Iranian Teenager Dies After Metro Incident While Not Wearing Hijab, According to State Media

by Gabriel Martinez
Mandatory hijab law in Iran

An Iranian teenage girl named Armita Geravand, who sustained injuries in an unexplained event on the Tehran Metro while not donning a hijab, has passed away, as confirmed by state media this Saturday.

Geravand’s demise follows her prolonged comatose state and comes on the heels of the one-year memorial of the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old whose passing incited nationwide demonstrations.

The recent tragedy involving Geravand could potentially rekindle public unrest, especially as women continue to defy Iran’s compulsory hijab regulations as an expression of their dissatisfaction with the country’s theocratic governance.

The Center for Human Rights in Iran, based in New York, remarked, “Armita’s voice has been irrevocably silenced, depriving us of her narrative. Nonetheless, we do understand that her public appearance without a hijab occurred in a societal backdrop where the Iranian government imposes harsh penalties on females who violate the obligatory hijab code.”

The Center further noted: “As long as this stringent hijab requirement remains in force by the Iranian authorities, the well-being of Iranian women and girls is precariously compromised, making them susceptible to grave human rights abuses, including lethal violence.”

Iran’s IRNA news agency disclosed Geravand’s death but omitted any discussion on the broader societal turmoil concerning the hijab law. Geravand was injured at the Meydan-E Shohada, also known as Martyrs’ Square, Metro station in the southern part of Tehran. According to medical authorities, she experienced a severe drop in blood pressure, leading to her fall, traumatic brain injury, ongoing convulsions, reduced cerebral oxygen levels, and finally, cerebral edema, which resulted in her death.

The exact events following Geravand’s boarding of the train on October 1st remain speculative. While a friend cited her head making contact with the station platform, video footage released lacked audio and was obstructed by an onlooker. Her lifeless body was subsequently removed from the scene.

State television did not include any internal train footage and remained silent on why such footage was withheld, despite the presence of multiple CCTV cameras within Tehran Metro train cars, accessible to security officials.

Geravand’s parents stated to state media that her injuries could be attributed to a blood pressure anomaly, a fall, or a combination of both.

International activists have speculated that Geravand might have been deliberately pushed or assaulted for her noncompliance with the hijab law. They are urging a United Nations fact-finding mission to conduct an independent inquiry into the incident, referring to Iran’s history of manipulating victims’ families and airing coerced confessions.

Human rights organizations such as the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights and the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights group have reiterated calls for an impartial international investigation. Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the director of Iran Human Rights, stated, “Unless proven otherwise by an independent international investigation, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei bears personal responsibility for Armita Geravand’s death.”

This incident coincides with the redeployment of Iran’s morality police, implicated in Amini’s death, and legislative efforts to enforce even stricter penalties for non-adherence to hijab regulations. Geravand’s situation has also led to renewed international critique of Iran’s treatment of women and its compulsory hijab law.

U.S. Deputy Special Envoy for Iran, Abram Paley, took to the internet to express his condolences, stating, “State-sponsored violence against females in Iran has caused tremendous suffering for numerous families both domestically and internationally.”

Amini had died on September 16, 2022, post-detainment by morality police for alleged hijab violations. Public suspicions of abuse during her arrest had led to large-scale protests, which were the most significant challenges to the Iranian theocratic administration since the 1979 revolution.

Despite the lapse in mass protests, women in Tehran continue to openly defy the mandatory hijab law. This occurs against the backdrop of Narges Mohammadi, an incarcerated Iranian activist, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for her activism in the areas of women’s rights and democracy.

Simultaneously, Iran continues to grapple with international sanctions and escalating tensions with Western nations due to its advancing nuclear capabilities and support for regional militant groups.

For devout Muslim women, wearing a head covering is not merely a compliance with religious doctrine but also an act of modesty. However, in Iran, it has evolved into a potent political symbol, especially after it became obligatory post-1979 Islamic Revolution.

Currently, Iran and the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan are the only nations where hijab-wearing is mandated by law for women.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mandatory hijab law in Iran

What happened to Armita Geravand?

Armita Geravand, an Iranian teenager, died after sustaining injuries in an unexplained incident on Tehran’s Metro while not wearing a hijab. She was in a coma for weeks before her death.

What is the public reaction to Armita Geravand’s death?

Armita Geravand’s death has the potential to reignite public unrest and debates over Iran’s mandatory hijab law and women’s rights, especially since it follows the one-year anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, another young woman, which sparked nationwide protests.

What is the mandatory hijab law in Iran?

In Iran, it is compulsory for women to wear a headscarf, known as a hijab, in public. This law has been in place since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and is strictly enforced by the state.

What do human rights organizations say about this incident?

Human rights organizations like the Center for Human Rights in Iran, Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, and Iran Human Rights have called for an independent international investigation into Armita Geravand’s death. They are concerned about the broader implications for women’s rights in Iran.

Has the Iranian state media acknowledged the unrest surrounding the hijab law in relation to Armita’s death?

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported on Geravand’s death but did not discuss the broader societal implications or unrest regarding the mandatory hijab law in Iran.

Are there other countries where the hijab is mandatory?

Currently, Iran and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan are the only countries where it is mandatory for women to wear a hijab.

What is the stance of international figures on this incident?

U.S. Deputy Special Envoy for Iran, Abram Paley, expressed his condolences and criticized what he termed as “state-sponsored violence against females in Iran.” Calls for an independent international investigation have also been made.

Have there been similar incidents in Iran’s recent history?

Yes, Armita Geravand’s death comes after the one-year anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini. Amini was detained by Iranian morality police for allegedly improperly wearing a hijab and died afterward, sparking nationwide protests.

What are the penalties for not wearing a hijab in Iran?

Women who do not wear a hijab in Iran can face a range of penalties, from fines to imprisonment, and in extreme cases, they may be subjected to violence.

How has this incident affected international relations?

While the incident itself may not have a direct impact on international relations, it has added to the renewed criticism of Iran’s treatment of women and its mandatory hijab law, particularly from Western nations.

More about Mandatory hijab law in Iran

  • Iranian mandatory hijab law
  • Human Rights in Iran
  • Tehran Metro Incident Coverage
  • Women’s Rights in Iran
  • Mahsa Amini Incident
  • International Reactions to Iran’s Women’s Rights Issues
  • History of the Hijab in Iran
  • Recent Protests in Iran
  • U.S.-Iran Relations
  • Nobel Peace Prize Winner Narges Mohammadi

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GlobalCitizen October 29, 2023 - 4:28 am

Does the international community even care? These stories make headlines but what’s actually being done about it?

JohnDoe82 October 29, 2023 - 5:31 am

Wow, this is really sad to hear. Why is it that women have to suffer just cuz of a piece of cloth on their heads? The law needs to change.

EqualRightsNow October 29, 2023 - 7:56 am

And they say it’s for modesty and piety? What’s pious about forcing women into something and endangering their lives? its just control, plain n simple.

Econguy101 October 29, 2023 - 5:47 pm

Sanctions, nuclear tensions and now this. Iran’s got a full plate, but ignoring human rights ain’t the way. Hope this tragedy forces a reckoning.

HumanityFirst October 29, 2023 - 11:22 pm

this is why activism matters, people. We need to keep the spotlight on issues like this or else nothing will change. RIP Armita.

Sarah_L October 30, 2023 - 12:22 am

This is heartbreaking. An independent investigation is the least they can do. How many more lives have to be lost??

TehranWatcher October 30, 2023 - 2:49 am

the details of what happened are still so vague. Why’s the government not releasing the train CCTV footage? Something’s fishy.


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