The tragic death of Mahsa Amini has snowballed into a crisis in Iran. The 22-year-old’s death in highly suspicious circumstances while in the custody of a special police unit in Iran was a condemnable incident that should have been handled aptly by Iranian representatives at the start. However, their failure to do so, and the continuing aggressive approach that the Iranian police have taken towards the protests that have been spurred due to the outrage to Mahsa’s death, have brought international controversy and backlash and threatened to turn this affair into an uprising. According to Iranian reports, six more people have been killed during the protests. Furthermore, Iran has reportedly curbed access to social media networks Instagram and WhatsApp to prevent coverage of the protests.

For the Iranian government, it is a moment for introspection. Morality police, the actions it takes and its attitudes against women are battles that the Iranian government has been needlessly fighting for decades. Instead of reviewing these controversial laws that have been the cause of much grief and violence, the new Iranian government added more restrictions in 2021. The fact of the matter is that the scope of misuse, especially of police brutality and vigilantism, resulting from these laws is wide and can be the source of such unfortunate incidents as the death of this young woman. Even Iranian government figures have admitted the lacuna in these laws; Iranian parliamentarians have opined that the special unit should be restricted and stated that the police unit’s conduct should be investigated.

In such a delicate matter, when society is rightly angered by a young person’s tragic death, seemingly at the hands of the police, caution should be exercised, and laws that cause discord need to be amended. Turning the ire onto protestors or banning communication channels only fan the flames of controversy and outrage.