Iranian Guard General says more than 300 killed in Amini riots
Iran for the first time reported that over 300 people had died in more than two months of protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, who was detained by the vice police.
The Islamic Republic sent state security forces against the so-called “riots” that erupted after a 22-year-old Iranian woman of Kurdish origin died on September 16, three days after she was arrested for allegedly violating the Iranian dress code for women.
“The death of this woman affected everyone in the country,” said Brigadier General of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Amirali Hajizade in a video published by the Mehr news agency.
“I don’t have the latest data, but I think we had perhaps more than 300 martyrs and people killed,” among which were some of the country’s “best sons,” said Hajizade, head of the guard’s aerospace unit.
ALSO READ: ‘Not afraid’: Violence escalates as Mahsa Amini protests in Iran enter fourth week
Iranian casualties include those who took to the streets, as well as dozens of police, military and IRGC militias who died in clashes with demonstrators or were killed elsewhere.
The latest official death toll is much closer to the figure of at least 416 “killed in the crackdown in Iran” published by the Oslo-based non-governmental group Iranian Human Rights.
The group says it includes those killed in violence linked to the Amini protests and in riots in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan.
– Hijab rules –
Thousands of Iranians and about 40 foreigners have been arrested, and more than 2,000 people have been charged, according to judicial authorities.
Among them, six were sentenced to death, and their appeals are to be heard by the Supreme Court.
Another man named Majid Rahnaward appeared in court Tuesday on charges of stabbing two paramilitary officers in the northeastern city of Mashhad on November 17, Mizan Online reported.
He faces the death penalty if found guilty of killing militias who, according to Iranian media, were trying to intervene against “rioters threatening businesses to force them to close.”
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution toppled the monarchy, Iranian law requires all women to wear modest clothing and a hijab to hide their hair, rules enforced by vice squads patrolling public spaces.
ALSO READ: Family rejects Iran’s official findings on Amini’s death – lawyer
However, over the past two decades, many women, especially in Tehran and other major cities, showed more of their hair before the rules were tightened again – a hot spot for protests.
Iran has blamed its enemies for civil unrest, pointing to the United States, other Western powers and Israel, as well as exiled Kurdish-Iranian opposition groups based in northern Iraq, which it has repeatedly targeted with missiles and drones.
As tensions escalate, Iran’s national football team will play the United States at the World Cup in Qatar from 19:00 GMT on Tuesday, a match considered highly political between the two countries, which have not had diplomatic relations since 1980.
Iran judiciary tuesday announced the release of more than 1,100 detainees in 20 provinces, including protesters, following Iran’s World Cup victory against Wales on Friday, the Mizan Online news agency reported.