As a scholarly and professional association of anthropologists and on behalf of our 8000 members worldwide, the AAA denounces in the strongest possible terms the Iranian government’s attacks on peaceful protests in Iran and the brutal crackdown on students and educational institutions. The most recent reports indicate that more than 200 protestors have been killed by Iranian authorities.
The latest round of protests initially began in response to the recent death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini while in the hands of the Iranian authorities. On September 13, Ms. Amini was traveling from Kurdistan to Tehran to visit relatives. She was accompanied by her brother when she was detained by the “morality police” for failing to meet the country’s strict dress code for women. According to eyewitness reports, during her detention, Ms. Amini was beaten on the head several times and subsequently slipped into a coma and died.
The initial outrage at the murder of Amini has expanded and spread into nationwide protests in Iran demanding basic human rights and gender equality, with the Kurdish feminist slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom” the central rallying cry. Demonstrations have been reported in schools around the county and in over 100 universities. In one highly publicized incident, at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, government security forces laid siege to the University trapping hundreds of students inside while firing teargas and shooting paintball and rubber bullets at them. As countless accounts emerging from Iranian citizens attests, this unjust treatment of protestors has not been limited to universities. In other egregious cases of deadly violence, Iranian security forces killed over 60 people in Baluchistan, injured hundreds of others, and opened fire on communities across Iranian Kurdistan.
We insist the Iranian authorities immediately cease the violent repression of protest, respect academic freedom and the freedom to protest, and release all political prisoners.
We acknowledge and thank the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association for proposing and subsequently drafting this statement.