BBC: Iran has faced plenty of protests before – but never has the regime had the challenge of how to face down teenage girls.
Images of school children taking off their headscarves, heckling government officials and stamping on framed photographs of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have stunned even veteran women’s rights activists.
“These teenagers have a different understanding of what they want and of what human dignity is,” says Sussan Tahmasebi, who was arrested in 2006 in Iran and now lives in the US.
“They are going out there and demanding their bodily rights, the right to fundamental freedoms and democracy and they’re willing to take huge risks for it.”
She adds: “I’m surprised and at the same time I’m hopeful, but also fearful because of the level of violence that the state has consistently used against protesters.”
Writer Azadeh Moaveni, who was in Tehran late last month, saw young women “fearlessly” walking around without headscarves even in some of the capital’s more conservative neighbourhoods.
They are young people who have “inherited generations of anger from their mothers and grandmothers, now seizing their power”, she says.
And the state has a dilemma over how to respond. “Iran’s opposition has never been girl children,” Azadeh Moaveni told me.
“I heard police who said that their neighbours, and mothers and sisters, are telling them not to lay a finger on these young people. Despite all the deaths we’ve seen, I think they’re trying to refrain from a bloodier crackdown.”