Ruling by force, without the consent of the governed, is a dire and dangerous position.
The massive protests which have been raging across Iran since 22-year old Mahsa Amini died in police custody two weeks ago continue unabated today. According to news reports, 75 people have already been killed during the unrest.
Ms. Amini, who was arrested by Iran’s “morality police” for violating the country’s strict hijab laws, isn’t the first young women to die while in custody of the morality police. These aren’t the first protests to rock Iran.
None of the previous incidents, nor protests, resulted in a regime change.
Still, these protests feel a bit different.
Mahsa Amini was tortured by Iran’s morality police before she was killed, according to her family and eye-witnesses. And these protests are happening during a time of great global unrest, uncertainty and conflict.
“I’m assuring them that there is not a big deal going on in Iran,” Iran’s foreign minister went out of his way to tell U.S. news outlet NPR- and his diplomatic counterparts in western nations- just this morning. “There is not going to be a regime change in Iran. Don’t play to the emotions of the Iranian people.”
When governments as steeped in propaganda as Iran’s say something, it helps to read between the lines. For instance: If there is no big problem, why would the spokesperson of Iran’s government bring it up at all?
“Iran says U.S. attempting to use unrest to weaken country,” reported Reuters yesterday, another direct contradiction of Iran’s official line on the protests: “Nothing to see here, move along please.”
“Iran Strikes Kurdish Separatists Groups in Northern Iraq,” reported the New York Times today. “The death of a young Iranian Kurdish woman in police custody has set off an intense wave of protests across Iran over the past 10 days, igniting fury particularly in the country’s Kurdish minority community.”
The strikes are widely believed to be in retaliation for the protests.
“Iran ‘ready to provide answers’ on nuclear probes, FM says,”- as reported by Middle Eastern news outlet AL-Monitor- seems like a transparent attempt to change the subject.