The veil has become a symbol of the protests that rocked Iran for 10 days after Mahsa Amini’s death, but this Islamic garment is only the tip of the iceberg: Young Iranians want freedom and opportunity.
Oppose They are carried out by the so-called generation of 1380 (born from 2000, according to the Iranian calendar), who enjoyed some independence with former reformist president Hassan Rouhani (2013–2021), who is now They have been moved in the midst of an economic crisis There seems to be no end.
A generation that doesn’t want to live two lives like their parents: one according to the rules of a public system and a private one in which they break all those rules.
Amini was arrested in Tehran by the so-called Morale police on Tuesday the 13th on the idea that she was wearing the wrong veil and taken to a police station where she suffered a heart attack and fell into a coma.
He died in a hospital three days later, In a death described by police as “unfortunate” and officials attributed to health problems, the family dismissed something.
“Woman, Life, Freedom”
Amini’s death, 22, has thrown her generation into the streets, with powerful images of young people shouting “Women, Life, Freedom” at protests in at least 20 cities.
So far the authorities have accepted 41 dead and over a thousand arrested.
A young woman who took part in the protest told Efe: “These mobilizations have been started by women and will have to be continued so that no more Mahsa Amini is killed.”
“The only thing we want Have social freedom, wear what we want… the veil should not be mandatory”, says the young woman.
In such a situation, the curtain has become the subject of anger of the protesters.
“The veil is seen as an element of the presence of the state, the control of society by the state,” Raffaele Mauriello, an Iranologist and professor of Spanish language and literature at Allam Tabatabai University in Tehran, told Efe.
For the expert, young people got used to some liberties during Rouhani’s mandate, when cafeterias proliferated, in which boys and girls got together, similar to bars without alcohol.
In those years, the Morale police had lost prominence on the streets and there was a certain relaxation in the use of the veil, which was mandatory from 1983, shortly after the 1979 revolution led by Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini.
In this context, ultra-conservative President Ibrahim Raisi won the 2021 elections with a voter turnout of 48.8%, the lowest since the victory of the Islamic Revolution and which did not allow the presence of reformist candidates.
With 12.8% of the vote vacant or invalid, the elections underscored the gap between many Iranians and the system, which thus closes the door to political reform.
After Raisi came to power in August last year, many people asked themselves the question of when would he start applying Strict dress and social laws.
about 10 months.
In late June, there was an increase in Morale police presence on the streets and arrests for wearing the veil wrong, as well as notices in cafeterias that young people behave like.
While the middle-aged population has accepted the return of social rigidity, young people have revolted, in some protests they have managed to channel popular fury, in contrast to other occasions in which they are mobilized by the fragmented economy. were confined to social groups.
This social pressure also occurs in harsh economic conditions, with a very exhausted population that has become impoverished by US sanctions in Iran.
,They are creating pressure on the society under pressure.” Maintains Morillo, who believes the government chose a bad moment to enforce strict dress laws.
The country is plagued by inflation of around 40% and the price of a large number of basic products, including bread, tripled, sparking protests with two deaths in April.
Then, the owner of a bakery in Tehran told Efe that his establishment also had customers who almost came to blows.
“People don’t have money and are nervous,” he said.
In such a situation, Amini’s death has become like pouring gas in the fire.
The question is how long will this fire last.
“I think he has a week left,” Maurillo says.
Police repression as well as a lack of leadership to direct mobilization has perpetuated this wave of protests, which have lost power in recent times.
But at the moment Morale Police is not visible on the streets of Tehran.