At least 92 dead in Iranian crackdown on anti-hijab protesters, NGO says

A wave of street violence has rocked Iran since Mahsa Amini died after being arrested by vice squads

Paris:

At least 92 people have been killed as Iran cracked down on women-led protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest by notorious vice police, the Iran Human Rights group said on Sunday.

Iranian Kurd Amini, 22, was pronounced dead on September 16 after she was arrested for allegedly breaking rules requiring women to wear the hijab and modest clothing, sparking the biggest wave of popular unrest in Iran for nearly three years.

A further 41 people died in clashes on Friday in Iran’s far southeast, a region bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan, Oslo-based IHR reported, citing local sources, saying the protests had sparked by accusations that a local police chief had raped a Baloch teenage girl. minority.

Rallies in solidarity with Iranian women – who defiantly burned the hijabs they had to wear since the 1979 Islamic Revolution – took place around the world, with demonstrations in more than 150 cities on Saturday.

Clashes between Iranian protesters and security forces have rocked cities across the country for 16 consecutive nights after first erupting in western regions home to Iran’s Kurdish minority, where Amini is from.

“Rioters” and “thugs”, some throwing Molotov cocktails, attacked the Tehran headquarters of Iran’s main ultra-conservative daily Kayhan on Saturday, the paper, whose editor is appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said. .

IHR Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam has urged the international community to take urgent action against the Islamic Republic to end the killing of Iranian protesters, saying they constitute “crimes against humanity”.

teenage girl raped

At least 92 protesters at Mahsa Amini rallies have been killed so far, said IHR, which is struggling to assess the death toll despite internet outages and blockages on WhatsApp, Instagram and others online services.

London-based Amnesty International earlier said it had confirmed 53 deaths, after Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency said last week that “around 60” people had died.

As Tehran also grappled with unrest in the southeast of the country, five members of the Revolutionary Guards were killed Friday in clashes in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Balochistan province.

The poverty-stricken region has often been the scene of clashes with Baloch minority rebels, Sunni Muslim extremist groups and drug trafficking gangs.

But a Sunni Muslim preacher, Molavi Abdol Hamid, said the community was “inflamed” after the alleged rape of a teenage girl by a provincial police officer, in a post on the cleric’s website on Wednesday.

The IHR has accused the predominantly Shia country’s security forces of “bloody repression” of the Zahedan protest which erupted after Friday prayers following accusations that a police chief in the port city of Chabahar raped a 15-year-old girl from the Sunni Baloch minority.

Iran has blamed outside forces for stoking the nationwide protests, particularly its arch-enemy the United States and Washington’s Western allies.

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said on Friday that nine foreign nationals – including nationals of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland – had been arrested “at or behind the scene of the riots”, as well only 256 members of opposition groups banned.

Iranian-American freed

The unrest comes as Iran seeks to revive its 2015 nuclear deal with the United States and other major powers to end sanctions that have strangled its oil-rich economy and seen South Korea, China and Japan to freeze billions of dollars in Iranian funds.

The landmark Vienna deal – which promised sanctions relief in return for strict nuclear controls – has been in tatters since US President Donald Trump pulled out of it in 2018 and Iran later backed out of its own commitments. .

In a rare concession, Iran has allowed a detained Iranian-American, Baquer Namazi, 85, to leave the country and released his son Siamak Namazi, 50, from detention, the United Nations confirmed on Saturday.

Baquer Namazi is a former UNICEF official who was arrested in February 2016 when he traveled to Iran to seek the release of Siamak, who had been arrested in October the previous year.

Both were convicted of espionage in October 2016 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Iranian state media said on Sunday that after the prisoner’s release, Iran was now awaiting the release of around $7 billion in overseas funds.

“With the finalization of negotiations between Iran and the United States to release prisoners from both countries, $7 billion of Iran’s stranded resources will be released,” the official IRNA news agency said.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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