Iranian government doubles down on civil unrest instigated by death of Mahsa Amini


Hana Kim

Mahsa Amini’s death has sparked an uprising in Iran against the hijab mandate for women. A nationwide crackdown on anti-government demonstrations escalates as the death toll continues to rise.

Kaitlyn Luu, Staff Writer

On September 13, a 22-year-old Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini was killed by morality police in Tehran for allegedly not wearing her hijab correctly. Iran’s morality police, the enforcers of the strict codes of modest attire, arrested Amini who was supposed to be brought to a detention center. Two hours later, she was transferred to a hospital, sustained fatal head injuries, and died three days later in a coma.

The police claim that Amini died from a heart attack, denying forensic reports that she was struck in the head repeatedly. The victim’s family says that Amini had no cardiovascular disease or any health complications that could account for the police’s explanation for her death. The president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi addressed the tragedy calling it a “bitter accident.”

Since news of Amini’s death broke out, people from all walks of life have participated in protests in Iran against their oppressive government. Viral video clips show women burning their hijabs in bonfires on the streets and cutting their hair in solidarity. To diffuse the situation, the Iranian government has shut down internet access throughout the country.

The crackdown on these demonstrations has escalated as security forces take to killing protestors for defying the regime. According to news outlets in Iran, the death toll from the government’s crackdown has risen to 92. 

A 23-year-old woman named Hadis Najafi was shot to death for participating in a demonstration in Karaj on September 21. She was a TikToker who posted videos of herself singing and dancing and had no history or prior experience in political activism. Her death has only added fuel to the fire in the outcry over Iran’s hijab mandate.

16-year-old Nika Shakarami fell victim to the brutality of Iran’s security forces when she was reported missing in Tehran on September 20 and was found dead ten days later at a detention center. An autopsy reveals that she suffered severe trauma to the head, while the government claims she fell from a building and died.

Najafi and Shakarami have become blazing icons for the ensuing anti-government demonstrations. As the crackdowns intensify and the support for protests heightens, the Iranian government is taking extreme measures to tame the eruption of dissent across the country. The uprising has gained unprecedented momentum in the past few weeks, and it doesn’t seem like it will subside anytime soon.