‘36 dead’ as unrest continues in Iran, thousands join pro-regime rallies

Footages have shown protesters defacing or burning images of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and late Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani; crackdown continues as a prominent journalist and activist arrested

Pro-government peoples rally against the recent protest gatherings in Iran, after the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran, on September 23, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Footages have shown protesters defacing or burning images of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and late Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani; crackdown continues as a prominent journalist and activist arrested

At least 36 people have been killed in an Iranian crackdown on protests over the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody, a New York-based rights group said. Amini, 22, died last week after her arrest by the Islamic Republic’s feared morality police for allegedly wearing a hijab headscarf in an “improper” way, and news of her death sparked widespread outrage.

The official death toll rose to at least 17 on Thursday, including five security personnel, but the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran said its sources put the figure much higher. “On the 7th day of #IranProtest, officials admit to at least 17 deaths w/ independent sources say 36,” the CHRI said in a Twitter post late Thursday. “Expect the number to rise. World leaders must press Iranian officials to allow protest without lethal force.”

Since Amini was pronounced dead on September 16, three days after she was arrested in Tehran by Iran’s morality police, protests have spread to most major urban centres in Iran, including the capital as well as Isfahan, Mashhad, Rasht and Saqez.

Unprecedented images have shown protesters defacing or burning images of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and late Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani.

Security forces have arrested one of Iran’s most prominent civil society activists and a journalist who played a key role in exposing the case of Amini. Majid Tavakoli, an activist who has been repeatedly imprisoned in Iran in recent years including after disputed 2009 elections, was arrested overnight at his home, his brother Mohsen wrote on Twitter.

Another prominent activist still based in Iran, Hossein Ronaghi, was giving an interview to London-based channel Iran International when security agents came to his home, the channel said.

Counter-mobilisation

Meanwhile, thousands demonstrated across Iran on Friday at government-backed pro-hijab counter-rallies. “The great demonstration of the Iranian people condemning the conspirators and the sacrileges against religion took place today,” said Iran’s Mehr news agency.

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