The Islamic Republic of Iran and its dictatorial theocratic regime have now been in power for 44 years. 1979 was the precise year that an Islamic revolution orchestrated by ultraconservative religious groups and Ayatollah Khomeini brought to an end decades of westernised, liberal monarchy in Iran. The victory of that revolution meant that the country reverted into a nation without freedom, without rights above all for women, and with a morality police capable of murdering a girl for not properly wearing her veil.
This is in fact what happened in September 2022 to Mahsa Amini, arrested for a breach of the dress code imposed by the ayatollahs. Her death by torture triggered mass protests in the country, repressed by the regime with thousands of arrests, and even death sentences against the demonstrators.
This repression is not a new thing, but has been a constant factor for the past half century. As demonstrated by the lives and works of artists such as filmmaker Jafar Panahi, incarcerated for upholding freedom of expression.
Because however much the Government might seek to silence dissident voices, there is a growing gulf between the regime and a society which is not what it was 44 years ago. In a young country like Iran (the population has an average age of 32 according to the World Bank), youngsters and in particular women are rebelling, not only in the cities but also in the countryside, where antiquated laws and customs such as arranged marriages still endure. These are the voices of resistance which reject the Islamic Republic, facing up to "those bears" or fundamentalist threats, which they no longer fear.