After three weeks of protests, the women-led uprising continues in to October 2022. Despite people disappearing and innocent lives being lost, despite no free press, heavy censorship and limited access to the internet, the young protestors show incredible bravery and continue their fight.
Stories emerge of missing teenagers like 16 year old Nika Shahkarami, who after attending a protest is chased by security forces and found dead 10 days later with multiple blows to the head.
The last known footage of her is at the protests chanting "death to dictator" with the crowd. Sadly hers is just one of many similar stories.
This is Khodanour Lajaei, a 27 year old undocumented member of Iran's Baluch community. The Baluchis are an ethnic and religous minority concentrated near the border of Iran and Pakistan, one of Iran's poorest provinces who have been systematically criminalised, and executed during times of political unrest.
Now one of the most enduring images from the protests, the haunting photograph of Khodanour was taken during his arrest and torture by Iranian authorities. After a dispute with a man in the IRGC, the man used connections to have Lajaei arrested and tortured, his arms tied to a flag pole. The blue blurred object to the left of the image is a cup of water, cruelly placed out of reach after Khodanour said he was thirsty.
Following his release, Lajaei participated in the protests in Zahedan on October 1, 2022 in what became known as Bloody Friday. He was shot, denied adequate medical care and died of his injuries.
Despite growing up in poverty and hardship, Khodanour (whose name translates to 'God's light') had a reputation for being positive and displaying exuberance for life. The video above shows his love of dance and music and from his personal instagram account that went viral after his death.
Iran's long oppressed Kurdish and Baluch ethnic minorities are met with a higher level of brutality than their Persian brothers and sisters. As residents protest on the streets or through commercial strikes, the government labels them "separatists" and "terrorists," firing live ammunition and tear gas into homes and cars of protestors.
Residents describe living in a war zone and being under an almost complete communication blackout making it hard to get verified information in and out of these regions.
"the road to tyranny goes through kurdistan."
- Djene Rhys Bajalan
for over 40 years evin prison in tehran has been where activists, jounralists, writers, artists, students, teachers and anyone who dares speak against the regime are held.
Artists whose work you see on this site who live inside Iran and share their perspectives and art, are at risk of ending up in Evin, or a similar prison in Iran.
Evin prison is also known as Evin university because of the brave souls and progressive minds who are detained inside. Their crimes are often fabricated and they are detained or convicted in unjust trials, with no due process, subject to torture, rape and abuse.
At least one fire that night was started intentionally. 13 people died and more than 60 injured.
As prisoners attempted to flee, the guards assaulted them with batons, live ammunition, metal pellets and explosives. Videos show people shouting "Death to dictator" and "Death to Khamanei" as shots are fired and flames rise of the prison.
As the fire burned, families of prisoners and others from Tehran gathered outside the prison chanting so the people inside knew they were not alone.
Many details from the fire remain unknown but as a family member of one of the prisoners said, "Their aim was to create fear, among the prisoners, the families and society that you are not safe no matter where you are."
All female athletes are required by I.R. to compete in full hijab, they are even accompanied by security members whose job is to ensure female athletes don't disobey these laws. After Rekabi's act of solidarity, concerns mount for her safety when she was reported missing after the event. She appeared three days later, apologising on I.R. state TV in a forced confession saying she simply forgot her hijab.
Crowds greeted her on her return to Iran, chanting "hero" and surrounding the van she was being transported in. Since her return to Iran she has been under house arrest and reports emerged in November of her family home being demolished.
Elnaz is one of a long line of Iranian athletes who have dared to speak to out against their authoritarian regime. These athletes and their families have been tortured, arrested, or convicted in kangaroo courts and executed.
Videos emerge on social media of school girls taking off their mandatory hijabs, taking down photos of the Supreme Leaders from their classrooms, stomping on them and replacing the frame with the words 'Woman. Life. Liberty.' They sing together (another act that is illegal in the I.R.) the song that has become the anthem of the protests, Shervin Hajipour's "Baraye".
In some parts of the country, school girls march in the streets, while girls in Karaj respond to a Basiji guard who has come to their school by crowding him, shouting "Shameless!" and pushing him out of their school gates.
"nOW TEENAGERS ARE BECOMING THE BIGGEST THREATS TO THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC. THEY HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE."
• raiding their schools and forcing them to sing pro-regime songs
• firing tear gas in to school buildings
• kidnapping and sending them to "re-education centres"
• beating them to death [16 year old Asra Panahi]
• raping them to death [14 year old Masooumeh].
For many Iranians, his plight reminds them of the many environmental catastrophes they attribute to regime's mishandling and disregard for Iran's environment.
His name and flight home during a chaotic and sad time symbolises the hope many Iranians have, that change is coming.
" This may seem obvious but after all these years, I feel for the first time that my body has a presence out in the city, and it matters. The way I walk, the way I sit in public spaces is so full of courage that I sometimes shed tears for not having had permission to feel this way until this age.
Now I pay attention to every single part of my body while in the street and I can feel their presence; my hands, my nose, my eyes, and most importantly, my hair, which I run my fingers through knowing that there's no headscarf covering it.
The headscarf may have only been removed from the head but the impact of removing it has spread through the entire body, down to every single part.
To exist everyday without the headscarf in a small and heavily-surveilled town like Tabriz scares me but the reward of living courageously is so much greater."
- Minoo, Tabriz, Nov 3 2022