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Demonstrators display images of Mahsa Amini, who died in policy custody in Tehran in Sept. 2022.

Reuters

Viewpoint: Iran braces for anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death

This Saturday marks one year since Mahsa Amini’s death at the hands of Iran’s morality police sparked months of protests, and the authorities are taking steps to prevent another massive outbreak of unrest. They have preemptively arrested women’s rights activists, closed public spaces, and bolstered security forces in major cities. Yet public discontent continues to simmer in the Islamic Republic as ordinary people perceive a widening gulf between their hopes and concerns and the interests of the country’s clerical regime.

We asked Eurasia Group expert Gregory Brew if he thinks the authorities will be able to keep a lid on tensions in the coming days.

Do you expect Iranians to take to the streets this weekend?

Anniversaries are important in Iran, particularly those marking the passing of major political figures. The death of the 22-year-old Amini became hugely important for millions of Iranians, both in Iran and among the Iranian global diaspora, so there are bound to be demonstrations to mark the anniversary. They’re unlikely to be very large, however. The regime has been taking steps to deter new protests. Ordinary Iranians are reluctant to take to the streets since the crackdown last year, which saw security forces killing hundreds of protestors while wounding and arresting thousands more. Several high-profile trials and executions of arrested protestors hammered home the repressive message. The legacy of that crackdown will deter people from coming out in large numbers. But there’s sure to be some fireworks, both on 16 September and in subsequent days.

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