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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Tensions Escalate as Iran’s Raisi Warns Mass Protestors Against “Acts of Chaos”

Raisi added that he had ordered a thorough probe into the case of Mahsa Amini

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IRAN: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi explicitly said on Thursday that “acts of chaos” are completely unacceptable, in a warning to angry protestors who have taken to the streets across the country.

People are demonstrating in Iran as they are enraged over the death of a woman who died in the morality police’s custody.

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Speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Raisi added that he had ordered a thorough probe into the case of Mahsa Amini. 22-year-old Amini died last week after being arrested for wearing her hijab too loose, which meant “unsuitable attire”.

“There is freedom of expression in Iran … but acts of chaos are unacceptable,” said Raisi, who is facing the biggest protests in the Islamic Republic since 2019.

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Women have played a prominent role in the protest; video footage shows countless women waving and burning their hijabs, cutting off their hair publicly to send a direct challenge of rebellion to clerical leaders.

Iran’s omnipotent Revolutionary Guards have called on the judiciary to prosecute “those who spread false news and rumours”, in an apparent bid to curb the steam of nationwide protests and demonstrations.

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The Guards have posted a statement, expressing sympathy for Amini’s family.

The Kurdish rights group of Hengaw posted a video where heavy shooting can be heard dispersing an angry crowd during a protest and accused security forces of “using heavy and semi-heavy weapons against civilians” in the north-western town of Oshnavieh.

Meanwhile, protestors in Tehran and other cities were seen torching police stations and vehicles over Amini’s death. Violence and chaos saw no signs of abating, with reports of security forces coming under attack.

A video on Twitter account 1500tasvir showed protests in the north-western city of Bukan with the sound of shots in the background, as social media posts said demonstrations have spread to most of Iran’s 31 provinces.

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry also tried to break the momentum of escalating tensions of demonstrations, saying attendance at these protests will be deemed illegal and those arrested at the site will face prosecution, Iranian news websites reported.

Raisi said the extensive coverage of Amini’s case was the result of “double standards”, as he compared Amini’s death with the thousands of those cases registered in Western nations, who do not garner this intensity of press coverage.

“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.

Meanwhile, the United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on Iran’s morality police. The US accused them of unmitigated abuse and violence directed against women.

“Iran is violating the basic freedoms and rights of Iranian women who have been peacefully protesting at these demonstrations,” the U.S. treasury said.

Most of the unrest and chaos had been centred around Iran’s Kurdish-populated northwest but has now spread far and wide to the capital and at least 50 cities and towns, with police using force to disperse protesters. Amini was from the province of Kurdistan.

Also Read: Iran Protests Rage as Mahsa Amini’s Father Says Authorities Lied About Her Death

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