The government responded with violence, censorship and arrests. According to human rights groups, at least 537 people have been killed, and over 19,000 have been detained in the crackdown.
Ms Amini has become a symbol of resistance against the religious dictatorship in Iran – a movement known as “Woman, Life, Freedom”.
In Australia, as around the world, members of the Iranian diaspora have also shown their support. Here, four Iranian Australians share how their lives have changed in the past 12 months.
Mahla* came to Australia in 2013. Having studied photography and held exhibitions in Iran, she now teaches art at Monash University.
When I heard Mahsa’s news, all those memories came back. That distress will never leave you. I thought that if I didn’t amplify all of those women’s voices, I would be betraying them. I had to tell our story to help the protesters as much as possible.
I thought that if I didn’t amplify all of those women’s voices, I would be betraying them.
Mahla, visual artist
Now I only think about freedom. These days we only see the violence and dark side of Iran, but as an artist I want to show the world the hidden beauty. It’s my dream to go back to my country, take photos and write a book about what’s happening, so future generations will understand.
Ek Taghdir was born in Tehran in 1985 and left Iran when he was two. He studied law in Australia and is now a barrister in Victoria specialising in family law.
First, it was the killing of Mahsa Amini, then it was the deaths of Hadis Najafi, Nika Shahkarami, Sarina Esmailzadeh and many more. These were young girls who went to the frontline and died. I thought, if they are out there on the streets, what is the least I can do? You’re watching the news, and there’s something about it that hits home. You see these young kids trying to make a change in their lives, and then they are killed. As an advocate, I felt duty-bound to use my power to help the people inside Iran.
You see these young kids trying to make a change in their lives, and then they are killed.
Ek Taghdir, barrister
I know the consequences: you won’t be able to go back to the country you love without the real risk of being imprisoned, captured or even killed. It hurts, but I know that one day I will go back to Iran. I’ve got no doubt about it. But not while the regime is in power. At the end of the day, this is not about me or my generation. This is about the future.
Parisima Kouklan was born two months before the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. She arrived in Australia in 2005 and works as a fashion designer.
The murder of Mahsa Amini changed me from the inside. It was different to previous incidents. The news itself was horrifying; however, what happened afterwards motivated us further, like a giant wave forming. I felt like it was time to do something. It was time for them (the regime) to go.
An internal revolution is happening in people’s minds.
Parisima Kouklan, fashion designer
I decided to protest through clothing. I was sitting in my studio, surrounded by textiles. I decided I would start a petition by asking people to write down their feelings and requests on a piece of fabric. I had no idea how it would go. I laid the cloth down on the ground in front of the Parliament House. People gradually started writing things down. Some wrote poems, and others wrote down their wishes.
This simple idea became my act of resistance. I carried this piece of cloth to pretty much all protests and rallies. I told myself I wouldn’t stop until this chapter was closed. The cloth that initially was 40 metres in length now stretches more than 160 metres.
An internal revolution is happening in people’s minds. I’ve reached a new stage of personal maturity – both intellectually and mentally. As an Australian citizen, I feel a greater sense of responsibility and I am asking more questions. For example, what is happening in the Australian Parliament in this regard? What do the laws say? This is not a political view, I see it as a social view. And that makes me feel good.
Mohammad Hashemi is a 31-year-old civil engineer who came to Australia in 2015. His cousin, Majid Kazemi, was executed during the uprising in Iran.
Mahsa’s news felt like a knockdown. As soon as I heard the news, I jumped on Instagram and shared an Iranian poem to show my anger. Iran has seen so many pivotal moments since the Revolution in 1979, protests in 2007, 2017 and 2019. It was clear that this time was different. Like many other Iranians, I thought that enough is enough.
Like many other Iranians, I thought that enough is enough.
Mohammad Hashemi, civil engineer
I was only two days older than my cousin Majid. Although we lived in different cities, we had a strong bond. Some of my fondest memories are playing together as kids. I would be so excited to visit my aunt’s place: that was the only time we could see each other.
I learned of Majid’s arrest while I was mourning the execution of in Sydney CBD. I received a call from my family. I couldn’t believe it. There I was organising an event in support of a protester who had been executed in Iran, when I learned that my cousin was facing the same fate.
I started to campaign against Majid’s execution. We managed to do many things by approaching the media and Australian politicians. Many Australian senators supported our campaigns. I believe the regime was forced to postpone his execution due to the international community’s pressure. But to our disbelief, they eventually executed Majid.
The only thing that keeps us going is reclaiming lost rights. Those found guilty of violations should be held accountable. A significant amount of my time each day is spent thinking about ways we can bring justice to those families who have suffered in the past year.