Rights Group Says At Least 201 Dead In Unrest Rocking Iran

Iran Human Rights (IHR) says that at least 201 people, including 23 children, have been killed in nationwide protests that have rocked Iran, and the Oslo-based group warned that more fatalities are likely as a “bloody crackdown” against protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman for allegedly wearing a head scarf, or hijab, improperly continues.

IHR said on October 12 that at least 108 people have been killed in protests over the past three weeks since Mahsa Amini died while in police custody, with at least 93 more dead during separate clashes in the city of Zahedan, in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, after the reported rape of a teenage girl by a police commander in the region.

Many of the 108 deaths have occurred in Kurdistan in the western part of Iran, where Amini lived before her death in Tehran while on a trip.

The country’s notorious Morality Police arrested Amini on September 13 saying she was not adhering to the strict mandatory hijab law that forces women to cover their hair while in public. Three days later she died in hospital amid claims by eyewitnesses and her family that Amini had been beaten.

Officials have denied the accusations saying she died of “underlying diseases.” Her family says she was in good health before being arrested.

“The international community must prevent further killings in Kurdistan by issuing an immediate response,” IHR Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said.

The protests quickly spread across the country after officials denied that the dress-code enforcers were responsible before any investigations were done, and senior leaders, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have since suggested that foreign elements are behind the unrest.

Hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi has made similar charges, including at a ceremony on October 8 at Tehran University to mark the start of the new academic year.

After Raisi addressed professors and students at the female-only Alzahra University in Tehran, women students were seen on video posted on social media chanting “Raisi get lost” and “Mullahs get lost.”

The current protests follow a summer of unrest across Iran over poor living conditions, water shortages, and economic difficulties resulting from crippling sanctions that the United States has imposed on Iran over its nuclear program. (Radio Free Europe)