WASHINGTON — Iranian singer Shervin Hajipour's viral song that has been adopted as the anthem for the anti-government protests in Iran rang through downtown Washington, D.C. as thousands of demonstrators took the streets of the nation's capital.
Protesters gathered at Farragut Square and in front of the White House as a part of a worldwide day of rallies in solidarity of the people of Iran following three weeks of unrest.
"This is the only time in my life that Iran has a chance for change. A change for within," said Sayeh Tavanga who has lived in the United States for 30 years but has been keeping a close eye on what is happening in her native country.
The uprising in Iran was sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old who died in police custody following her arrest by the Islamic Republic for "unsuitable attire" after being accused of wearing her hijab too loosely.
"This is deeper, than just being about hijab, than a woman being not in control of her bodily autonomy, it's about an oppressive regime that continues to abuse its power," said Mimi Ziad, one of the speakers during Saturday's rally.
The movement is being led primarily by women and the younger generation that are angry about the government repression, rising poverty, and violations of human rights. Dozens of demonstrators in Iran have been killed during the protests.
"My families are in Iran, you know, when they got out of the house, their moms is scared if she is coming back. That is not a life to have," said the mother who asked to remain anonymous for the safety of her family in the U.S. and Iran.
She was accompanied by her daughter who both shared that they have felt inspired by the biggest show of opposition to the government since 2019.
Her teenage daughter sending a message to the Iranian people, "Keep fighting, do not give up. We hear you. We stand with you."
Demonstrators in D.C. also had their eyes on the Biden Administration.
"There has been an intense focus on the nuclear deal, and to the point that we have forgotten about everything else," said Dokhi Fassihian who believes that the Biden Administration has not done enough to protect the human rights of the Iranian people.
"It is time for the Biden Administration to do more. It is not enough to just sanction the morality police," added Fassihian.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Thursday that the U.S. imposed sanctions on multiple entities involved in evading sanctions on Iranian oil and petrochemicals.
He also said the the Biden Administration is working to facilitate technology access for the Iranian people who are facing an internet crackdown.
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