An Iranian-American NASA astronaut who studied at MIT and flew more than 150 combat missions as a pilot has given protesters in Iran her support.
Yasmin Moghbeli spoke out on Twitter after the repression of elite Sharif University students who were reportedly beaten, shot and detained after a rally on their campus in Tehran.
She said in a tweet: “For a world in which everyone everywhere is afforded the opportunity to fulfill their full potential and childhood dreams. For all the bright minds and brave youth we need to shape the future.”
She added the ‘MahsaAmini’ and ‘SharifUniversity’ hashtags to her post, in both English and Farsi, and shared two photographs of herself.
The first photograph appears to show her as a child wearing a makeshift space costume and the second shows her as a real-life NASA astronaut years later.
Moghbeli, 39, is scheduled to captain a joint NASA-SpaceX mission to the international space station next year.
She joined NASA in 2017, according to the American space agency, after having graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering with Information Technology and a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.
NASA also said, on its website: “Moghbeli, an AH-1W Super Cobra pilot and Marine Corps test pilot, has over 150 combat missions and 2,000 hours of flight time in over 25 different aircraft. She is also a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, MD. She has been selected as commander of the NASA SpaceX Crew-7 mission to the ISS which is expected to launch no earlier than 2023.”
Moghbeli was reportedly born in Bad Nauheim, West Germany, to an Iranian family from the city of Mahabad in northwestern Iran who fled the country in 1979 in the wake of the Islamic Revolution that installed Iran’s present regime.
Protests erupted in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini.
Mahsa, 22, was declared brain dead and died in hospital three days after apparently being beaten by Iran’s morality police.
She had been detained for what was described as a ‘re-education class’ after she was arrested next to a metro station in Tehran for failing to adhere to Iran’s strict hijab rules on 13th September.
Hours later she was in hospital with a skull fracture “caused by a direct blow” and internal bleeding, according to hacked CT scans obtained by a London-based news organisation known as Iran International.
Doctors went on to say that Mahsa had blood and fluid in her lungs because she went into a coma soon after receiving a blow to the head, according to the news organisation.
United States National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, wrote in a tweet that Iranian authorities should be held accountable for human rights violations.
Tehran officials reportedly at first said that Mahsa died of a heart attack and went on to say that she suffered from epilepsy, a claim that her father has denied.
All women, including tourists, have had to wear a headscarf in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Mahsa’s death caused outrage around the world and sparked protests in Iran, with the country shutting down parts of the internet in a bid to disrupt the growing protest movement.
A growing list of celebrities have voiced their support for the protests and for Mahsa.
They include former First Lady of the United States and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, British Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner, American model Bella Hadid, Hollywood icon Sharon Stone, pop star Justin Bieber, Oscar-winner Jessica Chastain, Kim Kardashian, Turkish singer Melek Mosso, Penelope Cruz, Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, actress Eva Mendes, and the British Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling, among others.