Iran's Arrest, Death Counts From Protests Climb As Tensions With EU Rise
By RFE/RL's Radio Farda November 13, 2022
Protests continued overnight on November 12-13 in many Iranian cities as rights defenders warned of a climbing death and arrest tolls, while Tehran responded angrily to outside criticism of the Iranian government's eight-week crackdown.
There were street demonstrations overnight in the capital, Tehran, and the cities of Arak, Shiraz, Zanjan, Sanandaj, and Sardasht.
Iran has been engulfed by protests and a brutal crackdown triggered by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in mid-September after her detention by morality police for an alleged dress-code violation.
Video also emerged on social media of the moment when a 17-year-old was apparently shot by security forces in the city of Karaj. The images showed Mehdi Hazrati pushing ahead of a crowd of protesters before being gunned down.
Local media quoted by AFP said Iran's judiciary hadcharged 750 more people in at least three provinces over "recent riots," adding to at least 2,000 others the department has confirmed were already charged in connection with the unrest.
A judicial official in the southern Hormozgan Province was quoted as saying the various charges include "incitement to killing," "injuring security forces," anti-state propaganda, and damaging public property.
Elsewhere, the Hamamihan newspaper quoted a student activist as saying around 150 students at Al-Zahra University had been suspended overnight following a punishment directed at a gathering there.
Al-Zahra University has been one of the hubs of student protest since the current wave of unrest began.
The Iran Human Rights group, a nonprofit that operates inside and outside the country, said on November 12 that it had counted at least 326 deaths so far across 22 provinces since the start of the unrest, including 43 children.
It said that November 4, when at least 16 people died after security troops appeared to fire on a crowd in the town of Khash, was one of the bloodiest days in the crackdown on two months of protests.
The group repeated its call for a more decisive and urgent response from the international community to prevent Iranian deaths.
Western sources suspect at least around 14,000 others have been caught up in mass arrests since the protests began.
An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nasser Qanaani, responded to criticism by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz by saying his video appeal for added pressure on Tehran was "interventionist, provocative, and undiplomatic."
In a tweet, Scholz called for more EU sanctions and "to continue to step up the pressure" on the hard-line military Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Iran's political leadership.
A day earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron met with a delegation of exiled Iranian rights activists and hailed the women-led protest movement in Iran as a "revolution."
France's foreign minister then accused Tehran of "dictatorial practices" and of using dual citizens as hostages, saying a total of seven French nationals are now in Iranian custody, after a video of a purported confession of spying by two French citizens was aired on Iranian television.
EU foreign ministers are expected to agree on expanded sanctions against Iran when they meet on November 14.
Germany and Iceland have also urged that an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council be convened later this month on the Iranian situation.
German news agency dpa reported early on November 13 that some Iranian residents of Berlin were attacked at a protest camp they set up there to show support for women's rights and democracy in their home country.
Police said a 26-year-old man with a knife had destroyed banners and threatened some of the Iranian activists.
No one was injured and the man was arrested, police added.
The German State Protection Office that handles terrorist attacks is also involved due to suspicions that the attack was politically motivated.
With reporting by dpa
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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