- Revolutionary Guards issue warning of unrest
- Reports on security forces attacked
- Kurdish woman dies after being detained by vice squad
- The Iranian government has promised an investigation into his death
NEW YORK/DUBAI, Sept 22 (Reuters) – Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Thursday “acts of chaos” were not acceptable, in a warning to protesters who took to the streets across the country in anger after the death of a woman in the custody of the vice squad.
Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Raisi added that he had ordered an investigation into the case of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died last week after being was arrested for wearing “inappropriate attire”.
“There is freedom of expression in Iran…but acts of chaos are unacceptable,” said Raisi, who has faced the biggest protests in the Islamic Republic since 2019.
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Women played a prominent role in the protests, waving and burning their veils, some publicly cutting their hair in a direct challenge to religious leaders.
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards have called on the judiciary to prosecute “those who spread false news and rumours”, with the apparent aim of quashing nationwide protests.
In a statement, the guards expressed sympathy for Amini’s family.
Kurdish rights group Hengaw released a video where heavy gunfire can be heard during a protest and accused security forces of ‘using heavy and semi-heavy weapons against civilians’ in the city of ‘Oshnavieh, in the northwest of the country.
Reuters could not verify the report.
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.
Video on the 1500tasvir Twitter account showed protests in the northwestern town of Bukan with gunfire in the background, as social media posts said protests spread to most of Iran’s 31 provinces.
Iran’s Intelligence Ministry also tried to break the momentum of the protests, saying participating in the protests was illegal and that anyone participating would face prosecution, Iranian news sites reported.
Raisi said the extensive coverage of Amini’s case was the result of a “double standard”.
“Every day in different countries, including the United States, we see men and women die in clashes with police, but there is no sensitivity as to the cause and management of this violence. “, did he declare.
GENERAL REACTIONS TO IRANIAN PROTESTS
Pro-government demonstrations are planned for Friday and some protesters have already taken to the streets, Iranian media said.
The United States sanctioned Iran’s vice police on Thursday, accusing them of abuse and violence against Iranian women and violating the rights of Iranian peaceful protesters, the US Treasury said.
Most of the unrest has been centered in Kurdish-populated northwest Iran, but has spread to the capital and at least 50 towns and villages, with police using force to disperse protesters. Amini was from the province of Kurdistan.
A new mobile internet disruption has been recorded in the country, internet monitoring group Netblocks wrote on Twitter, in a possible sign that authorities fear protests may escalate.
A member of an Iranian pro-government paramilitary organization, the Basij, was stabbed to death in the northeastern city of Mashhad on Wednesday, two semi-official Iranian news agencies reported on Thursday.
There has been no official confirmation of death.
Tasnim news agency also reported that another Basij member was killed on Wednesday in the town of Qazvin from a gunshot wound inflicted by “rioters and gangs”.
Nour News, a media outlet affiliated with a top security body, shared a video of an army officer confirming the death of a soldier, bringing the total number of security force personnel killed in the unrest to five.
In the northeast, protesters shouted “We will die, we will die but we will get Iran back” near a police station that was set on fire, video posted to the 1500tasvir Twitter account showed. The account focuses on protests in Iran and has around 100,000 followers.
Reuters could not verify the images.
PERSONAL FREEDOMS IN IRAN
Amini’s death has reignited anger over issues such as restrictions on personal freedoms in Iran – including strict dress codes for women – and an economy reeling from sanctions.
Iran’s religious leaders fear a resumption of the 2019 protests that erupted over rising gasoline prices, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history. Reuters reported that 1,500 people were killed.
This week, protesters also expressed their anger against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “Mojtaba, may you die and not become the supreme leader,” a crowd in Tehran was seen chanting, referring to Khamenei’s son, who some say could succeed his father at the top of the Iranian political establishment.
Reuters could not verify the video.
Reports from Hengaw, which Reuters could not verify, said the death toll in Kurdish areas had risen to 15 and the number of injured had risen to 733. Iranian officials denied that security forces killed protesters, suggesting they may have been shot by armed dissidents. .
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Dubai office reports; Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed in Washington: Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Hugh Lawson, Jonathan Oatis, Josie Kao and Deepa Babington
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