Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected President of Iran on 12 June 2009 The next day, hundreds of thousands of people peacefully protested the results, chanting “Where is my vote?,” because they believed that the election was fraudulent. Most of the protesters joined the Green Movement, a nonviolent pro-democracy group opposed to Ahmadinejad’s leadership and was led by Mir Hossein Mousavi and his spouse, Zahra Rahnavard. The Ahmadinejad regime responded violently to the protesters with its Revolutionary Guards, Basij paramilitary units, and Lebas Shakhsi forces. Many were beaten and arrested.
On 15 April 2013, policemen in Marivan, Iran executed a form of criminal
punishment that quickly garnered public criticism. A 25 year old man,
Tawfik Dabash, had been convicted of “disturbing public order,” and
police later paraded him around the city in handcuffs wearing
traditional Kurdish women’s clothes (similar to the bridal robe) in
order to humiliate him. Later that day, Kurdish women of Marivan, who
had been historically oppressed on the basis of both gender and ethnic
identity, quickly organized into a 400-person march through the city to
Imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh wins freedom of travel for her daughter, 2012
In September 2010, Iranian authorities sentenced prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh to 11 years in prison on charges of acting against national security and propaganda against the Iranian regime. She was also originally barred from practicing law or leaving the country for 20 years, but in September 2011, authorities reduced her sentence to 6 years and the bans on law practice and travel to 10 years.
Agitation in Iran was visible by May 1977 in predominantly intellectual circles. A group of lawyers—upset by the government’s interference in the judiciary—drafted a strongly worded manifesto chronicling the legal abuses that had occurred under the Shah’s regime. Poets formed a Writers’ Association to call for an end to censorship and the activity of SAVAK, the Shah’s secret police. A National Organization of University Teachers began fighting for academic freedom while university and seminary students called for academic freedom in the schools.
Prior to Iran’s revolution in 1979, women gained many rights that were retracted after the revolution concluded. Campaigns for women’s rights since the revolution have not sought additional rights, but wished to maintain the rights women had already earned. One such campaign was the One Million Signatures campaign, which aimed to persuade the Majles (parliament) to reform gender-discriminatory laws. The campaign also looked to educate citizens, and particularly women, about the negative impact of these laws on the lives of women and society as a whole.