Iraqis express sympathy, solidarity to #MahsaAmini protests in Iran

Iraqis express sympathy, solidarity to #MahsaAmini protests in Iran
"The ruling elites have freedom, but the rest of the Iranian people have no freedom," said one Iraqi from Baghdad in reaction to the protests in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini.
3 min read
21 September, 2022
Iranian women in Turkey wanted to protest in Taksim square about the murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on 20 September 2022 in İstanbul, Türkiye. [Getty]

Iraqis have reacted online and on the streets with sympathy and support to the protests in neighbouring Iran following the death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, a Kurdish woman, who died after she was allegedly beaten by the Iranian morality police for not wearing "a proper hijab".

The protests erupted early last week after Amini, 22, from the Kurdish city of Saqqez, died in a Tehran hospital days after being in police custody.

Amini was on a visit with her brother to the Iranian capital city of Tehran when she was detained last Tuesday by Iran's morality police.

"I say, the people of Iran, have the right to demonstrate since there is much oppression against Iranian women. Both of our sisters in Iran [referencing Amini and another Iranian woman named Shler Rasuli] have been mistreated and it is the duty of everyone to defend them," Aesha Bahadin, a Kurdish woman from Sulaimaniyah city, said to The New Arab

"I hope all the related sides shoulder their responsibilities to defend the rights of women, and we are now not living in a pre-history era," she added.

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Similarly, a Kurdish school physics teacher from Sulaymaniyah, refusing to be named, also expressed his support for the Iran protests.

"Taking to the streets is the most basic way to express objections toward the killing of young Amini," the Kurdish teacher told TNA. "I think the violent reaction by the Iranian authorities against Iranian protestors is not an odd thing, but it was expected. Because since the Islamic Republic of Iran came to power - like all comprehensive regimes - they will not receive protestors with flowers and juice, but with live bullets."

"The world is freedom…people want to breathe...leave alone people to breathe…October in Tehran," on his part, Iraqi journalist Adnan al-Taee Tweeted, citing the Iraqi October protests in 2019.

Following Amimi's death, protests swept Tehran and most major Iranian cities, including the dominant Kurdish-populated cities in western Iran known as Rojhalat. Iranian security forces used lethal force to curb the protests.

The head of the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, Arsalan Yarahmedi, on Wednesday updated the TNA about the casualties in Rojhalat.

"The death toll climbed to seven deaths and the number of injuries rose to 450 people," Yarahmedi said. On Tuesday, Yarahmedi said the death toll was three and 221 injuries due to direct Iranian security gunfire.

Women in Iranian Kurdistan are often heavily targeted by Tehran's repressive policies. On 3 September, Shler Rasuli, a Kurdish woman from Mariwan city, jumped from the window of the building of a neighbouring house after a man tried to rape her.

A week later, she died in hospital. The Coordination Centre of Iranian Kurdistan's Parties described the culprit as being a "mercenary of the Islamic regime".

An Arab youth from the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad doing free business in Sulaimaniyah also spoke to TNA on condition of anonymity due to reprisal.

ايران قبل ساعتين #طهران

— يوسف الرحيم (@D1MHMOF4KPr53P9) September 19, 2022

"Protests are a right, Iranian morality police assaulted Amini, she had not breached Iran's hijab regulations, and a crime has been committed against her. Iran indeed has an Islamic government, but it includes extremism. The ruling elites have freedom, but the rest of the Iranian people have no freedom, thus it is in the interest of the Iranian people to enjoy freedom," the Iraqi youth said as he was enjoying the calm and beautiful scenery in the city's Azadi Park.     

He also argued that Iran protests are in the favour of the Iraqi people and that the Iraqis would "see some relief as the Iranian government is interfering in the Iraqi political situation, thus the authorities in Tehran would be busy with their internal affairs."