Iran has entered the second month of upheaval with an average of one child murder a day by the Basij, part of the Iranian IRGC, amid the crackdown against the “woman, life, freedom” movement.
The protests began in September 2022 after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the morality police for allegedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress code for women.
But the broad scope of the protests since September is showing the oppression isn’t limited to women but also the various religious, ethnic and gender minorities who have joined the movement.
Iranian IRGC uses propaganda and false information in their crackdown on protesters, downplaying the movement’s strength and offering false narratives about the crackdown.
One news organization reports that a dead protester’s family was pressured into saying his death was an accident in exchange for the return of his body.
To further intimidate freedom fighters, the UN says as many as 14,000 people have been arrested since September, including journalists, lawyers, activists and educators. Among them is Toomaj Salehi, a rapper who supported the uprisings by creating protest songs and now faces a death sentence.
Massive internet outages and censorship are in place across Iran. Nonetheless, many Iranians are managing to send videos and photos from hundreds of protests and events that include prison fires, university shootings, massacres of members of ethnic minorities in Zahedan and Sanandaj, women and girls refusing to wear the hijab and general street chaos.
The people sending these images and videos are risking their lives. Diaspora Iranians who are publicly supporting the protests and efforts to overthrow the regime are also at risk of being banned from returning to Iran as punishment.
It’s highly unlikely things are going to go back as they were in Iran, before Amini’s death in September.
Whether the government falls or there’s major reform, exerting both domestic and international pressure, increasing economic sanctions, signing valid and verified petitions and holding local representatives accountable for the situation in Iran is long overdue.