Earlier this month Mahsa Amini, a twenty-two year old woman from Saqqez, Iran, died in custody after her arrest by a special unit of Iran’s security services that enforces Iran’s strict dress codes for women. Amini’s death has sparked protests over compulsory veiling and several days of significant unrest throughout Iran. Acting U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al-Nashif stated, “Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent competent authority, that ensures, in particular, that her family has access to justice and truth.” The developments occurred on the eve of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s scheduled speech at the United Nations General Assembly.
On September 22, the Foreign Policy program at Brookings hosted a webinar featuring Vice President and Director Suzanne Maloney in conversation with journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari, the author of “Then They Came for Me”, which was the basis for the 2014 film “Rosewater.” Bahari is also the founder of IranWire, which has been a vital conduit for Iranian citizen journalists. In addition to Maloney and Bahari, the event also featured IranWire journalist Aida Ghajar, who was the first to report on Amini’s death, and additional voices from experts in Iran.
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