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ALM Special

A year on, Mahsa Amini's death exposes divides in Iran establishment

The death of Mahsa Amini almost a year ago has had profound and enduring effects on Iranian politics and society, reconfiguring political alliances and a renewing debate over the future direction of the Islamic Republic.

TEHRAN — One year ago, Iran was shaken by the tragic death of a 22-year-old woman named Mahsa Amini, an event that set off a chain of mass protests across the nation. Her demise in the custody of Iran's morality police for allegedly not observing the strict hijab laws marked a shift in the country's political landscape. These protests, initially aimed at challenging these hijab laws, soon transformed into sweeping demonstrations against the Islamic Republic itself. 

The fallout from Amini's death had far-reaching consequences, particularly in the realm of Iranian politics. The Reformists stood behind the protesters, acknowledging their demands for change. They insisted, Khabar reported, that meaningful changes be implemented within the political system, such as abolishing the compulsory hijab requirement and conducting free elections without the influence of Guardian Council, whose hard-liner members are appointed by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and tasked with vetting candidates.

Different from 2009

Meanwhile, deep divisions within the Iranian political establishment began to surface, reminiscent of the events following the controversial 2009 presidential elections but on a much grander scale. During the 2009 elections, Reformist candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi declared that the results were rigged, asserting that hard-line incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was not the rightful winner. The rift within the establishment was so profound that even several figures in the supreme leader's office openly supported Mousavi.

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