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Iran woman dies following arrest for not wearing hijab, feminist protests erupt

Sep 23, 2022


22-year-old Mahsa Amini was detained last week by Tehran’s morality police, accused of not wearing her hijab properly. The hijab, a head covering worn by some Muslim women, has been mandatory in Iran since 1979. The United Nations Human Rights Council said Iran’s morality police have been cracking down on women they accuse of not wearing the hijab properly, the Associated Press reported. Amini died following her detainment. It is this one ripple that has caused a wave of feminist protests and outcries, both in Iran and around the globe.

Days of street protests in numerous Iranian cities have turned deadly as protesters have burned their headscarves and cut off their hair in defiance of strict dress codes. Los Angeles is home to the most people of Iranian descent outside Iran. Many in the community are now taking to the streets of L.A. in solidarity with protests against Amini’s death.

It’s not only U.S. citizens taking a stance but so has the U.S. government. In a statement, the U.S. Treasury Department said it was sanctioning the morality police “for abuse and violence against Iranian women and the violation of the rights of peaceful Iranian protestors” among several other sanctions. The head of the morality police, Mohammad Rostami Cheshmeh Gachi, and Haj Ahmad Mirzaei, who served as the head of its Tehran division during Amini’s detention and death, have been sanctioned. Senior leaders of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, Basij Resistance Forces, the Army’s Ground Forces and Law Enforcement Forces were given the same consequential sanctions.

“Mahsa Amini was a courageous woman whose death in Morality Police custody was yet another act of brutality by the Iranian regime’s security forces against its own people,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.

While America has taken its side against Iran, some Iranian pro-government rallies are now taking place in support of its morality police. The pro-government demonstrators chanted against America and Israel, according to state media. A few thousand people attended the protest in Iran‘s capital where they waved Iranian flags. An estimated 26 people have died in ongoing protests in a battle over pro-government and feminism.

While protests have erupted over Amini’s death, Iran is reporting the morality police had nothing to do with the young woman’s death. She was reportedly arrested on Sept. 13. She died Sept. 16. Police have denied that Amini was mistreated and say she died of a heart attack, while her family has said she didn’t have a heart condition and was healthy, several media outlets have reported.

“She was transferred to a hospital that same day in a coma and died two days later from internal injuries,” the Treasury Department said. “Today’s action to sanction Iran’s Morality Police and senior Iranian security officials responsible for this oppression demonstrates the Biden – Harris Administration’s clear commitment to stand up for human rights, and the rights of women, in Iran and globally.”

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