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Iranian Women Are Rising up to Demand Freedom. Are We Listening?

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Protesters chant slogans over the death of a woman who was detained by the morality police, in downtown Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo)
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In recent days, protests have shaken the streets of Iran in response to the killing of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian Mahsa (Zhina) Amini. Amini died Sept. 16 after being arrested for her “improper hijab” and apparently beaten by Iran’s so-called morality police. Thousands of Iranians are occupying the streets across the country. Led by women, they are rising up and calling for an end to the morality police and the systems that uphold it.

Amini’s death comes amid an intensification of repressive state policies under the Raisi administration that have targeted women in particular. Last month, authorities announced they would aggressively crack down on what they consider violations of hijab rules (requiring modest dress), from showing hair to “bad makeup.” And earlier this month the government announced it will start using facial recognition technology in public spaces to enforce the dress code against women.

In the past week, demonstrators have been chanting “Women, life, freedom,” connecting women’s rights to broader social and economic policies. Many were holding signs saying “death to the oppressor, whether it’s a king or the leader.”

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