Iran received international condemnation on Tuesday, following the murder of a woman being held by its morality police which sparked three days of protests that included confrontations with security forces in the capital, as well as other protests that claimed three lives.
The U.N. Human Rights Office demanded an investigation. It is the United States, which is trying to revive 2015’s nuclear agreement with Iran demanding Iran allow the Islamic Republic to end its “systemic persecution” of women. Italy also condemned her murder.
Iranian officials have dismissed the criticism as politically driven and accused foreign nations of inciting the unrest.
Separately an Iranian official claimed that three people were murdered by unnamed groups of armed forces from the Kurdish region in which the protests started this was the first official confirmation of deaths connected to the protests.
The semi-official Fars media agency said that 300 protesters were assembled in the city center of Tehran on Tuesday night, shouting “Death to the dictator.” AP reporters witnessed the presence of police in the vicinity and burned trash bins and stones scattered over some intersections. the governor of Tehran province, Mohsen Mansouri, accused foreign embassies of promoting the protests. He also said that three foreign nationals were detained. The governor did not give specifics on the country of origin of the embassies nor the individuals being detained.
It is reported that the U.N. body noted that the morality police in Iran have stepped up their presence in recent months, focusing on women who are not wearing the Islamic head scarf, commonly referred to as hijab. The body said that verified footages show women being slapped on the face, hit with batons, and thrown into police vans because they wear the hijab to loosely.
The same patrol also detained 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on Tuesday she was taken to the police station, where she fell to the ground. The death occurred three days after. Iranian authorities have dismissed treating Amini and have claimed she died from a heart attack. Police say they are looking into the incident.
“Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartially, and effectively investigated by an independent competent authority,” said Nada Al-Nashif, interim U.N. high commissioner for human rights. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Amini “should be alive today.”
“Instead it is we in the United States and the Iranian people mourn her. We ask for the Iranian government to stop its systematic discrimination against women and let peaceful protests be allowed,” he tweeted.
The Italian Foreign Ministry called for “the perpetrators of this cowardly act” to be punished in a statement that said, “violence against innocent people, especially women and girls, can never be tolerated.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian rejected the criticism by accusing the U.S. of “shedding crocodile tears.””An investigation was initiated to investigate (the) tragedy of Mahsa who according to what (the) President has said was like our daughters” the president tweeted. “To Iran, human rights are fundamentally important -in contrast to those who regard it (as) an instrument against their adversaries.
“Iranian police have released closed-circuit video of footage this week that is believed to be of the moment Amini fell to the ground. Her family has said there was no evidence of heart issues.
Amjad Amini her father stated to an Iranian news website that people witnessed her being shoved into a police vehicle.
“I asked for access to (videos) from cameras inside the car as well as courtyard of the police station, but they gave no answer,” he claimed. He also claimed that the police were not taking her to the hospital in a timely manner, claiming they could’ve revived them.
He stated that upon arriving at the hospital, he was not permitted to look at the body. However, he was able to catch a glimpse of her foot, which was bruised.
The authorities then pressed Amini to have her buried in the evening, presumably to lessen the risk of protests. However, Amini claimed that her family persuaded them to allow them to lay her to rest around eight a.m. Instead. Amini was Kurdish and was buried on Saturday in her hometown city of Saqez in the western part of Iran. Protests began after the funeral, and police used tear gas to disperse protesters on both Saturday and Sunday. Some protesters were detained.
A governor from the Iranian Kurdistan province Esmail Zarei Kousha informed Fars that three victims were killed by unknown militant groups, and linked the violence with the turmoil.
He didn’t identify who was killed but stated that one of them was murdered in the city of Divandarreh by a weapon that is not utilized in the hands of Iranian Security forces. The body of the second victim was discovered in a vehicle close to Saqez and the third murder occurred in a car near Saqez “completely” suspicious.
The province has witnessed violent clashes in the past between Iranian security forces as well as Kurdish separatists. The protests took place in Tehran as well as other towns on Monday. A news site affiliated with the state television said that 22 people were detained during protests in the city Rasht.
State TV showed footage of protests that took place on Monday, which included pictures of two police vehicles that had their windows smashed. It also said that protesters torched two motorbikes too and burned Iranian flags across Kurdish regions and Tehran.
The state-owned broadcaster blamed the turmoil on foreign nations and opposition groups exiled from the country and accused them of making Amini’s death an excuse to increase economic sanctions.
Iran has experienced several protests in recent years, mostly due to an ongoing economic crisis that was exacerbated by Western sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program. Authorities have been able to stop the protests by using force.