Remembering the 2009 protests in Iran which shook the regime to its core on December 27, 2009
Between June and December 2009, Iranians participated in widespread uprisings and nationwide protests, fervently advocating for a profound overhaul of their nation’s governing structure. The 2009 protests in Iran were sparked by the manipulated results of the 10th round of presidential elections declared on June 12, 2009.
An integral aspect of the uprising was the substantial involvement of women at the forefront. International news agencies consistently highlighted the demonstrators’ admiration for the bravery and guidance demonstrated by women.
These spirited women led chants as they surged to the front of the crowd, courageously returning teargas canisters launched by regime agents at the protesters, and swiftly aiding in the evacuation and treatment of the wounded.
On June 13, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that the protesters in one of the capital city’s main squares chanted, “death to the dictator.” Hundreds of other protesters were gathering near the Interior Ministry in the center of Tehran, also chanting, “death to the dictator.” The protesters threw stones at the forces sent to repress them; the regime’s forces responded with batons. Female protesters on Vali-e-Asr Street were beaten by anti-riot forces on motorbikes.
On June 15, about three million people took to the streets. This was the largest anti-government demonstration since the 1979 anti-monarchic Revolution in Iran, but it faced a bloody crackdown by riot police, plainclothes agents, the Basij forces, and the IRGC. The crackdown resulted in numerous arrests, injuries, and deaths. Three women, Fatemeh Salahshour, Sorour Borumand, and Fatemeh Rajabpour, were among those slain during the 2009 protests in Iran that day.
June 20 was another high point during the 2009 protests in Iran. Most of the main streets and squares in Tehran were controlled by the SSF, military forces, and plainclothes agents. Despite the intimidating show of force, women, students, and youth stood steadfastly at the front lines of the demonstration and started their protest from Enghelab Avenue. Heavy clashes erupted when SSF forces, riot police, and plainclothes agents began their military onslaught. Regime snipers shot at people from rooftops. Neda Aqa-Sultan, Maryam Mehr-Azin, and Tina Soodi were among those who were killed that day.
On December 7, 2009, at Tehran University, female students chained their hands together and became human shields for the male students, who were being targeted for arrest by regime agents.
Moreover, during the December 27 protests, brave Iranian women resisted the crackdown. Dozens of women and other protesters were detained and imprisoned. According to admissions by the SSF and their recorded wireless radio communications, Tehran was on the verge of collapse that day.
The 2009 uprisings took shape and continued eith such sacrifices and an impactful role by women.
The names and details of several of these women, who died for freedom, are as follows:
Neda Agha-Sultan, 27, was shot dead on June 20, 2009, in Tehran’s Amir-Abad neighborhood. The short clip of her death, captured on a cell phone and posted online, found its way to the rest of the world. Neda’s face became the symbol of the 2009 uprising. According to Time Weekly, her death was the most watched video of a human being’s death in history.
Maryam Mehr-Azin, 24, was shot dead on June 20, 2009, at Azadi Square. Her body was taken to IRGC’s Baqiatollah Hospital. Maryam’s family was pressured into not providing any news about her death. Thus far, the exact location of her grave in Behesht-e-Zahra Cemetery is unknown.
Maryam Soudbar, 21, a university student, was hit in the head with a baton and died after returning home from the protest march of June 20. Her father revealed that the coroner’s office had confirmed that Maryam died from a blow to the head. However, if the doctor wrote that in the death certificate, the family would never receive their daughter’s body.
Fehimeh Salahshour, 25, had a high school diploma. She died on June 14, 2009, after Basij forces hit her in the head with batons. She suffered internal bleeding and died while she was being transferred to a hospital. She was buried on June 27, in Section 266 of Behesht-e-Zahra Cemetery.
Fatemeh Rajabpoor, 38, and her mother, Soroor Boroomand, were shot dead by Basij forces after taking refuge in a Kindergarten facility on Mohammad Ali Jenah Street, opposite the Basij Base of Ashura 117 battalion.
Parisa Koali, 25, lost her life on June 21, 2009, when she was shot in the neck on Keshavarz Boulevard in Tehran. She was buried on June 23, in Section 259 of Behesht-e-Zahra Cemetery.
Tina Soodi, 24, was shot dead by the regime’s security forces on June 20, 2021. As her family was receiving her body, the regime put the family under immense pressure to announce that Tina had died of natural causes.
Fatemeh Barati, a student, lost her life in the evening of June 14, 2009, when plainclothes agents raided the Tehran University dormitory and beat her. Her body was reportedly buried in Tehran’s Behesht-e-Zahra Cemetery without her family’s knowledge.
Shabnam Sohrabi, 34, mother of a little girl, was struck repeatedly by an SSF vehicle during the protests and clashes that took place on the anniversary of Ashura, December 27, 2009. Shabnam’s body was delivered to her family 20 days later at Kahrizak Morgue. She was buried under tight security measures in Section 86 of Behesht-e-Zahra Cemetery.
Fatemeh Semsarpour was shot dead on June 20, 2009, in front of her house. Her son and a neighbor were also shot and severely wounded. Regime agents prevented Fatemeh’s family from holding a ceremony for her in Tehran.
Taraneh Mousavi was arrested on June 28, 2009. The regime’s security forces detained her near Qoba Mosque, savagely beating and raping her there. She went into coma and was taken to the hospital, but died on the way. To cover their heinous crime, the agents set her body on fire and dumped it on Karaj-Qazvin Highway.