Iran's judiciary chief threatened on Sunday to show 'no leniency' to protesters after nine days of nationwide protests over the death of a young woman detained by the morality police, which claimed the lives of 41 people.
President Ebrahim Raisi had previously called on the security forces to act “firmly against those who carry undermining the security and peace of the country and the people”.
The head of the judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, insisted on him “the need to act without any leniency” towards the instigators of the “riots”, reported the website Mizan Online.
The demonstrations have started on September 16, the day of the death of Mahsa Amini arrested on September 13 in Tehran for “inappropriate wearing of clothes” in the Islamic Republic where the dress code for women is strict.
These demonstrations are the largest in Iran since those of November 2019, caused by the rise in gasoline prices, in the midst of the economic crisis, which had affected a hundred cities in Iran and were severely repressed (230 dead according to an official report). , more than 300 according to Amnesty International).
They are marked by clashes with the security forces and by slogans hostile to power, according to media and activists. For several days, online videos have shown scenes of violence in Tehran and other major cities such as Tabriz (northwest). On some, we see the security forces shooting in the direction of the demonstrators.
The authorities deny any involvement in the death of Mahsa Amini, 22 and from the Kurdistan region (north-west). But since then, angry Iranians have taken to the streets every day after dark to demonstrate.
On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian again implicated the United States, Tehran's sworn enemy, in the unrest, accusing Washington of “interfering in Iranian affairs (…) and support the rioters in a provocative manner.”
Since the beginning of the demonstrations, more than 700 people have been arrested in a single northern province which communicated on the arrests, but undoubtedly many more overall of the country.
According to the non-detailed official Iranian report including demonstrators and law enforcement, 41 people were killed in nine days of protests.
But the toll could be higher, with the Oslo-based NGO Iran Human Rights reporting at least 54 protesters killed.
According to the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) , 17 journalists have been arrested in Iran since the beginning of the protests.
As two days ago, several demonstrations in favor of the government were organized in several Iranian cities, the largest of which took place in the capital, at the call of the authorities.
“We must put an end to these riots, because they are damaging the country,” Nafiseh, a 28-year-old Iranian woman participating in the demonstration Sunday in Tehran, told AFP. “Martyrs have sacrificed their lives for us to wear the hijab.”
“Removing the hijab is violating the Constitution of the Islamic Republic,” said Atiyeh, an academic from 21 years old.
Viral footage of protests in recent days has shown Iranian women burning their headscarves.
The reformist “People's Union of Islamic Iran” party has called on the state to rescind the veil requirement and release those arrested.
In Iran, women must cover their hair and body to below the knees and must not wear tight trousers or jeans with holes, among other things.
Amnesty International accuses the security forces to “deliberately (…) fire live ammunition at protesters”, calling for “urgent international action to end the repression”.
Internet connections were still disrupted on Sunday, with the blocking from WhatsApp and Instagram. NetBlocks, a London-based site that monitors internet blockages around the world, also reported on Skype.
In a new Instagram post, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, twice Oscar winner, urged the people of the world to “stand in solidarity” with protesters in Iran and hailed the “courageous women who are leading the protests to demand their rights”.