Nazanin Boniadi on protests in home country of Iran

STORY: The ‘Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ star, 43, who fled Tehran with her family when she was just 20 days old, has been a prominent voice in the anti-regime campaign in recent weeks since the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16.

22-year-old Amini was arrested on Sept. 13 in Tehran for "unsuitable attire" by the morality police who enforce the Islamic Republic's strict dress code. She died three days later in hospital after falling into a coma.

The anti-government protests, which began at Amini's funeral on Sept. 17 in the Kurdish town of Saqez, have spiralled into the biggest show of opposition to Iran's authorities in years, with many calling for the end of more than four decades of Islamic clerical rule.

“Here you have these women who are on the front lines, and they are likely to get beaten at the very least, if not killed and imprisoned. And yet they're doing it anyway. And I can't help but think, you know, I feel inspired and I can only draw strength from them because it's harrowing to watch. Hugely inspiring. But my goodness, I've never seen this kind of courage,” Boniadi says, adding: “I think the worry is that we've had uprisings in Iran once a decade since 1999 and the student uprising in Iran in 2009 with the Green Movement and 2019 more recently and every time they've been silenced and the security forces have won. And this time, the thing that's unprecedented is that you're seeing people fight back against the security forces, women burning their head scarves, not just waving them, not just taking them off and waving them. And you're seeing a direct message to the authorities that they don't want the Islamic Republic anymore.” Boniadi tells Reuters.