TEHRAN: Iran’s police command warned on Wednesday that the force would come down hard on protests that erupted nearly two weeks ago over the death of a young woman in custody.
Dozens of people have been killed since nightly demonstrations erupted after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died after being arrested in Tehran for allegedly breaching the Islamic republic’s strict rules on hijab headscarves and modest clothing.
“Today, the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran and some rioters seek to disrupt the order, security and comfort of the nation using any pretext,” the police command said in a statement.
“Police officers will oppose with all their might the conspiracies of counter-revolutionaries and hostile elements, and deal firmly with those who disrupt public order and security anywhere in the country,” it said, quoted by Fars news agency.
Fars news agency said on Tuesday that “around 60” people had been killed since Amini’s death on September 16, up from the official toll of 41 authorities reported on Saturday.
Officials said Monday they had made more than 1,200 arrests, including of activists, lawyers and journalists.
Refrain from using “unnecessary or disproportionate force: UN
The United Nations Secretary-General called on Iran early Wednesday to refrain from using “unnecessary or disproportionate force’’ against protesters.
Antonio Guterres said through a spokesman that authorities should swiftly conduct an impartial investigation of the death of Amini.
“We are increasingly concerned about reports of rising fatalities, including women and children, related to the protests,’’ UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric in a statement.
“We underline the need for prompt, impartial and effective investigation into Ms. Mahsa Amini’s death by an independent competent authority.’’
Rafsanjani’s daughter arrested
Iran on Tuesday arrested the daughter of ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani for inciting protests, the Tasnim news agency said.
“Faezeh Hashemi has been arrested in the east of Tehran by a security agency for inciting rioters to street protests,” Tasnim reported, without elaborating.
Hashemi, a former lawmaker and a women’s rights activist, has had previous run-ins with the law in the Islamic republic.
In July, she was charged with carrying out propaganda activity against the country and blasphemy in social media comments, the judiciary said at the time.
Hashemi was reported to have said Iran’s demand for the Revolutionary Guards to be removed from a US terror list was “damaging” to the country’s “national interests,” according to media reports then.
Activists protest in US for women, against the NYT
Dozens of young Iranians and Americans gathered on Tuesday in front of The New York Times building in Manhattan to demonstrate for the rights of women in Iran, and to decry “bias” at the paper.
Activist Forouzan Farahani knelt on the sidewalk in front of the building and shaved her head in an act of protest following the death of Amini.
“We are here today to protest... the murder of Mahsa in Iran and uprisings that are ongoing across Iran in different cities,” said Farahani, 31.
The Iranian told AFP the demonstrators were also protesting “bias and selective narrative” in The New York Times’ coverage of Iran in recent years.
“We also think that they don’t have a neutral position and so we think that it’s good to come to here and protest,” Farahani said.
The protesters singled out Farnaz Fassihi, a New York-based reporter for the Times who is covering the crisis in Iran.
“We stand by our reporting of the unrest in Iran, which is led by Farnaz Fassihi, an experienced journalist who has covered the Middle East for the past 25 years,” a spokesperson for the paper told AFP.
“As demonstrated today, Farnaz is regularly and unfairly harassed and threatened for her independent, deeply sourced reporting, which holds Iran’s authoritarian leadership to account. We will continue to do so, as our journalists cover the ongoing nationwide anti-government protests.”
“People in Iran on the street, they’re not just protesting against the compulsory hijab,” Farahani said in New York. “They’re also protesting against the Islamic republic, which imposes this compulsory hijab.”
“They are protesting against the government, which kills their beloved ones.”