Iranian schoolgirl killed by regime forces for refusing to sing pro-Khamenei anthem
Asra Panahi beaten by security forces during raid of her high school in Ardabil; women and girls have been at forefront of Iranian protest movement following death of Mahsa Amini
A teenage girl was reportedly killed last week after Iranian regime security forces entered her school, demanding students sing a pro-regime song praising Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and violently beating any that refused to do so.
The Thursday incident left multiple girls from the Shahed Girls High School in Ardabil hospitalized, including Asra Panahi, 16, who later succumbed to her injuries, the Guardian reported Tuesday.
Iranian schoolgirls across the country have been filmed in viral videos showing them publicly removing their legally mandated hijabs, or Islamic headscarves, and chanting anti-regime slogans, prompting security forces to crack down on schools and universities, sometimes with deadly consequences.
Videos have also showed security forces firing tear gas into schools and ushering arrested students into waiting cars.
Iran’s teachers’ union labeled the raids “brutal and inhumane” in a statement posted on Sunday, and called for the resignation of the education minister, Yousef Nouri.
The protest movement was triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in August following her arrest by the morality police, for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly. The Iranian regime denies the claims.
“Death to the dictator!”
School girls waving forced-hijabs, chanting in the streets of Sanandaj. Oct 17 #Mahsa_Amini #مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/CggC37eVy9
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) October 17, 2022
A man claiming to be Panahi’s uncle reportedly told state-controlled TV his niece had not died as a result of any beating, but rather from a congenital heart condition instead.
Panahi’s death has reportedly triggered a fresh wave of protests, with one anonymous student telling The Guardian, “I haven’t been allowed to go to the school because my parents fear for my life. But what has it changed? The regime continues to kill and arrest schoolgirls.”
“What good am I if I simply sit outraged at home? Myself and fellow students across Iran have decided to stand in protest on the streets this week. I’ll do it even if I have to now hide it from my parents,” Naznin, 16, said.
The report quoted another protester, referred to as Nergis, who said, “I don’t have a single relative in Ardabil, but with this brutal crackdown on our sisters, who were just 16 years old, they’ve awakened the whole nation.”
Nergis cited the deaths of 17-year-old Nika Shahkarami and 16-year-old Sarina Esmailzadeh, two other schoolgirls killed by security forces in the past weeks, as adding fuel to the already powerful nationwide protest movement.
“We never knew we were so united – across the Baloch regions as well as the Kurdish regions. The world has heard about Nika, Sarina and Asra, but there are so many other nameless children who we know nothing about,” she said.
“It’s not just Asra’s death, the Islamic Republic has been killing our people for 40 years, but our voices weren’t heard. Let the world know this is no longer a protest – we are calling for a revolution. Now that you’re all listening to our voices, we will not stop.”