As news of the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spread, I received a telling message from Mahsa and Roya Piraei. Their mother, Minoo Majidi, was killed by Iranian security forces in September 2022 during popular protests led by women across Iran. Reacting to news of the helicopter crash that claimed Raisi’s life, the sisters clinked glasses in a new video posted on social media, expressing a sentiment far from grief.

My inbox soon filled with similar messages from those mourning their own loved ones killed by the Iranian regime led by Raisi and controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Many Iranians marked the president’s death on social media not with sorrow, but with satire – a stark reminder of the deep scars the Iranian regime’s policies have inflicted on our people.

To Western observers, this reaction might seem shocking, but Raisi was feared by many and loved by few.

Known as the “Butcher of Tehran,” Raisi was a hard-line conservative cleric and head of Iran’s judiciary, which has put juveniles on death row and engaged in countless violations of human rights. He was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for his role in the brutal crackdown on the popular Green Movement protests in 2009 and the extrajudicial execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.

His tenure as president was marked by repression, particularly of women. His enforcement of the draconian “hijab and chastity” laws was brutal. Following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman arrested and brutally beaten by Iranian morality police for allegedly wearing her veil too loosely, months of nationwide protests posed one of the most significant challenges to Iran’s clerical rulers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. At least 500 people, including 68 children, were killed and more than 20,000 were arrested as Raisi urged security forces to crush the demonstrations.

While Raisi’s death may close the chapter on his controversial presidency, it opens crucial questions about the future of Iran’s leadership. Reports suggest rising tensions within the regime, particularly with Khamenei’s son Mojtaba being groomed for succession. A potential move toward a dynastic rule is exacerbating rifts within the regime, with many Iranians desiring a radically different future.

To be clear, Raisi’s passing will not directly lead to an uprising. The brutal suppression of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests of 2022 and 2023 has transitioned to a new phase: civil disobedience and labor strikes, with Iranian women courageously leading the charge. By defying laws requiring them to wear veils, known as hijab, women are fighting not just a piece of fabric but the regime’s control over our lives. Iranian women are not content to live as second-class citizens in their own country.

In the wake of Raisi’s death, I call upon the West to defend its values. I’m not asking you to dance on Raisi’s grave, but to prioritize where you direct your time and energy. Stand in solidarity with the brave women of Iran who refuse to be silenced or to surrender to oppression.

This pivotal moment offers a unique opportunity to address and challenge the systematic subjugation of women. We must end gender apartheid, the treatment of women as second‑class citizens under law and policy, by codifying it as a violation of international law. Only then can the Islamic Republic be held accountable for its crimes against women at the International Criminal Court. The time for action is now – let us not waste this critical opportunity.

Our fight is far from over, and as the world watches, we continue to seek justice for every soul stifled under this regime.

Source » usnews