Following the arrest and death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini and then the beginning and continuation of protests, some Iranian and international political figures and activists, artists and public figures did not remain silent. The following is a brief mention of these supports.
Non-governmental Political Figures in Iran
Masoumeh Ebtekar, former President Hassan Rouhani’s vice president for women and family affairs, called the surveillance video attributed to Mahsa Amini in the Vozara Detention Centre released by the police as truncated and said that this video has raised more questions. Sayyid Mohammad Khatami, the fifth president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, called the death of Mahsa Amini an “unfortunate tragedy.”
Many Iranian political figures living inside the country, such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ali Motahari, Ahmad Montazeri, Zahra Rahnavard, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, Mahmoud Sadeghi, Mohammad Reza Aref, Fatemeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, Azar Mansouri, Jalal Mirzaei, Ali Shakuri Rad, Ayatollah Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad, Abbas Abdi, Abolfazl Qadiani, Hamid Rasaei and other figures like Jafar Kosha, (president of Iranian Bar Association), Farshid Gurbanpour (journalist), Abdul Samad Khorramshahi (lawyer), Nasrin Sotoudeh (lawyer) and Maulvi Abdul Ghaffar Naqshbandi (a figure for Sunni people in Iran in Iran and the Imam of Friday prays at Rask Mosque) reacted to the mentioned events in the country through publishing a message. Grand Ayatollah Asadollah Bayat-Zanjani, a senior cleric, also vocally criticized the “morality police” (Ghashte-e-Ershad) and described it as illegal, illegitimate and irrational, as well as against religion.
Furthermore, several professors at the Sharif University of Technology went on strike in response to the arrest of students. Shahram Khazaei, Sohrab Rahwar, Ali Ghazizadeh, Mehrzadpour Mohammad Namvar, Alireza Moazezi Tehrani, Siros Askari, Alireza Bahreini, Zahra Kaveh Vash and Ali Sharifi Zarchi are nine of the professors of Sharif University of Technology who, while emphasizing that “until the release of students Detainees will not hold classes,” went on strike.
Dara Moazzami (professor of Technical faculty of Tehran University), Keyvan Sarreshteh, Milad Shajareh, Maham Miqani, Hamidreza Paasvar and Mozhgan Khaleghi (visiting professors of faculty of Performing Arts of Tehran University of Fine Arts Campus), Nasrullah Hekmat (professor of department of Philosophy at Shahid Beheshti University), Negar Zilabi (professor of faculty of Theology at Shahid Beheshti University), Majid Rajabi (professor of the faculty of Mechanics, University of Science and Technology), Morteza Sediq (Professor of the faculty of Architecture, University of Science and Technology), Maryam Kashkulinia (professor of the Visual Arts, faculty of the College of Fine Arts), Pedram Mohammadi (professor of University of Performing Arts), Alireza Mostaghni (head of the faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Arts), Alireza Heydari (member of the faculty of department of Pediatric Dentistry, Tehran University of Medical Sciences), Azin Movahed (member of faculty of Fine Arts, Tehran University) and a group of professors of Tehran University’s music department also announced their strike. Lili Galehdaran, a member of the academic staff of the Dramatic Literature Department of the Shiraz University of Arts, while supporting the nationwide protests, also resigned from her position in protest against the death of Mahsa )Zhina) Amini.
In addition, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahormi, the former intelligence officer who served as the Minister of Information and Communications Technology in the administration of President Hassan Rouhani, reacted to the limitations of the Internet and social media filters by publishing a message on his Telegram channel and wrote: “This way of interacting with cyberspace is definitely wrong. Once burned, twice shy.”
More so, some Iranian and non-Iranian political prisoners and civil activists reacted to the recent events by sending messages and letters from prison. Salimollah Hossein Bar (a political prisoner in Saravan Prison), Leila Hosseinnzadeh (a student activist in the Adil Abad Prison in Shiraz), Hamid Haj Jafar Kashani, Payam Shakiba, Saeed Eqbali and Ali Mousanezhad Farkoush (political prisoners in Rajaei Shahr Prison in Karaj), Soheil Yadollahi (political prisoner in Bojnord Prison), Narges Mohammadi, Aliyeh Motallebzadeh, Hasti Amiri, Zhila Makoundi, Sepideh Kashani, Maliheh Jafari, Elnaz Eslami, Mahnaz Tarrah, Nazanin Mohammadnezhad, Raha Asgarizadeh, Golareh Abbasi, Sepideh Qolian, Saba Kord Afshari, Asal Mohammadi (political prisoners in Evin Prison), Mohammad Najafi (a lawyer in Arak Prison) and Maryam Akbari Monfared (political prisoner in Semnan Prison) announced their support to the recent protests in Iran by publishing separate messages. Monireh Arabshahi, Yasaman Ariani, Sakineh Parvaneh, Arsham Rezaei, Yashar Tabrizi, Zartosht Ahmadi Ragheb, Seyyed Afkham Ebrahimi, Siros Gharche, Sadegh Omidi, Moein Hajizadeh, Mohammad Khani, Mohammad Irannezhad, Farhad Chehrehasa, Yusef Mehrad, Sadrallah Fazeli Zare and Hojjatallah Raefi also reacted to this event by signing either a joint statement or going on a limited hunger strike.
Forty Iranian lawyers also published a statement supporting the ongoing nationwide protests, stating that “the uprising of Iranian citizens is an uprising for rights and returning to the rule of law” and declared: “now, our issue is freedom and judicial justice.” Similarly, thirty-two lawyers from the provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan in Iran issued a joint statement demanding “to return the right to self-determination to the people.”
On the other hand, a group of journalists in Iran criticized the joint statement of the Ministry of Intelligence of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps about the nationwide protests. It is worth noting that the joint statement called the protests “designed by foreign intelligence services.”
In addition, a group of Khavaran’s bereaved families declared their solidarity with the recent protests in Iran by publishing a statement titled “Iranian People’s Liberation Movement” and highlighted that they “stand with solidarity with the mourning families and sympathize deeply with them.”
Furthermore, Molavi Abdul Hamid Ismaeelzahi, an Iranian cleric and the Sunni Friday Imam of Zahedan, issued a message regarding the death of protesting citizens in Kurdistan: “Bullets should not be used against Kurdish people and they should treated with violence.” He also pointed to the “mistreatment of prisoners and female inmates” and called for the release of all those arrested during the protests, as well as the resolution of the filtering on the internet. Molavi Abdul Hamid stated: “Killing and imprisoning is not the way of running a country. It would be wise to sit with the people.”
In this regard, in a statement, a group of Sunni clerics of Urmia, while condemning the violent treatment of the protesters, they demanded “unconditional release of the arrested protesters, reconsideration of the authorities in dealing with the protesting citizens, addressing their demands, ending the repression and cruel killing of people, etc.”. The Sunni clerics of Sardasht city also declared solidarity with the protestors and pointed out that “Victory will not be attained by spreading fear.”