Iran Erupts After Young Woman Dies in Custody of 'Morality Police'

Mahsa Amini's death has sparked protests across country
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2022 12:05 AM CDT
Iran Erupts After Young Woman's Death
In this Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press, a police motorcycle burns during a protest over the death of a young woman who had been detained for violating the country's conservative dress code, in downtown Tehran, Iran.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Protests have been rocking Iran since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last week after she was detained by the country's "morality police" for not wearing a hijab. According to a human rights organization monitoring the situation, five people have been fatally shot by Iranian security forces during the protests and 75 others injured, CNN reports. Arrests have also been made, and officials say foreign nationals are among those who have been detained, Al Jazeera reports. Iranian officials are accusing the protesters of violence, including violence against police, and property destruction. The UN, meanwhile, is expressing alarm at the "violent response" by Iranian security forces to the protests. More:

  • A piece at the Guardian explains why this could be a "moment of reckoning" for Iran, whose regime "fears a popular revolt more than it fears staring down the rest of the world." There are signs, Martin Chulov argues in the piece, that this movement could be the largest of its kind since another young woman was killed while attending a protest in 2009, sparking the most widespread unrest the country had seen since 1979's Islamic Revolution.

  • The BBC says women have been "at the forefront" of the protests, burning their headscarves as crowds cheer. Media outlets are using the word "crackdown" to describe the police response, with police reportedly using live ammunition, tear gas, rubber bullets, hoses, and batons; in addition, internet access has been restricted in some parts of Iran.
  • As for the official response in Iran, the BBC reports Tehran's chief of police called Amini's death "unfortunate," but he denied the "cowardly accusations" of people who claim she was brutally beaten before she died. Authorities have insisted she suffered "sudden heart failure," though her family says she had no health issues. An aide to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reportedly visited her family Monday and told them "all institutions will take action to defend the rights that were violated."
  • Amini's family is calling for the release of unedited surveillance footage of Amini at the police station; so far, only an edited version has been released, the Washington Post reports.
  • Iran's hard-line conservative president, Ebrahim Raisi, is in New York to give a speech before the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. Morality police patrols are said to have increased, and gotten more violent, since he took office.
(Read more Iran stories.)

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