Rising discontent: Dimensions and repercussions of women’s protests in Iran

The issuance of the “veil and chastity” law, not long after the government of Ibrahim Raisi took office, led to an increase in repression in Iran, especially since this law requires the use of facial recognition technology to identify those who are not committed to what is known as the “good veil”; What led to restrictions on the movement of Iranian women in the streets. The incident of the killing of the Iranian girl “Mahsa Amini” who was arrested and detained by the Iranian “morality police” in Tehran, before she fell into a coma and died in mysterious circumstances – exacerbated the anger among women in Iran. Some Iranian women have launched a campaign against the “forced veil” on social media, showing some of them cutting their hair and burning their headscarves.

This led to a demand by some deputies within the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Parliament) – such as the representative of Chabahar Governorate, “Moin al-Din Saeedi” – to stop this type of patrols; Because its violent policy led to women’s reluctance to wear the veil, and even hatred of it, pointing out that there is no religious or legal basis that legitimizes this kind of censorship. The iron fist imposed by the Raisi government on Iranian society aims to convey some messages inside and outside; The regime wants to impose more repressive laws that restrict the movement of opponents and prevent the continuation of protests. With regard to the outside, the regime seeks to confirm that despite the external pressures it is subjected to, it is still able to tighten its control on the inside as well.

However, this has led, on the whole, to impose more pressures on Iranian society, especially with regard to women, who suffer the largest share of this extremism. The widespread women’s protests that followed the murder of Mahsa Amini aim to confirm that these policies will only be counterproductive, and that religious militancy will only bring rebellion, but rather the desire to do the forbidden.

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Possible repercussions

It is expected that the killing of the Iranian girl; Mahsa Amini, and the subsequent women’s protests against the Iranian regime’s practices against women, led to some negative consequences for Iran, which are evident in the following:

1- The widening gap between the state and society: The escalation of protests in Iran may lead to a widening of the already growing gap between the state and society, which was evident in the chanting of some slogans condemning the Iranian regime’s supreme leadership, such as “Death to the dictator” and “Death to Khamenei.” Rather, these protests turned into acts of violence. ; Forcing the security forces of the Revolutionary Guards to throw tear gas at citizens, and use water-spraying vehicles to disperse the demonstrators, and even resort to shooting live bullets, in parallel with cutting off the Internet service to reduce the chances of organizing protests in different cities, which ultimately did not succeed in achieving his goal.

Hence, such incidents are sure to negatively affect the activities of civil society organizations concerned with women’s affairs in Iran, and increase the level of women’s rejection of the policies of the “Raisi” government; What may result in a kind of weakening of the foundations of social ties that strengthen the relationship between the different pillars of society together.

2- The escalation of opposition against the government: Despite the mounting resentment in Iran over the killing of Mahsa Amini at the hands of a guidance patrol, Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi defended the work of such patrols, noting that it is a “legal measure.” Rather, the fundamentalist newspaper, Kayhan, affiliated with the Supreme Leader, demanded to confront the demonstrations. and advocates for it even on social networking sites; to prevent its spread.

Hence, the negative reactions from the government met with great popular opposition within Iranian society; Some trends indicated the need to focus on the most important issues, especially the economic, including reducing unemployment and high inflation rates, and that it is better for the police – according to the view of some protesters – to focus on preventing and following up on attacks, thefts and the escalation of crime rates in Iran, rather than the phenomenon of The “bad hijab” does not yet have a specific definition.

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Several trends have indicated that such treatment is not expected to lead to a positive effect in such cases, but will lead to a completely opposite result in most, if not all, cases.

3- Losing the sympathy of world public opinion: Despite the efforts made by Iran to attract the support of a section of world public opinion in its favor, especially after the imposition of economic sanctions by the previous US administration headed by Donald Trump, and the escalation of calls to help Iran confront the repercussions of the spread of the Corona virus; Such social issues may lead to an increase in its index of human rights violations, and a demand for more international pressure to be imposed on it.

The most prominent features of this were the organization of a group of Iranian activists residing in Washington, a demonstration in front of the office organizing the interests of Iran, and a number of human rights activists in Vancouver, Canada, called for a march in front of the art gallery in this city, in addition to that a similar march was organized in the German capital, Berlin. . President Ibrahim Raisi may face protests against him during his visit to New York to participate in the meetings of the United Nations General Assembly.

All this paralleled the demand of some international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, to hold the regime in Iran accountable for these crimes committed against its people.

4- The erosion of the popularity of the ruling regime in Iran: The killing of the Iranian “Kurdish” girl Mahsa Amini angered the Kurdish parties in Iran; In Kurdistan, political parties, civil activists, and politicians called on Iran to engage in a general strike in protest against the arbitrary policies of the Wilayat al-Faqih regime. Hence, in the long run, this could lead to the renewal of the separatist tendencies of the Kurds once again.

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On the other hand, the reaction of the elites in Iran to this incident shows that they followed previous policies in terms of dealing with crises, which are based on not looking at the main roots, but rather providing superficial explanations that contribute to their exacerbation in the long run.

The features of this appeared in the commentary of the fundamentalist newspaper “Kayhan” on the incident, which indicated in a report that this incident is a natural result of the secular reformist policies, in addition to the reformist leaders, such as former President Muhammad Khatami and the first deputy in Hassan Rouhani’s government, Ishaq Jahangiri, Glad” for such incidents; To prove the failure of the fundamentalists, and to highlight their inability to administer the helm of governance in Iran.

Hence, this type of interpretation that insists on getting as far away from the truth as possible and not addressing the main causes of the crisis could herald an escalation of resentment within Iranian society, with negative consequences for the government and the regime.

Existing challenges

In conclusion, crises inside Iran are expected to increase at all levels during the coming period, especially as this coincides with the faltering of the Vienna talks and the negative repercussions of this on the Iranian economy, in parallel with the tightening of the repressive grip on society, especially women; This contributes to the continuation of the state of popular tension, which may exacerbate the challenges facing the current regime.

SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

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