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Iranian Protests Escalate amid Government Crackdown

Following the death of a young woman while in the custody by Iran's morality police, protests erupt across the country and security forces respond with force.
Iranian Protests Escalate amid Government Crackdown

The death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman, in the custody of Iran’s so-called morality police, detained for a supposed violation of the country’s ultraconservative dress code, has sparked days of anti-government demonstrations — and a violent crackdown that has left more than 30 people dead or seriously injured, reports the Washington Post.

What’s behind the protests in Iran? (Washington Post)

Excerpt from the Washington Post: The protests have come to encompass a range of issues, including economic grievances, censorship and government impunity. Iran’s leaders have responded with force — as they did after the previous wave of mass protests, in 2019. Instagram and WhatsApp are now blocked and access to the internet and cellular service is down or slowed in much of the country. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) appeared to signal it would step up its response Thursday, calling on the judiciary to prosecute protesters. Some demonstrators have targeted police stations and IRGC forces.
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According to the New York Times, the antigovernment protests that have erupted in cities across Iran in response to a young woman’s death in the custody of the country’s morality police have struck a national nerve. With extraordinary scenes of dissent and calls to end the Islamic Republic, the protests have become one of the most visible challenges to the government since the last wave of unrest in 2019, which was met with a deadly response.

What’s Driving the Protests in Iran? (New York Times)

Excerpt from the New York Times: The demonstrations have spread to dozens of cities, and multiple casualties have been reported. The government said on Thursday that 17 people, including two security officers, had been killed since the unrest began last weekend. Rights groups say the toll is likely to be higher. The protests have included large numbers of women, who initially took to the streets in rare displays of defiance of the government and its enforcement of the country’s hijab law, which mandates covered hair and loose-fitting clothing for women. The demonstrations have become widespread, with demands broadening to reflect ordinary Iranians’ anger over their living conditions after years of U.S.-led sanctions that have hobbled the economy, as well as widespread corruption and economic mismanagement. The authorities have struck back again with a brutal and systematic crackdown: Security forces have fired on protesters with gunshots and water cannons and beat them with batons. Cellphone and internet usage has been dramatically restricted.
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The death in custody in Iran of a Kurdish woman that led to widespread protests must be "steadfastly" investigated, Iran’s president has said, as he lamented what he claimed were western "double standards" on human rights, reports the Guardian.

Iran president says death in custody of Mahsa Amini must be investigated (Guardian)

Excerpt from the Guardian: Ebrahim Raisi told a news conference on the sidelines of the UN general assembly in New York that the death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s morality police "must certainly be investigated. I contacted her family at the very first opportunity and I assured them we would continue steadfastly to investigate that incident … Our utmost preoccupation is the safeguarding of the rights of every citizen." Of Amini’s death, he said authorities were doing what they needed to do and that responsibility now lay in the hands of the judiciary. He claimed the initial coroner’s investigations into the death of Amini showed she died from heart failure or a brain stroke, and not a physical beating by the morality police. But he said: "If her death was due to negligence, it will definitely be investigated, and I promise to follow up on the issue regardless of whether the international forums take a stand or not."
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