Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
NEW! Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+ Try 7 Days Free

Analysis-Iran's leaders are safe but protests raise the stakes over imposing veil

World Sep 23, 2022 11:01AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A newspaper with a cover picture of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by Iranian morality police is seen in Tehran, Iran, September 18, 2022. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS/ 2/2
 
META
+2.04%
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
 

By Michael Georgy

DUBAI (Reuters) -The popular revolt in Iran triggered by the death of a woman held by police is unlikely to pose an immediate threat to clerical rulers whose elite security forces have crushed one protest after another in recent years.

But the protests, the biggest since 2019, are another crack in the structure of the Islamic Republic, which has been facing unrest over economic hardship, inflation and freedoms.

Enraged by the death last week of Mahsa Amini, 22, who was arrested by morality police for wearing "unsuitable attire", women challenged the country's Islamic dress code and took charge, waving and burning their veils. Some publicly cut their hair as furious crowds called for the fall of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

As the government weighs its options, Amini's case has touched a raw nerve and unleashed years of pent up anger over the mandatory hijab.

Her death will embolden more and more women to challenge the government over dress restrictions even if the protests which spread to most of Iran's 31 provinces fade or are stamped out, analysts say.

"The death of Mahsa Amiri released decades of suppressed energy and will among women to fight back. It’s not the first time, but this time is different," said Omid Memarian, an Iran analyst based in the United States.

Under Iran's Islamic Sharia law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women are obliged to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothes to conceal their figures. Violators face public rebuke, fines or arrest.

But decades after the revolution, clerical rulers still struggle to enforce the law, with many women of all ages and backgrounds wearing tight-fitting, thigh-length coats and brightly coloured scarves pushed back to expose plenty of hair.

While that defiance is common, the shock over Amini's death and nationwide protests have raised the stakes as Iranian women call for more freedoms.

Waves of the hijab protests have hit the clerical establishment in the past years. In 2014, rights activist Masih Alinejad started a Facebook (NASDAQ:META) campaign "My Stealthy Freedom", where she shared pictures of unveiled Iranian women sent to her.

"Now that protesters are clearly taking to the streets to protest Mahsa (Jina) Amini’s murder and demanding change, it is beyond debate that ultimately people seek the change of the system and want human rights and representative government," said Gissou Nia, director of the Strategic Litigation Project at the Atlantic Council.

So far Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Basij militia have been relatively restrained, but they could be mobilised quickly. Warnings from the army and the intelligence minister on Friday showed they are poised to crack down as they have done before.

In the past authorities have let protests run their course for several days, only resorting to full-scale force if the unrest starts to appear open-ended or out of control.

"The Revolutionary Guards and Basij are brutal, loyal, and ultimately effective at suppressing protest — and they have significant experience over the years in doing so," said Eurasia Group analyst Henry Rome.

"The protests pose less of a risk to immediate government stability than to its legitimacy and sustainability over the longer term."

Iran was rocked by unrest in 2017 and 2018. In 2019, Iran said 200,000 people took part in what may have been the biggest anti-government demonstration in the 40-year history of the Islamic Republic. Reuters reported 1,500 were killed by security forces.

Meir Javedanfar, who teaches Iranian politics at Reichman University in Israel, described the latest protests as a milestone for Iranians angered by "a corrupt and incompetent regime".

"These protests will not be the last. We will see more. But we are unlikely to see a revolution until and unless there is a leader and at least part of Iran's armed forces starts siding with the people against the regime. None of this has happened yet," he said.

Analysis-Iran's leaders are safe but protests raise the stakes over imposing veil
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Sep 23, 2022 10:23AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
How frackin ridiculous is it all this suffering and death because of a backward religious tenet.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email