What began in Tehran as a series of protests over the death of a 22-year-old woman, Masha Amini, for not wearing her hijab properly, has now become an international cry for regime change. Students in Iranian streets shouted, “Death to the dictator,” and they’re finding that other students around the world have taken up their cause in what has become a global movement.
In Paris, Rome, Toronto, Santiago, and many other cities, hundreds of thousands of people have gone to the streets. One of the ways women are showing support is to cut their own hair. At a protest in Paris, an Iranian-born woman named Violette explained, “I cut them (locks of her hair) to show solidarity with the women in Iran because it’s the minimum (thing) that I can do.” Jerusalem Post Columnist Emily Schrader applauds the movement:
“All I have to say about this is that it’s about time, because, for over 40 years, the people of Iran have been dealing with this. And the West, despite the fact that they’re supposed to be a bastion of liberal values, true liberal values, and progressive values, equality between men and women, we have not stepped up enough when it comes to supporting the people of Iran against this dictatorship.”
In Iran, members of the parliament shouted their loyalty to Iran’s Supreme Leader. President Ebrahim Raisi vowed the protestors would pay a price:
“Those who took part in these disturbances and disturbed the security of the society and harmed people’s lives, and belongings, must be brought to justice, including those who provoked them or encouraged them (to protest).”
So far, Iranian police have killed nearly 150 people during the protests. One act of brutality caught on video shows a policeman shooting a demonstrator in cold blood. Hundreds more have been arrested and reportedly tortured. The current epicentre of the protests seems to be Tehran’s Sharif University. According to reports on social media, it has become a battlefield after military forces surrounded the school without allowing students to leave. Reza Pahlavi, the son of Iran’s Shah who held power before the 1979 Revolution tweeted:
The Islamic Republic is firing on students at #Iran’s #Sharif_University. Yet, reports indicate the US may send this criminal regime billions yet again. @POTUS, you have yet to help our people. At least don’t fund the bullets piercing the hearts of our youth!
Pahlavi was referring to the current negotiations between the U.S. and Iran to limit Iran’s nuclear program. A senior Biden administration official said they will continue to negotiate despite the ongoing protests. Critics of the deal warn if Iran gets sanctions relief, it could add up to a trillion dollars in economic growth for Iran by 2030, to support its terror activities throughout the region and continue its crackdown on the Iranian people.