'Morality police' sanctioned by US after protest over Masha Amini's death intensifies

People light a fire during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, in Tehran, on September 21, 2022 [WANA via Reuters]

After the death of a woman in police custody triggered demonstrations and international condemnation, the United States imposed penalties on Iran's morality police and government agency heads.

Since the weekend, following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, at least nine protestors and two security force officers have been slain in violent protests.

The morality police detained Miss Amini last week because she was not wearing the mandatory Islamic headscarf, known as the hijab, for Iranian women. Three days after collapsing at the police station, Miss Amini passed away.

The leaders of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Army's Ground Forces, the Basij Resistance Forces, and other law enforcement agencies were designated for sanctions by the US Treasury, denying them access to their US-held properties and bank accounts.

"These officials oversee organisations that routinely employ violence to suppress peaceful protesters and members of Iranian civil society, political dissidents, women's rights activists, and members of the Iranian Baha'i community," according to a Treasury statement.

Police claim that Miss Amini died of a heart attack and deny that she was abused, and the government has published purported video footage of the moment she collapsed.

However, her family claims she had no history of heart problems, and her death in police custody has prompted demonstrators to demonstrate audacious defiance in the face of imminent beatings and incarceration.

Thursday, independent UN-affiliated specialists stated that unsubstantiated sources suggested she was badly abused by the morality police.

Niloufar Hamedi, a journalist who photographed the hospital following Ms. Amini's murder, was arrested on Thursday, according to Mohammadali Kamfirouzi, the reporter's attorney.

He said that her home was invaded.

Women cut their hair in solidarity

Many Iranians, especially the young, have come to view her killing as part of the Islamic Republic's repressive policing of dissent and the morality police's increasingly brutal treatment of young women.

In the last five days, the protests have evolved into an open challenge to the regime, with women removing and burning their state-mandated headscarves and Iranians screaming for the Islamic Republic's downfall.

"Death to the dictator," has been a prominent rallying cry throughout the protests.

They are the biggest significant protests since 2019 when protests erupted over a government increase in gasoline prices.

One official television host speculated that the death toll from the large demonstrations could reach 17, but did not explain how he arrived at this estimate.

The United States, the European Union, and the United Nations also condemned Miss Amini's death.

A global wave of women has recorded films of themselves shaving their heads in solidarity with Iranian women.

Annalena Baerbock, the German foreign minister, who was in New York on Thursday for the UN General Assembly, criticized the crackdown and pledged to address the violation of women's rights in the UN Human Rights Council.

"The brutal attack on the brave women in Iran is also an attack on humanity," she remarked.

Iranian president demands US journalist wear headscarf

Wednesday in New York, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi addressed the UN General Assembly.

Christiane Amanpour, CNN's main foreign anchor, had planned to challenge Mr. Raisi about the protests during his first US-based interview, but he backed out when she refused to wear a headscarf.

"In New York, there is neither a law nor a custom addressing headscarves. I pointed out that none of the other Iranian presidents I've interviewed outside the country required this "The British-Iranian journalist wrote next to a photograph of Mr. Raisi's vacant chair.

"I couldn't agree to this unprecedented and unexpected condition,"

It would have been crucial to communicate with President Raisi as protests continue in Iran and people are being killed.

Publish : 2022-09-23 10:00:00

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