Iran, the Italian-Iranian expert: “The veil is like the Berlin Wall”

Abdolmohammadi: “Iranian authorities step backwards would mean the loss of the Islamic Republic’s ideological thread. They will go ahead with a hard line”

A “national” and “generational” protest, the “most modern of the 21st century”, a protest in which “the fact that so many girls have removed the veil challenges the value code of the Islamic Republic”, a political system in which “the veil it is seen as a sort of Berlin Wall “and if the authorities” were to take a step backwards on this they would lose the ideological thread of the Islamic Republic “, which is why they will go ahead with the” hard line “. Speak to Adnkronos Pejman Abdolmohammadi, associate professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Trento and research associate of ISPI, after a month of protests in Iran, a movement “born autonomously” on the initiative of the “new generations” and , the Italian-Iranian expert remarked, “especially with a female leadership”.

The “trigger” was the death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old who died last month after being arrested in Tehran on charges of not wearing the veil in a “correct” way. The last to explode in chronological order was the case of climber Elnaz Rekabi, who competed without a hijab in South Korea on Sunday at the Asian Climbing Championships and who ‘disappeared’ after that exit until in the last few hours she reappeared at Tehran airport with her head covered in a black baseball cap and the hood of a sweatshirt.

“The death of Mahsa Amini has catalyzed a dissent and a criticism that has been spreading within society for years, especially among young Iranians”, says Abdolmohammadi, who highlights that these are “protests calling for individual freedoms”.

‘very limited openings possible only after they regain full control of the company’

According to the analyst these days we are witnessing the beginning for Iran of a “new phase of disputes” with the request for a “political and cultural modernization”. And so far, he observes, the “response” of the authorities has been “rather rigid”, unsurprisingly, precisely because of what the veil represents for the Islamic republic.

At “a certain point”, he continues, it is possible that “some very limited openness, a softening of social policies, but only once they regain full control of society” from the authorities in Tehran. Until then “they will go on with the hard line”.

Meanwhile, “this movement of protest for freedom is for the first time involving in a strong way even the Millennials – he concludes – It is a new fact not only for Iran but also on a global level”.