After her arrest, well-known activist Farideh Moradkhani made a public request to the world.

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Well-known human rights activist and niece to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called on the world to “stop any dealing with this regime” following her arrest last Wednesday. 

In a video statement shared by her brother via Twitter, Farideh Moradkhani called on foreign governments to cut all ties with Iran over the recent violent response to peaceful protests and the death of a young woman who was in police custody. 

“Oh, free people, be with us and tell your governments to stop supporting this murderous and child-killing regime. This regime is not loyal to any of its religious principles and does not know any laws or rules except force and maintaining its power in any possible way,” she said in her video statement. 

“Now in this critical moment in history, all of humanity is observing that Iranian people, with empty hands, with exemplary courage and bravery, are fighting with the evil forces,” she continued. “At this point in time, the people of Iran are carrying the burden of this heavy responsibility alone by paying with their lives.”

Iranian protest background: Mahsa Amini

In September, Iran’s Islamic religious police arrested 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for not wearing her hijab correctly and wearing skinny jeans. 

These forces, sometimes known as morality police, were established to enforce religious practices and public morality on behalf of national or regional authorities based on an interpretation of sharia. Sharia is a series of laws that were formed by a part of the Islamic tradition. 

Later that month, Amini died in a hospital in Tehran, Iran under suspicious circumstances.

After her death, her family said Amini was beaten to death by the police, reports say. However, the Iranian government and police have denied these accusations instead saying that her death was caused by an “underlying disease.

As a result, younger generations of Iranians took to the streets demanding justice for Amini. Governments around the world got involved demanding more transparency around the woman’s untimely death. 

Iranian Gen Z scream: “Women, life, freedom”

Roughly 60% of Iran‘s university population are women, making this generation the most educated in the country’s history but they lack the opportunity to work.

This socially-aware generation is simultaneously hyper-aware of how repressed their personal freedoms are. Iran’s younger generation led a national uprising involving more than 150 cities and 140 universities in all 31 provinces of Iran.

Beyond seeking justice for the women who have been unjustly targeted by gendered oppressive laws, these young women want financial security, opportunity, and personal freedoms.

Thus the chant: “Women, life, freedom.” These three words have been coupled with public rejections of the Iranian regime, from removing and ritualistically burning their hijabs to publically cutting their hair in solidarity.

The now three-month-long peaceful protests have been met with a violent response by Iranian security forces. The forces are using rubber bullets, live ammunition, and tear gas to stop these demonstrations. 

According to Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA), at least 451 people have been killed, including 63 minors, and another 18,173 have been detained. 

Khamenei praises Basij paramilitary violence

Over the weekend, Khamenei praised the Basij paramilitary for its suppression of “rioters” and “thugs.” He went on to celebrate the “innocent” Basij fighters for protecting the nation.

The Basij is a paramilitary volunteer militia established in Iran in 1979 by the leader of the Iranian Revolution Ayatollah Khomeini. The original members of the organization were civilian volunteers who were urged by Khomeini to fight in the Iran–Iraq War.

Moradkhani is likely still in jail. It is unclear what conditions or treatment she is being subjected to but it is clear that her voice and the voices of those like her are finally being heard. What happens when people actually listen?

tatiania perry

Tatiania Perry

OnlySky news editor Tatiania Perry has been a writer for Newsweek, Illinois Public Media, and NBC Universal, as well as in the non-profit sector. She holds a Masters in Journalism from the University of...