Iran summoned the British and Norwegian ambassadors over what it called interference and hostile media coverage of nationwide unrest triggered by the death of a woman detained by morality police, the semi-official ISNA news agency said yesterday.
Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian also criticised US support for “rioters” — the label Tehran has used for many who have joined the protests which have swept the country, prompting a security crackdown and curbs on Internet and phones.
Demonstrations which erupted more than a week ago at the funeral of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman named Mahsa Amini, who died in detention after being arrested by police enforcing the Islamic Republic’s strict restrictions on women’s dress, have turned into the biggest protests in years.
Clashes continued between security forces and protesters in several northwestern regions, according to sources in the cities of Tabriz, Urmia, Rasht and Hamedan. The sister of a 20-year-old woman identified as Hadis Najafi told a US-based activist in remarks published yesterday that she had died after being shot by security forces.
Videos of Najafi had been widely shared on Twitter, showing her without hijab and participating in protests in Karaj, 30km northwest of Tehran. President Ebrahim Raisi has said Iran ensures freedom of expression and that he has ordered an investigation into Amini’s death in detention.
He also said that “acts of chaos” were unacceptable and that Iran must deal decisively with the unrest.
At the United Nations, he said extensive coverage of Amini’s case was “double standards”, pointing to deaths in US police custody.
Amirabdollahian said the United States was supporting ‘rioters’ and seeking to destabilise Iran, a stance it said contradicted American calls for stability in the region and for a nuclear deal with Tehran.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Britain’s ambassador in response to the “hostile character” of London-based Persian language media.
Britain’s foreign ministry said it was a champion of media freedom and that it condemned Iran’s “crackdown on protesters, journalists and Internet freedom.”
The Norwegian envoy was also summoned to explain the “interventionist stance” of the country’s parliament speaker Masud Gharahkhani, who has expressed support for the protesters on Twitter.
Gharahkhani, who was born in Tehran, continued to speak out yesterday, writing on Twitter: “If my parents had not made the choice to flee in 1987, I would have been one of those fighting in the streets with my life on the line.” The protests are the largest to sweep the country since demonstrations over fuel prices in 2019, when
Reuters reported 1,500 people were killed in a crackdown on protesters.
Iranian pro-government protesters wave their national flag during a rally against the recent anti-government protests, in Tehran, yesterday.