President Ebrahim Raisi warns against unrest, deaths reported

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry also tried to break up the momentum of the demonstrations, saying that attending protests is illegal and anyone who takes part would face prosecution, Iranian news websites reported.

Raisi said the extensive coverage given to Amini’s case was the result of “double standards”.

“Every day in different countries, including the United States, we see men and women dying in police encounters, but there is no sensitivity about the cause and dealing with this violence,” he said.

Pro-government protests are planned for Friday and some marchers have already taken to the streets, Iranian media said.

Judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei has ordered speedy action in the case of the rioters to “maintain the security and peace of the citizens”, Tasnim news reported.

The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on Iran’s morality police, accusing them of abuse and violence against Iranian women and of violating the rights of peaceful Iranian protesters, the US Treasury said.

People gather in protest against the death of Mahsa Amini along the streets in Tehran, Iran.Credit:Getty

Most of the protests have been concentrated in Iran’s Kurdish-populated northwest but have spread to the capital and at least 50 cities and towns, with police using force to disperse protesters. Amini was from the province of Kurdistan.

A new mobile internet disruption was registered in the country, internet monitoring group Netblocks wrote on Twitter, in a possible sign that the authorities fear the protests will intensify.

A member of an Iranian pro-government paramilitary organisation, the Basij, was stabbed to death in the northeastern city of Mashhad on Wednesday, two semi-official Iranian news agencies reported on Thursday.

There was no official confirmation of the death.

Tasnim also said another member of the Basij was killed on Wednesday in the city of Qazvin from a gunshot wound inflicted by “rioters and gangs”.

Nour news, a media outlet affiliated with a top security body, shared a video of an army officer confirming the death of a soldier in the unrest, bringing the total reported number of security force members killed in the unrest to five.

In the northeast, protesters shouted “We will die, we will die but we’ll get Iran back” near a police station which was set on fire, a video posted on Twitter account 1500tasvir showed. The account focuses on protests in Iran and has around 100,000 followers.

Reuters could not verify the footage.

Personal freedoms

Amini’s death has reignited anger over issues including restrictions on personal freedoms in Iran – including strict dress codes for women – and an economy reeling from sanctions.

Iran’s clerical rulers fear a revival of the 2019 protests that erupted over gasoline price rises, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history. Reuters reported 1,500 were killed.

Protesters this week also expressed anger at Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “Mojtaba, may you die and not become Supreme Leader,” a crowd was seen chanting in Tehran, referring to Khamenei’s son, who some believe could succeed his father at the top of Iran’s political establishment.

Reuters could not verify the video.

Reports by Kurdish rights group Hengaw, which Reuters could not verify, said the death toll in Kurdish areas had climbed to 15 and the number of injured rose to 733. Iranian officials have denied that security forces have killed protesters, suggesting they may have been shot by armed dissidents.

Reuters

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