Paris: At least 92 people have been killed as Iran has cracked down on women-led protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the notorious morality police, the group Iran Human Rights said Sunday.
Kurdish Iranian Amini, 22, was pronounced dead on September 16 after she was detained for allegedly breaching rules requiring women to wear hijab headscarves and modest clothes, sparking Iran’s biggest wave of popular unrest in almost three years.
An additional 41 people died in clashes Friday in Iran’s far southeast, an area bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan, reported Oslo-based IHR citing local sources, saying the protests were sparked by accusations a police chief in the region had raped a teenage girl of the Baluch minority.
Solidarity rallies with Iranian women - who have defiantly burnt the hijabs they have had to wear since the 1979 Islamic revolution - have been held worldwide, with demonstrations in more than 150 cities on Saturday.
Clashes between Iranian protesters and security forces have rocked cities nationwide for 16 nights in a row after they first flared in western regions home to Iran’s Kurdish minority, where Amini hailed from.
“Rioters” and “thugs”, some hurling Molotov cocktails, attacked the Tehran headquarters of Iran’s leading ultraconservative daily Kayhan on Saturday, said the newspaper, whose director is appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam urged the international community to take urgent steps against the Islamic republic to stop the killing of Iranian protesters, saying they amount to “crimes against humanity”.
At least 92 protesters in the Mahsa Amini rallies have been killed so far, said IHR, which has been working to assess the death toll despite internet outages and blocks on WhatsApp, Instagram and other online services.
London-based Amnesty International said earlier it had confirmed 53 deaths, after Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency said last week that “around 60” people had died.
As Tehran was also battling unrest in the country’s southeast, it said five Revolutionary Guards members were killed in clashes Friday in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province.