JEDDAH: There was mounting international outrage on Tuesday over Iran’s deadly crackdown on protesters after a young woman died in the custody of Tehran’s notorious morality police.
At least five people have died and hundreds have been injured in the most serious protests in Iran since the November 2019 demonstrations over fuel price rises.
The Iran Human Rights group said security forces used batons, teargas, water cannons, rubber bullets and live ammunition “to directly target protesters and crush the protests.”
The group’s director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: “The international community shouldn’t be silent observers of the crimes the Islamic Republic commits against its own people.
“We call on countries with diplomatic relations with Iran, the EU in particular, to stop further state killings by supporting the people’s demands to realize their basic rights.”
The new demonstrations follow the death last Friday of Mahsa Amini, 22, who was taken to hospital for urgent treatment after she was arrested and beaten by members of the specialist Gasht-e Ershad, or “guidance patrol,” who enforce Iran’s strict dress code for women. Activists said she suffered a blow to the head while in custody.
Protests continued on Tuesday in Kurdistan, around Tehran’s main universities, and at the city’s bazaar. Demonstrators shouted slogans including “Death to the dictator” and “Woman, life, freedom,” and many female protesters removed their headscarves.
The fiercest clashes were in the northern Kurdistan province where Amini was from, and where activists accused security forces of using live fire.
Human Rights Watch said Iranian authorities were “using teargas to disperse protesters and have apparently used lethal force in Kurdistan province.”
Its senior Iranian researcher Tara Sepehri Far said: “Cracking down with teargas and lethal force against protesters demanding accountability for a woman’s death in police custody reinforces the systematic nature of government rights abuses and impunity.”
UN human rights chief Nada Al-Nashif expressed alarm at Amini’s death and “the violent response by security forces to ensuing protests,” and demanded an investigation.
She said: “Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent competent authority, that ensures, in particular, that her family has access to justice and truth.
“The authorities must stop targeting, harassing, and detaining women who do not abide by the hijab rules.”