T.In September 2022, the brutal killing of Masa Amini by the notorious Iranian moral police has sparked protests across the country. The scope and scale of these demonstrations have led some experts to call it a women-led revolution. A CNN contributor concluded that the clergy’s regime may be on the verge of turning back, and that current protests transcend Iran’s many social and ethnic divisions.
Nevertheless, to the surprise of many Iran watchers, the protest movement is now in decline. The status quo has resisted change, even within the protest movement itself, so the regime is far from a “point of no return”. It is unable to transcend sectarian divisions and that is why it is failing.
To understand why, you need to know that Iran has an organized discrimination structure like apartheid, under which men, Shiites and Persians belong to privileged classes. Women, non-Shia and non-Persians are marginalized and discriminated against. As a Kurdish Sunni woman, Amini was emblematic of all three of her lower class groups. And let me be clear, this is not the case in the West, where minorities are marginalized or informally excluded. On the contrary, these groups are explicitly and systematically excluded as a matter of written law, in some cases within the Iranian constitution itself.
For example, under Iranian civil law, women and girls are treated as second-class citizens and are worth “half value” in life, courts, workplaces and death. The current protests began as a feminist movement calling for an end to mandatory hijab-wearing and other discriminatory laws against women. Both administration officials and key figures in the opposition have come to react to the slogan “Women, Life, Freedom.”,” In the retort, “People, Motherland, Prosperity.Persian nationalists who supported the monarchy embraced this mantra and turned the revolution away from feminism and signs of women’s rights.
Arguably, without women’s participation, the pro-democracy movement in Iran is less likely to succeed. Iranian society and mainstream opposition organizations must abandon their chauvinistic tendencies and embrace women’s maximum emancipation and maximum participation.
Initially, non-Persian ethnic groups such as Azerbaijani Turks, Kurds, Arabs and Baluchis, as well as women, were leading the protest movement in Iran. But even as non-Persian minorities bear the brunt of the regime’s violent crackdown, the Iranian regime and conservative opposition forces are unofficially working together to support the reactionary, chauvinist, pro-Persian government. The status quo is maintained. Ethnic discrimination in particular hinders protests from within. Persian chauvinism promises to unite all Iranians by assimilating Iran’s multi-ethnic population under the mantra of “one language, one nation, one leader, one fatherland” This is because.The goal of denying cultural rights and even the existence of other ethnic groups in the country is something the regime shares with many of its opponents, and this is crushing the opposition.
Both the regime and the Persian nationalist opposition have used the term “territorial integrity” to demonize and justify the oppression of ethnic and religious minorities in Iran. This slanderous term implies that non-Shiite and non-Persian ethnic groups are less loyal to Iran and therefore deserve to be treated with suspicion as non-Iranian second-class citizens. used as words. For the revolution to be successful, the Persian-dominated opposition organizations must reexamine long-standing exclusionary tendencies and join the collective struggle of the Iranians for democracy with ethnopolitical institutions and other marginalized groups. must be included.
Regarding religion, Iran’s constitution stipulates that only Shia Muslims may hold senior political, religious, and administrative positions. Sunni protesters, including Kurds and Baluchis, have bore the brunt of the violence suppressing the current protests in Iran. In just one of his protests, nearly 100 Sunni Baluch protesters were killed by Iranian regime forces. Many Sunni Baluch do not even have national ID cards or citizenship documents. They are not considered proper Iranians because of their ethnic and religious affiliation.
Persian monarchists oppose leaders belonging to non-Persian and non-Shia groups, again citing the risk of the collapse of Iran and the collapse of its “territorial integrity”. It’s exactly the same tactics that they use to mobilize bases by blaming protesters on separatism and separatism. Persian nationalist groups have played a particularly divisive role in campaigning to restore power to Iran’s deposed prince and lead the transition from clerical to secular rule. , wreak havoc on the protest movement and pitted Iranians against each other. Diaspora Persian nationalists claim Prince Reza Pahlavi is their representative, but Azerbaijanis and other non-Persian ethnic groups strongly support the idea of restoring a monarchy in post-Islamic Iran. I am refusing.
The Mahsa Amini protest movement, in its early stages, represented all of Iran’s underrepresented communities. Amini was a Sunni Kurdish woman, and her murder was not only among the regime and its opponents, but also between the traditionalism of the privileged ruling class and the more inclusive of women, non-Persians, and non-Persians. Forced confrontation between modern opposition. – Shia. The current divided opposition movement continues to fail because it does not challenge the status quo of Persian chauvinism, political patriarchy and Shiite fundamentalism.
For the movement to succeed, it must ensure a just, inclusive, free and equitable future. Protests divided on ethnic, sectarian and gender lines are unlikely to succeed in overthrowing the regime now entrenched for more than 40 years. Iranians seeking democracy will not be able to overcome the inertia of the status quo until they embrace this egalitarian and feminine movement.
Ahmad Hashemi is a research fellow at the Hudson Institute, focusing on foreign policy issues in Iran, Azerbaijan, and the Middle East.