Mahsa Amini’s Death: A Year of Protest and Reflections on the Future

One year after the death of Mahsa Amini, protesters in Iran continue to hold the line in defiance of the regime. Iranian women were on the frontlines of the protest after Mahsa’s death. They were quickly joined by all segments of society, all across Iran. The protest has also inspired the Iranian diaspora and the broader international community to join in solidarity with them for “woman, life and freedom.” Despite greater visibility and political attention from global protests, the movement has yet to threaten the foundations of the regime. The brutal crackdown against dissenters grows more dire by the day and Iran continues to cultivate complex finance and trade sanctions evasion networks that undermine efforts to hold the regime accountable.

Iranian experts and leaders gathered to discuss the trajectory of the ongoing protests in Iran, the role of women and diaspora, the current landscape of sanction enforcement and multilateral mechanisms, and the way forward for advancing international action.

Opening Speakers:

The Hon. Jane Harman, Chair of the Freedom House Board of Trustees

Amb. Melanne Verveer, Executive Director at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security

Keynote Speaker:

Victoria Taylor, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs

Panel 1:

Gissou Nia, Director at the Strategic Litigation Project at the Atlantic Council

Ladan Boroumand, Co-founder of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for the Promotion of Human Rights and Democracy in Iran 

Dr. Azar Nafisi, Iranian-American Writer and Author of Reading Lolita in Tehran

Moderated by Amb. Melanne Verveer, Executive Director at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security

Panel 2:

Goli Ameri, Vice Chair of Freedom House’s Board of Trustees

Robert Satloff, Executive Director of the Washington Institute

Dr. Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council for Foreign Relations

Behnam Ben Taleblu, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Moderated by Patricia Karam, Senior Iran Policy Advisor at Freedom House

This event was hosted by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, Freedom House, and the Iranian Cultural Society.