Global Affairs June 17, 2024 by

Hasan Sevilir Aşan

Iran is in an ideological stalemate

Iran currently appears to be facing an ideological impasse.
Two years ago, Iran’s Morality Police caused the death of a young girl named Mahsa Amini in Tehran by forcibly dragging her on the sidewalks because she was not wearing her hijab properly.

The young girl, who came to Tehran to visit her relatives, was preparing to celebrate her 23rd birthday a week later. While walking happily with her brother, she did not notice that her scarf had slipped out of her hair.

The tragic event, which showed the ruthlessness of the Morality Police, soon became a symbol of the women’s movement and triggered mass demonstrations that would last for months. The resistance, claimed hundreds of lives, marked the first significant social movement in Iran to challenge the interference to the way of life and lifestyles. Mass demonstrations across the country united different segments of society, communities of different cultures and classes as a natural opposition bloc against the Regime.


Human rights monitors have reported that at least 1,000 individuals lost their lives in street protests, with over 30,000 arrests and detentions, including those of 100 journalists. Additionally, more than 2,000 individuals faced trials with the potential for capital punishment.

According to these reports, the number of executions in Iran, which ranks among the states most frequently apply death penalty, was 246 in 2020 and 290 in 2021. This number escalated to 553 in 2022, coinciding with the onset of the women’s movement. In 2023, the count reached a recent peak of 834 executions, with 226 in the first quarter of this year alone.

The regime executed many young people on cranes in the squares often without taking their defense and informing their families to sow fear and intimidation among the populace. Despite the apparent suppression of street demonstrations due to the harsh reaction of the regime, it is obvious that tension that are ready to explode at any moment continue.


The regime of the Mullahs, which has ruled Iran for over four decades, is disappointed by its failure to fully implement the Islamic lifestyle it had aspired to. From the beginning, the red line for the survival of the Islamic Revolution was strictly linked to the principles of mandatory veiling of women.

Within this belief, the Ayatollahs see the anti-veiling demonstrations as challenge to divine authority and the Prophet, claiming that the punishment for this in the Qur’an is death. They also believe their holy mission is to guide people to Paradise, even by force.

President Raisi expressed this basic approach of the regime in a threatening tone, probably with the permission of the Spiritual Leadership or to show his absolute allegiance to them. He became the last political figure who attracted the hatred of the streets with his harsh attitude and rhetoric and pumped the anti-regime anger. Threatened the masses by saying, “We will silence the streets, we will finish this job” and “The protection of the headscarf law will be fully implemented if necessary, with the heaviest penalties”

Intelligence units, which immediately took action upon the threats of the Raisi, started to record people in every way, including electronic face reading, on buses, trains and markets in order to detect and punish violations of chastity and veiling.

The controversial death of the last political hardliner Raisi, brings to mind many conspiracy theories, including assassination. In this context, the attitude and tendency of the new president, who will be elected upon the preference of the Spiritual Leadership in the presidential elections to be held at the end of this month, may give clues of the new era of the mullahs regime and the secrets of the Raisi accident.
Therefore, it is certain that the elections will not go beyond the basic ideological framework of the Islamic Republic, and the real power will remain in the spiritual leadership.

On the one hand, the commitments of 40 years of Islamic rule, and on the other hand mass resistance, as well as domestic political intrigues and international threats. The mullahs regime, currently facing an ideological impasse, may be at an unexpected crossroads.

About the author

Hasan Sevilir Aşan

Hasan Sevilir Aşan