Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi announced Thursday an investigation into the death of a young woman detained by police for wearing a veil incorrectly, which has sparked protests in Iran, but denounced the “hypocrisy of Western powers.”
“I am sure an investigation will be opened,” Raisi told reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, noting that the coroner’s report does not mention police abuses.
Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested last Tuesday by the so-called “morality police” in Tehran, where she was visiting, for allegedly wearing the veil incorrectly and taken to a police station to attend the “one hour of reeducation”.
He died three days later in a hospital where he arrived in a coma after suffering a heart attack, which the authorities attributed to health problems, a version rejected by the family.
Since then, the protests have multiplied in at least 20 cities, with the death of at least 17 people, according to Iranian state television.
Iran Human Rights (IHR), an Oslo-based non-governmental organization (NGO), referred to a larger number of victims, referring to at least 31 civilians killed in Iran since the start of the demonstrations.
“The Iranian people took to the streets to fight for fundamental rights and their human dignity (…) and the government responded to these peaceful demonstrations with bullets,” denounced the director of the NGO, Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam, in a statement, issuing a balance after six days of protests.
At the same time, Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard defined Masha Amini’s protests as “sedition” and called on the judiciary to prosecute “those who spread rumors and lies” on social media and in the streets.
The military body referred to the recent acts of “sedition” that were “organized by the enemy”, in a harsh statement where it also sends condolences to the family of the deceased.
“We urge the judiciary to identify those who spread rumors and lies on social networks and in the streets and act forcefully against them,” added this elite division of the Iranian Armed Forces.
On Wednesday night, the Iranian government almost completely shut down the internet and conditioned the WhatsApp and Instagram applications, in an apparent attempt to control the protests.