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IPFS News Link • Iran

Iran's Hijab Protests Are Part of a Long, Slow Revolution


Protests have been shaking Iranian cities for nearly a dozen nights, sparked by the death of a young women's rights activist in the custody of the country's morality police. The 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, was arrested for wearing her headscarf too loosely while on a family visit to Tehran.

Officially, Amini died of heart failure. But her family (and many, many others) believe she died from injuries sustained as police beat her during and after her arrest on September 13. "She was tortured, according to eyewitnesses," said Amini's cousin, Erfan Mortezaei. "She was tortured in the van after her arrest, then tortured at the police station for half an hour, then hit on her head and she collapsed."

The protests sparked by Amini's death in custody have led to more death, as Iranian security forces have turned violent on protesters. Thirty-five people have reportedly been killed in the protests as of last weekend (which is almost certainly an undercount, as the figure comes from the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting).

"It's the libertarian cliche: don't make a law unless you're willing to kill someone to enforce it," said Reason Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward during yesterday's Reason Roundtable podcast. In this case, the law Iranian authorities are willing to kill to enforce is a prohibition on women showing their hair. That says a lot.