Iran is stepping up pressure on celebrities and journalists in response to demonstrations following the death of a young woman in police custody. “We will take action against the celebrities who have been fueling the unrest,” Tehran province governor Mohsen Mansuri said on Thursday, according to the Isna news agency.
The protests in Iran have also recently been supported by filmmakers, musicians and athletes. Iran’s judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Edschei lamented that those who became famous “by supporting the system” have now joined the enemy in “difficult times”.
Iranian security forces also arrested a reporter, her lawyer said. The journalist Elahe Mohammadi had reported on the funeral of Mahsa Amini.
Mahsa Amini died in police custody
The 22-year-old Kurdish woman Amini was arrested by the moral police in Tehran because she had apparently not worn the Islamic headscarf in accordance with the strict rules.
According to activists, Amini is said to have been beaten by the police and died as a result. A reporter who helped publicize Amini’s case was arrested about a week ago.
Nationwide protests with numerous deaths
Amini’s death sparked nationwide protests in Iran, which security forces cracked down on. While the Fars news agency reported “around 60 deaths”, according to the Oslo-based human rights organization Iran Human Rights (IHR), at least 76 people have already been killed.
Federal Foreign Minister Baerbock called on the Iranian authorities to stop “their brutal actions against demonstrators immediately”. The “sheer violence of the Iranian system speaks of pure fear”. Baerbock also called for sanctions against those in Iran who would ruthlessly beat women to death and shoot demonstrators in the name of religion.
Solidarity rallies were held worldwide for people protesting against the strict Islamic rules in Iran. Around 25 women took to the streets in Afghanistan. They shouted the slogan “Women, Life, Freedom”, which was also used during the protests in Iran. Their protest was violently broken up shortly afterwards by the security forces of the radical Islamic Taliban.
In Norway, two people were slightly injured and 90 others arrested after clashes near the Iranian embassy in Oslo. Some demonstrators had tried to get into the embassy building. Rallies are planned for Saturday in 70 cities around the world.
Tehran blames Kurdish groups for the protests
Tehran blamed foreign forces for the ongoing demonstrations in its own country. Among other things, the government accused “counter-revolutionary” Kurdish groups in northern Iraq. Amini came from the Iranian province of Kurdistan, which borders on northern Iraq, and that’s where the protests began after her death.
The Iranian government is trying to put the protests into perspective. Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told a radio station in New York that he had told Western diplomats that the protests were “not a big deal” for his country’s stability. Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi complained about the “chaos” caused by the protests on Wednesday and again threatened to crack down on demonstrators.
The Green Co-Chairman Omid Nouripour, meanwhile, told the “Spiegel” that he believes that Raisi “is up to his neck in water and that he is slowly realizing that”. He doubted that reforms could come about under the current government. Tehran’s only answer is violence. (AFP)
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