Rafsanjani's daughter detained in Tehran for inciting protest in the wake of Mahsa Amini’s death
The daughter of the former president was charged with inciting riots. About 80 people have been killed so far, with another 1,200 arrested. President Raisi says he is "saddened" by the death of the 22-year-old Kurdish woman, but threatens an iron fist to stop "chaos". From his US exile, the sone of last shah calls what is happening as the first women’s revolution in modern times. Former prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe expresses solidarity with Iranian women.
Tehran (AsiaNews) – The situation is still tense in Iran following the killing in mid-September of Mahsa Amini by the morality police.
Meanwhile street protests continue, turning the protest movement into an open struggle for freedoms and rights, with women playing a leading role.
Wielding both carrot and sick, President Ebrahim Raisi said he was “saddened" by the death of the 22-year-old Kurdish weapon, but added that he would not tolerate "chaos" or further protests, which he blames on foreign forces.
One of the prominent Iranians caught up in the ongoing maelstrom is Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of late president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was detained on charges of “inciting riots”.
According to Iran's Tasnim news agency, the 59-year-old already “has a previous record of arrests due to her direct presence in some past protests."
In July, the authorities indicted Faezeh Hashemi, a former member of the Iranian parliament (majlis) and women's rights activist, for engaging in propaganda against the regime on social media.
Her father, a moderate, sought to improve relations with the United States, the “great Satan”, and for his trouble was sidelined by right-wing, ultra-conservatives.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the protests is rising – with humanitarian groups reporting at least 80 dead and more than 1,200 arrests.
Speaking on state-controlled TV, Iranian President Raisi said that while “We are all saddened by this tragic accident”, the current “chaos is unacceptable”.
The “government's red line is our people's security,” he said, “One cannot allow people to disturb the peace of society through riots."
Yet, despite government threats, protests continue across the country, with people posting videos on social media, showing protesters singing and shouting slogans, including “Death to the dictator", a reference to both President Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
However powerful the protest movement is, it is not likely to provoke the collapse of the Islamic Republic – at least not on the short term – since the regime has shown its willingness to use every means at its disposal to remain firmly in power and avoid the fate of the last shah in the 1979 revolution.
In spite of this, Reza Pahlavi, the exiled son of the last shah, is more optimistic. "It is truly in modern times, in my opinion, the first revolution for the women, by the women – with the support of Iranian men; sons, brothers and fathers," he said reacting to the anti-hijab protest following Mahsa Amini’s death.
Reza Pahlavi's grandfather, also called Reza, banned the hijab in 1936, while his father, Mohammed Reza, who was toppled in 1979, made it optional.
In his view, women should decide “to wear or not wear the veil. But it ought to be a choice, a free choice, not imposed for ideological or religious reasons.”
Iranian-British Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who spent six years in an Iranian prison on espionage charges she always denied, is more radical.
In a video posted on the BBC, she cuts her hair in solidarity with her fellow countrywomen, in what has become the protest movement’s iconic ritual.
At the end of the video, she says: "For my mother, for my daughter, for the fear of solitary confinement, for the women of my country, for freedom."