By Joseph Krauss
Protests have erupted across Iran in recent days after a 22-year-old woman died while being held by the morality police for violating the country’s strictly enforced Islamic dress code.
The death of Mahsa Amini, who had been picked up by Iran’s morality police for her allegedly loose headscarf, or hijab, has triggered daring displays of defiance, in the face of beatings and possible arrest.
In street protests, some women tore off their mandatory headscarves, demonstratively twirling them in the air. Videos online showed two women throwing their hijabs into a bonfire. Another woman is seen cutting off her hair in a show of protest.
Many Iranians, particularly the young, have come to see Amini’s death as part of the Islamic Republic’s heavy-handed policing of dissent and the morality police’s increasingly violent treatment of young women.
At some of the demonstrations, protesters clashed with police and thick clouds of tear gas were seen rising in the capital, Tehran. Protesters were also chased and beaten with clubs by the motorcycle-riding Basij, or volunteers in Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. Police.
The Basij have violently suppressed protests in the past, including over water rights and the country’s cratering economy.
Yet some demonstrators still chant “death to the dictator,” targeting both Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s rule and Iran’s theocracy, despite the threat of arrest, imprisonment and even the possibility of a death sentence.
Here’s a look at what sparked the protests and where they might lead.
WHAT CAUSED THE PROTESTS IN IRAN?
Iran’s morality police arrested Amini on Sept. 13 in Tehran, where she was visiting from her hometown in the country’s western Kurdish region. She collapsed at a police station and died three days later.
Police detained her over wearing her hijab too loosely. Iran requires women to wear the headscarf in a way that completely covers their hair when in public. Only Afghanistan under Taliban rule now actively enforces a similar law. Ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia dialed back its enforcement over recent years.
The police deny Amini was mistreated and say she died of a heart attack. President Ebrahim Raisi, who will speak at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, has promised an investigation.
Amini’s family says she had no history of heart trouble and that they were prevented from seeing her body before she was buried. The demonstrations erupted after her funeral in the Kurdish city of Saqez on Saturday, and quickly spread to other parts of the country, including Tehran.
HOW ARE WOMEN TREATED IN IRAN?
Iranian women have full access to education, work outside the home and hold public office. But they are required to dress modestly in public, which includes wearing the hijab as well as long, loose-fitting robes. Unmarried men and women are barred from mingling.
The rules, which date back to the days after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, are enforced by the morality police. The force, officially known as the Guidance Patrol, is stationed across public areas. It is made up of men as well as women.
Enforcement was eased under former President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate who at one point accused the morality police of being overly aggressive. In 2017, the head of the force said it would no longer arrest women for violating the dress code.
But under Raisi, a hard-liner elected last year, agents of the morality police appear to have been unleashed. The U.N. human rights office says young women have been slapped in the face, beaten with batons and shoved into police vehicles in recent months.
HOW HAS IRAN RESPONDED TO THE PROTESTS?
Iranian leaders have vowed to investigate the circumstances of Amini’s death while accusing unnamed foreign countries and exiled opposition groups of seizing on it as a pretext to foment unrest. That’s been a common pattern in the protests that erupted in recent years.
Iran’s ruling clerics view the United States as a threat to the Islamic Republic and believe the adoption of Western customs undermines society. Khamenei himself has seized on so-called “color” protests in Europe and elsewhere as foreign interventions — and not as people demonstrating for more rights.
Tensions have been especially high since former President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and imposed crippling sanctions. The Biden administration has been working with European allies for the last two years to revive the accord, but negotiations appear deadlocked as nonproliferation experts warn Iran has enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb if it chose to build one. The Islamic Republic insists its program is peaceful.
The governor of Tehran said Wednesday that authorities arrested three foreign nationals at protests in the capital, without elaborating. Iranian security forces have arrested at least 25 people, and the governor of the Kurdistan province says three people have been killed by armed groups in unrest linked to the protests, without elaborating.
Activists and human rights groups have blamed Iranian security forces for killing protesters in other demonstrations, like those over gasoline prices in 2019.
COULD THE PROTESTS BRING DOWN IRAN’S GOVERNMENT?
Iran’s ruling clerics have weathered several waves of protests going back decades, eventually quashing them with brute force.
The most serious challenge to the clerics’ rule was the Green Movement that emerged after the country’s disputed presidential election in 2009 and called for far-reaching reforms; millions of Iranians took to the streets.
Authorities responded with a brutal crackdown, with the Revolutionary Guard and the Basij militia opening fire on protesters and launching waves of arrests. Opposition leaders were placed under house arrest.
Among those killed was Neda Agha Soltan, a 27-year-old woman who became an icon of the protest movement after she was shot and bled to death in a video seen by millions on social media.
Follow Joseph Krauss on Twitter at www.twitter.com/josephkrauss.
3 physicists share Nobel Prize for work on quantum science
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Three scientists jointly won this year’s Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for their work on quantum information science that has significant applications, for example in the field of encryption.
Frenchman Alain Aspect, American John F. Clauser and Austrian Anton Zeilinger were cited by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for discovering the way that unseen particles, such as photons or tiny bits of matter, can be linked, or “entangled,” with each other even when they are separated by large distances.
“Being a little bit entangled is sort of like being a little bit pregnant. The effect grows on you,” Clauser said in a Tuesday morning phone interview with The Associated Press.
It all goes back to a feature of the universe that even baffled Albert Einstein and connects matter and light in a tangled, chaotic way.
Clauser, 79, was awarded his prize for a 1972 experiment that helped settle a famous debate about quantum mechanics between Einstein and famed physicist Niels Bohr. Einstein described “a spooky action at a distance” that he thought would eventually be disproved.
“I was betting on Einstein,” Clauser said. “But unfortunately I was wrong and Einstein was wrong and Bohr was right.”
Clauser said his work on quantum mechanics shows that you can’t confine information to a closed volume, “like a little box that sits on your desk” — though even he can’t say why.
“Most people would assume that nature is made out of stuff distributed throughout space and time,” Clauser said. “And that appears not to be the case.”
Quantum entanglement “has to do with taking these two photons and then measuring one over here and knowing immediately something about the other one over here,” said David Haviland, chair of the Nobel Committee for Physics. “And if we have this property of entanglement between the two photons, we can establish a common information between two different observers of these quantum objects. And this allows us to do things like secret communication, in ways which weren’t possible to do before.”
That’s why quantum information is not an esoteric thought experiment, said Eva Olsson, a member of the Nobel committee. She called it a “vibrant and developing field.”
“It has broad and potential implications in areas such as secure information transfer, quantum computing and sensing technology,” Olsson said. “Its predictions have opened doors to another world, and it has also shaken the very foundations of how we interpret measurements.”
Everything in the universe could be entangled but “usually the entanglement just kind of washes off. It’s so chaotic and random that when you look at it … we don’t see anything,” said Harvard professor Subir Sachdev, who has worked on experiments that look at quantum entangled material consisting of up to 200 atoms. But sometimes scientists can unsnarl just enough to make sense and be useful in everything from encryption to superconductors, he said.
Speaking by phone to a news conference after the announcement, Zeilinger said he was “still kind of shocked” at hearing he had received the award.
“But it’s a very positive shock,” said Zeilinger, 77, who is based at the University of Vienna.
Clauser, Aspect, and Zeilinger have figured in Nobel speculation for more than a decade. In 2010 they won the Wolf Prize in Israel, seen as a possible precursor to the Nobel.
While physicists often tackle problems that appear at first glance to be far removed from everyday concerns — tiny particles and the vast mysteries of space and time — their research provides the foundations for many practical applications of science.
The Nobel committee said Clauser developed quantum theories first put forward in the 1960s into a practical experiment. Aspect, 75, was able to close a loophole in those theories, while Zeilinger demonstrated a phenomenon called quantum teleportation that effectively allows information to be transmitted over distances.
“Using entanglement you can transfer all the information which is carried by an object over to some other place where the object is, so to speak, reconstituted,” said Zeilinger. He added that this only works for tiny particles.
“It is not like in the Star Trek films (where one is) transporting something, certainly not the person, over some distance,” he said.
When he began his research, Zeilinger said the experiments were “completely philosophical without any possible use or application.”
Since then, the laureates’ work has been used to develop the fields of quantum computers, quantum networks and secure quantum encrypted communication.
A week of Nobel Prize announcements kicked off Monday with Swedish scientist Svante Paabo receiving the award in medicine Monday for unlocking secrets of Neanderthal DNA that provided key insights into our immune system.
They continue with chemistry on Wednesday and literature on Thursday. The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday and the economics award on Oct. 10.
The prizes carry a cash award of 10 million Swedish kronor (nearly $900,000) and will be handed out on Dec. 10. The money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.
Jordans reported from Berlin. Seth Borenstein contributed from Kensington, Maryland, and Maddie Burakoff contributed from New York.
Follow all AP stories about the Nobel Prizes at https://apnews.com/hub/nobel-prizes
David Keyton And Frank Jordans, The Associated Press
Prairie premiers, governors urge Canada, U.S. to keep border crossings open longer
Washington – Canada’s Prairie premiers and two U.S. governors want their respective countries to restore pre-pandemic operating hours at entry points along their shared land border.
The group of provincial and state leaders have written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden to argue that curtailed hours at border crossings are hurting the economy.
The letter is signed by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, as well as Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.
It says travellers and businesses are being forced to go out of their way to find entry points with longer hours, driving up fuel and labour costs.
The leaders say that’s also hurting smaller border communities along the Canada-U.S. border that depend on international traffic for their economic livelihoods.
The letter does not mention that the U.S. still requires visiting foreign nationals to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a requirement Canada lifted over the weekend.
“Residents and businesses on both sides of the border have expressed concern that the reduced hours of operation will become permanent,” the letter reads.
It also argues that the supply chain problems that have persisted since the onset of COVID-19 in 2020 will only linger so long as cross-border trade and travel remains curtailed by limited hours at border crossings.
“Resuming pre-pandemic operating hours will ensure the efficient and steady flow of people and goods, which will only improve trade activity and reduce inflationary pressure on both sides of the border.”
A notice on the Canada Border Services Agency website warns of limited operating hours at nearly 40 land ports of entry, mostly in the Prairie provinces, along with Quebec, New Brunswick and B.C.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2022.
Green On Outside/ Red On Inside: The Great EV Leap Forward
Two Edmonton police officers have been charged with assault after an arrest in March
Red Deer is Canada’s most active community. Celebrate with free activities at the Collicutt Centre!
Gas prices up in some cities across Canada by as much as 19 cents
International1 day ago
MLB playoff primer: Things to know as postseason nears
Alberta1 day ago
Alberta commits $20.8 million over the next four years to fight human trafficking
Energy1 day ago
Europe faces ‘unprecedented risk’ of gas shortage, IEA says
Disaster1 day ago
UN: 5.7 million Pakistani flood victims to face food crisis
Bruce Dowbiggin22 hours ago
Concussed: The NFL Needs Its Head Read
International2 days ago
Iran parliament speaker says protests could weaken society
Business1 day ago
What if Musk loses the Twitter case but defies the court?
Also Interesting1 day ago
Top Reasons Why You Should Go to College in Canada