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TOPIC: iran protests

In The News

Worldcrunch Magazine #49 — Eye On Iran, One Year Later

September 11 - September 17, 2023

Here's the latest edition of Worldcrunch Magazine, a selection of our best articles of the week from top international journalists, produced exclusively in English for Worldcrunch readers.


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Will Iran Reignite With The Anniversary Of Mahsa Amini's Death?

Iran's regime has tightened its grip on the population ahead of the September 16 one-year anniversary of the death that set off the country's biggest revolt of recent years.


Two weeks ahead of the anniversary of the killing of Mahsa Amini, the teen girl reportedly beaten to death in a Tehran police station for not abiding by dress codes, the Islamic Republic of Iran faces a complex situation. The chief concern is a possible renewal of protests, to mark Amini's death one year earlier on Sep. 16, 2022.

The anniversary arrives amid the unrelenting worsening of economic conditions and the consequent public discontent. The situation is fueling tensions among politicians.

Anticipating unrest, in recent weeks the regime has intensified its repression of activists and of grieving relatives of the victims of police violence during the protests. Iranian leaders have warned that they won't stand for any trouble.

The Intelligence Minster Ismail Khatib declared recently that "the enemy had plans" to revive the protests, urging for greater cohesion among the security forces and state media. Officials are keeping a particularly close eye on universities.

Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, had a similar warning when he addressed a gathering of Revolutionary Guards commanders: the "enemies" were relentlessly stoking trouble, "one day with elections as an excuse; another day it's fuel and another day, women."

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Russian General Dissent, Kenya Protests, Golden Roots Retrieval

👋 Haia!*

Welcome to Thursday, where a Russian general is dismissed after speaking out, Kenyan protests kill at least six and the Scottish Highlands welcome some old best friends. Meanwhile, independent Russian-language outlet Proekt media reports on the chilling findings from Yevgeny Prigozhin’s house in St. Petersburg after it was raided by Russian police.


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Iran's Protests Sealed The Bond Between Expats And Those Who Never Left — Now What?

Mass protests which lasted for months in Iran last year galvanized Iranians at home and abroad, in a way not seen since the 1979 revolution. That unity must be maintained as political capital for the next time Iranians challenge the Islamic Republic.


From the 1979 revolution that brought Iran's Shia clerics to power, to the mass protests of late 2022, Iranians came to accept the idea of an intrinsic divide between those living in post-revolutionary Iran, and those who fled or have simply left during the decades since.

The regime's own propaganda eagerly fueled visions of a hostile, if worthless, population living abroad: supposedly without roots or identity, 'Westoxicated,' to cite one of the regime's cherished terms, selfish, superficial and above all, oblivious to the realities of life in Iran.

Many inside Iran must have absorbed the negative narrative on expatriates, or kharejneshinan, given the regime's relentless hate-mongering, and judging by the resentful treatment Iranians visiting from abroad have sometimes received. Many will have been chided for abandoning their country or "knowing nothing" of the struggles of those who have lived out decades of their lives in a homeland that has become stifling. Others may have been accused of visiting Iran for cheaper medical treatments, or to relive the good old days for a few weeks, before returning to better lives abroad.

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Yusef Mosaddeqi

Iran: Time To Ask What The Protest Movement Did And Didn't Achieve

Impatient to be rid of a 40-year dictatorship, many Iranians have sunk into despair at the failure of protests last year to topple the Islamic Republic. They must be patient and sober in their immediate expectations, before a longer, ongoing process of change turns Iran into a free nation with the rule of law.


Transformation is, by nature, both visible and essential. The mutation of living beings is reflected in changing appearances that herald a new being and life cycle, emerging with the demise of a prior form.

Like creatures, societies also change, even if a longstanding, complex society may find it tougher to evolve. Indeed, the more deep-seated its cultural moorings, the greater the pain of its mutation. Yet transformation is essential to a nation's endurance.

Iran is today in the middle of such a mutation, a phase of which included the months-long protests of 2022. The difference between those protests and previous movements against the clerical regime was, firstly, their duration, and secondly, their collective impact on the consciousness of Iranians.

In other words, a large mass of Iranians with differing perspectives came to see them as a reflection of the state of the country and its direction, which makes the protests a historic landmark.

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Golnaz Fakhari

Iran's Violence Against Women Runs Deep — And Can No Longer Be Swept Away

Iran must one day write the history of the violence perpetrated on its women, especially under the 40-year Islamic Republic, if historiography is to serve its progress toward a peaceful, democratic society.


Sexual violence, specifically rape, has been used as a tool to terrorize civilians in most, if not all, conflicts of the modern age.

Evidence gathered on rape during conflicts since the Second World War shows that the vast majority of victims are women — even if men are also raped — and that the practice is systematic, rather than a byproduct of chaos.

Examples abound, but among the most gruesome are testimonies cited in a 2002 article in The Guardian, on the rape of "every German female" of all ages by Red Army soldiers pushing into Germany at the end of the World War II.

As a woman, now may be the time to reread history and to finally understand how societies deal with large-scale sexual violence. It is a shameful history for any country, for many reasons, but processing it the right way — which means facing the facts where possible — may be crucial to building a peaceful society.

I have been researching Iran's history in the last years of the monarchy, before the 1979 revolution, and the first years of the Islamic regime that followed. I was looking for material on the women of Shahr-e no (New City, Tehran's "red-light district"), and wondered why there is so little compared with other episodes of our recent history. The same may be said of women killed or raped during the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88.

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F. Haqiqatjou

Iranians And The Headscarf — It's Complicated

Media coverage of Iran's mass protests of 2022 failed to truly show how most Iranians thought about the hijab or a general dress code for women. Centering the whole fight for justice in Iran around the headscarf has its risks.


Accounts of the Iranian clerical regime's confrontation with its opponents, which began with their very inception in 1979 and reached a new peak in the mass demonstrations of 2022, have tended to overlook what the Iranian population actually wants.

When Iran's authorities set policies like its hijab or Islamic garment rules, for which Mahsa Amini was beaten to death last September, the people's preferences or views are not part of the process.

The rational solution ultimately may well be a referendum on the obligatory nature of the hijab, which is the way democratic countries tackle divisive issues. Article 59 of the Islamic Republic's constitution allows for a referendum on matters of vital importance or public significance, and the hijab has certainly become one. A referendum is a peaceful solution — violence is costly for both society and state legitimacy — and might even extricate the Islamic Republic from its political and legitimacy impasse.

Naturally, the powers-that-be in Iran will oppose it, fearing its outcome. In a free and entirely regular vote, it is fair to suppose that a majority would reject obligatory hijab or dress rules. Day-to-day observations and field research keep showing that Iranians are opposed to the state telling women how to dress.

Still, this doesn't mean that people have a problem with the hijab itself.

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Ahmad Rafat

Iran's Use Of Death Penalty Has Doubled, Targeting Protesters And Ethnic Minorities

Without drawing attention to public executions like it did last year, the regime has quietly continued to mete out capital punishment: increasing both death sentences and the carrying out of executions, on pace in 2023 to double from the previous year.

The tribunals of the Islamic Republic of Iran have accelerated the churning out of their specialty: death sentences. The latest were issued in the southwestern city of Ahwaz for six members of the local Arab minority and suspected separatists.

The defendants, named as Ali Majdam, Muhammad Reza Muqaddam, Moin Khanfari, Habib Deris, Adnan Gheibshahi and Salem Musawi, had been charged with terrorist activities in the Khuzestan province, in the southwest of the country, in the years 2018-2020, and may have been members of an Arab separatist group, the Harakat al-nidhal.

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F. Haqiqatjou

The Shah's Son Paradox: Why Iran Needs Its Exiled Crown Prince To Achieve Democracy

Iran's exiled and surprisingly popular crown prince Reza Pahlavi can help unite opponents against the country's brutal regime. But he can only do that by reaffirming his royal status, rather than responding on calls to renounce his title.


As a sociologist, I have one thing in common with Iran's former crown prince and exiled heir apparent, Reza Pahlavi. We both support a republic in Iran, while understanding the utility in present conditions, of restoring the constitutional regime that ended with the 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew the monarchy and installed a theocratic regime.

It's an inexplicable contradiction though in my case, it's merely a personal conundrum. Not so with the prince: for he must bear a burden of responsibilities born of the hopes and expectations of numerous Iranians, especially those inside Iran who have been protesting against the ayatollahs — and often chanting support for the Pahlavis — at great personal risk to themselves.

Every time he speaks in the media or responds to calls to become the nation's representative, he prompts criticisms, indignation and controversy. Opponents of the monarchy are worried that anything enhancing the prince's public profile will also strengthen the prospects of a restoration. They want him to formally renounce his succession rights and distance himself from the monarchy he would, in other conditions, have inherited from his father, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

The prince seems to be doing this distancing, stating his support for a republic with increasing clarity, and even renouncing use of the title of prince.

He recently told the BBC on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference that he personally favored a republic in Iran, for its meritocratic nature. As he sees debates around a monarchy or republic as a source of discord among all those who want a democracy in Iran, he has sought to proceed in public as a civil and political activist, alongside other exiled opponents. This of course has prompted the ire of royalists, who do not see such postures as impartial or fair.

I personally believe the prince's bid to work as a "simple" activist, at this juncture, is neither practical nor beneficial to Iran's mass opposition movement.

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Elahe Boghrat

Iranians Can Only Topple The Dictatorship With Help From The West

Inside Iran, people are risking their lives to fight the oppressive Islamic Republic. Now, they need support from compatriots abroad and Western democracies to bring an end to this decades-long fight for democracy.


For years now, the fate of Iran has been a concern for many Iranians living abroad as migrants or exiles, regardless of their political views or socio-cultural origins.

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Iranian "Justice" At Work: Executions For Protesters, Leniency For Honor Killings

After hanging at least four anti-government protesters, Islamic Iran's judiciary decided, not for the first time, to give a short jail term to a man who murdered his "unruly" wife last year.


Iran's regime has no qualms about executing those it deems the "undesirables" of the nation: political opponents, criminals and most recently anti-state protesters, often using the courts to issue extravagant charges against those it sends to be hanged.

And yet the same judiciary has recently given an eight-year jail sentence to a young man who murdered his wife in 2022. This was a notorious case of "honor killing" reported in February that year in the southern city of Ahwaz.

The convict, Sajjad Heidarnava, became a figure of macabre evil on social media when he was shown smiling and displaying his 17-year-old wife's severed head as a trophy in the neighborhood. His victim, Mona Heidari, had married Heidarnava, her cousin, some years earlier but insisted on a divorce before being killed.

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In The News
Ginevra Falciani & Inès Mermat

Ukraine Interior Minister Killed In Helicopter Crash, Greta v. Polizei, World’s Oldest Person Dies

👋 Halo!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Ukraine’s interior minister is among 18 killed in a helicopter crash near Kyiv, the world’s oldest person dies at 118, and Greta Thunberg is briefly detained by German police. Meanwhile, London-based, Persian-language Kayhan wonders what’s behind the Iranian Supreme Leader’s repeated allusions to the end of the Shah's rule.

[*Bislama, Vanuatu]

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