Iranian Raisi condemns ‘chaos’ of protests after Mahsa Amini’s death

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday condemned the “chaos” sparked by a wave of women-led protests over the death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the Islamic Republic’s vice police.

“Those who took part in the riots must be dealt with decisively, this is the demand of the people,” Raisi said in a TV interview.

“People’s safety is the red line of the Islamic Republic of Iran and no one is allowed to break the law and cause chaos,” he said.

“The enemy has targeted national unity and wants to pit people against each other,” the ultra-conservative president added, accusing Iran’s sworn enemy, the United States, of stirring up unrest.

Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died on September 16, three days after she was arrested for allegedly breaking Iran’s strict rules for women regarding wearing the hijab and modest clothing.

Raisi said the nation felt “grief and sadness” over his death, and that forensic and forensic experts would soon issue a final report, but also warned that “protests are different from riots. “.

“Woman, Life, Freedom!” Protesters chanted in Iran’s biggest demonstrations in nearly three years, in which women defiantly burned their headscarves and cut their hair.

Their actions were accompanied by demonstrations of solidarity around the world, with British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who spent six years in prison in Iran, cutting her hair in a video shared on the BBC Persian Service.

Amini’s bereaved parents have filed a complaint, demanding “a thorough investigation” and the publication of “all videos and photographs” of her while in police custody, their lawyer Saleh Nikbakht said.

A cousin of Amini’s based in Iraq, who is a member of a Kurdish nationalist group, claimed she died after a “severe blow to the head” and an officer vowed to “teach her the rules and teach him how to wear the hijab and how to dress”.

As Iranian protests erupted for 12 straight nights, Iran’s police command vowed its forces would confront them “with all their might”, in a crackdown that a rights group says has already killed at least 76 people.

Cowardly attacks

Iran has blamed outside forces for the unrest, including “counter-revolutionary” Kurdish groups based in northern Iraq – across from Iran’s Kurdistan province where Amini is from, and where the protests broke out for the first time.

In a major escalation, Iran launched cross-border missile and drone strikes on Wednesday that killed 13 people in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, after accusing Kurdish armed groups based there of stoking the unrest.

The attacks were condemned by the UN mission in Iraq and the federal government in Baghdad summoned the Iranian ambassador.

The United States condemned the “brazen attacks” and Britain said the “indiscriminate shelling” of Iraq demonstrated “a repeated pattern of Iranian destabilizing activity in the region”.

Germany denounced “the escalation…against the backdrop of domestic political protests in Iran” and rejected “attempts to locate the causes of Iranian protests in the neighboring country“.

The Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran, one of the groups targeted, accused “these cowardly attacks come at a time when the Iranian terrorist regime is unable to quell ongoing protests inside and silence civil resistance. of the Kurdish and Iranian peoples”. .

Not a big deal

The Iranian government – its economy already hit by sanctions over its nuclear program – has sought to downplay the crisis.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said he told Western diplomats at recent UN meetings that the protests were “not a big deal” for the stability of the clerical state.

“There will be no regime change in Iran. Don’t play on the emotions of the Iranian people,” he told National Public Radio in New York, also accusing “outside elements” of stoking violence.

The Fars news agency said on Tuesday that “about 60” people had been killed since Amini’s death. But the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights said the crackdown had killed at least 76 people.

Iran’s response has drawn United Nations concern and worldwide condemnation, with Germany and Spain summoning Iranian ambassadors and the United States and Canada announcing new sanctions.

The son of Iran’s late shah, in an interview with AFP near Washington, welcomed the protests and urged the world to step up pressure on religious leaders.

Reza Pahlavi, whose father was overthrown in the 1979 Islamic revolution, called for greater preparation for a future secular and democratic Iranian system.

“This is really in modern times, in my opinion, the first revolution for women, by women – with the support of Iranian men, sons, brothers and fathers,” Pahlavi said.

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