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Iranian Opposition Calls For Elections As Way To End Protests As Crackdown Continues

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda November 07, 2022

An Iranian opposition party has called for new elections to end the unrest and violent government crackdown on dissent that have rocked the country since the death of a young woman while in police custody over how she was wearing a head scarf.

Anger over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 16 has prompted thousands of Iranians to take to the streets to demand more freedoms and women's rights in the biggest threat to the Islamic government since the 1979 revolution.

Azar Mansoori, the general secretary of the Union of Islamic Iran People Party, said in a tweet on November 7 that the country's leadership must address the root causes of the protests instead of blaming outside forces such as the West.

"Lack of political legitimacy is the most obvious threat to the country's national security," she wrote.

"Do you want to make legitimate changes? Don't erase the problem, find out the reason for people's protest and ask yourself, is there any way other free elections and an independent civil society?"

Mansoori's call came after another night of protests despite a widening crackdown by authorities.

A total of 227 of 290 Iranian lawmakers urged the judiciary on November 6 to "deal decisively" with perpetrators of unrest.

In the face of the request, many gathered in the western Iranian city of Marivan hours after the burial of Nasrin Ghaderi, a Kurdish female student who was killed in Tehran during the protests.

Videos published on social media from the central Iranian city of Kerman showed young girls burning their headscarves in protest against the mandatory hijab law while protesters in the port city of Bushehr in the south blocked streets, honking their car horns and chanting the slogan "Freedom, freedom."

In a show of support for the protesters, players from the Iranian national beach soccer team refused to celebrate after winning the Emirates Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup on November 6. When awarded the championship trophy, the team solemnly stood on the podium with their arms crossed in solidarity with the protest movement.

The team earlier refused to sing the national anthem during their semifinal, prompting state television to cut the live broadcast of the match.

Reports also indicate that Iranian prominent political activist Majid Tavakoli was beaten by Evin prison guards and transferred to solitary confinement.

The activist HRANA news agency said 318 protesters had been killed in the unrest as of November 5, including 49 minors.

The Iranian government has not taken responsibility for the killing of any protesters and in most cases has attributed their deaths to suicide, illness, and accidents.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-opposition-elections-end- protests-crackdown/32119549.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.

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