Iranian students mourn loss of protesters in Iran

Members+of+the+community+gathered+on+Nov.+30+to+stitch+together+a+quilt+to+show+solidarity+with+protestors+in+Iran.+

Iranian Students' and Scholars' Association

Members of the community gathered on Nov. 30 to stitch together a quilt to show solidarity with protestors in Iran.

For many students, winter break offered the chance to go home, spend time with family and friends and celebrate the holidays. However, for Iranian students, ongoing protests and executions led to such plans being canceled.

“[Iranian students] were and still are afraid to be arrested if they travel back,” Amin Shirazi, a graduate student in the statistics department and member of the Iranian Students’ and Scholars’ Association (ISSA), said. “They have not celebrated the New Year this year like in previous years as they are mourning for the ones they have lost in this fight for freedom.”

Before the beginning of break, Iran began its first set of executions over protests, and, as recently as Jan. 7, protesters Mohammad Mehdi Karami, a 22-year-old national karate champion, and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, a 39-year-old factory worker, were executed. 

“They are not the last victims of the regime’s brutality, and hundreds of men, women and youth remain on death row,” Shirazi said. 

Attendees stitch together a quilt with faces of protestors who have been killed. (Iranian Students’ and Scholars’ Association)

The number of executions is more than what has been publicized, and the government is suppressing protests, Shirazi said. Currently, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has been listed as a terrorist organization in America, Canada, France and New Zealand for these acts, and the European Parliament debated adding the organization to its terrorist list Monday. 

Last month, more than 40 members of the Iowa State and Ames community gathered to stitch together a quilt to support Iranian protesters.   

The quilt is constructed with the faces of protesters, who, like Karami and Hosseini, were killed due to protesting against the government, along with the phrase “Woman Life Freedom” in English and Persian. This phrase has been used since the funeral of Mahsa Amini, whose death in the custody of morality police sparked protests. 

The quilt, once completed, will be displayed in buildings throughout campus. 

“A group of students in the College of Design prepared the quilt under their adviser’s supervision to indicate support for Iranian women,” Shirazi said. “They had fabric printed the photos of the people whom the Iranian regime brutally murdered in the past three months.”

Shirazi said the bigger picture is that protesters do not want to live under the Islamic Republic. 

“Mahsa Amini’s murder has added fuel to the fire of a nation burning with rage and yearning for freedom for 43 years,” Shirazi said. “Our women are fighting for their fundamental human rights.”

This movement is not against religion but a movement toward freedom and equity, Shirazi said.

“Every day, Iranian students wake up, take the news and push all those feelings aside to move through their day,” Shirazi said. “This trauma is impacting them profoundly. This corrupt regime has to fall.”

While there are no official records, estimates indicate that more than 450 dissidents have been killed. More than 29,000 people were arrested, many of them facing death penalties, Shirazi said. 

“We hope we can help our people by being their voice and letting folks around the university better understand what’s going on in our country,” Shirazi said. “If we can draw more attention, nations of the world would put the Iranian regime under the radar and pressure so that they cannot suppress the people in silence.”