Iran: 35 dead in repression of unabated protests
Protests in Iran have been on the rise since the death of Mahsa Amini.
At least 35 people have been killed in Iran after 8 consecutive nights of protests sparked by the death of a young Kurdish woman arrested by vice squad for wearing the veil “inappropriately”.
State television announced late Friday that the death toll in recent riots across the country has risen to 35, Borna News, the news agency linked to Iran's Sports Ministry, reported on Saturday.
Thursday, the same television had reported the death of 17 people during these demonstrations, the authorities denying any involvement in the violence.
But the toll is likely to be much heavier, with the opposition NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR), based in Oslo, reporting on Friday at least 50 dead in the crackdown by protest security forces.
The death of Mahsa Amini sparked a series of violent protests in major cities in Iran, including the capital Tehran.
Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested on September 13 in Tehran for wearing inappropriate clothing by police enforcing the Islamic Republic's strict dress code.
The young wife died three days later in hospital, and her death sparked nightly protests in major cities across Iran, including the capital Tehran.
En Iran, women must cover their hair and are not allowed to wear short or tight clothes or jeans with holes.
On Friday evening, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi again asserted that Mahsa Amini had not been beaten by law enforcement.
Reports from surveillance services were received, witnesses were interviewed, videos were reviewed, forensic opinions were obtained and it was found that there was no of beatings to the young woman, Mr. Vahidi told television, quoted by local media.
According to him, the Iranian government is investigating the cause of Mahsa Amini's death [but] it is necessary to wait for the final opinion of the medical examiner, which takes time.
On Friday, pro-government protesters also took to the streets.
Mr. Vahidi further criticized those who took irresponsible positions […] and incited violence, accusing them of following the United States, European countries and anti-revolutionary groups.
In a statement released on Saturday, the Ministry of Interior warned that it will continue to deal with the riots to protect the rights of citizens by respecting all legal and Islamic standards.
< p class="e-p">In several cities in Iran – a country with a population of more than 80 million, 90% Shia – protesters clashed with security forces, torched police vehicles and chanted anti-government slogans, according to media and activists.
Mahsa Amini, 22, from the Kurdistan region (north-west), was arrested on September 13 in Tehran for wearing inappropriate clothes by the morality police.
After a march of several thousand people who marched in favor of the compulsory wearing of the veil, at the call of the authorities, new night demonstrations took place Friday in the country, online videos showing scenes of violence in Tehran and other major cities including Tabriz.
Some footage shows security forces firing on unarmed protesters in Piranshahr, Mahabad and Urmia.
One such video, shared by IHR on social media, notably shows a man in military uniform firing an AK-47 assault rifle at protesters on Ferdowsi Boulevard in Tehran.
Amnesty International, which on Friday evening called for urgent global action to end the crackdown, said it had gathered evidence from 20 cities across Iran showing a pattern… of Iranian security forces deliberately firing and illegally fired live ammunition at protesters.
The NGO warned of the risk of further bloodshed amid a blackout. Internet deliberately imposed.
Internet connections are still very disrupted in Iran with the blocking of WhatsApp and Instagram.
On Friday, Washington announced the lifting of certain bans on trade with Iran, in order to allow technology companies to provide platforms and services allowing Iranians to access the internet.
This announcement comes days after SpaceX owner Elon Musk said he was counting it is requesting an exemption from sanctions against Iran from the US administration in order to offer Internet connection services there via its constellation of Starlink satellites.