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Iran is on the way to its first major wave of protests since 2009, following the police killing of a young woman.

Mahsa Amin’s death in police custody is fast becoming a new moment of truth for an Iranian regime that fears a popular uprising more than intimidation from the rest of the world.

Four days after the assassination of Amin in a Tehran hospital, the protests in the Iranian capital show no signs of slowing down. Although they appear largely peaceful, several demonstrations in Iran’s Kurdistan region have turned violent.

There are some signs that a large-scale wave of protests may be on the rise. It will be the first since 2009 Another young woman’s deathNeda Agha Soltan sparked several days of riots not seen since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Even today, her slow death, after being shot in the chest, remains a testament to how Iran treats its dissidents and women. Soltan was shot by a sniper while attending an anti-government rally in June 2009, sparking riots and temporarily exposing the weakness of one of the region’s most robust police states.

The memory of Soltan’s assassination came flooding back with pictures of Amin being dragged into a moral police van last Thursday. The video raised the specter of a state that often commits acts of violence against women and men who challenge the system.

Pressure has mounted in Iran in the more than a decade since the two events, with activists pushed into the shadows and the state suppressing any signs of a green revolution that emerged after the disputed 2009 presidential election.

After the election of Ebrahim Rice as president, the control of the streets is increasingly subordinated to the minions of the state, the so-called. Basij (responsible for the assassination of Sultan) and the Revolutionary Guard, which implements the values ​​of the Islamic Revolution. Rigid and deeply conservative in his views, President Raisi further narrowed the scope of dissent, gave more power to the morality police, and reinforced an uncompromising interpretation of Shia Islam in all parts of the country.

Although Amin died in a regime cell, Iranian leaders have so far blamed “conspirators” for his death. They also attribute unrest and protests to enemies such as Saudi Arabia. The manual is familiar, as are its clichés.

Semi-official media outlets have launched an investigation and said senior regime officials, including Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, allegedly expressed regret over Amin’s death, which was initially blamed on epilepsy or heart problems. However, her parents said that the 22-year-old Kurdish woman was not suffering from any disease.

Hard-liners in Iran learned a lesson from 2009, when a large-scale insurgency nearly escaped state control. The country now has one of the most extensive digital surveillance technologies in the region, as well as an iron watch over communities silenced by terror.

But the government also faces a large network of expatriates who want different things for the country and its people, as well as a strong push from activists inside Iran who know how to organize.

It remains to be seen whether Amin’s assassination will become another milestone in the quest for self-determination for so many Iranians, or whether it will just be a shell that will eventually disappear. Either way, leaders fear a street they can no longer control, and the brutal murder of another young woman is a recipe for further unrest. The regime entered into troubled waters.

Translated by Francisco de Zarate

Source: El Diario

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