Barack and Michelle Obama released a statement on Tuesday praising the Iranian protesters who have taken to the streets in recent weeks over the death of a 22-year-old woman last month while in the custody of the regime’s so-called morality police.
“On this International Day of the Girl, we stand in solidarity with the courageous Iranian women and girls who have inspired the world through their ongoing protests,” the Obamas said in a statement.
“The rights they seek are universal: equality, the ability to make their own choices about how they look and dress and express their identities, and the freedom to do so without facing harassment, intimidation, and violence.”
Protests are entering their fourth week over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for allegedly improperly wearing her hijab on Sept. 16. Police say she collapsed while in their custody, but her family says that her body showed bruising consistent with being beaten.
PROTESTORS CLASH WITH REVOLUTIONARY GUARD IN NORTHERN IRAN, TORCH IRGC BASE: REPORTS
Thousands of women and girls have marched in the streets throughout Iran, with some of them ripping off their own headscarves in protest.
Iran’s government has violently cracked down on the demonstrations, leading to the deaths of at least 185 people, according to Iran Human Rights.
IRAN PROTESTS: DEATH TOLL CONTINUES TO CLIMB, AS REPORTER WHO FIRST HIGHLIGHTED AMINI’S DEATH IS ARRESTED
Barack Obama has been accused by some U.S. lawmakers of failing to support Iran’s “Green Movement” when he was president in 2009. Protesters took to the streets for months during that movement to call for the removal of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office.
President Joe Biden, who was Obama’s vice president, has spoken out more forcefully in support for the current wave of protests in Iran, pledging to increase internet access as the regime seeks to censor access to social media and other platforms.
The Obamas said Tuesday that the protesters are “delivering a powerful message that injustice should not be tolerated.”
“We are in awe of the Iranian girls who have played such a leadership role in insisting that the future be different from the past, and that Iranian women enjoy the full rights and opportunities that they deserve,” the Obamas said.