Iran’s “morality police” question a young woman about her attire (File)

Iran’s Women Defy Return of the “Morality Police”

Iran, Assad, and The Illusion of Strength


Mahdi Khoei, a sociology professor at Tehran’s Allameh Tabataba’i University, has been expelled because of his support for nationwide protests after the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini last September.

Khoei posted on Instagram post on Thursday, “I’ve never bowed to any pressure, remained committed only to my students and the wider public. Now, after seven years, I’ve been handed a termination letter.”

A series of professors, including several at Tehran’s Art University this summer, have been fired because they expressed support for students who demonstrated.

See also Iran Protests: 100s of Students Face Suspension from University in Tehran

Allameh Tabataba’i students protested Khoei’s expulsion in a statement, saying the university should be the “beating heart of resistance against oppression”. They expressed “unwavering” support for the professor Khoei and warned of a class boycott should unwarranted intervention in academic freedom.

“The university is our home, not a playground for arbitrary state bullying. To take it from us, you must face its real custodians,” they said.


Authorities have arrested seven women’s rights activists in the Gilan province in northern Iran: Forough Saminia, Jelveh Javaheri, Yasmin Hashdari, Zahra Dadras, Zohreh Dadras, Negin Rezaie, and Matin Yazdani.


Iranian journalist Nazila Maroufian, serving a two-year sentence, has been released from prison.

Maroufian was initially arrested in November and ordered back to prison in early July. Her “crime” was an October interview of the father of Mahsa Amini, the 21-year-old woman whose death in police custody sparked nationwide protests last September.

After her release from Tehran’s Evin prison, Maroufian posted a picture of herself without a headscarf on social media.

“Don’t accept slavery. You deserve the best,” she wrote, holding flowers and flashing a V for Victory sign.


University students Hasti Amiri and Zia Nabavi have been sentenced to one year in prison over their protests about a wave of suspected poisonings affecting 13,000 schoolgirls across Iran.

Amiri and Nabavi were accused of “propaganda activity”, including their participation in the “Women, Life, Freedom” protests since last September and their involvement in campaigns against the death penalty.

They were specificially targeted over a March 7 protest by students of Allameh Tabatabai University in Tehran.


After the regime imprisoned more than 100 journalists during almost 11 months of nationwide protests, Iran President Ebrahim Raisi tell reporters — on “National Journalists Day” — how to do their jobs.

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi addresses journalists, Tehran, August 8, 2023


Iranian Kurdish political prisoner Soheila Mohammadi has gone on hunger strike and sewn her lips shut.

The Norway-based Kuridsh human rights group Hengaw said Mohammadi began her hunger strike on Saturday in the women’s section of Urmia Prison in northwest Iran. She sewed her lips together “as a demonstration of protest against the mistreatment by prison officials in Urmia”.

Mohammadi was imprisoned in autumn 2020 to serve a 5-year sentence. She has reportedly attempted suicide because of mounting pressure from prison authorities and their denial of parole.


Iranian security personnel have fired upon, beaten, and arrested former political prisoner Pouria Ahmadi in front of his wife and their four-year-old son.

On Tuesday, intelligence officers opened fire on Ahmadi’s car as the family was traveling from Sanandaj to Marivan in northwest Iran.

Ahmadi and his wife Sahar were beaten. Their son Barzin suffered injuries to his face and body from the shattering of the car’s windows.

Pouria and Sahar were were taken to the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj. After a 48-hour wait, Barzin was handed over to Ahmadi’s parents.

The reasons for the arrests are still unknown.

Ahmadi is a former head of the National Unity Party’s Education Department in Kurdistan Province. He was arrested in February 2019 by the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization in Sanandaj and released on bail after 15 days of interrogation.

Three months later, Ahmadi was detained by agents of the Sanandaj Intelligence Department and interrogated for 10 days. He posted bail of 300 million tomans ($6,000).


Members of the musical group Sadat Niaki Tribe have been forced to apologize publicly for performing in front of the grave of a protester killed by Iranian security forces last year.

The group performed on July 28 at the gravesite of Ghazaleh Chalabi in Amol in northern Iran.

Chalabi, 32, was fatally shot by security forces during protests in Amol on September 21, five days after the start of demonstrations over the death of 21-year-old Mahsa Amini in police detention.

Video of the band’s performance at Chalabi’s was widely distributed on social media as a tribute to the protester and others who have been killed. The group wore white in solidarity with the victims from the “Women, Life, Freedom” movement.

Days later, four members posted videos on Sadat Niaki Tribe’s Instagram page, apologizing and saying that their intention had been misrepresented in social media posts. They said their performance was only to mark Ashura, Shi’a Islam’s holiest day.


Authorities have closed Iran’s first robotic-themed amusement park, claiming it did not enforce mandatory hijab for some female visitors.

One of RoboKids’ two branches in Tehran was cited by the Public Places Authority and shut on Thursday.

RoboKids confirmed the closure and said the Valiasr branch is closed “until further notice”.

The park has been praised by UNICEF and won the top company award from Tehran’s Amirkabir University for two consecutive years.


A popular Iranian satirist, Shaker Buri, has been detained by the Intelligence Office of the Revolutionary Guards in Abadan in southwest Iran.

Buri disappeared on Monday after going to the Intelligence Office in Abadan to retrieve his mobile phone, confiscated during a raid on his home by plainclothes officers. He has not been in contact with his family.


A Tehran Revolutionary Court has condemned two more female journalists, Saeedeh Shafiei and Nasim Soltanbeigi, to prison terms.

Shafiei, a journalist for more than 20 years, has handed a two-year prison sentence and two-year bans on media activities and leaving the country. Soltanbeigi was condemned to 2 1/2 years in prison and a two-year ban on social activities.

Soltanbeigi, a student activist in the 2000s, was arrested in December at Tehran’s Khomeini International Airport while preparing to travel abroad. Shafiei was arrested in Tehran on January 22.


Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar says Ukraine’s counter-offensive has liberated 14.6 square km (5.64 square miles) in the past week.

In the south, 12.6 square km was retaken, bringing the total since early June to 204.7 square km.

In the east on the Bakhmut front, an advance of 2 square km brought the total liberated to 37 square km.


Iran’s Culture Ministry has blocked the e-book platform Taaghche, declaring that it lacks a license to operate.

The closure comes days after several of Taaghche’s female staff did not wear hijab in a photograph.

Last week Iranian authorities shut down the Tehran office of Iran’s largest e-commerce retailer, Digikala, and launched judicial procedures after a similar “offense”.


The Iranian judiciary has banned Behrooz Behzadi, the editor-in-chief of leading newspaper Etemaad, from working for a year.

The newspaper announced the court decision on Friday. Behzadi was condemned for a series of articles about nationwide protests which began in September 2022, following the death of Mahsa Amini — detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” — in custody.


The second and final hearing in the trial of Niloofar Hamedi — imprisoned for 10 months after she reported the death of 21-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody — was held on Tuesday.

A preliminary verdict is expected in the next few days, said Hamedi’s Mohammad Hossein Ajorlo.

The journalist told Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, “I’m proud of my performance.”

Hamedi, a reporter for Shargh newspaper, and Elahe Mohammadi were arrested soon after they covered the September 16 death of Amini, who was detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police”. They are charged with collaboraton with US, collusion to commit crimes against national security, and engagement in propaganda activities against the regime.

Mohammadi’s second hearing is scheduled to be held on Wednesday.


Iranian authorities have shut down the Tehran office of Iran’s largest e-commerce retailer, Digikala, and launched judicial procedures.

Digikala’s “offense” was publication of online pictures in which some women employees did not wear hijab.

The company has more than 40 million active monthly users and hosts more than 300,000 merchants.


Human rights activist and political prisoner Narges Mohammadi has again challenged Iran’s regime over compulsory hijab.

In a message posted on her Instagram account on Saturday, Mohammadi wrote:

Contrary to claims by the theocracy, covering women’s hair was not meant to “protect women’s dignity” and “control men’s sexual urge”.

In fact, covering our hair was to preserve tyranny and to satisfy men’s dictatorial lust. Now the world is witnessing that women’s “power of refusal” has broken the “tyrannical power” of theocracy.

Forced hijab was a conspiracy by the tyrannical government to expand suppression, to institutionalize submission, and to enforce violence.

Mohammadi, the Vice President of the Center for Defenders of Human Rights, has been repeatedly detained. She is serving a 16-year prison sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison.


Iran’s authorities have banned the Festival of the Iranian Short Film Association.

The officials shut down September’s festival because of a publicity poster featuring an actor — Susan Taslimi in the 1982 film The Death of Yazdguerd — who was not wearing a hijab.


Iran’s leading Sunni cleric, Molavi Abdolhamid, has challenged the regime’s punishment of women who do not wear hijab in public.

Abdolhamid, the Friday Prayer leader of Zahedan in southeast Iran, said in his latest sermon that forcing women to cover their heads leads to resistance.

A large portion of these women believe in wearing the hijab, but they are dissatisfied and angry, and they want to express their civil disobedience by removing the hijab.

If we want the hijab to be respected, imprisoning, detaining, and beating will not achieve that goal. Even if it appears to work, it will only be temporary.

After the service, residents protested on Zahedan’s streets for the 43rd Friday in a row.

During Iran’s 10 months of nationwide protests, Abdolhamid has called for leaders — including the Supreme Leader — to be held accountable for the killing and detention of demonstrators. He is seeking an independent referendum on the future of the Islamic Republic.

Despite the regime’s pressure — including the arrests of members of his staff — he has continued his challenge. On Twitter last week, he posted, “Coercive measures like compelling women to wear hijab and shutting down businesses have yielded no positive results; instead, they have fueled more dissatisfaction and unrest.”


Dozens of human rights activists, lawyers, and former prosecutors are asking the UN to prevent the Iranian regime’s execution of a boxer.

Mohammad Javad Vafa’i Thani has been detained over his participation in protests in November 2019. He was informed on Wednesday that his execution verdict had been completed.

The 83 signatories wrote to UN Human Rights Commissioner Volker Türk, “We ask that you make an urgent public call for the Iranian authorities to halt Vafa’i Thani’s imminent execution sentence.”

The signatories include the former head of the International Criminal Court, Judge Sang-Hyun Song, and more than a dozen current and former UN human rights officials.


Continuing their crackdown on high-profile women who appear in public without hijab, Iran authorities have condemned three more actors to prison.

Afsaneh Bayegan was sentenced on Wednesday to two years in prison and mandatory psychological treatment for “anti-family personality disorder”.

Bayegan, who wore a hat in public, is required to read and summarize a book within two months. She is banned for two years from travel and any cyber-activity.

Tehran’s Criminal Court gave Azadeh Samadi a one-year sentence on Tuesday. Samadi must visit psychiatric centers “every two weeks” to treat her “anti-social disease”, and obtain a “certificate of health” for authorities.

Leila Bolukat was also sentenced for wearing hat rather than hijab.

The Iranian Director’s Guild and the Producers’ Union released a joint statement on Thursday calling the punishments an “insult to the intelligence of all cinema professionals”.


Radio Liberty posts video of protests against the Iran regime’s renewal of patrols by “morality police”, 10 months after the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini — detained and reportedly beaten by “morality” officers — sparked nationwide protests.


Iran’s police spokesman says that officers will resume the issuance of warnings to women who do not wear hijab.

In the case of disobeying the orders of the police, legal action will be taken and [the women] will be referred to the judicial system.

Reports are circulating that authorities are resuming patrols of “morality police”, suspended last September after the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, detained and reportedly beaten by “morality” officers.

Meanwhile, a scene in Tehran….


Concern is growing over the whereabouts of Mahmonir Molaei-Rad, whose husband was critically injured and 9-year-old son killed by Iranian security forces last November.

Kian Pirfalak was slain in Izeh in western Iran as he sat with his father Meysam during protests sparked by the death in police custody of 21-year-old Mahsa Amini.

At Kian’s funeral, Molaei-Rad rejected regime claims that he was shot by a “terrorist” with no link to the security forces.

On June 11, security officers tried to deter Molaei-Rad and other mourners from attending a memorial service for Kian what would have been his 10th birthday. Pouya Molaei-Rad, Mahmonir’s 21-year-old cousin, was killed by gunfire from security forces near the cemetery.

After Pouya’s death, security institutions interrogated Molaei-Rad for two to three hours. They shut down her Instagram account and said her cousin’s body would not be released unless she kept silent.

But Molaei-Rad refused to halt her online activity, her pursuit of justice, and her statements that security forces were involved in Kian’s killing.

“Several sources” said Molaei-Rad, her husband Meysam, and their other child Radin are under house arrest at the residence of Meysam’s mother. There is a heightened security presence in the village.

One source said:

Following the tragic incident involving Pouya Molaei-Rad, Mahmonir faced significant pressure, primarily from the security establishment. They tried to portray her as being responsible for Pouya’s tragic death, both in the city where Mahmonir resides and on social media platforms used by security agencies.

Sources said Molaei-Rad’s brother-in-law and Kian’s uncle Sajjad Pirfalak was arrested on June 17. He was released on a bail of 2 billion tomans ($40,000), and halted his online activity.

The Center for Human Rights in Iran reports that the mother of another protester killed by security forces has been seriously injured, following her imprisonment by the regime.


A scene of defiance of the regime’s laws for compulsory hijab….


Photos have been published which indicate that Kurdish political activist Peyman Galvani, who died in detention in Urmia in northwest Iran this week (see below), was tortured.

The images show extensive bruising, external bleeding, and injuries to Golvani’s hands and ankles.

News of the activist’s death has sparked protests in parts of northwest Iran.


An Iranian court has sentenced a 16-year-old boy to two years in prison over his participation in nationwide protests, report Kurdish media.

Farhad Navaei was convicted of “assembly and collusion to commit crimes against the country’s internal security”. He was acquitted of “waging war against God”, which can carry a death sentence.

The student was arrested on November 18 during protests in Mahabad in West Azerbaijan Province. He was denied access to a lawyer during his detention and court hearings, and his family could not pay his bail of 5 billion tomans ($120,000).


Two political prisoners have died within 24 hours in a detention center of Iran’s intelligence services in the northwest of the country.

Peyman Galvani, a Kurdish political activist, died on July 9 as he was being taken to a hospital in Urmia. A day earlier, Mousa Esmaili, perished.

Galvani was arrested on June 25 in a raid on his home. Officials did not cite any charges, but Golvani had reportedly joined a Kurdish opposition party.

The Kurdish human rights agency Hengaw reported that Golvani was admitted to hospital in a coma after what security forces described as a “fall from height”. Golvani’s sister said her brother had extensive bruising on his body, face, and head.

Esmaili, 35, was arrested on May 7 after intelligence agents confiscated his car. Rights groups say he was held for 62 days without explanation.

Hengaw, quoted a source close to Ismaili’s family, said the detainee “has been executed without presenting any justification or documentation connected to going through any legal process and trial”.


Rapper Toomaj Salehi has been sentenced to six years and three months for “corruption on Earth”, over tweets he posted supporting Iran’s protests for rights, reforms and gender equality.

Salehi was arrested on November 30. Authorities initially pursued the death penalty but, amid international attention to that case, stepped back from the demand for execution.

Lawyer Rosa Etemad Ansari said Salehi was acquitted of the charges of “insulting the founder of the Islamic Revolution and leadership and communicating with hostile governments”. However, the rapper’s passport has been revoked, and he is banned from leaving the country for two years. He is also forbidden from any music production or singing for two years.

The rapper, who had been held in solitary confinement, has been moved to a general prison ward.

The trial was held in two closed-door sessions. His family, reporters, and representatives of civil society were not allowed to attend.” His lawyers have only been able to see him for half an hour during his eight months in detention.

Salehi, 33, has risen to prominence for lyrics that challenge corruption, widespread poverty, state executions, and the killing of protesters in Iran. His songs highlight the widening gap between the popultation and the country’s leadership, accusing authorities of “suffocating” the people without regard for their well-being.


Iranian security personnel have tortured a 15-year-old protester to coerce a “confession”, says Norway-based Kurdish human rights organization Hengaw.

Arshak Qeisarbeigi was re-arrested on June 29 in Sarabeleh in Ilam Province in western Iran. He reportedly endured a week of torture at the Sarabeleh detention center of the Intelligence Department, forcing him to sign a blank document.

Qeisarbeigi was initially arrested last year during the protests sparked by the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” for “inappropriate attire”. He was later released on bail.

At least 70 juveniles have been killed by Iranian security months since September.

See also Iran Protests: “Tell My Dad I’ve Been Shot” — At Least 57 Juveniles Killed by Security Forces So Far


Protesters came out on the streets of Zahedan in southeast Iran for the 40th Friday in a row.

Again defying a heavy security presence and restrictions on the Internet, the demonstrators chanted, “We swear by the blood of our comrades, we will stand until the end,” and held up posters calling for the release of popular rapper Toomaj Salehi and other political prisoners.

In his Friday Prayer sermon, Iran’s leading Sunni cleric, Molavi Abdolhamid denounced the regime’s abuse of prisoners to coerce “confessions”.

No one possesses the right to subject prisoners to torture and physical abuse. Sharia law unequivocally condemns the act of obtaining confessions through coercion.

No governing body has the authority to accept a forced confession as legitimate.

The cleric called for members of the security and military forces to be held accountable for the killing and injuring of peaceful protesters and for sexual assaults against women demonstrators.

See also Flogging, Electric Shocks, and Sexual Violence for Iran’s Detained Minors

Abdolhamid also called for the reform of “problematic” legislation: “If the laws passed by Parliament do not yield results, they should be amended. Laws are created by humans, and humans are prone to making mistakes.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY, JULY 5: Iran President Ebrahim Raisi has demanded punishment of women who refuse to wear hijab.

In a televised speech on Tuesday, Raisi said — with no evidence — that the decision of women not to cover their heads was an “enemy conspiracy” which had been plotted “meticulously”. He declared that the regime needs to respond with plans that are just as precise against the women “who are after mayhem in social order”.

Amid the nine months of protests over last September’s death in police custody of Mahsa Amini — detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” over “inapproriate attire” — Iran’s authorities have stepped back from physical confrontation of women who do not wear hijab. Images are circulating of women in some cities who move freely in public with uncovered heads.

However, authorities have arrested high-profile women, including a series of actresses and filmmakers, and have stepped up their detentions of journalists. They have announced a series of punishments, such as revocation of passports and driver’s licenses and denial of social benefits. And they have closed dozens of businesses who do not enforce compulsory hijab.

In his speech, Raisi said the measures are “sufficient” and praised the repression of protests as having “clarified the responsibilities”.

In late May, the Government and judiciary submitted a hijab criminalization bill to Parliament. On Tuesday, Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said the Majlis will “waste no time” and is preparing to “soon” the “deterrent” measures.

Closing Banks and Subways To “Bad” Women

Hours after Raisi’s speech, video showed passers-by temporarily blocking a woman’s arrest after she removed and twirled her headscarf in a busy square. However, security forces chased her down and detained her a few blocks away.

Bank Mellat, with more than 1,400 branches across the country, issued a directive requiring women to use a head scarf that covers the neck and shoulders as well as hair. Female employees are barred from wearing high-heel shoes and stockings. Male managers cannot have women as administrative assistants.

The prosecutor’s office in Iran’s second city Mashhad has asked the mayor to prevent women who wear “improper hijab” from using the subway. The mayor said that, despite the “lack of any legal support” for the directive, a judicial order should be made for implementation.