Sahar Khodayari became known as the blue girl for painting her face blue to support her favorite Iranian football team. When she was told she may face a prison sentence from six months to two years for daring to attend a soccer game, she set herself on fire.
The work Arseh Sevom did in 2016 and 2017 was read, viewed, shared, and downloaded over one million times. This surprised us! It shows that the will to be more democratic is not limited to a small, engaged minority. There is an energy for democratic change shining through the cracks. The desire to engage and be heard is broad and deep.
People in Iran keep surprising us with their creative efforts for change. They keep standing up and shaking things up – even in the face of overwhelming punishment. Women stand up for their rights even when faced with outrageous punishments. Teachers demand dignity and fair pay. Conservationists stand up to the degradation of the environment.
The situation of religious, ethnic and gender minorities in Iran has been worsening in recent months. It appears that the regime intends to severely punish dissenting voices. This comes as the Islamic Republic weakens inside the country and external pressure increases.
“The reimposition of sanctions against Iran after the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, which had been unanimously adopted by the Security Council with the support of the US itself, lays bare the illegitimacy of this action,” Mr. Jazairy observed.