Conflicts & War

Iran fails to contain protests over death of Mahsa Amini

Tehran, Sep 21 (EFE).- The Iranian government has been unable to contain large protests that have left three dead and many injured in five days of demonstrations following the death of a young woman in custody last week.

Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested last Tuesday by the morality police for not wearing her hijab in accordance with the country’s strict Islamic dress code. She collapsed at a detention center and spent three days in a coma before she died in hospital on Friday.

Tehran Police Chief Hossein Rahimi on Monday called Amini’s death an “unfortunate incident” and denied accusations that she was beaten or ill-treated in police custody.

Protests began timidly and have since spread throughout the country and become increasingly violent.

Neither riot police repression, nor the promises of President Ebrahim Raisi that Amini’s death will be thoroughly investigated, nor the sending of emissaries from supreme leader Ali Khamenei to her family are proving sufficient to end to the protests.

The Persian country on Tuesday experienced a new night of demonstrations, the largest in years.

State media reported protests in a “limited” number of cities, where proclamations against the government were launched and police were attacked, according to government accounts.

But videos shared on social media by Iranian journalists and activists, the authenticity of which have not been independently verified, showed violent clashes in many provinces.

In the main square of the southeastern city of Kerman, a young woman cut her hair while surrounded by cheering protesters shouting “death to the dictator.”

In other videos, women were seen throwing their veils into street bonfires, in a gesture that has become a symbol of the protests.

Once again, the demonstrators shouted “justice, liberty, no to mandatory hijab” and “women, life, liberty.”

The government has rejected international criticism over Amini’s death, including from the United States, the European Union, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations, and accused other nations of using human rights to attack the Persian country.

“Countries with long records of war waging and aggressive moves all over the world are not entitled the right and legitimacy to interfere in others’ affairs on the pretext of the human rights,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said, according to IRNA news agency Wednesday.

The authorities have confirmed the death of at least three people in clashes in Kurdistan, where Amini was from, and pointed the finger at foreign elements.

Kurdistan provincial governor Esmail Zarei Kusha said investigations show they were shot dead by “enemies of the system” with weapons that the security members of the province do not use.

Tehran Governor Mohsen Mansouri said traces of the intervention of foreign embassies and foreign intelligence services are clearly visible, according to the state Fars news agency.

Mansouri added that “three foreigners” were arrested for their participation in the protests, although he did not reveal their nationalities.

Amini was arrested while visiting Tehran and taken to a police station to attend a one-hour “briefing class,” but just hours later collapsed and was admitted to hospital.

Iranian police said the woman had suffered “sudden heart failure” and released a video where a woman is seen falling to the ground while speaking to an officer in the police station. Amini’s family has not confirmed her identity in the footage and said she was fit and healthy.

Radio Farda reported that eyewitnesses to Amini’s arrest told journalists she appeared to have been beaten inside the morality police van while being taken to the detention center, but that she was conscious.

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