Fortified by 44 Years of Resistance, Iranian Women and Youth are Ready to Complete their Unfinished Mission
One year ago, the death of a young woman in the custody of the Iranian regime’s patrols ignited the long-suppressed anger of the Iranian populace, especially the younger generations.
The remarkable uprising led by women, that followed, reached its peak in strength and persisted for an impressive six-month duration. It symbolized the evolution of the previous nationwide uprising in November 2019 and represented the culmination of the nation’s resistance spanning over 44 years.
Since March, these protests have taken on various forms, including demonstrations held on the birthdays of the victims, vocal condemnations of the execution of protesters, daily protests orchestrated by diverse social groups, acts of aggression against IRGC forces, and deliberate attempts to set fire to the regime’s oppressive establishments.
It is abundantly clear that the Iranian women and youths are now more impassioned than ever, eagerly anticipating another chance to erupt like a volcano and bring their unfinished mission to a close.
Iranian Women Leading the Charge for Change
The news of Zhina Amini’s death while in the custody of the so-called morality police sent shockwaves through Iranian society. NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi immediately declared three days of mourning in honor of Zhina Amini (Mahsa). She also called upon Iranian women to lead nationwide protests and resist, firmly asserting that the mullahs’ guidance patrols must be disbanded.
On that very night, brave Iranian women initiated protests in front of Kasra Hospital where Zhina had tragically passed away. During her burial in Saqqez, many women removed their veils as a powerful response to Zhina’s murder, which was linked to the so-called improper veiling. This act sent a resounding message to the regime: “Enough is enough! We will no longer tolerate such brutality. Khamenei must step down!”
These protests continued with unwavering courage and intensity for a full six months across the nation, despite the brutal crackdown by regime security forces and intelligence services. The protesters demanded nothing less than the complete overthrow of the regime.
A ruthless crackdown does not spare women and children
In its ruthless bid to suppress the protests, the clerical regime spared no effort. Shockingly, approximately 750 brave individuals, both women and men, paid the ultimate price, losing their lives during the protests at the hands of security forces. This heartbreaking toll included at least 70 children and nearly 100 women. Moreover, hundreds endured severe injuries, with many tragically losing their eyes due to pellet gunshots to the face.
Even those who courageously reported Zhina’s death and burial were not immune to the regime’s repression. Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, two dedicated journalists, continue to languish in Evin Prison.
The regime’s relentless crackdown extended to the widespread arrest and detention of no less than 30,000 protesters. These individuals were subjected to horrific torture and sexual assault in a cruel attempt to shatter their resolve and coerce false confessions.
The brutality of the regime’s response to the protests knew no bounds. Some protesters met their untimely demise under torture, while others tragically passed away shortly after release, reportedly due to lethal injections administered within prison walls.
Security forces launched a shocking attack on the country’s esteemed institution, Sharif University of Technology, where they apprehended 60 students.
To suppress the protests among detained individuals, they resorted to setting fire to Evin Prison, leading to the relocation of prisoners.
Furthermore, there were numerous harrowing attacks, even involving armored vehicles, on high schools in their pursuit to arrest activist students. Several students lost their lives during these violent raids.
In an attempt to divert attention from the protests, the regime orchestrated coordinated chemical attacks, primarily targeting girls’ high schools, as a vengeful act against young women who had dared to voice their opposition to the regime and participate in the protests. Shockingly, the poisoning of schoolgirls endured for a relentless five-month period, with authorities failing to take any effective measures to halt the attacks or provide explanations to the affected families.
The regime’s oppressive actions continued as they reinstated restrictions on women, officially on April 15, 2023, deploying facial recognition technology and imposing heavy fines for women who removed their veils. They also attempted to reintroduce the guidance patrols to the streets, a move that sparked immediate and widespread protests.
Additionally, all three branches of the government introduced another Hijab and Chastity bill, which, if approved, would have a far-reaching impact on all aspects of social life, further limiting people’s already constrained rights.
The Regime’s Profound Fear of Another Revolt
Contrary to the claims made by the clerical regime, the protests have not subsided; instead, they have taken on different forms since March. These ongoing demonstrations include commemorating the martyrs on their birthdays and protesting the execution of fellow protesters.
There are daily protests and strikes organized by various social sectors, encompassing teachers, lawyers, retirees, workers, nurses, students, and defrauded investors. Notably, the people of Zahedan and Baluchistan have consistently marched in protest virtually every Friday.
The preemptive measures taken by the regime reveal their profound fear of another uprising. In an attempt to prevent the resurgence of protests, the regime’s intelligence services have conducted a wave of arrests nationwide, even re-arresting many of the prisoners they had released in February under the guise of a “general pardon” aimed at quelling public anger.
The authorities have also intensified their crackdown on universities, aiming to stifle these hubs of protest. Disciplinary committees have summoned thousands of students, suspending their studies and denying them access to their dormitories. Many students have been unjustly arrested and imprisoned. Furthermore, the regime has purged university professors who supported the students and their protests, and they have arrested and imprisoned lawyers who defended the protesters.
Additionally, activist teachers who refused to report on their students or participated in the protests have been arrested and imprisoned. In recent weeks, intelligence services have gone so far as to detain the relatives of the victims killed during the Iran uprising to prevent them from commemorating their children on the anniversary of their deaths. They have also re-arrested former political prisoners who support the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
Shockingly, the clerical regime has executed over 500 individuals since January, surpassing its own record as the world’s top per capita executioner.
Iranian people’s unyielding resolve
The clerical regime is gripped by the specter of another uprising, knowing that when it erupts, they will be powerless to stop it. They are overwhelmed by fear, while the Iranian people, no longer afraid, have nothing left to lose. Fear has shifted its focus.
Over 44 years of enduring pressures, restrictions, discrimination, exploitation, deprivation, suppression, injustice, and poverty have transformed Iranian society into a powder keg, poised to explode at any moment. Not only has the readiness for overthrowing the regime increased, but the confrontational stance of the young generation against the Revolutionary Guards has also grown stronger.
The 2022-2023 uprising marked the third major uprising in just five years. With each occurrence, the people learn new lessons, emerging stronger and more resilient.
Young individuals are increasingly joining the PMOI Resistance Units, expanding the Iranian Resistance’s organized network within Iran. Time is working against the mullahs and in favor of the Iranian people.
World governments must recognize the Iranian people’s right to resist and overthrow the ruling dictatorship in Iran. They also have the right to defend themselves against the IRGC and mercenary forces. It is imperative that these governments vehemently condemn the mullahs’ gross violations of human rights in Iran and prosecute the regime’s leaders for committing genocide and crimes against humanity.
Furthermore, they should join the ranks of the 1,000 prominent women, 3,600 parliamentarians from around the world, 124 former presidents and prime ministers, and 75 Nobel laureates in supporting the Iranian people, particularly the courageous women of Iran, in their quest for freedom and democracy.