Iranian Teen's Death May Rekindle Populist Anger

Armita Geravand, who was not wearing a hijab, died under mysterious circumstances
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 29, 2023 8:10 AM CDT
Iranian Teen's Death May Rekindle Populist Anger
In this image from surveillance video aired by Iranian state television, women pull 16-year-old Armita Geravand from a train car on the Tehran Metro in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023.   (AP Photo/Iranian state television, File)

An Iranian teenage girl injured weeks ago in a mysterious incident on Tehran's Metro while not wearing a headscarf has died, state media reported Saturday. The death of Armita Geravand comes after her being in a coma for weeks in Tehran and after the one-year anniversary of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, which sparked nationwide protests at the time, per the AP. Geravand's Oct. 1 injury and now her death threaten to reignite that popular anger, particularly as women in Tehran and elsewhere still defy Iran's mandatory headscarf, or hijab, law as a sign of their discontent with Iran's theocracy.

"Armita's voice has been forever silenced, preventing us from hearing her story," wrote the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran. "Yet we do know that in a climate where Iranian authorities severely penalize women and girls for not adhering to the state's forced-hijab law, Armita courageously appeared in public without one." Iran's state-run IRNA news agency reported Geravand's death, without noting the wider unrest surrounding the headscarf law. Geravand suffered her injury at the Meydan-E Shohada, or Martyrs' Square, Metro station in southern Tehran. What happened in the few seconds after Armita Geravand entered a train on Oct. 1 remains in question.

While a friend told Iranian state television that she hit her head on the station's platform, the soundless footage aired by the broadcaster from outside of the car is blocked by a bystander. Just seconds later, her limp body is carried off. Activists abroad have alleged Geravand may have been pushed or attacked for not wearing the hijab. They also demanded an independent investigation by the United Nations' fact-finding mission on Iran, citing the theocracy's use of pressure on victims' families and state TV's history of airing hundreds of coerced confessions. On Saturday, US Deputy Special Envoy for Iran Abram Paley wrote online that he was mourning Geravand's death. "Iran's state-sponsored violence against women & girls has been devastating for so many families in Iran & abroad," he wrote.

(More Iran stories.)

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