Iranian women deserve full support
Despite all the atrocities committed by the Iranian regime against its own citizens since they began their protests in September — following the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s so-called morality police — the free women of Iran, supported by their husbands, families, neighbors and fellow citizens of all backgrounds, have shown extreme bravery and courage.
As the days pass and the number of victims continues to rise, no international effort has succeeded in stopping the Iranian government’s acts of violence against the Iranian people. According to Oslo-based nongovernmental organization Iran Human Rights, the security forces have killed at least 448 protesters, most of them in Sistan and Balochistan province on Iran’s southeastern border with Pakistan.
The group’s director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam stressed to AFP that the ongoing protests are “the beginning of a revolution of dignity.” He added: “Women and minorities, who have for more than four decades been treated as second-class citizens, are empowered through these protests to come out to the streets and demand their fundamental human rights.”
However, the country’s judicial authorities have proudly announced that thousands of Iranians and about 40 foreigners have been arrested and more than 2,000 people have been charged over the unrest. It is well known that detainees in Iranian prisons often disappear or are killed without an accurate official explanation.
On Saturday, President Ebrahim Raisi praised his country for protecting the people’s rights and freedoms, defending the ruling regime amid its crackdown on anti-government protesters. “The constitution guarantees the existence of the Islamic system,” he said, adding that it also “guarantees fundamental rights and legitimate freedoms.”
This is the usual method and vocabulary used by dictators when they are trying to brainwash their people and cover up the crimes perpetrated against everyone who demands human rights and justice in a state that resembles a large prison.
It is not surprising that the oppressor points to foreign entities, accusing them of interfering in his country’s internal affairs, instead of taking responsibility for his bloody crimes. The whole world has become aware of how the regime treats the free people of Iran.
Civilians around the globe can make a difference by reaching out to their representatives and lawmakers.
The radical, totalitarian Iranian government has blamed the revolt on its enemies. These false accusations reflect the regime’s fears of losing its grip on the country, making it blind to the international support expressed during the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Ahead of their first match, the brave players in the Iranian team refused to sing the national anthem in solidarity with their people. Lo and behold, they were all threatened by their government and warned not to repeat this stance. CNN reported that the team members’ families were threatened with imprisonment and torture. However, the players’ actions were globally respected and appreciated.
Previously, some protesters asked the national team to refrain from participating in the World Cup in protest against the regime’s repression. But the players did not respond to their calls and decided to participate, angering the demonstrators. That led to cross-country celebrations of the team’s defeat against its American rival, with the loss being used as new fuel for the Iranian opposition.
That type of behavior in turn angered the government, which considered it an act of betrayal and disloyalty. One man, Mehran Samak, was apparently executed for celebrating the Iranian team’s elimination from the World Cup. According to the BBC, security forces shot him in the head while he was honking his car’s horn. Pro-reform news outlet IranWire shared a video showing crowds at Samak’s funeral chanting “death to the dictator.”
What can ordinary people do to help?
Instead of relying on other countries, civilians around the globe can make a difference by reaching out to their representatives and lawmakers to take a stand, attend pro-Iranian demonstrations and donate to legitimate organizations.
The only way to save the brave women and men of Iran is to show solidarity and support from anywhere in the world. Regime change will be the only way out. Women, Life, Freedom.
• Dalia Al-Aqidi is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy. Twitter: @DaliaAlAqidi