Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Thursday that “acts of chaos” are not acceptable, in a warning to protesters who have taken to the streets across the country angered by the death of a woman detained by Iranian police. morality.
Speaking at a news 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 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died last week after being detained for wearing “a inadequate”.
“There is freedom of expression in Iran … but acts of chaos are unacceptable,” said Raisi, who is facing the biggest protests in the Islamic Republic since 2019.
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Women have taken a prominent role in the demonstrations, waving and burning their veils, and some have publicly cut their hair in direct defiance of clerical leaders.
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards have called on the judiciary to crack down on “those who spread false news and rumours,” in an apparent attempt to stifle nationwide demonstrations.
In a statement, the Guard expressed its solidarity with Amini’s family. Kurdish rights group Hengaw released a video of heavy gunshots being heard during a protest and accused security forces of “using medium and heavy weapons against civilians” in the northwestern city of Oshnavieh.
Protesters in Tehran and other cities torched police stations and vehicles, as outrage over Amini’s death showed no sign of abating, with reports of attacks on security forces.
A video posted on the 1500tasvir Twitter account showed the protests in the northwestern city of Bukan with the sound of gunfire in the background, while social media posts said the demonstrations had spread to most of Iran’s 31 provinces. .
The Iranian Intelligence Ministry also tried to break the momentum of the demonstrations, saying attendance at them is illegal and anyone who participates will face prosecution, Iranian news websites reported.
Raisi said the wide 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 encounters with the police, but there is no sensitivity about the cause and treatment of this violence,” he said.
Widespread reactions to Iranian protests
Pro-government protests are planned for Friday and some demonstrators have already taken to the streets, according to Iranian media.
The United States on Thursday sanctioned Iran’s morality police, accusing them of abuse and violence against Iranian women and violating the rights of peaceful Iranian protesters, the US Treasury said.
Most of the unrest has been concentrated in the Kurdish-populated northwest of Iran, but has spread to the capital and at least 50 cities and towns, with police using force to disperse protesters. Amini was from the Kurdistan province.
A new mobile internet outage has been reported in the country, internet monitoring group Netblocks wrote on Twitter, in a possible sign that authorities fear the protests will intensify.
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 Thursday. There was no official confirmation of death.
The Tasnim News Agency also said another Basij member was killed Wednesday in the city 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 members of the security forces killed in the unrest to five.
In the northeast, protesters chanted, “we will die, we will die, but we will take back Iran,” near a police station that they set on fire, a video posted on the 1500tasvir Twitter account showed. The account focuses on the protests in Iran and has about 100 thousand followers