Luciano Mondino

Iran: Women’s war against the Ayatollah’s Regime

The Islamic Republic of Iran under the Ayatollah regime is one of the greatest dangers to the Western world.

The women of Islam are taking to the streets. Women in Afghanistan and Iran are showing the world that there is a stunned silence. Women victims of Islamic political extremism are being heavily repressed, silenced and sent to the gallows as if it were the more benevolent alternative to stoning. In Iran, a theocracy since 1979, dying by hanging with a broken neck is presented by the regime as benevolence.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is the heir apparent to the Persian Empire. Since 1979, the revolution established a regime led by Supreme Leader Khomeini and ushered in a new era of repression, proscription and censorship of the infidels of Islam. Theocracy is a regime where the spiritual is not separated from the earthly and where the political system is built around the religious vision. In Iran, almost the entire population, estimated at 85 million people, profess Shi’ism, which is a faction within Islam opposed to Sunnism.

Their constitution contains clauses and articles that speak of exporting the revolution. Their current Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, is known for his inflammatory anti-Western statements in general, but against the United States, the State of Israel and the Jewish people in particular. Governments are fully aligned to the interests and visions of the Leader who chooses the candidates for president. Iran’s presidents also replicate the threats against the West and sustain a nuclear programme that seeks aggressive warfare against its enemies.

Internal repression is a constant in the country. The Moral Police was launched at the beginning of 2016 with the aim of adding up to 7,000 troops who would patrol the streets in civilian clothes, i.e. without identification or uniform, to exclusively control the behaviour of women. The patrols can take place during the day or at night, which makes it very difficult to alert them and escape from them.

Women cannot circulate without the veil or take it off in their private vehicles and are subject to the restrictions imposed by the theocracy: different hours of access to places such as gyms, different food, permission to leave the house and the obligatory surveillance by a man.

It is true that police forces that monitor women’s behaviour are present in many countries in the Islamic world: Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Malaysia.

Women are at war against the Islamic Republic and the Supreme Leader Khamenei

In Iran, anti-regime protests began again after the murder of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who suffered a heart attack and subsequent brain death when she was arrested by the Moral Police. Between the obligation to wear the burqa and the niqab, women in Islam endure every day the restrictions of the theocracy that recreate a dystopian environment, almost unique, from which there is no escape. Mahsa was arrested and beaten for not wearing the veil correctly and was “re-educated” in accordance with the law. On Tuesday, she was arrested and taken into a vehicle. She did not resist the beating and died hours later in hospital. The women are at war with the Islamic Republic and Supreme Leader Khamenei. Mahsa’s death brought nationwide protests that were heavily repressed and censored from social media which are themselves under a strong iron fist of regime vigilance.

Mahsa Amini was murdered by Islamist fundamentalism.

The war of the women of Islam
Bahiyyih Nakhjavani is one of the most important poets in the Persian country and she wrote a work with a memorable title: “The woman who read too much” where she tells what a woman must endure under a theocracy. Among her chapters, she recounts a chilling part in which she states that they may kill me, but they will never stop the emancipation of women.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, was convicted on a trumped-up charge by the Islamic regime. Despite strong international pressure to prevent her sentence of stoning, Sakineh was sentenced to hang. Since 2011 there have been no reliable testimonies to describe her situation and whereabouts.

Stoning is one of the most abhorrent and humiliating ways to die. It consists of wrapping the accused and sentenced woman in a white sheet and then inserting her neck or torso into a pit dug in the ground for this purpose. The men closest to her, including members of her family, will start throwing stones at her until the white sheet turns completely red. Large stones are not used so as not to show mercy and small stones are not used so as not to show mercy.

The Islamic regime also holds the sexual maturity age for women to be 9 years. It is the government itself that pushes and encourages child marriages on the grounds of population policy and that the country will have to double or triple its population to cope with Western threats. There is, of course, no separation of powers: since 2005, after ultra-conservative President Ahmadinejad took office, the presidency has given strong support to the most backward clerics who accuse and sentence these women. It is a whole system that encourages executions, torture, hanging and stoning.

Another is the case of Nasrin Sotoudeh who was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes in 2015. Her activism for human rights in Iran was her sentence.

Nor are caricature and peaceful protest far from being reached by the retrograde sentences of clerics and judges. Atena Farghadani, a 28-year-old cartoonist, sentenced to 12 years in prison and a much longer sentence than the laws themselves provide for. The same case for Atena Daemi.

Vida Movahed was sentenced to prison in 2019 for removing her veil in a protest against restrictions and persecution of women. This photo illustrating this case is from 2017 when Vida also removed her veil and was fined by the security forces. Her conviction sparked admiration and response not only in the rest of Iran but also in the rest of the world with women who imitated her activism and were encouraged to remove their veils.

The executions, many of them public, also affect Iranian men. In July alone, 33 people were recorded as having been executed, three of them women. Other information consulted affirms that there are exactly 233 women executed between 2000 and 2022. These executions are mostly for previous convictions on charges of murder, drug or alcohol abuse or extramarital sex. It is estimated that more than 10 women have been executed up to September 2022, one of the latest being Senobar Jalali, who became the fourth woman to be killed in a week.

Also the case of Soheila Abedi whose photos and face are unknown. She was forced to marry at the age of 15 and hanged in Sanandaj prison after being convicted in 2015.

The government of Ibrahim Raisi
The current government came to power in 2021 and was Iran’s ultra-conservative turn. Under Raisi’s government, the Moral Police and controls on social media become much more aggressive. At the same time they are seeking a return to the Nuclear Deal from which the United States withdrew in 2018.
Between 1980 and 1988, the years of the Iraq-Iran war, there were five consecutive months of a real massacre against dissidents and political prisoners who were mostly members of the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK). Thereafter, thousands of executions ordered by Ayatollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader’s predecessor, were unleashed without trial or warrant.
Many of those executed were buried in mass graves in the south of the country in a town called Khavaran. Abdul Karim Mousavi Ardebili headed the Revolutionary Court at the time, which ordered the executions, on the grounds that the people demanded the executions without exception or mercy. But there is one fact that the world should not forget and that is that Ibrahim Raisi was a member of the Death Committee that gave the green light for the execution of political prisoners.
The human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran should be taken as seriously as the nuclear threat posed by the Ayatollahs to the rest of the world.

About the Author
Master's Degree in International Politics from the Complutense University of Madrid. Interested in transnational terrorism, organized crime, radicalism and the fight against anti-Semitism.
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