Mahsa Amini: Iran’s President warns protesters

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has warned protesters who have taken to the streets across the country in fury over the death of a woman, Mahsa Amini, in Iran’s morality police custody.

Amini, 22, died in police custody last week after being arrested for wearing “unsuitable attire.”

Speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Raisi said “acts of chaos” are not acceptable.

“There is freedom of expression in Iran … but acts of chaos are unacceptable,” Raisi said.

He added that he has ordered an investigation into Amini’s case.

Protesters in Tehran and other cities torched police stations and vehicles as outrage over Amini’s death showed no signs of abating, with reports of security forces coming under attack.

A video on Twitter account 1500tasvir showed protests in the northwestern city of Bukan with the sound of shots in the background, as social media posts said demonstrations have spread to most of Iran’s 31 provinces.

Women have played a prominent role in the demonstrations, waving and burning their veils, with some publicly cutting their hair in a direct challenge to clerical leaders.

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards called on the judiciary to prosecute “those who spread false news and rumors,” in an apparent bid to take the steam out of nationwide demonstrations.

In a statement, the Guards expressed sympathy for Amini’s family.

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry also tried to break the momentum of demonstrations, saying attendance at protests is illegal and anyone taking part would face prosecution, Iranian news websites reported.

Double standards 

Raisi said the extensive coverage of Amini’s case was the result of “double standards.”

“Every day in different countries, including the United States, we see men and women dying in police encounters, but there is no sensitivity about the cause and dealing with this violence,” he said.

Pro-government protests are planned for Friday and some marchers have already taken to the streets, Iranian media said.

U.S sanction

The United States on Thursday sanctioned Iran’s morality police, accusing them of abuse and violence against Iranian women and of violating the rights of peaceful Iranian protesters, the U.S. Treasury said.

Also Read: Iran President warns Israel against any hostile action

Most of the unrest has been concentrated in Iran’s Kurdish-populated northwest but has spread to the capital and at least 50 cities and towns, with police using force to disperse protesters. Amini was from the province of Kurdistan.

Amini’s death has reignited anger over issues including restrictions on personal freedoms in Iran – including strict dress codes for women – and an economy reeling from sanctions.

Iran’s clerical rulers fear a revival of the 2019 protests that erupted over gasoline price rises, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history with  1,500 reported deaths.


Zainab Sa’id

Source Reuters
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