Skip to content
The Editors

Iran’s Brave Women Deserve the World’s Support

The West should do what it can to help the protesters succeed.

Women take to the streets of Tehran on Sept. 21.

Women take to the streets of Tehran on Sept. 21.

Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Over the past three weeks, young female protesters in Iran have led the biggest show of resistance against the country’s theocratic regime in more than a decade. US and European leaders have rightly voiced support for them. As the regime intensifies its brutal response, the West should do what it can to ensure the movement survives.

The eruption of anger was sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, who died in custody of Iran’s “morality police” after she was arrested for allegedly flouting local dress codes. Women across the country poured onto the streets to denounce the killing and demand more freedoms. In recent days, social media videos have shown schoolgirls openly confronting government officials and removing their headscarves in defiance. As the protests have expanded, the regime has responded with predictable fury. Security forces have killed dozens and arrested hundreds more; the death of one 16-year-old girl who reportedly disappeared after joining demonstrations has triggered another wave of outrage. The government has also imposed internet shutdowns to disrupt communications and suppress reports of police abuses.