Hijab protests in Iran and abroad

Women protesting the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran

The Iranian regime began to promote the theory that the demonstrations are motivated by the goals of countries hostile to Tehran. Ahmad Abdel-Rahman writes.

Following the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police, Iran has witnessed many protests since September 16, when they first began. The Iranian regime was not only suppressing demonstrations at home, but it also escalated its attack against external targets.

The question now is why these demonstrations differ from others? Why is the regime's violence against the demonstrators increasing? What is Iran's and the global reaction to protests? These demonstrations are considered the strongest since the 2019 protests, which were against the backdrop of high fuel prices, the violent regime, and the high number of detainees and mortality rate.

Although the security services do not tolerate many of the protests, the anger continues. Moreover, the protesters have developed new forms of tactics, using rooftops and windows, and intensifying chants at night.

The current demonstrations which are related to the status of women and to the repressive state of their lives, are completely different from other protests which, for the most part, have been for economic reasons. As such, these have found international sympathy at both the popular and official levels.

Global support for the current demonstrators has varied, There have been demonstrations in many countries, as well as international organisations' reports on the Iranian regime which is deemed repression and for which there is worldwide demand for accountability. Indeed, the secretary-general of the United Nations, Antonio Gutteres, has repeatedly called on the Iranian regime to exercise restraint. There is also a call for an international mechanism, which is yet to be determined, to investigate recent events and to hold Tehran accountable for the demonstrations.

The protests have widened. Teachers' unions have announced strikes and students are boycotting schools and colleges. It is also feared that the Iranians on the street may seek to prolong the protests which will mean that global support and solidarity intensifies. This is what the regime fears, so it has turned to bombing abroad and attacking Kurdish targets.

Global support has included Western governments, which have abandoned any caution towards the Iranian regime. This is in contrast to the international situation in 2009, when demonstrations erupted to protest the results of former president, Ahmed Ahmadinejad's elections for a second term. This was known as the "Green Movement."

At that time, the greatest blame was directed at former US President Barack Obama, who was silent so Iran would not view the US as interfering in its internal affairs. Obama did not want confrontation with the regime. Rather, Obama was aiming to contain Tehran and conclude a nuclear agreement with it.

Western support

This time, the administration of US President Joe Biden announced support for the protests through his address to the United Nations General Assembly. Biden called for imposing sanctions on the Iranian morality police. There are also attempts to facilitate internet access to Iranians via satellite so that ordinary Iranians can circumvent current government censorship. The US Treasury has allowed technology companies in the US to provide additional internet services in Iran.

Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, also said his country would impose sanctions on those responsible for Mahsa Amini's murder, including the Iranian morality police and its leadership.

Germany also summoned the Iranian ambassador in Berlin to urge Tehran to stop its crackdown and allow peaceful protests. The German Foreign Ministry spokesman said that his country would consider all options with other European countries, when asked about the possibility of re-imposing sanctions on Iran.

In response to the developments of the situation internally and externally, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps  launched attacks with drones and missiles. They have targeted the headquarters of three separate Kurdish groups in Iraqi Kurdistan. Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi blamed hostile countries for provoking the protests.

Despite the uncertainty of when the protests will end, the security system's treatment and work to intimidate citizens and link protests with people abroad will push Tehran to continue to use excessive force against demonstrators. The Iranian regime aims to escalate tensions in Iraq against Kurdish groups in order to lure the Kurdish armed opposition to respond. The security services will suppress the demonstrations with brute force, so they are eliminated as soon as possible.

Iran considers that the US supports the demonstrators and seeks to destabilise the regime. "Washington is always trying to weaken Iran's stability and security, even though it has not succeeded," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said.

 Monitor and wait for the outcome

Externally, despite the official statements of European and American officials in support of the Iranian demonstrators, it is certain that these governments do not want to escalate tensions with Tehran. But nor do they want to be seen as intransigent in the face of the few remaining attempts to restore the nuclear agreement. The West, especially Washington DC, fears the repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian war, with regard to the energy crisis in Europe or military cooperation between Russia and Iran.

Confrontations in the Middle East are out of contr...
South Sudan: media censorship


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Saturday, 30 September 2023