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Think Change episode 18: ‘woman, life, freedom!’ Can activism reshape Iran?

Written by Sara Pantuliano, Hoda Katebi, Irene Khan, Azadeh Pourzand

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On 16 September 2022, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was beaten to death following her detention at the hands of Iran’s morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab correctly. Her death sparked outcry in Iran and across the globe.

Protests have gripped the country over the past four months. It’s not the first instance of civil unrest since the Iranian Revolution 44 years ago, but is there something different about how today’s women-led movement, whose rallying cry of ‘zan, zendegi, azadi’ – ‘woman, life, freedom’ – has galvanised activism today?

This episode dives into the current situation in Iran. We hear what the protests signify for rights and freedoms, for Iranians and women around the world, and ask how the international community should respond.


  • Sara Pantuliano (host), Chief Executive, ODI
  • Hoda Katebi, community organiser, writer and activist
  • Irene Khan, UN Special Rapporteur for freedom of expression and opinion & ODI Trustee
  • Azadeh Pourzand, researcher and writer

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