The upheaval in Iran has reached a fever pitch lately, with protests all across the country. Many of these protesters are young, around college age, and they are protesting after a 22-year-old woman passed away while Iran’s so-called “morality police” had her in custody.
This has led to a large number of arrests and action taken by the government. Some reports claimed that as many as 15,000 protesters faced death sentences. Other reports have contradicted this, but it helps to underscore the way that people are losing their rights and even their lives.
How could this be so serious?
In the United States, the right to a peaceful protest is often something that people just expect. Even some protests that have turned violent, while they may have led to arrests, don’t lead to things like the death penalty.
In Iran, however, part of the issue is that the religious government considers the protest to be an act of “war against God.” For instance, there is one story of a man who started a fire in a trashcan during a protest. He was arrested, and now he may be sentenced to death row. Concern is arising from around the globe regarding these types of disproportionate responses.
What is asylum?
Those seeking to leave Iran and find safety somewhere else may want to consider asylum. This is a process used to allow people to stay within the United States so that they don’t face persecution. People can apply for asylum when they are already within the U.S. or at a port of entry.
Asylum is different than becoming a refugee, which would mean leaving Iran to go to a refugee camp and then being sent to the United States years later. But many Iranians, who are quickly seeking safety as the situation unravels, may not have time for this process. Someone who is already in the United States, may also fear returning home to Iran in the midst of these protests. They may seek asylum as a way to stay, even if the visa that they came on has expired.
This process can be very helpful, but it’s also complicated, so those who want to use it need to make sure they know exactly what legal steps to take.