February 9, 2023
Amy A Mousavi

Amy A. Mousavi Discusses the Recent Uprising of Women in Iran

Amy A. Mousavi of Mousavi Law is business attorney in California of Iranian descent. In the following article, Amy Mousavi discusses the recent protests in Iran, sparked by the mysterious death of a 22-year old, Iranian woman who died shortly after she was detained by Iran’s morality police in September, for not wearing her hijab properly, and the ripple effect these protests have created in the country and beyond.

The women-led protests in Iran continue on. Fiery and rage-filled, the actions of these citizens may have been originally triggered by the unjustified death of Mahsa Amini, but the spark wave her death kickstarted is nothing but a consequence of the longwinded history of women’s resistance the country holds.

Amy A. Mousavi explains that for many, these demonstrations have been a long time coming, and these expressions of unrelenting anger are thought to be one of the biggest omens to Iran’s theocratic reign since revolutions that occurred in the late 70s.

The History of Human Rights in the World

in 539 BC, after conquering the city of Babylon, Cyrus the Great of Iran, freed all slaves to return home. He declared people should choose their own religion. The Cyrus Cylinder, a clay tablet containing his statements, is the first human rights declaration in history.

Iran Pre-Islam

Iranians were Zoroastrian. Zoroastrianism is an Iranian religion and one of the world’s oldest organized faiths. There are three fundamental principles in Zoroastrian faith: good deeds, good thoughts and good words. In Zoroastrian faith, men and women were created equal and enjoyed the same equal rights, including the right to command the armies of Iran. Artunis, the daughter of one of Cyrus’ generals, Artebaz, was a Lieutenant Commander of the army under Cyrus the Great. Artemisia I, was another woman warrior of the Achaemenid period, an admiral in Xerxes I’s navy.

Islam in Iran

Islam was brought to Iran by force after the Arab conquest in 650 AD. Iranians, faced with the option to convert to Islam or be beheaded, intelligently selected to convert, however, they never really practiced Islam. To most, practicing Islam was having the religious book on a shelf somewhere in the house and observance of Ramadan. People of Iran therefore never really knew what would be like to be under an Islamic rule or government.

1979 Revolution v. 2022 Revolution

From 1941-1979, the country of Iran was ruled by Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. During Pahlavi’s reign women had the freedom to choose what they wanted to wear, even though the majority of people of Iran were Muslim, at least in name.

In the latter half of 1979, Pahlavi’s reign ended by a public uproar. Amy A. Mousavi of Mousavi Law explains that tens of thousands of women found themselves being swept up in protests, not unlike the ones making the news today.

Beginning in 1978, Iranian men and women whose only experience with Islam was the way they had practiced it in Iran, fell victim to manipulation of the Islamic clerics, supported by western governments, including Jimmy Carter, who fell for Khomeini’s false promises of support and aligned interests. In 1979, after Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, former Shah of Iran, left Iran, he was denied admission into the United States by Jimmy Carter, even though the former shah of Iran was the United States’ biggest ally in the region.

Carter learned his lesson very soon after Khomeini took power and American diplomats and citizens were held hostage in Iran. After realizing his mistake, Carter agreed to allow the exiled Shah of Iran, who was suffering from cancer to come to the United States for treatment.

Likewise, the people of Iran, who had never experienced the true Islam before 1979, began realizing what it is like to live under Islamic Rule and started their fight against the Islamic government of Iran. The women of Iran were affected the most since women don’t really have any value in Islam. The Islamic government of Iran treats Women in Iran as property of a man. Women need permission from husbands or fathers to travel, women cannot stay in hotels by themselves, women are not allowed into sports stadiums, women’s testimony is worth half of a man’s testimony in Courts, and woman cannot serve as a Judge. Amy A. Mousavi of Mousavi Law says that there are many notable instances of quiet rebellion that have occurred throughout the years, including the Pink Revolution.

The major protests include the 1999 Student Protests, which lasted 6 days, with 4 casualties and over 1,200 arrested; 2009 Green Movement where people protested election fraud and corruption, resulting in 30 deaths and 4000 detainees; 2017-2018 Economic Protests, resulting in 22 deaths and 3,700 detainees; the 2019 Protests resulting in at least 304 deaths and 7,000 detainees; the 2020 Protests, protesting the Iran’s government’s cover- up for shooting down a Ukrainian airline, and finally, the most recent anti-government protests that started on the eve of September 17th, 2022, after the funeral of Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, who was detained for not wearing her hijab properly.

This new movement however, is more than a protest; it is a revolution. Leaders of 2022 revolution are Iranian women, who have been deprived of their human rights, supported by the Iranian men, who suffer from lack of basic human rights, such as ability to have a girl friend or hold their girlfriends’ hand in public. This young generation of men and women who are victims of a revolution they had nothing to do with, the 1979 Islamic revolution, are in the streets of Iran, sacrificing their lives, denouncing the Islamic government of Iran and demanding their human rights.

Unlike the former shah of Iran, who left the country in 1979 to prevent blood shed in Iran, this Islamic regime, who has no other interest but staying in power and depleting Iran’s wealth and natural resources, is using live ammunition and heavy artillery to kill the defenseless protesters. The Islamic government has killed more than 400 people, including over 60 children, and has detained over 15,000 Iranian protesters. The majority of the protesters that were killed and are currently detained, are very young.

Who Was Mahsa Amini

Amy A. Mousavi of Mousavi Law reports that Mahsa Amini was a 22-year-old woman who was traveling from her small town of Saqez, to the populous capital of Iran- Tehran. Those who knew her described her as a quiet, shy girl, and that the town from which she hailed was not known for its rebellion- in fact, the Kurdish city never once held public outcry against the country’s firm beliefs or rules of dress.

The young woman was not one to affiliate herself with politics, and according to those closest to her, she had hoped to live a “normal and happy” life.

September 13, 2022

Mahsa had been traveling with her brother via train when she was first noticed by Iran’s morality police- also known as Gasht-e-Ershad. Amy A. Mousavi of Mousavi Law explains that this group enforces laws tied to the country’s strict dress code- the tightness of clothing, the modesty of an individual’s appearance, and the proper donning of the hijab.

Despite her unceasing protests to let her free, and her cries to her brother to stop the police from taking her, Mahsa was apprehended and taken into a van. From that point on, there is no hard evidence as to what happened to her.

Amy A. Mousavi of Mousavi Law explains that all that is known is that, according to video that the victim’s family believes to be doctored, Mahsa was seen stumbling out of the van before being placed into the police detention unit. Her brother had been awaiting her outside and was shocked to find out that she was being transferred to the hospital after falling into a coma. Mahsa Amini’s

3 days after her arrest, Mahsa died.

Amy A Mousavi

Women. Life. Freedom.

The title of this section is the battle cry being heard around the world.

Following the funeral of Mahsa, her hometown (located in Northwestern Iran), broke out in upheaval and violent protests. Through word of mouth, and through the spreading of information via social media and the internet, news of Mahsa’s passing hit nearby towns and cities. From then, the protests spread like wildfire reports Amy A. Mousavi of Mousavi Law.

Men and women alike (though the latter takes up the predominant demographic in participation) are taking to the streets and chanting, some of them calling for the death of the country’s supreme leader.

To censor the spread of concern, Iran’s government has even taken to shutting down internet access.

The Fight to Justice

Amy A. Mousavi reports that at the time of this article, more than 400 citizens have died at the hands of the Iranian government, including over 60 children, and it is only expected to grow. As the authorities harden, experts say that the situation in Iran has now grown to “critical” concern.

In addition to using live ammunition, the Islamic Republic has been abducting or arresting the protesters, torturing protesters and raping the female protesters, before killing them. Meanwhile the families of the victims are kept in the dark about whereabouts of their children, for days or weeks before the Islamic Republic informs the parents that their children are dead. After informing the parents of their children’s death, the Islamic Republic demands large amounts of money from the parents to return their children’s dead body to them, but only on the conditions that the parents remain silent, sign false statements about death of their children, and bury their children at night and without any crowd.

Only a few days after Mahsa Amini’s death, the 16-year old Nika Shahkarami, who protested death of Mahsa Amini, was kidnapped, raped and killed. The Islamic forces lied to Nika’s parents for 9 days, before finally informing them that Nika’s body is in morgue. After releasing Nika’s body to her parents, the Islamic Forces kidnapped Nika’s corpse at night and secretly buried her, without Nika’s parents’ knowledge. The Islamic forces then arrested Nika’s family members and threatened their lives if they told the truth. The Islamic government claimed that Nika had committed suicide. Hundreds of protesters and parents have, and continue to experience similar faith since September 2022.

In spite of potential consequence, citizens continue to show their support to the women in their country, including the world cup team: who stood in silence while their national anthem played, an act of solidarity that could get them jailed upon their return to Iranian soil.

Amy A. Mousavi says that it’s a sobering moment in history, a display of anger that the citizens of Iran hope is enough to spark permanent, and positive change.

Amy Mousavi of Mousavi Law asks everyone to be the voice of the defenseless Iranians, by sharing their stories and by demanding that your representatives take action against the corrupt and inhumane Islamic government of Iran.