Iran is on its 53rd day of protesting after Mahsa Amini fell into a coma and died after being arrested by Iran’s morality police for wearing her Hijab “improperly.” Iran has since been protesting her death and fighting for fundamental human rights, especially for women. Thus far, 328 have been killed during the protests. In a shocking and sickening announcement last Tuesday, the Iranian parliament voted that the 15,000 protestors be executed due to their “crimes” against the government. 

Iran Votes to Mass Execute 

Although these 15,000 people have yet to be formally sentenced to death, the death penalty is on the table as a punishment for the protesting. Most concerning is that 227 out of 290 members of the parliament voted for the death penalty. This decision was won by a landslide. 

It was also noted that in a letter that 227 of the parliament signed that “the lawmakers asked to teach those arrested “a good lesson”. The good lesson being the mass killing of innocent protestors. Lawmakers also quoted that this severe punishment would “prove to all that life, property, security and honor of our dear people is a red line for this (Islamic) establishment and that it would show no leniency to anybody in this regard.” 

It has also been reported that the female protestors that may face execution who are virgins will be raped to ensure they do not go to heaven. It is unclear how that determination will be made and this treatment is vile and exceeds cruel and usual punishment. Those in custody are already faced with being beaten and even sexually assaulted.

Why Iran is Protesting

In case you have not seen what the protestors in Iran have been doing, let me enlighten you. For 53 days, women have been cutting their hair in protest and refusing to wear the mandatory Hijab. Some have even set their Hijabs on fire. The people of Iran are not only protesting due to Amini’s death, but it was the spark. For years the Iranian people have been suffering at the hands of their government. The protestors are protesting for human rights, equality, women’s care and safety, social/economic conditions, and improper use of power, amongst many other issues.

Iran’s Political System 

A large part of Islamic society is based on Islamic Sharia law. “Sharia is the ideal form of divine guidance that Muslims follow to live a righteous life.” Sharia is not the same as Islamic Law. Sharia is the idealistic, perfect values understood only by God, while Islamic Law is laws based on the interpretation of Sharia. Like with most things, this practice has been picked apart and left up to interpretation which is causing some major conflicts. 

99.4% of the population of Iran classify as Muslim, “submitters to god,” and are people who adhere to Islam which is an Abrahamic religion. The fundamental religious text in Iran is the Quran. Iran is an Islamic theocracy that was implemented after the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution that overthrew Iran’s long-standing monarchy. Before 1979 women had the freedom to choose to wear a hijab or not. A theocracy is a “government by divine guidance, or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided”. They base their politics on religious law. 

Trump and His Detrimental Impact on Iran

Former president Trump decided to sanction Iran, which impacted approximately 80% of the country’s economy, putting them in a state of crisis and economic downfall. 

It is speculated that Iran President Ebrahim Raisi wants no part in changing his country because he will lose the last bit of conservative support he has. Raisi believes that if he makes any positive change toward human rights, the country will experience an outright downfall. At the end of the day, we all know this is an excuse, and killing people is not a justification for attempting to keep the country afloat. It may hold some validity, though; if so, this means that Iran needs our support more than ever. 

Previous Mass Executions 

This is also not the first time that Iran has seen mass killings by its own government. In 1988, the Human Rights Watch documented that the government executed between 2,800 and 5,000 political prisoners in the wake of the war between Iraq and Iran.

What is most concerning is that the current president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, had a hand in voting for the executions in 1988. Raisi has denied it, and in the last ten years, other nations have begun digging into the tragedy and questioning Raisi. It has been speculated and reported that Raisi was a member of the Tehran Death Committee. He allegedly was not an original member and took over when the prosecutor general could not attend meetings.

A Grim Outlook for Iran

Either way, even speculations of his involvement only insight more rage and fear upon hearing the parliament vote for the death penalty. Raisi is delusional to think he is upholding any human rights standards, decency, or fairness. A mass execution is protecting no one and harming a lot more than just 15,000 people. An innocent Islamic woman was unlawfully killed, and his response is to kill those that are threatening the regime. Unfortunately for him, the regime should be threatened. It should be completely struck down as inhumane. 

After Raisi won the presidency in 2021, he said, “I am proud to have defended human rights in every position I have held so far.”  As we know, if this is Raisi’s version of defending human rights the people of Iran are in extreme danger.