In January, the Iranian regime announced that the anti-government protests that unexpectedly swept through the country had successfully been suppressed. In truth, this struggle continues–if not in the streets, then on social media, on city walls, and in the private lives of citizens. In the eyes of the younger generation of the Shiite majority, who are the backbone of the protests, the mullahs are losing legitimacy.
This discontent is not limited to economic grievances and has taken aim at the political and social leadership as a whole. Many of these protests have begun to target laws like mandatory headscarves. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the mandatory headscarf for women has been the enduring symbol of the mullahs’ political control and of women’s restricted status. Foregoing the hijab in public is to risk arrest, job loss, lashing, reeducation classes or other punishments, so these protesters have resorted to posting photos and videos of themselves on social media.
On April 26, Hudson Institute hosted a panel of leading female Iranian-American freedom activists who will discuss these developments and how the U.S. can help this movement maintain momentum. Panelists will include Iranian journalist and founder of My Stealthy Freedom Masih Alinejad; Iranian feminist scholar Mehrangiz Kar; and Mariam Memarsadeghi, co-founder and co-director of Tavaana. The discussion was moderated by Hudson senior fellow Nina Shea.