In the Spring of 2018, two men in Tehran had a humble but risky plan to show support for women who were protesting Iran’s compulsory hijab laws, Jeff Kaufman writes for CNN.
Reza Khandan is a graphic designer, the husband of renowned human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, and a father of two. Farhad Meysami is a physician, teacher and textbook publisher.
The pair bought thousands of blank buttons and a small, hand-cranked button-making machine, printed green and red labels, and took turns producing buttons that said, in Farsi, “I Oppose the Mandatory Hijab.”
Their buttons caught the attention of fellow activists – and Iranian authorities. On June 13, 2018, Reza’s lawyer wife Nasrin was arrested for her work defending many of the women who publicly removed their hijabs.
Soon after, Reza and Farhad’s homes and offices were raided, the buttons were confiscated, and they were sent to the men’s ward of the same prison that held Nasrin.
Reza was released on bail after 111 days. Nasrin served over three years in prison before receiving a medical furlough because of a heart condition complicated by Covid-19.
A gravely ill Farhad was released from prison in February after images of his severely emaciated condition – resulting from a long hunger strike – caused global outrage.