Masih Alinejad

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Women walk along Vanak Square in central Tehran on Sept. 4. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

On Sept. 16, 2022, a young Kurdish woman named Mahsa Amini died in police custody in Tehran. Reports that she had been detained for neglecting to wear hijab stirred widespread outrage — especially among women, who saw the case as merely the latest in a long history of gendered human rights abuses in Iran. For many activists, compulsory hijab had come to embody everything that was wrong with the regime, and they soon began calling for revolutionary change. Protests spread across the country, and the regime responded with a brutal crackdown that led to some 600 deaths, thousands injured and more than 20,000 arrests.…  Seguir leyendo »

The anti-regime protests in Iran — triggered by the death in police custody of the 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini — are now in their third month. More than 400 protesters have been killed since then; at least another 15,000 have been arrested. Iran is aching for change. The streets are filled with those who are willing to risk losing everything for their freedom.

That the unrest continues is itself a remarkable tribute to those overwhelmingly young Iranians who refuse to back down in the face of brutal violence from the regime. Western leaders have been slow to acknowledge the full significance and depth of what has been happening inside Iran — not least because of their fixation on persuading the regime to agree to a deal on Tehran’s nuclear program.…  Seguir leyendo »

A photo of Mahsa Amini, who died after being arrested by the “morality police” in Tehran, September 2022. Majid Asgaripour / Reuters

The current protests in Iran sound the death knell of the Islamic Republic. The killing in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested for wearing the hijab incorrectly, has unleashed a wave of angry and bloody demonstrations, boycotts, work stoppages, and wildcat strikes that have exhausted the country’s security forces and spread to more than 100 cities. The government has endured major protests before, notably in 2009, 2017, and 2019, but these demonstrations are different. They embody the anger that Iranian women and young Iranians feel toward a regime that seeks to stifle their dearest desires. And they promise to upend Iran’s establishment.…  Seguir leyendo »

Iranian demonstrators taking to the streets of the capital Tehran during a protest for Mahsa Amini on Sept. 21, days after she died in police custody. (AFP/Getty Images)

A new popular uprising is taking place in Iran, and this time women are in the lead. It’s incredibly inspiring to see — for the first time I can remember — unveiled women marching at the front. They have overcome fear and are challenging one of the main pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran: compulsory hijab.

These women are marching shoulder to shoulder with men, chanting against the whole regime. They are facing guns and bullets and demanding an end to a system of gender apartheid.

Mahsa Amini was only 22 years old. She wasn’t uncovered; only a few strands of her hair showed.…  Seguir leyendo »

Foto del 18 de agosto de 2021 de un combatiente talibán que pasa frente a un salón de belleza con imágenes de mujeres tapadas con pintura en aerosol, en Shar-e-Naw en Kabul. En Afganistán las mujeres tienen miedo por la historia de violencia contra ellas. (Wakil KOHSAR/AFP)

El martes 17 de agosto, los talibanes organizaron una conferencia de prensa en Kabul. Su portavoz, Zabihullah Mujahid, hizo todo lo posible para tranquilizar a la comunidad internacional y hablar sobre las buenas intenciones del grupo. Prometió un gobierno inclusivo, insinuó la posibilidad de elecciones y manifestó que los talibanes de hoy han cambiado considerablemente desde que perdieron el control del poder hace 20 años. Mujahid insistió en que el nuevo gobierno talibán protegerá la libertad de expresión, los derechos humanos y los derechos de las mujeres, dentro de los límites de la ley islámica, agregó repetidas veces. “Les aseguramos que no habrá violencia contra las mujeres”, afirmó.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Taliban fighter walks past a salon with images of women defaced using spray paint in Kabul on Aug. 18. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, the Taliban held a news conference in Kabul. Its spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, bent over backward to reassure the international community of the group’s benign intentions. He promised an inclusive government, hinted at elections and declared that today’s Taliban has changed considerably since it lost its grip on power 20 years ago. He insisted that the new Taliban government will protect freedom of speech, human rights and women’s rights — within the constraints of Islamic law, he repeatedly added. “We assure that there will be no violence against women,” he claimed. “No prejudice against women will be allowed, but the Islamic values are our framework.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, delivers a televised speech in Tehran on Jan. 8. (Official Khamenei Website/Via Reuters)

In the wake of the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Twitter and Facebook suspended President Donald Trump from their platforms — only temporarily, at first. Facebook subsequently said its ban would apply “indefinitely”, while Twitter made Trump’s exile permanent. As the reason for its action, Twitter cited “the risk of further incitement of violence”.

Many Iranian human rights activists have often wondered why Twitter and other social media organizations take so little action against the Islamic republic’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other government officials. Meanwhile, Khamenei has banned 83 million Iranians from Twitter, although he and his allies make full use of social platforms to spread their lies — without even a hint of warning labels.…  Seguir leyendo »

Iranian women walk past a mural of Iran's national flag in Tehran on July 28. (Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

For the past 42 years, Iran’s clerical leadership has defended the regime’s harsh Islamic dress code by claiming that mandatory wearing of the hijab is women’s best defense against men’s sexual advances. Yet over the past few weeks, Iranian women have offered up a devastating rebuttal of that claim — by coming forward to accuse employers, colleagues and even some senior officials of sexual crimes and harassment.

The accused range from Revolutionary Guard commanders to renowned artists and ordinary citizens —implying a deep and systemic crisis of moral legitimacy at the heart of the regime not unlike the one recently faced by the Catholic Church: The theocracy that has touted itself as the guardian of good conduct and high virtue proves to have done no better, and possibly worse, than the Western societies it has so scathingly criticized.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman standing on a telecommunications box on a Tehran street holds a hijab on a stick to protest against the country’s compulsory hijab rules in December 2017. (Salampix/Abaca/Sipa USA via AP)

About two weeks ago, I received a gruesome death threat from Hamid Reza Ahmadabadi, one of the more prominent figures of the Basij — Iran’s much-dreaded paramilitary arm. In his message, he said I’d be butchered because I had been insulting the sanctity of Iran’s revolutionary and Islamic values. He warned that one of his agents in the United States would cut out my tongue and slash my breasts before killing me. I was to be “slaughtered” in the same manner that former opposition leaders had been murdered abroad in the 1990s.

In a later interview with the BBC Persian service, he reiterated the same threats, making references to the assassination of Shahpour Bakhtiar, the shah’s last prime minister, and Fereydoun Farrokhzad, a dissident artist who was murdered in Germany.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nazi Paikidze-Barnes, the 2016 U.S. women’s chess champion. (Photo by Spectrum Studios)

Last week, FIDE, the international chess federation, quietly announced that Iran would host next year’s Women’s World Chess Championship, which means contestants will have to cover their hair with scarves to comply with a “modesty” law fundamentalist clerics put in place after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

As British Grandmaster Nigel Short spread the news, expressing concern, the 2016 U.S. champion, Nazi Paikidze-Barnes, a Georgian American, made a morally courageous move: Paikidze said she would skip the competition rather than comply with a law that denies women and girls fundamental human rights.

“I will NOT wear a hijab and support women’s oppression.…  Seguir leyendo »

During an interview last month with TV host Charlie Rose, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif asserted that Iran doesn’t “jail people for their opinions,’’ a comment that was met with howls of protests from Iranian activists and journalists who have tasted the hospitality of Iran’s prison system. A photoshopped image of Zarif with a long wooden nose was circulated online. Journalist Bahman Ahmadi Amouei, who was jailed in the 2009 crackdown, challenged Zarif’s claim in an open letter on Facebook:

“I testify that [President Hassan] Rouhani’s government and his foreign minister are lying about this issue,’’ he said, noting that he was subjected to psychological and physical torture while being held “because of his opinions and articles written in the country’s newspapers.”…  Seguir leyendo »

En 2009, une coalition s’est formée autour de Mir Hossein Moussavi et Mehdi Karoubi, qui représentaient les éléments religieux modérés face à Mahmoud Ahmadinejad et à ses alliés au sein des Gardiens de la révolution islamique (IRGC) et de la milice islamiste bassidji.

Ahmadinejad était supposé l’emporter facilement mais, alors que la campagne électorale progressait, il devint évident, au bout d’un mois, que quelque chose était en train de se passer. Un jour après l’annonce du résultat de l’élection présidentielle donnant Ahmadinejad vainqueur, des centaines de milliers de personnes envahirent les rues de Téhéran pour protester. Le peuple voulait du changement.…  Seguir leyendo »