Iranian activist says government wanted to "break" women who joined campaign

Masih Alinejad on women's issues in Iran
Masih Alinejad on women's issues in Iran 01:40

Masih Alinejad, a prominent Iranian journalist and activist, is the author of "The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran." She recently spoke with CBS News' Reena Ninan about the treatment of women in Iran, and why she boycotted wearing the traditional headscarf.

"What you have to understand is we are not fighting against a small piece of cloth. We are actually challenging the foundational block of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Alinejad said.

"You call yourself the product of the Iranian Revolution," Ninan said. "Your parents supported it. You did not."

"My parents actually supported the Revolution because they were really poor," Alinejad said. "None of the promises of the Revolution have been delivered so far."

"Your own sister came out on state television in Iran and spoke out against what you're doing, your activism," Ninan said.

"It broke my heart, this is just unbelievable. But I want to say that the Islamic Republic of Iran didn't only want to break me -- they wanted to break the Iranian women who joined my campaign," Alinejad said.

"What gives you the most hope in this situation?" Ninan said.

"One of the women, she took off her head scarf and said that you arrested me because I joined 'White Wednesdays' campaign," Alinejad said. "I took off my hijab and I say louder -- no to compulsory hijab. By threatening me, by putting me in prison, you cannot keep me silent. Just today I received a video from a woman, challenging one of the oppressors, saying you are not allowed to tell me what to wear. That video got more than 5 million views. The Supreme Leader of Iran doesn't get that many views."