2022 saw monumental street protests break out in Iran. The unrest followed the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman, who was killed after being detained by the country’s morality police over the way in which she wore her hijab.
After days, weeks and months went by it became clear that these protesters show no sign of stopping. They are fed up with the Iranian regime, from its religious laws to its economic policies. Yet, instead of addressing the issues, the Iranian regime took its typical stance with Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei accusing “foreign elements” of being behind the protests.
Yet as the regime’s hold of the country is slipping, its sheer barbarism has increased. Human rights groups say that at least 470 people have been killed since September 16 as a result of the regime’s crackdown on the protests which have spread to all of Iran’s 31 provinces. Following the horrific hanging of Majidreza Rahnavard earlier this month, scores more protesters are facing imminent execution.
The protesters growing anger at the regime is hardly surprising when you look at Iran’s economic troubles. In the last six months, the local currency the rial has continued to fall and break negative records on an almost weekly basis. But the Iranian people have been suffering under the Iranian regime for much longer than just a year, economic sanctions have predominantly hit the people in Iran rather than its leaders. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the regime’s disregard for its people, with no organised strategy in place and a ban on UK and US Covid-19 vaccines at a time when the country needed them most which are said to have killed over 7 million people in Iran.
While the Iranian protests initially provoked a hard reaction including further sanctions on the regime and known members of the IRGC, worldwide support for the protests has since declined. Take Europe, where the only country to have taken a serious hard-line approach has been Ukraine which has expelled the Iranian ambassador. The European response to the protests has been limited and only last week did Mohammad Moradi take his own life in France in a bid to gain further international attention to the protests. If Europe is serious about supporting Iran’s uprising, more needs to be done. Governments need to begin cracking down on the regime and its activities in Iran and abroad.
But as 2023 begins, the tide is slowly turning, and Iran is finding itself increasingly less stable. The regime is becoming increasingly scared of the protesters as they realise that this wave of protests is different. These protesters are adamant to change the system and have found ways to harness social media and other tools to connect with the outside world. The Iranian protesters refuse to stay silent and keep going, the least we can do is share their message.
Image Credit: Reuters | Wana News Agency