One year ago, 22-year-old Mahsa Jina Amini was detained by Iranian authorities who seek to deprive women of bodily autonomy. She was beaten in their custody and killed at the hands of the state. As we pause and reflect on the uprising for change her death ignited, we are reminded of the brutal crackdown that ensued, the resilience of the Iranian people, and the power of collective action that unites Iranians under the banner of Woman, Life, Freedom.
NIAC stands in unwavering solidarity with the brave Iranian people, their movement for change and their unequivocal right to self determination.
Iranian authorities responded to the uprising of Iranians with extreme force and repression. At least 527 people lost their lives, including 71 innocent children, and increased executions. Close to 18,000 individuals were detained in connection with the protests. While some were granted conditional amnesty earlier this year, many remain languishing in prison cells, facing torture and denial of basic rights like access to attorneys and due process. There must be accountability for the alarming number of protesters who suffered grave injuries, the throttling of internet connectivity, and the unjust execution of citizens following irregular trials.
While the initial momentum of this movement was met by systematic violence, the desire for peaceful change in Iran remains strong. Iranian women, the torchbearers of this movement, continue their struggle, ensuring their voices and demands for rights are still heard.
Countless Iranians have inspired the world and advanced the cause of freedom, democracy and peace. We at NIAC are inspired to embody these principles in everything we do, whether in our work to stand with the Iranian people and their aspirations inside Iran, or our efforts to advance democracy and the rights of Iranian Americans here at home. We do this work with humility, recognizing the enormous sacrifices of Iranians inside Iran and the relative comfort and privilege we enjoy here.
The struggle for democracy and equal rights is one that all people must fight for, and did not begin for Iranians last year – Iranians have been fighting for these demands for over a century. We hope that one day very soon, they will finally succeed.
Zan. Zendegi. Azaadi.
We were pleased that, after years of advocacy to press multiple administrations to fix sanctions that were helping Iran’s government control the internet, one of the immediate U.S. policy changes following Iran’s uprising was to ease sanctions on internet communication tools via General License D-2. But there is still much work to be done to support the Iranian people rather than undermine them from abroad.
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