It has been announced that the Iranian government has suspended its ‘morality police,’ which caused massive protest and unrest in the country after the arrest and subsequent death of Mahsa Amini back in September. To understand the entire gravity of this situation, how we got to this point, and what it may mean going forward; it is important to look back and understand how events transpired in Iran in the past three months.
It all began with a young 22-year-old woman from Irani Kurdistan named Mahsa Amini who was travelling to Tehran to visit her family on Sept. 13. Amini was arrested and detained by the country’s morality police because she ‘violated’ Iran’s strict dress code for women: she had allegedly not worn her hijab in accordance with government standards. Three days later, she was pronounced dead at a hospital while in a coma and with bruises all over her body.
Protests in her hometown of Saqqez in Northwestern Iran began during her funeral procession. The protests spread like a California wildfire: with mass protests beginning in the capital Tehran shortly after. By Sept. 22, the entire country had become engulfed in a wave of mounting unrest. Average citizens, university students and professors all took to the streets to display their anger and frustration with the government’s strict laws regarding Islamic values. On Sept. 30, there was a reported shootout between protestors and police resulting in the deaths of 66 people, including children.
By October, many began to wonder if these mass protests would bring real political change in Iran: either through reform or revolution. The former option was ruled out, however, when the supreme leader Ali Khamenei doubled down on his country’s actions, blaming the United States and Israel for the political unrest in the country. On Nov. 21, the country’s national soccer team refused to sing the national anthem in protest before their game against England.
Now, reports have come from the country that the morality police are being suspended. This may lead one to wonder if this is the first of many reforms in Iran, or if it is just a political move by the government to quell unrest. Either way, with at least 470 people killed and 18,000 arrested since the start of the protests’, it is clear that something must be done about human rights abuses in Iran: or else we may see worsening violence in the country for years to come.