Tehran Summons Western Ambassadors For “Meddling” As Protest Death Toll Climbs To Over 40
Iran’s foreign ministry has blamed Western “meddling” for the outbreak and growth of raging protests inside the country, which have now reached a full week, and have left at least 35 dead, according to the government’s official death toll. From Friday to Saturday this figure had more than doubled, with Tehran officials initially citing 17 dead, and then revising it upwards. This includes five security officers, according to state media, which has painted the “anti-hijab” demonstrations as violent. By Saturday evening, state media counted 41 among the deceased.
On Sunday Iran summoned the ambassadors of the UK and Norway to condemn their governments for allegedly fueling the unrest, as reported in The Hill:
The director-general of Western Europe within Iran’s foreign ministry called out Norway’s Parliament speaker for allegedly “prejudicing and unrealistic comments” about recent protests in Iran, according to Iran’s official news agency, IRNA.
The U.K. ambassador, meanwhile, was chastised for a London-based, Persian-language “hosting of the media” that Iran believes has produced “put provocation and invitation to turbulence and expansion of riots in Iran on top of their agenda,” according to a second report from IRNA.
The protests across dozens of cities began following the death in policy custody of 22-year old Mahsa Amini. She had been reportedly detained for improper attire, or failing to properly wear an Islamic head-covering, after which she turned up dead.
Her supporters say she was beaten to death, while Iranian authorities have said she collapsed from a heart-related incident. The US has since sanctioned Iran’s notorious ‘morality police’ and the heads of multiple security agences.
The UN has meanwhile condemned the harsh police crackdown, which a statement has said includes sending paramilitary forces and at times live ammunition interspersed with riot control measures. But it’s clear that in many instances the demonstrators are “fighting back”…
نیروهاشون رو با اتوبوس میفرستن، بعد به دروغ میگن مردم به مسافر حمله کردن…
دست ماشین پروپاگاندا رژیم و حامیانش خیلی وقته که رو شده حاجی، امید نبند به این نیرنگ ها! pic.twitter.com/YX4uQKoZgd
— ⚔️👑 Prince of Persia 👑⚔️ (@Leo_Javaheri) September 25, 2022
International observers are now calling the protests unprecedented in size and ferocity, which began immediately following Amini’s funeral in her Iranian Kurdistan province hometown of Saqqez on Saturday.
Since then countless women have publicly removed their headscarves in defiance, with many rallies becoming anti-regime demonstrations where chants calling for the removal of the Ayatollah and the hardline morality police are heard.
According to a Time magazine description of the images that sparked the mass protests:
Hours after her detention, Amini was admitted to hospital “without any vital signs and brain-dead,” officials there reported. She was pronounced dead on Sept. 16. In the days between, the Iranian public saw a photo of a young girl in the prime of life attached to tubes—blood stains visible on her ear, which a doctor viewing the images called a possible sign of severe head trauma.
Tonight in Valiasr Street, Tehran, women wave their hijbas as people chant “woman, life, liberty” on the ninth night of protests in Iran over the death of #MahsaAmini in morality police custody amid a near total internet shutdown by the state.#مهسا_امینیpic.twitter.com/xDV6Uf0VdE
— Shayan Sardarizadeh (@Shayan86) September 25, 2022
Iranian authorities have moved to curtail the spread of protests by restricting internet services across much of the country, as well as blocking various social media platforms.
Washington is meanwhile encouraging the protests while condemning the crackdown, and has even moved to help Iranian demonstrators access the internet and external platforms. The US Treasury Department on Friday announced the easing of restrictions on tech companies’ access to Iran, in the hopes they could provide work-arounds to Tehran cutting communications and internet.
WATCH: Innocent female bystander violently smashed to the ground by Iranian police.@elonmusk hookup #Starlink to #Iran. Keep citizen journalism alive where it’s needed the most.#IranProtests #Mahsa_Amini pic.twitter.com/UgDSHVwYmE
— Saman Arbabi (@SamanArbabi) September 20, 2022
According to the latest developments, “SpaceX chief Elon Musk said he was activating his company’s Starlink internet service in Iran, which cut off web access to its more than 80 million citizens this week, after the U.S. Treasury Department eased sanctions to help support the free flow of information in the country.”
The New York Times over the weekend is reporting that protests have now spread to some 80 cities.
Sun, 09/25/2022 – 16:00