© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People light fires during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the “moral police” of the Islamic republic, in Tehran, Iran September 21 2022. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS
President Ebrahim Raisi said: DUBAI (Reuters) -Tran must deal decisively with the protests that have swept the country after the death of a woman in the custody of the Islamic Republic’s ethics police, President Ebrahim Raisi said. Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday.
At least 41 people have been killed during the week-long unrest, state television said on Saturday. It says the amount is based on its own count and official figures have yet to be released. Protests broke out in most of the country’s 31 provinces.
State media quoted Mr Raisi on Saturday as saying that Iran must “decisively deal with those who oppose the security and peace of the country.”
Raisi is talking on the phone with the family of a member of the Basij volunteer force who died while taking part in an operation to quell unrest in the northeastern city of Mashhad.
The president “emphasized the need to distinguish between demonstrations and disturbances of public order, and called these events … riots,” state media reported.
Protests erupted in northwestern Iran a week ago at the funeral of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died after entering a coma after being detained in Tehran by law enforcement ethics police. hijab for women.
Her death has sparked anger over issues including limited personal freedoms in Iran, strict dress codes for women and an economy reeling from sanctions. punish.
Women played a prominent role in the protests, waving and burning their veils. Some publicly cut their hair as angry crowds called for the demise of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The protests are the largest to sweep the country since a fuel price rally in 2019, when Reuters reported 1,500 people were killed in a crackdown on protesters – the bloodiest confrontation. in the history of the Islamic Republic.
On Friday, state-organized marches took place in several Iranian cities to counter anti-government protests, and the military promised to confront the “enemies” behind the situation. instability.
In neighboring Iraq, dozens of Iraqi and Iranian Kurds rallied outside the United Nations campus in the northern city of Erbil on Saturday, carrying placards with Amini’s photo and chanting “death to the dictator”, referring to Khamenei.
Iranian state television, which has accused armed Kurdish exiles in Iran of taking part in the unrest, said Iran’s Revolutionary Guards had shelled the bases. base of Kurdish opposition groups in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
Watchdog NetBlocks has reported at least three times this week that mobile internet has been disrupted in Iran. Activists say the move is intended to prevent videos of violence from spreading to the world.
On Saturday, NetBlocks said Microsoft’s Skype (NASDAQ:) video calling app is now restricted, the latest such measure after platforms including Instagram, WhatsApp and LinkedIn were targeted.
In an effort to help keep the internet connected, the United States is making exceptions to its sanctions regime on Iran – a move Tehran said Saturday was in line with its hostile stance. of Washington.
Amnesty International said protesters faced a “fatal response from security forces” and called for an independent UN investigation.
On the night of September 21, shootings by security forces left at least 19 people dead, including three children.
“The rising death toll is an alarming sign of the authorities’ ruthless assault on human lives in the shadow of the internet shutdown,” Amnesty said.
State television showed footage intended to show calm that returned to parts of the capital Tehran late on Friday.
“But in some areas west and north of Tehran and certain provinces, rioters destroyed public property,” it said, carrying footage of protesters burning trash cans and a car, marching and stoning.
Activist Twitter (NYSE:) account 1500tasvir posted video of protests in Tehran’s western Sattarkhan district showing protesters gathering in a square chanting “don’t be afraid of us all together” late on Saturday with what appeared to be a riot police motorcycle burning in the background.
A video posted on social media shows a protest in the northern city of Babol with young men trying to remove portraits of Khamenei and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, at the gates of a university while bystanders cheered them on and shouted “death to the dictator.”
Videos posted on social media showed protests continuing in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan province, late Saturday, despite a large police presence. Reuters could not verify the videos.