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
Iranians turned out in large numbers to elect their President on 12 June
2009. The candidates included the incumbent and favorite of the
religious authorities, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as three
challengers: Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Mohsen Rezaee, and Mehdi Karroubi.
Authorities announced results just two hours after polls had closed,
with Ahmadinejad receiving 62.63% of the vote, Mousavi 33.75%, Rezaee
1.73%, and Karroubi 0.85%.
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.
After a year of striking and sit-ins outside the British Embassy, Iranian citizens were granted a constitution and parliamentary body called the Majlis on August 5, 1906. Democracy was already being expressed on the streets in the form of grassroots anjumans, or councils. Before the Constitutional Revolution in August, these anjumans were secret assemblies of unsatisfied politicians and educated Muslim scholars called ulamas. But following the revolution, the anjumans became open, mass organizations of the kind of democracy Iranians wished to see.