Iranian authorities warn of consequences for protests over the death of Mahsa Amini

The Iranian president on Thursday said “acts of chaos” are not acceptable, warning protesters across the country who have taken to the streets to express their anger over the death of a woman detained by vice squad.

Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Ebrahim Raisi added that he had ordered an investigation into the case of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died last week after being arrested for wearing “inappropriate clothing.” “.

“There is freedom of speech in Iran … but acts of chaos are unacceptable,” said Raisi, who is facing the largest protests in the Islamic Republic since 2019.

At least nine people have been killed in clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters, according to a tally by The Associated Press. A host on Iran’s state television on Thursday suggested the death toll from the mass protests could rise to 17, but did not say how he arrived at that figure.

Women have played a prominent role in the demonstrations, waving and burning their veils, and some have cut their hair in public as a direct challenge to church leaders.

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps called on the judiciary to prosecute “those who spread false news and rumours” in an apparent effort to bolster national demonstrations. The Garde also expressed its condolences to Amini’s family.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, who appeared in New York on Thursday, said “acts of chaos” are unacceptable, warning protesters across the country who have taken to the streets to express their anger over the death of a woman in detention of the morality police. (Bebeto Matthews/The Associated Press)

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry also tried to break the momentum of the demonstrations by saying that attending protests is illegal and anyone who participates would be prosecuted, Iranian news websites reported.

Meanwhile, protesters in Tehran and other Iranian cities set fire to police stations and vehicles as public outcry showed no signs of abating, with reports of security forces being attacked.

Kurdish rights group Hengaw posted a video of heavy shooting during a protest, accusing security forces of “using heavy and semi-heavy weapons against civilians” in the northwestern city of Oshnavieh.

Video posted to the Twitter account 1500tasvir showed protests in the northwestern city of Bukan with the sound of gunshots in the background. Protesters shouted, “We will die, we will die, but we will get Iran back,” near a police station that was set on fire. The account focuses on protests in Iran and has about 100,000 followers. The videos could not be independently verified.

According to social media reports, the demonstrations have spread to most of Iran’s 31 provinces.

Most of the unrest is concentrated in the Kurdish-populated northwest of Iran. Amini came from the Kurdistan province.

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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 handling of this violence,” he said.

Pro-government protests are scheduled for Friday, and some of those protesters have already taken to the streets, Iranian media said.

The US on Thursday imposed sanctions on Iran’s vice squad, accusing them of abuse and violence against Iranian women and of violating the rights of peaceful Iranian protesters, the US Treasury Department said.

Another mobile internet disruption has been registered in the country, internet monitoring group Netblocks wrote on Twitter, a possible sign that authorities fear the protests will intensify.

Nour news, a media outlet affiliated with a top security agency, shared a video of an army officer confirming the death of a soldier in the unrest, bringing the total reported number of members of the security forces killed to five.

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Amini’s death has fueled anger over issues such as restrictions on personal freedoms in Iran — including strict dress codes for women — and an economy reeling from economic sanctions.

Iran’s spiritual rulers fear a resurgence of the 2019 protests that erupted over the rise in gasoline prices, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history. Reuters reported that 1,500 people were killed.

Protesters have also expressed anger at Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei this week. “Mojtaba, may you die and not become a Supreme Leader,” a crowd in Tehran chanted, referring to Khamenei’s son, who some say could succeed his father at the top of Iran’s political establishment.

Reports from the Kurdish rights group Hengaw, which Reuters also failed to verify, said the death toll in the Kurdish areas had risen to 15 and the wounded to 733. Iranian officials have denied that security forces killed protesters, suggesting they may have been shot. by armed dissidents.

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