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From the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now

Iran’s Theocrats Launch New Offensive in a War on Hijab-free Women Amid Escalating War with Zionist Israel editors’ note: We received the following from the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now (IEC).

As a woman in Iran, I could be killed by an Israeli rocket or a morality police baton. 

There have been many social media posts from women in Iran like this one paraphrased above since April 13. That was the day when the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) launched a nationwide crackdown to enforce hijab/headscarf laws and the very same day it launched a barrage of missiles against Israel (a response to Israel’s attack on Iran’s embassy compound in Syria on April 1). 

The hashtag #war_against_women (or #war_on_women) in Farsi often linked thousands of posts and reposts exposing violent assaults by Iranian morality police and paramilitaries on young women for being unveiled. Often readers say they are reminded of the historic 2022 Women, Life, Freedom uprising provoked by the murder of Mahsa Gina Amini by Iran’s morality police. As the terrifying videos reveal, women in Iran are now heinously assaulted by MOBS of police or vigilantes, often armed with guns and clubs or tasers. These attackers are mainly men but also many brutal women enforcers covered from head to toe in black cloaks. 

Hundreds of women have been arrested and imprisoned for refusing to submit to their dominated status designated by the forced hijab that acts as both emblem and enforcement of the bloodcurdling misogyny that is built into the very foundation of the Sharia law that socially coheres and legally rules Iran.

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“Only posting videos of the violent arrests and arrests of women in Iran...”
#War_against_women #woman_life_freedom

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“Tehran is the scene of war, the brutal attack of government agents on women continues in every neighborhood and street.”

This new war on women is named the Noor (“Light”) Project – a sick irony for what is in reality the “Dark Ages Nightmare” Project. The subordinate status of women was enshrined in the law when the IRI, with the help of the U.S. and other Western powers, highjacked the popular revolution against the U.S.-backed Shah of Iran in 1979, but Project Noor is a dramatic leap in the 45-year-long brutal enforcement of the Islamic dress code in Iran. 

Millions of women have been defiant of this law, especially since the 2022 Gina uprising which had included many men supporting and participating. Since then, the morality police and their hated vans had reduced their public presence on the streets, though they never disbanded and hijab enforcers and vigilantes continued to roam. For example, in October 2023, 16-year-old Armita Geravand lost her life after an encounter on the metro with one of the religious fanatic female hijab-enforcers. But as of April 13, these fanatics are now off the leash and have gone wild with vengeance against any woman showing an iota of independence. This all-around war on women includes seizure of exorbitant fines from bank accounts of the hijab-rebels, impounding their cards in traffic stops, and the threat of taking away their jobs or social services.

On April 3, 2024, even as Iran was likely preparing their response to the Israeli attack two days earlier, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gave a speech designed to mobilize and unleash the IRI’s fanatical religious social base, basically declaring hijab-rebels to be unpatriotic “foreign agents” or their dupes (a reference to U.S./Israel and Western imperialism):

In terms of Islamic law, hijab is a definite Islamic law. That is, women are obliged to cover themselves except for their face and hands. This is something that cannot be ignored… Compliance with the law is compulsory for all individuals. Regardless of whether or not they personally believe in the Islamic law, the law must be obeyed… In this matter that is currently discussed in this country—the issue of hijab—foreign interference was clear and evident.

The timing of the speech and the synchronization of these events signaled that, in time of war, any kind of rebellion cannot, must not, and would not, be tolerated. Patriotism and patriarchy are twins—foundational and mutually re-enforcing elements that fuel Iran’s war efforts, and do not distract from each other. To terrorize and batten down the entire home front, they must forcefully put defiant women (back) in their place. The independent news outlet Akhbar-Rooz wrote on April 19, 2024 (translated to English by IEC volunteers):

The government's campaign against women in the street is accompanied by such an extent, brutality and violence that many observers and activists describe it as “unprecedented.” According to some reports, on the first day of this street campaign, in addition to a lot of violence, around 500 women were arrested. The Islamic government has launched its massive war against women in a ‘semi-war’ situation and all the attention, especially at the international level, is focused on the disastrous end of the hostilities between Israel and the Islamic Republic, so that this massive repression is done in silence every day.1 

Morality police agents’ staging area in Tehran’s City Theater, published on


Morality police agents’ staging area in Tehran’s City Theater.    Photo: Published on

Some universities now require women to pass through gates equipped with facial recognition technology and prevent them from entering if they do not comply with the mandatory veiling Islamic dress code. Also, restaurants and all other businesses have been threatened with closure if they serve unveiled women or offer them services.

Widespread Outrage and Resistance Begins to Grow

Outrage by people from all walks of life inside and outside Iran, especially on social media, has been widespread, even as resistance to this crackdown (as reported so far) has often been sporadic and individual. There are notable incidents such as the report of a crowd who intervened on April 13 in the Kurdish city of Kermanshah, preventing the arrest of a woman. Graffiti against the crackdown has also been widespread in streets and some universities. 

In this screenshot from a video by @Women.revolution, young women give the finger to the official poster on metro walls warning of the compulsory hijab requirement.


In this screenshot from a video by @Women.revolution, young women give the finger to the official poster on metro walls warning of the compulsory hijab requirement.    Photo: screen grab @Women.revolution

In a recent comment released from Evin Prison and posted on her social media, 2023 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi aptly observes that “Desperate to mask its crumbling legitimacy and failing authority, the Islamic Republic has transformed the streets into a battleground against women and youth, wielding fear and intimidation as weapons."

Pro-U.S. Mouthpieces and Toadies on Display

In the middle of this tense internal and external situation, there is a flurry of propaganda from U.S. toadies polishing off their resumes on U.S. imperialist news channels, looking to replace the mullahs while keeping the economic system intact via West-sponsored “regime change” in Iran. This while the mask of the U.S. being the “leader of the free world” and “model of democracy” is being ripped off as the U.S.-backed Israeli genocide in Gaza enters month 7—and by the many U.S. vetoes of UN resolutions for ceasefire or recognition of Palestine as a state.

The longtime pro-U.S. mouthpiece Masih Alinejad told CNN during the Iranian drone/missile strike that “this should be a tipping point for democracy countries to use this opportunity to have a united alliance against the Islamic Republic” and warned Israel that a weak response to Iran would “embolden Iran to come back more strongly.” She claimed that “millions of Iranians” celebrated Israel’s attack on Iran’s embassy compound, calling it Israeli “self-defense” to kill “the main creators of chaos in the region.” Then, in a later Fox News interview which highlighted the arrest of 100+ Columbia students protesting the U.S. support for Israel’s genocide, she derided the students for “supporting Hamas” (never mentioning the death of 33,000+ Palestinians) and said that in Iran, they would never get out of prison. 

Self-anointed “Prince” Reza Pahlavi, son of the U.S.-backed dictator Shah who fled Iran in 1979, was on Fox “News” gleefully calling for “regime change,” more sanctions and “outside help” dealing with the Iran-Israel conflict. Reza Pahlavi and his wife had fawned all over the Zionist regime during their visit in April 2023, promising a return to friendly relations between Iran and Israel if he is put in power. 

In the context of the fraught situation in Iran, both the heightened danger of a widening regional war between Iran and U.S./Israel, and the intense war against women on the streets of Iran, the demands of the IEC for the appropriate political terms to free Iran’s political prisoners ring out with more urgency than ever.

The governments of the U.S. and Iran act from their national interests. And, in this instance, we the people of the U.S. and Iran, along with the people of the world, have OUR shared interests, as part of getting to a better world: to unite to defend the political prisoners of Iran. In the U.S., we have a special responsibility to unite very broadly against this vile repression by the IRI, and to actively oppose any war moves by the U.S. government that would bring even more unbearable suffering to the people of Iran.

We demand of the Islamic Republic of Iran: FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!

—From the IEC's "Emergency Appeal" to free political prisoners.



1. “The brutality against women has provoked concern from some officials”,, April 19, 2024. [back]