Iran says US is trying to use unrest to weaken the country


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  • Calls for a strike by teachers and students
  • Iran says it will respond to US action
  • Germany summons Iranian ambassador

DUBAI, Sept 26 (Reuters) – Iran faced fresh international criticism on Monday over the death of a woman in police custody that sparked protests across the country, after Tehran accused the United States of to use the unrest to try to destabilize the country.

Iran has cracked down on the biggest protests since 2019 sparked by the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on September 16 after she was arrested by vice police who enforce the Islamic Republic’s strict restrictions on the dress of women. women. The case was widely condemned.

But the measures have not stopped Iranians from calling for the downfall of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the rest of the clerical establishment.

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Canada will impose sanctions on those responsible for Amini’s death, including Iran’s vice squad and its leaders, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.

“We have seen Iran disregard human rights time and time again, now we see it with the death of Mahsa Amini and the crackdown on protests,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa.

Activist 1500tasvir’s Twitter account posted videos he said showed street protests on Monday night in different parts of Tehran, and footage where residents could be heard shouting “Death to Dictator” and “Death to Khamenei ” from their home. Reuters could not verify the videos.

Women played a prominent role in the protests, waving and burning their veils.

Human rights group Hengaw posted a video on Twitter which it said showed protesters gathering in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan province, with women cheering and removing their headscarves in protest against forced hijab.

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”. “.

SENT SUMMONED

Also on Monday, Germany summoned Iran’s ambassador to Berlin to urge Tehran to end its crackdown and allow peaceful protests. Asked about the possibility of new sanctions against Tehran in response to the violence, a spokesperson for the German Foreign Ministry had earlier said “we will examine all options” with other European Union states . Read more

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.

Students of the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Tabriz, except for the emergency department, took part in a strike on Monday and refused to attend classes, the Rights Activists News Agency reported. of Human Rights (HRNA), an information site of a group of Iranian human rights defenders.

The strikes were carried out in protest against widespread arrests of students and violent clashes with security forces at Iranian universities, he added.

On Sunday, Iran summoned the British and Norwegian ambassadors for what it said was interference and hostile media coverage of the unrest.

STRIKE CALL

Anti-government protests are the largest to sweep Iran since protests over fuel prices in 2019, when Reuters reported that 1,500 people were killed in a crackdown on protesters – the unrest episode bloodiest internal affairs in the history of the Islamic Republic.

At least 41 people have been killed since 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 major 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.

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 Islamic dress code. Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the video.

The state has organized rallies to try to defuse the crisis.

Although the protests over Amini’s death pose a major challenge to the government, analysts see no immediate threat to Iran’s leadership as 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 opposition bases in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

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Reporting from Dubai Newsroom; Additional reporting by Rachel More in Berlin and Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; Written by Michael Georgy; Editing by Alison Williams, William Maclean and Grant McCool

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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