By  Masih Alinejad

With the U.S. pullout from the nuclear deal, Iran will soon face renewed economic sanctions, compounding a crisis that has seen its currency go into freefall. On top of that, the Trump administration has signaled its readiness for political and perhaps even military confrontation with the Islamic Republic. These are very real pressures, but I would argue that they don’t threaten the ruling mullahs nearly as much as a growing domestic development: the prospect of unveiled Iranian women.

The Islamic Republic’s key vulnerability has always been its oppression of women. Since coming to power in 1979, the theocracy has imposed compulsory hijab laws, requiring women to securely wrap their heads in scarves in public. Over the past four years, however, with little help or notice from Western powers pressing the regime on other fronts, Iranian women have countered the most visible symbol of clerical rule. They have begun to remove their headscarves in unprecedented acts of civil disobedience, fostering a crisis of self-confidence for the regime.

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By Masih Alinejad

Masih Alinejad is a journalist and the founder of My Stealthy Freedom, a campaign to oppose laws requiring head scarves in Iran.  She is the author of an upcoming memoir “The Wind in My Hair.”

About two weeks ago, I received a gruesome death threat from Hamid Reza Ahmadabadi, one of the more prominent figures of the Basij — Iran’s much-dreaded paramilitary arm. In his message, he said I’d be butchered because I had been insulting the sanctity of Iran’s revolutionary and Islamic values. He warned that one of his agents in the United States would cut out my tongue and slash my breasts before killing me. I was to be “slaughtered” in the same manner that former opposition leaders had been murdered abroad in the 1990s.

In a later interview with the BBC Persian service, he reiterated the same threats, making references to the assassination of Shahpour Bakhtiar, the shah’s last prime minister, and Fereydoun Farrokhzad, a dissident artist who was murdered in Germany.

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By Masih Alinejad

Masih Alinejad is a journalist and the founder of My Stealthy Freedom, a campaign to oppose compulsory head scarves in Iran. She can be found on Twitter: @MasihPooyan.

I am an Iranian, a journalist, a campaigner against Islamic extremism and a 40-year-old mother. I was forced to flee Iran’s media crackdown with my teenage son, Pouyan, in 2009. I came to the United States as a green-card holder in in 2014 after being a political refugee in the United Kingdom for five years. Due to my work, I cannot go back to Iran.

After seven years of being in exile due to Iran’s repression, I feel as if I am facing another crackdown, thanks to President Trump. His executive order to suspend the flow of refugees into the United States for 120 days, and to halt immigration for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 90 days, could prevent me from seeing Pouyan, my only child, who is a now a student in the U.K. We feel as if we are both in limbo. I am unsure if he can come see me, or if can I go visit him, without being deprived of the right to come back to the United States. If were unable to return, it would be the end of my life here as I know it. When I think about not being able to see him, I feel sick.

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By Masih Alinejad

Masih Alinejad is an Iranian journalist living in New York and creator of the My Stealthy Freedom campaign on Facebook.

During an interview last month with TV host Charlie Rose, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif asserted that Iran doesn’t “jail people for their opinions,’’ a comment that was met with howls of protests from Iranian activists and journalists who have tasted the hospitality of Iran’s prison system. A photoshopped image of Zarif with a long wooden nose was circulated online. Journalist Bahman Ahmadi Amouei, who was jailed in the 2009 crackdown, challenged Zarif’s claim in an open letter on Facebook:

“I testify that [President Hassan] Rouhani’s government and his foreign minister are lying about this issue,’’ he said, noting that he was subjected to psychological and physical torture while being held “because of his opinions and articles written in the country’s newspapers.”

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Last weekend, I was raped by three men in London. Under the influence of mind-altering drugs, I had removed items of clothing, and the men raped me in front of my son.

That is what the Iran state TV reported in a short news segment about me.

Iranian television, which is controlled by the hardliners, uses George Orwell’s 1984 as an operating manual. Fact and fiction are blended to create a parallel universe at odds with reality as you and I know it.

For the record, I was never assaulted or raped or took any mind-altering drugs.

Why the smear campaign against me? I started a Facebook page, called My Stealthy Freedom, where I asked women about their desires to be without the veil. I was bombarded with selfies of women without their scarves.

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