Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi announced on Thursday an investigation into the death of the young woman detained by police for incorrectly wearing a veil, which has sparked protests in Iran, but denounced the “hypocrisy of Western powers”.
“I’m sure an investigation will certainly be opened,” Raisi told reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, noting that the coroner’s report did not mention abuses by the police.
Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested last Tuesday by the so-called “morality police” of Tehran, where she was visiting, for allegedly wearing her veil incorrectly and transferred to a police station to assist the “one hour of re-education”.
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, 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), a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Oslo, referred to a higher toll, 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 in a statement the director of the NGO, Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam, issuing a statement after six days of protests.
In parallel, the Revolutionary Guard of Iran defined the protests by Masha Amini as “sedition” and asked 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 media and on the streets and act decisively against them,” added this elite division of the Iranian Armed Forces.
On Wednesday night, the Iranian government almost completely blocked the internet and conditioned WhatsApp and Instagram apps, in an apparent attempt to control the protests.