Students protest Iran regime’s role in Mahsa Amini’s death


Mandana Mojaverian ('26)

(Left to Right) Annalise Centeno (‘26), Amelia Centeno (‘26), Marc Zambrano (‘26), Heidi Lau (‘26), and Rowan Stamires (‘26) hold signs at the crossroads of Indian Hill and Foothill Boulevard in Claremont. Some of the protest signs read “Free Iran,” “#MahsaAmini,” and “Justice for Mahsa Amini,” messages the student protesters hoped to communicate at their public demonstration. “Honestly, I never expected people to support and care this much,” said Mandana Mojaverian (‘26), whose family helped organized the protest. “But it also makes me question why they didn’t before, because this has been happening for so long.”

“Zan, Zendegi, Azadi (Women, Life, Freedom)!”chanted a group of protestors at the crossroads of Indian Hill and Foothill Boulevard on September 30th. 

On the first day of October break, a group of Webb students gathered to protest the unjust killing of Mahsa Amini, supporting Iranian women’s fight against Iran’s penalizing morality laws. To rally support for the cause, Mandana Mojaverian (‘26) advertised the local protest on STAS to encourage Webb students to join her family’s demonstration.  

“I’m Iranian, I was born there, and I immigrated here five years ago,” Mandana said. “My parents organized this protest. They were born there, their parents went through it [civil unrest in Iran], and it affected them growing up as well. I feel like it affected them more than me, so it inspired me. I support my family, because they’ve always supported me.” 

Mandana refers to the recent unrest back home, where Iranian citizens have been protesting the regime and calling for freedom. On September 13th, Iranian morality police forcefully detained Mahsa Amini under the claim that she was violating Iran’s mandatory hijab law. Amini, also known as “Jina,” was visiting her family in the capital city of Tehran, Iran when she was suddenly stopped and forcefully taken to a detention center. 

Officials claimed that Amini collapsed from heart failure while receiving educational training on hijab rules, but while her family waited for her outside the center, her brother heard screams coming from inside along with a witness claiming they killed a woman. Shortly after, an ambulance arrived, shuttling a bruised and battered Amini to the hospital where she fell into a coma and died three days later on the 16th.  

Amini’s death started a wave of protests, fronted by the nation’s women and young adults. Now students from elite institutions such as the Sharif University of Technology chant “Death to the Dictator,” and young women remove their headscarves on the streets of Iran. These demonstrations are met with violence from the regime’s Revolutionary Guards, who opened fire at university students and battered young women with batons.  

But the revolution cannot be stopped with violence, as videos of unjust acts spread across the internet, calling for international support. Authorities attempt to stop the online movement through cutting the internet or blocking platforms such as Instagram. With the local protest, Mandana hopes to amplify what activists overseas are fighting for — a voice.  

“I believe that if you stay silent or if you stay neutral, you are basically supporting the oppressor,” Mandana said. “So, speaking up shows that you actually care and are not just performing for the act or to make yourself look good. You’re actually going out there and performing for what you stand for.” 

Fellow students who attended the protest felt the same.  

“I chose to go, because some of my friends are Iranian, and I wanted to help give them a voice,” Rowan Stamires (‘26) said. “Social issues are something important to me, and a lot of my friends struggle with these issues.”  

It is difficult to see young girls our age — high school students — murdered for speaking up. They lose their lives fighting for equality, a commendable act that should be honored, remembered, and continued to be spoken out for. 

“I want people to continue speaking out for the Iranian people; there have been a lot of people who have died after Mahsa Amini,” Rowan said. “They still need your support.” 

To be able to support, we as students must take the first step to inform ourselves about these issues.  

“Educate yourself. I would suggest going to primary sources, instead of American news,” Mandana said. “Go to any Iranian channel or search up #MahsaAmini on Instagram. There are a lot of Instagram accounts of citizens in Iran that are posting. Go to primary sources and not secondary sources. Stay informed and know what’s happening, even when it’s not affecting you.”