“The stunning courage shown by Iran’s young World Cup team in support of the ongoing protest movement exemplifies the bankruptcy of the regime’s legitimacy with the country’s most significant demographic: people under the age of 29.

“The angry protester chants of ‘Women, Life, Freedom!’ that have roiled the Iranian regime for more than two months pose perhaps the greatest test to the theocracy and its clerics in its history. This upheaval is the first large-scale confrontation between a militantly patriarchal regime and the young Iranians who have never been invested in its revolutionary mystique — and the outcome is by no means certain.

“The protest movement was sparked by the killing of Mahsa Jina Amini in September, who was detained by the morality police for violating the hijab dress code and allegedly beaten to death. In the weeks following, demonstrations of outrage have spread to more than 200 cities across the country. Protestors also have upped the ante with brazen slogans aimed at the Supreme Leader, ransacking government offices and attacking regime symbols. Young Iranians are demonstrating enormous courage with full knowledge of the brutality they will face at the hands of the regime: To date nearly 500 protesters have been killed, some of them children, and more than 16,000 Iranians have been arrested. …”

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