Women led Iran's protests. What will new elections mean for them?

The protests, and the backlash, loom over the polling

Photo composite of Iranian women standing in line to vote
"The hijab has been a prominent issue ahead of the elections"
(Image credit: Illustration by Stephen Kelly / Getty Images)

A year ago, women led historic protests against Iran's Islamist government. The spark for that uprising? The death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who had been detained by the Iranian morality police after being arrested for improperly wearing her head scarf, or hijab. The uprising rattled the regime — but it survived, using arrests and executions to enforce its rule. Now Iranian voters are headed to the polls for the country's first parliamentary elections since Amini's death.

That female-led unrest looms over these elections, CNBC said. Many Iranians "have no faith in their country's political institutions" and there have been widespread calls for voters to boycott the polls. The regime, after all, has excluded "any reformist and even many moderately conservative candidates" from running for office. "Providing the political system with overt legitimacy … is just too much," said Chatham House's Sanam Vakil. 

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