Iran says arrests 9 foreigners linked to Mahsa Amini protests

Nationals from Germany, Poland, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Sweden among those detained



Published: Fri 30 Sep 2022, 9:14 PM

Last updated: Fri 30 Sep 2022, 9:36 PM

Iran said Friday that nine foreigners were arrested over deadly street protests sparked by the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, as demonstrations across the country entered a third week amid gunfire.

Dozens have been killed in a crackdown on the protests that erupted when Amini, 22, died in custody three days after her arrest by the notorious morality police in Tehran for allegedly breaching the Islamic republic's strict dress code for women.

On Friday, Iranian security forces opened fire on angry protesters, foreign-based opposition media reported.

Iran's intelligence ministry said "nine foreign nationals from Germany, Poland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, etc. were arrested at or behind the scene of riots", along with 256 members of outlawed opposition groups.

In the southwestern city of Ahvaz, security forces fired tear gas to disperse scores of people who streamed onto the streets jeering and shouting anti-government slogans, in another video shared by the channel.

In Zahedan, near Iran's southeastern border with Pakistan, men braved gunfire as they stoned a police station, other footage shared by the channel showed.

Stretcher parties were seen carrying away men bloodied by apparent bullet wounds in the footage, which AFP was unable to immediately verify.

State media said police in Zahedan had returned fire when they came under attack by gunmen, while Ahmad Taheri, the Sistan-Baluchestan provincial police chief, said three police stations were attacked.

"A number of police members as well as passers-by have been injured in the exchange of fire," the state broadcaster said.

A leading Iranian human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, told US news magazine Time that she expected the protests to go on regardless of the intensity of the authorities' crackdown.

"What the people want is regime change, and no return to the past," said Sotoudeh, who is on medical furlough from a 38-year jail sentence for her advocacy work.

"And what we can see from the current protests and strikes that are now being initiated is a very real possibility of regime change."

Amnesty said it had obtained a leaked official document issued to the commanders of armed forces in all provinces on September 21 instructing them to "severely confront" protesters.

Amnesty's warning comes as Iran presses ahead with an intensifying crackdown that has seen the arrest of many journalists, activists and other prominent figures.

Former Iranian international footballer Hossein Maahini was arrested Friday after supporting the protests on his social media accounts, state media said.

Iranian football fans, meanwhile, asked Fifa to ban their national team from this year's World Cup in Qatar over the crackdown.

Security forces also arrested singer Shervin Hajipour, whose song "Baraye" ("For") made up of tweets about the protests went viral on Instagram, the rights group Article 19 said.

His song, which racked up millions of views, has now been removed from his Instagram account.

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