At least 17 dead in Iran as security forces crack down on protesters

ISTANBUL — At least 17 people have died in Iran during days of escalating protests over the death of a young woman following her arrest by morality police, who have been ordered to use harsh measures to contain protests.

Among the victims were members of the security forces and protesters, Iranian state media reported on Thursday, without providing further details.

A journalist and an activist were also arrested by the Iranian authorities.

Officials have arrested Nilufar Hamedi, a journalist working for the reformist newspaper Shargh, the Iranian website Emtedad reported on Thursday, citing her lawyer.

The Secret Service, meanwhile, arrested author and activist Hamidresa Jalaipur, who is being held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

Violent clashes again took place on Wednesday evening. Videos, which could not be verified, claimed to show live ammunition being fired at protesters.

Iran’s judiciary chief Gholam-Hussein Mohseni-Edjahi has ordered the judiciary and police in all parts of the country not to compromise when dealing with « professional rioters » and government leaders. unrest, the official IRNA news agency reported.

He said this would ensure the safety of citizens.

The internet has been massively restricted and mobile networks in particular have been largely shut down. Instagram, which was one of the last free social networks, was also blocked. The protests received little coverage on state media websites.

Iranian leaders inside and outside the country expressed their solidarity with the protest movement, which continues to draw people to the streets.

“Don’t be afraid of strong women. Maybe the day will come when they will be your only army,” Iranian soccer star Ali Karimi wrote on Twitter.

The protests were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. She was arrested on September 13 by the morality police for violating the strict Islamic dress code.

Iran’s strict interpretation of the Quran requires women to cover their hair and almost all of their skin except their face.

What exactly happened to Amini after her arrest is unclear, but she fell into a coma and died in hospital on Friday.

Critics accuse the vice police of using violence. The police deny the charges. Since then, large protests have taken place across the country.

His death sparked a wave of rage against the country’s theocratic government, with some calling for an open revolution and many others simply tired of the government interfering in their personal lives.

Amnesty International said an « independent international mechanism of investigation and accountability » was needed to tackle widespread impunity in Iran.

“The Iranian government has systematically violated basic human rights for years. Arbitrary arrests, torture, extrajudicial executions and brutal suppression of protests are encouraged by endemic impunity,” said Katja Müller-Fahlbusch, Middle East expert for the group.

In the United States, the government has condemned Amini’s « tragic and brutal death » and is imposing sanctions on senior Iranian security officials.

« In response to this and other human rights abuses in Iran, including the violent suppression of peaceful protests, the United States is imposing sanctions on Iran’s morality police and senior security officials. who have engaged in serious human rights abuses,” a statement from the Treasury said.

The statement notes that the Morality Police, an element of Iran’s law enforcement, « arrests women for wearing an ‘inappropriate’ hijab and enforces other restrictions on freedom of expression. »

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said her country planned to take the Amini case to the UN Human Rights Council. If women are not safe, then no society in this world is safe, she said.

British Iranian journalist Christiane Amanpour, a longtime CNN correspondent, reported that she had scheduled an interview with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

However, she says, Raisi did not show up at the appointed time. Instead, a Raisi staffer arrived 40 minutes later and said the president suggested Amanpour wear a headscarf. She refused, Amanpour tweeted.

No Iranian president before had asked to wear a headscarf during an interview outside of Iran, she said. Raisi’s aide said the headscarf was a matter of respect and referred to the situation in Iran.



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