At least 92 killed in Iran’s Mahsa Amini protests

At least 92 people have been killed as Iran cracked down on women-led protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the notorious vice squad, the Iran Human Rights group said Sunday.

Kurdish Iranian Amini, 22, was pronounced dead on September 16 after being detained for allegedly violating rules requiring women to wear hijab headscarves and modest clothing.

A further 41 people died Friday in fighting in far southeastern Iran, an area bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan, Oslo-based IHR reported citing local sources and said the protests had been sparked by allegations that a police chief in the region teenage girl of the Baluch minority had raped.

Solidarity rallies with Iranian women — who have defiantly burned the hijabs they’ve been forced to wear since the 1979 Islamic revolution — have been held worldwide, with demonstrations in more than 150 cities on Saturday.

Clashes between Iranian protesters and security forces have rocked cities across the country for 16 nights in a row after they first flared up in the western regions of Iran’s Kurdish minority, where Amini came from.

“Rooters” and “thugs,” some smoldering Molotov cocktails, attacked the Tehran headquarters in Iran on Saturday of Iran’s leading ultra-conservative daily Kayhan, the paper, whose director has been appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

IHL director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam urged the international community to take urgent steps against the Islamic republic to stop the killing of Iranian protesters, saying this amounts to “crimes against humanity”.

‘Teenage girl raped’

At least 92 protesters have been killed in the Mahsa Amini rallies so far, said IHR, which has been working to assess the death toll despite internet outages and blockages on WhatsApp, Instagram and other online services.

London-based Amnesty International previously said it had confirmed 53 deaths after the semi-official Fars news agency said last week that “about 60” people had died.

While Tehran also struggled with unrest in the southeast of the country, five members of the Revolutionary Guard were killed Friday in clashes in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province.

The poverty-stricken region has seen frequent clashes with Baluchi minority rebels, Sunni Muslim extremist groups and drug smuggling gangs.

But a Sunni Muslim preacher, Molavi Abdol Hamid, said the community was “on fire” after the alleged rape of a teenage girl by a police officer in the province, in a post on the cleric’s website on Wednesday.

IHL accused the mostly Shia country’s security forces of “bloody repression” of the Zahedan protest that broke out after Friday prayers over allegations that a police chief in the provincial town of Chabahar raped a 15-year-old girl from the Sunni Baluch minority.

Iran has accused outside forces of fueling the nationwide protests, most notably its nemesis the United States and Washington’s western allies.

Iran’s intelligence ministry said on Friday that nine foreigners – including from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland – have been arrested “on or behind the riot scene” along with 256 members of banned opposition groups.

American-Iranian released

The turmoil comes as Iran seeks to revive its 2015 nuclear deal with the United States and other major powers to end sanctions that have curbed its oil-rich economy and have sent South Korea, China and Japan billions of dollars of Iranian dollars. funds freeze.

The landmark agreement in Vienna — which had promised sanctions relief in return for strict nuclear controls — has shattered since US President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 and Iran later withdrew from its own obligations.

In a rare concession, Iran has released a detained Iranian-American, Baquer Namazi, 85, from the country and released his son Siamak Namazi, 50, from detention, the United Nations confirmed on Saturday.

Baquer Namazi is a former UNICEF official who was detained in February 2016 when he went to Iran to press for the release of Siamak, who had been arrested in October of the previous year.

Both were convicted of espionage in October 2016 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Iranian state media said on Sunday that, following the release of the prisoner, Iran is now awaiting the release of about $7 billion in foreign funds.

“With the conclusion of negotiations between Iran and the United States to release the detainees of both countries, $7 billion of Iran’s blocked funds will be released,” state news agency IRNA said.

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