DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Iran faced international criticism on Tuesday over the death of a woman organized by its ethics police, which ignited three days of protests, including clashes with security forces and other unrest in the capital. of which at least three were claimed. lives.
The United Nations Human Rights Office has called for an investigation. The United States, which is trying to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, called on the Islamic republic to end its “systemic oppression” of women. Italy also condemned his death.
Iranian officials dismissed the criticism as politically motivated and accused unidentified foreign countries of fomenting unrest.
Separately, an Iranian official said three people were killed by unidentified armed groups in the Kurdish region of the country where the protests began, the first official confirmation of deaths linked to the unrest.
Later on Monday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported that small groups of protesters gathered again in the city of Tehran, chanting “death to the dictator”. It said the crowd numbered around 300 and the protesters damaged road signs.
Tehran province governor Mohsin Mansouri accused foreign embassies of promoting protests and said three foreign nationals had been arrested. He did not specify the embassies or the nationalities of the detainees.
Iran’s ethics police have expanded their patrols in recent months, targeting women for not properly wearing the Islamic headscarf known as the hijab, the UN body said. It said that in verified videos, women are slapped in the face, beaten with sticks and thrown into police vans for wearing hijab loosely.
A similar patrol took 22-year-old Mahsa Amini into custody last Tuesday, taking her to a police station where she collapsed. He died three days later. Iranian police have denied Amini was abused and said she died of a heart attack. Officials say they are investigating the incident.
“The tragic death of Mahsa Amini and the allegations of torture and abuse must be investigated promptly, fairly and effectively by an independent competent authority,” said Nada al-Nasif, the UN’s Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Amini “must be alive today.”
“Instead, the United States and the Iranian people mourn her. We call on the Iranian government to end its systemic oppression of women and allow peaceful protest,” he tweeted.
Italy’s foreign ministry called for the “perpetrators of this cowardly act” to be held accountable, saying “violence against innocent people, especially women and girls, can never be tolerated.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirbadollahian dismissed the criticism, accusing the US of “shedding crocodile tears”.
He tweeted, “An inquiry was ordered into Mahsa’s tragic death which, as the President said, is like our own daughters.” “For Iran, human rights are of inherent value – unlike those who see it as a tool against (like) adversaries.”
Iranian police released closed-circuit video footage last week, which allegedly showed the moment Amini fell. But her family says she had no history of heart disease.
Her father Amjad Amini told an Iranian news website that witnesses saw her being pushed into a police car.
“I asked for access to (video) cameras installed inside the car and in the courtyard of the police station, but they did not respond,” he said. They accused the police of not immediately shifting him to the hospital, saying he could have been revived.
He said that when he reached the hospital, he was not allowed to see the body, but injury marks were found on his leg.
The authorities then pressured her to bury her at night, apparently to reduce the chances of a protest, but Amini said the family convinced them to bury her at 8 a.m.
Amini, who hails from Kurdish, was buried in her hometown of Saqez in western Iran on Saturday. Protests broke out after his funeral and police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters on Saturday and Sunday. Many protesters were arrested.
Ismail Zarei Kausha, governor of Iran’s Kurdistan province, told Fars that three people were killed by unidentified armed groups, linking the violence to the unrest.
He did not identify the victims, but said one was killed by a weapon not used by Iranian security forces in the city of Diwandareh. He said the second body was found in a car near Sakej and the third was “thoroughly” suspicious of murder.
The province has seen past violence between Iranian security forces and Kurdish separatists.
Protests spread to Tehran and other cities on Monday. A news website affiliated with State TV said 22 people were arrested at a protest in the northern city of Rasht.
State TV on Monday showed footage of the protests, in which the windows of two police cars were smashed. It said protesters also set two motorbikes on fire and burned Iranian flags in Kurdish regions and Tehran.
The state-run broadcaster blamed opposition groups abroad and exiled for the unrest, accusing them of using Amini’s death as a pretext for more economic sanctions.
Iran has seen waves of protests in recent years, mainly over the long-running economic crisis caused by Western sanctions linked to the country’s nuclear program. The authorities have succeeded in suppressing the protest by using force.