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Angelina Jolie Says Women of Iran 'Need Freedom to Live' as Protests Continue After Mahsa Amini's Death

People 9/29/2022 Shafiq Najib

Stefania D'Alessandro/WireImage; Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto/Getty © Provided by People Stefania D'Alessandro/WireImage; Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto/Getty

Angelina Jolie is calling attention to the ongoing protests in Iran following the death of a 22-year-old woman named Mahsa Amini.

Amini died Sept. 16 in Iran after being detained by the country's Morality Police for allegedly wearing a hijab too loosely. Demonstrations broke out following Amini's death, and the ongoing unrest has seen women burning their hijabs or cutting their hair in protest.

On Wednesday, the Academy Award winner shared several images taken in the streets of Iran to Instagram, raising awareness about the ongoing situation in the Middle East.

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"Respect to the brave, defiant, fearless women of Iran," Jolie wrote in the caption of her post. "All those who have survived and resisted for decades, those taking to the streets today, and Mahsa Amini and all young Iranians like her."

"Women don't need their morals policed, their minds re-educated, or their bodies controlled. They need freedom to live and breathe without violence or threats," Jolie, 47, continued. "To the women of Iran, we see you #WomanLifeFreedom #MahsaAmini."

In the post, Jolie also included a statement that briefly explained the conflict taking place in the country. 

"Protests in Iran are in their 12th consecutive night," the slide read. "They started in response to the death of 22 year old Mahsa Amini while in morality police custody."

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"Since the protests began, riot police have attacked protestors with brutal force, and more than 70 people have reportedly been killed," it added.

On Monday, Iran Human Rights reported that "at least 76 protesters are confirmed to have been killed by security forces," including at least six women and four children following the death of Amini.

While the protests rage on, access to social media sites such as Instagram and WhatsApp have been curbed in Iran, Reuters reported.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, Amini was transferred to a hospital in a coma the same day she was detained for allegedly wearing her hijab too loosely, "and died two days later from internal injuries."

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In response to Amini's death "and other human rights violations in Iran," State Department Secretary Antony Blinken said last week the U.S. has imposed sanctions — both on Iran's Morality Police and on "senior security officials who have engaged in serious human rights abuses."

As Blinken described in his statement, Iran's Morality Police is part of the country's Law Enforcement Forces, and "arrests women for wearing 'inappropriate' hijab and enforces other restrictions on freedom of expression."

The sanctions will target "seven senior leaders of Iran's security organizations: the Morality Police, Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), the Army's Ground Forces, Basij Resistance Forces, and Law Enforcement Forces," according to the Treasury Department.

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"These officials oversee organizations that routinely employ violence to suppress peaceful protesters and members of Iranian civil society, political dissidents, women's rights activists, and members of the Iranian Baha'i community," the Treasury Department statement said.

Meanwhile, the director of Iran Human Rights, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam released a statement Monday via the organization's website, sharing, "The risk of torture and ill-treatment of protesters is serious and the use of live ammunition against protesters is an international crime."

"We call on the international community to decisively and unitedly take practical steps to stop the killing and torture of protesters," he continued. "The world must defend the Iranian people's demands for their fundamental rights."

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