On September 15, President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged support to Iranians defending human rights on the one-year anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, who died in police detention for alleged “improper” hijab. The following are statements by Biden and Blinken.
President Joe Biden
On the occasion of the anniversary of Mahsa “Zhina” Amini’s death tomorrow, Jill and I join people around the world in remembering her—and every brave Iranian citizen who has been killed, wounded or imprisoned by the Iranian regime for peacefully demanding democracy and their basic human dignity.
As we have seen over the last year, Mahsa’s story did not end with her brutal death. She inspired a historic movement—Woman, Life, Freedom—that has impacted Iran and influenced people across the globe who are tirelessly advocating for gender equality and respect for their human rights. In the face of continued oppression and violence, the citizens of Iran remain committed to this movement and to their fight for a free and democratic future. Iranians alone will determine the fate of their country, but, the United States remains committed to standing with them—including providing tools to support Iranians’ ability to advocate for their own future. And, we will continue to speak out against all forms of gender-based violence against women and girls everywhere, including women human rights defenders who are so often targeted for using their voices.
Over the last year, the United States has responded to the calls of the Iranian people and organized an unprecedented diplomatic campaign that led to the Iranian government’s removal from the UN Commission on the Status of Women, and the creation of a UN fact-finding mission to investigate their human rights abuses. We have helped a growing number of human rights activists find safe haven in the United States. We made it easier for Iranians to access the internet: at the height of the protests, 30 million Iranians—nearly one in three—were using U.S.-supported anti-censorship tools. We have also sanctioned over 70 Iranian individuals and entities responsible for supporting the regime’s oppression of its people. And today, we are announcing additional sanctions targeting some of Iran’s most egregious human rights abusers.
Today—as we remember Mahsa’s tragic death—we reaffirm our commitment to the courageous people of Iran who are carrying on her mission. They are inspiring the world with their resilience and resolve. And together with our allies and partners, we stand with them.
Secretary of State Blinken
One year ago, a young Iranian woman, Mahsa “Zhina” Amini, died in the custody of the regime’s so-called “morality police.” She had been arrested for supposedly doing something that should not have been a crime in the first place: wearing her hijab too loosely.
As news of her death spread, so did a nationwide movement led by Iranian women and young people calling for “Woman, Life, Freedom.”
In response, the Iranian Government brutally crushed these peaceful protests. Killing hundreds of demonstrators, including children. Arresting thousands more. Beating detainees and committing gender-based violence. Holding sham trials and hasty executions.
The United States has joined countries around the world in supporting the Iranian people in their pursuit of justice, accountability, and respect for their human rights – during the protests and throughout the last year. When the Iranian regime throttled internet access, we helped provide technologies to get people online, so they could share information and exercise their right to free expression. We helped establish an independent, fact-finding mission through the United Nations. We’ve also sanctioned over 70 officials and organizations involved in the repression. Today, we are announcing new sanctions against 29 other individuals and entities in connection with the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses.
The United States will continue to support Iranians – and all people – who are defending their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
And today, we join people from across the globe in honoring the memory of Mahsa Amini and those killed.
As the epitaph on Ms. Amini’s grave reads, “ name will become a symbol.” Indeed, it has. And it will always be a reminder of the courage of the Iranian people.
Click here for information about the new sanctions.