Protests continue in at least 14 Iranian cities, where Iranian security forces have killed at least seven protesters since Saturday, when the first crowds took to the streets after 22-year-old Jîna Amini’s funeral, as reported by Iranian human rights organisation Hengaw. Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi avoided speaking about the protests facing his country.
Centre for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) Executive Director, Hadi Ghaemi, reported eight casualties on Wednesday. Esmail Zarei Kousha, Governor of Iran’s Kurdistan province, recognised some of the deaths, telling reporters on Tuesday that three people had died “suspiciously” during “illegal protests”, but he blamed the deaths on “enemies of the regime”.
Since Amini’s death in police custody on Friday, following her arrest for allegedly wearing the compulsory hijab ‘improperly’, at least 450 people have been injured in protests, while more than 500 protesters, mostly citizens of Kurdish origin, have been arrested, according to Hengaw. At least 190 of the arrestees have already been sent to prison.
Tuesday also saw Iranians in Turkey stage a protest in Istanbul, with men and women chanting, “No to compulsory hijab”.
Turkey’s feminist groups gathered in several provinces, including the capital, Ankara, on Wednesday, in solidarity with Iranian women.
“Women’s solidarity knows no borders,” a spokeswoman for the Ankara Women’s Platform said. “As Iranian women say, you cannot force us to go to your own paradise. Mahsa (Jîna) Amini’s killer is the mullah regime.”
When police moved to stop the press statement, the crowd responded with the famed Kurdish feminist slogan, “Jin Jiyan Azadî”, which translates as “Woman Life Freedom”.
The slogan has been a staple in all the protests in Iran’s Kurdistan province, and is also being used in other regions in Iran, including in the capital Tehran and the Western Azerbaijan province.
University students have continued their protests in Tehran, with Allameh Tabatab’i University students chanting “Do not sit down, you are the next Mahsa”, ICHRI reported.
Meanwhile, others in Tehran were chanting “Death to the dictator”, with much of their ire focused on Iran’s Supreme leader, Ali Khamanei.
Khamanei had been on bed rest since Friday, but appeared on television on Wednesday for the second time in a week, Reuters reported. His 55 minute speech focused on the need to “teach young Iranians … not to fall for the deception of Western powers”, while avoiding any mention of the ongoing protests.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi also refrained from addressing the matter.
“We are defenders of a fight against injustice in all of its forms – injustice against humanity, against spirituality, against the almighty, against the people of the world, no matter where it may occur,” Raisi said.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran rejects the double standards of some governments vis-à-vis human rights and sees this as the most important factor that has rendered banal the topic of human rights in many people’s eyes,” he continued.
Raisi said Iran was “creating a dialogue” about the deaths of “tens of innocent women” in the West, including the suffering of First-Nation Canadians, irregular migrants in the United States who have been separated from their children, and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in occupied territories.
“As long as we have these double standards where attention is focused solely on one side, and not equally, we will not have true justice and fairness,” Raisi said. “Human rights belong to all, but unfortunately are trampled upon by many governments.”