Iran protests continue, threatening Tehran

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Protests in Iran over the death of a 22-year-old woman detained by the country’s ethics police have continued for a third week, even as authorities disrupted the internet, deployed riot troops and attacked those who are considered enemies. foreign.

This playbook of repression has worked before, but spontaneous demonstrations over Massa Amini’s death persist and change.In a recent incident, high school students ousted hardliners, while prominent politicians and Now foreign actresses use scissors to cut their hairfollowing female Iranian protesters who did the same.

The duration and change of the protests poses a new threat to Tehran not seen since Green Movement protests in 2009 brought millions to the streets.

seemingly Spontaneous and leaderless protests – Mainly driven by the upper middle class – has some of the same strengths and weaknesses as it did more than a decade ago. Over time, Iran’s theocracy eventually crushed them. Whether it will do so now remains a question.

Given government restrictions, even in quiet times, it’s hard to get a real sense of what’s going on in Iran, a country of more than 80 million people two and a half times larger than the US state of Texas.

Now, it’s harder. Authorities have detained at least 35 journalists and photographers since the demonstrations began on September 17, According to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Most of the information comes from Video clips that are only a few seconds long that activists managed to upload to the internet.

The protests began at the cemetery of Amini, a Kurdish woman of Iranian descent who was circuitly detained by Iran’s morality police.since Hardline President Ibrahim Raisi was elected last yearEthics Patrol has become more aggressive, with videos circulating of police officers roughing up young women, covering their clothing or a loose mandatory hijab known as a hijab.

The Iranian government has insisted that Amini was not abused, and state television showed footage of her collapsing and being treated at a police station.However, the video of her arrest or being taken to the police station did not appear, even though Five years ago, Tehran began equipping police with body camerasSecurity officials reportedly demanded a speedy burial, sparking outrage in her hometown of Saqqez, some 460 kilometers (285 miles) west of Tehran.

During that demonstration and subsequent demonstrations across the country, protesting women twirled their headscarves and chanted “Death to the dictator!” in Persian, referring to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamene Yi.

It’s a dangerous cry in a country accused of being “mofsed-e-filarz” or “earth-destroyer” through political dissent that could face the death penalty in Iran’s closed-door revolutionary court.

The full scope of the demonstrations and crackdown remains unclear. At least 1,900 arrests were linked to the protests, according to an Associated Press tally of state-run and state-linked media coverage. Demonstrations were reported in at least 50 towns and villages.

State television last suggested that at least 41 people had been killed in demonstrations as of September 24. For nearly two weeks since then, there has been no update from the Iranian government.

An Oslo-based group called Human Rights Iran estimates at least 154 people have been killed, including an estimated 63 in violence in the eastern Iranian city of Zahedan. Iranian authorities have described the violence in Zahedan as involving unnamed separatists, but Iranian human rights groups say the incident began in retaliation for rape allegations by local police.

at the same time, Iran also launches cross-border attack on Kurdish separatists in Iraq And insisted the demonstrations were a foreign conspiracy — all in an apparent attempt to distract from widespread anger over Iran’s mandated hijab.

Demonstrations have become a common feature across the country since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and the chaotic years that followed.Many focus on local issues rather than national political change, such as Farmers uneasy as country’s water supply is drying upteachers want higher salaries or pensioners angered after losing their savings in a widely criticised privatisation campaign.

Student protests against Tehran in 1999. Economic protests swept the country in late 2017 and early 2018.In 2019, the same anger over the government’s removal of gasoline subsidies sparked nationwide protests.

Unlike the previous three waves, this time the hardliners control every lever of power in Iran’s president, judiciary and parliament, meaning they have no one else to blame. The same happened during the Green Movement demonstrations in 2009, Triggered by hard-line President Ahmadinejad’s re-election amid widespread accusations of vote rigging.

Demonstrations in 2009 were also concentrated in urban areas, mainly by middle- and upper-class protesters. Similar crowds are taking part in the current protests, with witnesses saying they have not heard economic slogans from recent rounds of demonstrations. Iranian celebrities and football stars also spoke out.

However, there are still stark differences between 2009 and today. Demonstrations in 2009 saw millions take to the streets. So far, the current protests have not stirred up such a large crowd all at once.

Demonstrations in 2009 also slowed for months, finally ending in 2011, when authorities arrested their leaders during Arab Spring protests.The current demonstrations have not yet reached the four-week mark

The critical moment is yet to come. Iran appears to be gearing up for the start of Iran Week on Saturday, when college students are supposed to resume classes in person. Security forces fired tear gas and pellet guns at students demonstrating at the Sharif University of Science and Technology in Tehran on Sunday, according to the New York-based Iranian Center for Human Rights. That university and others are taking classes online for the rest of the week.

If demonstrations continue in classrooms and streets across Iran, Iran’s hardline government will have to decide what to do next. However, so far there is no sign they will back down.

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Editor’s Note – Associated Press Gulf and Iran news director Jon Gambrell has been reporting from every country in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Iran and the rest of the world since joining The Associated Press in 2006. Follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.



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