At least 9 dead in Iran protests over woman’s death

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (TBEN) – Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody have left at least nine people dead, according to a count Thursday since the violence erupted over the weekend. by The The Bharat Express News.

Widespread outages of Instagram and WhatsApp, which protesters use to share information about the government’s ongoing crackdown on dissent, continued on Thursday. Authorities also appeared to disrupt internet access to the outside world, a tactic often employed by the government during times of unrest, according to human rights activists.

The demonstrations in Iran started as an emotional outburst over the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman detained by the country’s vice squad for allegedly violating the strict dress code. Her death has drawn strong condemnations from the United States, the European Union and the United Nations. Police say she died of a heart attack and was not assaulted, but her family has raised doubts.

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The protests over the past four days have turned into an open challenge to the government, with women taking off their state-imposed headscarves in the streets and Iranians setting fire to garbage cans, calling for the downfall of the Islamic Republic itself.

“Death to the dictator!” was a common cry in the protests.

Demonstrations have also shaken university campuses in Tehran and far western cities like Kermanshah. Though widespread, the unrest appears to be different from previous rounds of nationwide protests sparked by wallet problems as Iran’s economy falters under heavy US sanctions. The turmoil that erupted in 2019 over the government’s abrupt rise in gasoline prices mobilized working masses in small towns. Hundreds were killed when security forces cracked down on the deadliest violence since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, according to human rights groups.

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Iranian state media this week reported demonstrations in at least 13 cities, including the capital Tehran, as protesters expressed anger at social repression. Videos online show security forces firing tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protests. London-based Amnesty International reported that officers fired birdshots and beat protesters with batons.

At least nine people have been killed in the clashes, according to an TBEN count based on statements from state-run and semi-official media in Iran. Officials have blamed unnamed foreign countries, which they say are trying to stir up unrest.

In Amini’s northwest home province of Kurdistan, the provincial police chief said four protesters were killed by live fire. In Kermanshah, the prosecutor said two protesters were killed by opposition groups, claiming the bullets were not fired by Iranian security forces.

Meanwhile, three men affiliated with the Basij, a volunteer force under the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, were also killed in fighting in the cities of Shiraz, Tabriz and Mashhad, semi-official media reported, bringing the death toll on both sides to nine.

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As the protests proliferated, authorities shut down the internet in parts of the country, according to NetBlocks, a London-based group that controls internet access, describing the restrictions as the strictest since the mass protests of November 2019.

Iran has seen waves of protests in recent years, mainly because of a protracted economic crisis exacerbated by Western sanctions over its nuclear program. Iranians also blame corruption and government mismanagement as prices of basic goods rise, the currency shrinks in value and unemployment remains high.

The Biden administration and European allies have been working to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, which curbed Iran’s nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief, but talks have stalled for months.

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