Iran accuses US of trying to exploit unrest over Mahsa Amini’s death
Iran on Monday accused the United States of using the unrest sparked by the death of a woman in police custody to try to destabilize the country, and warned it would not go unanswered as the biggest protests since 2019 showed no signs of abating.
Iran has cracked down on nationwide protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini after she was arrested by vice police who enforce the Islamic Republic’s strict restrictions on the dress of women. women.
The case drew international condemnation. Iran said the United States supported the rioters and sought to destabilize the Islamic Republic.
« Washington is still trying to weaken Iran’s stability and security, even if it hasn’t succeeded, » Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani told Nour news, which is affiliated to a senior security body, in a statement.
On his Instagram page, Kanaani accused the leaders of the United States and some European countries of abusing a tragic incident to support the « rioters » and of ignoring « the presence of millions of people in the streets and the places in the country in support of the system ». «
Germany summoned Iran’s ambassador to Berlin on Monday over the crackdown, a German Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Asked about the possibility of further sanctions against Tehran in response to the unrest, the spokesman said « we will explore all options » with other European Union states.
Last week, the United States imposed sanctions on Iran’s vice police over allegations of abuse of Iranian women, saying it held the unit responsible for Amini’s death.
Biggest protests in three years
Iran summoned the British and Norwegian ambassadors on Sunday over what it said was interference and hostile media coverage of the unrest.
Anti-government protests are the largest to sweep the country since protests over fuel prices in 2019, when Reuters reported that 1,500 people were killed in a crackdown on protesters – the biggest episode of internal unrest bloody moment in the history of the Islamic Republic.
At least 41 people have been killed in the latest unrest, which began on September 17, according to state television.
President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran guarantees freedom of speech and has ordered an investigation into Amini’s death.
A main Iranian teachers’ union, in a statement posted on social media on Sunday, called on teachers and students to stage the first nationwide strike since the unrest began on Monday and Wednesday.
Women played a prominent role in the protests, waving and burning their veils.
In a video circulating on social media, the sister of a man killed in anti-government protests, Javad Heydari, cut her hair at his grave in defiance of Iran’s conservative Islamic dress code. Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the video.
The state has held rallies in an attempt to defuse the crisis.
Although the protests over Amini’s death pose a major challenge to the government, analysts see no immediate threat to the country’s leadership, as Iran’s elite security forces have cracked down on protests in the past.
Iran has accused armed Iranian Kurdish dissidents of involvement in the unrest, particularly in the northwest, where most of Iran’s 10 million Kurds live.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards launched an artillery and drone attack on Iranian militant opposition bases in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.