UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

[ rfe/rl banner ]

Iran's President Says Protesters Should Be Confronted 'Decisively

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda September 24, 2022

President Ebrahim Raisi has said that Iran must "deal decisively with those who oppose the country's security and tranquility," state media reported as the number of people killed in more than a week of anti-government protests more than doubled, according to official accounts.

State media said that at least 35 people have been killed in more than a week of protests in Iran that were sparked by the death of a young woman arrested by the morality police for failing to properly wear a mandatory headscarf, or hijab.

"The number of people who died in recent riots in the country has risen to 35 people," the Borna news agency, which is affiliated with Iran's Sports Ministry, said late on September 23, citing state television.

The official toll had previously stood at 17 dead, including five members of the security forces.

Raisi's comments were made in a condolence telephone call to the family of a security agent stabbed to death last week, allegedy by protesters.

Amnesty International said in a statement on September 23 that it had gathered evidence pointing to "a harrowing pattern of Iranian security forces deliberately and unlawfully firing live ammunition at protesters."

The statement said that on the night of 21 September alone, shootings by security forces left at least 19 people dead, including at least three children.

The London-based rights group called on the world community to take "meaningful action" against the crackdown in Iran while warning about the risk of further bloodshed amid severe Internet restrictions.

Sweeping arrests have been reported, with the police chief in the northwestern Guilan Province announcing on September 24 "the arrest of 739 rioters, including 60 women" in his region alone, according to the Tasnim news agency.

Security forces have also arrested activists and journalists, with the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists reporting 17 journalists and columnists have been detained since last week.

They include Niloufar Hamedi of the reformist newspaper Shargh, who reported from the hospital where Amini died.

The government has also imposed Internet restrictions.

Web monitor NetBlocks reported on September 24 that Skype was now restricted in Iran, as part of a crackdown on communications that has already targeted the last accessible international platforms: Instagram, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets of major cities across Iran, including Tehran, for eight straight nights since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

The Kurdish woman was pronounced dead three days after the morality police, a unit responsible for enforcing Iran's strict dress code for women, arrested her in Tehran for wearing the headscarf in an "improper" way.

Protests were reported on September 24 in Tehran, Isfahan, and several other cities.

On September 23, state-organized counterdemonstrations took place in several Iranian cities, paying tribute to security forces who have moved to quell a week of protests by what media called "conspirators."

The state-sponsored rallies came amid the strongest warning yet from the authorities when the army told Iranians it would confront "the enemies" behind the unrest.

Iran's military said on September 23 it would "confront the enemies' various plots in order to ensure security and peace for the people who are being unjustly assaulted."

"We will not allow enemies to use the situation," a military statement said, according to the semiofficial ISNA news agency.

Iran's intelligence service said it had foiled several bomb attacks during the protests.

According to an intelligence report published by the Mehr news agency on September 24, the attacks were planned by supporters of the former monarchy and militia members in the city of Tabriz in the northwest of the country.

The account could not be independently verified.

Activists said Amini suffered a blow to the head while in custody but Iranian authorities, who say they have opened an investigation, denied she had been beaten.

"Reports from oversight bodies were received, witnesses were interviewed, videos were reviewed, forensic opinions were obtained and it was found that there had been no beating," Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi was quoted as saying by Iranian media on September 23.

The minister indicated said the government was investigating the cause of Amini's death, adding, "we must wait for the final opinion of the medical examiner, which takes time."

Vahidi criticized "those who took irresponsible positions...incited violence and followed the United States, European countries, and anti-revolutionary groups."

With reporting by AFP and dpa

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-toll- hijab-protests/32049208.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list