Last month, a 22 year old Kurdish Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, was arrested in Tehran by the Islamic Republic's so-called morality police for not wearing her hijab correctly. Three days later, on September 16th, she died in their custody. Her death ignited a movement, as Iranians took to the streets across the country to demand change, women cutting off their hair in public and lighting their hijabs on fire. The protesters, many of whom are teenagers, have been chanting: “women, life, and freedom” and “death to the dictator.”
Perhaps no one has been a louder and more forceful voice for change in Iran than Masih Alinejad, a journalist and activist who has spent her entire adult life fighting for human rights in Iran and exposing the regime’s brutality. For this, she has paid a heavy price. The regime has accused her of being a spy for western governments. They’ve targeted her family – they arrested her brother, interrogated her mother, and forced her sister to denounce her on state television. And most recently, they tried to kill her on American soil. She has been living in a safe house ever since.
None of this has deterred her. As she wrote last month, “I am not fearful of dying, because I know what I am living for.” Today, guest host Mary Katharine Ham talks to Masih about all of this – the young woman’s death that sparked the protests, what the U.S. should do to support the protests, whether or not this could really be the beginning of the end of the Islamic Republic, and why the Iranian regime wants Masih dead.
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