Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday that his government will act decisively on protests that broke out after the death of a 22-year-old woman in the custody of the religious police, Reuters reported.
Raisi said that the country must “deal decisively with those who oppose the country’s security and tranquility”.
The protests broke out a week ago at the funeral of Mahsa Amini, who was detained on September 13 in Tehran by the police unit that enforces the country’s obligatory dress codes, including the mandatory wearing of the headscarf in public. The police accused her of wearing hijab in an “improper manner”, according to AFP.
Officials say that she died of a heart attack on September 16 while in custody. However, critics believe she was physically assaulted in detention on accusations of violating the hijab mandate.
Protests over the incident have left at least 50 persons dead.
Raisi on Saturday said there was a need “to distinguish between protest and disturbing public order and security” and described the ongoing events as a riot, Reuters quoted state media as saying.
On Thursday, the Iranian president had warned protesters on Thursday against creating chaos in the country.
“There is freedom of expression in Iran... but acts of chaos are unacceptable,” said Raisi. “If there is a party at fault, it certainly must be investigated. I contacted the family of the deceased at the very first opportunity and I assured them personally that we will continue steadfastly to investigate the incident.”
Meanwhile, the country’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Saturday that Amini was not beaten in custody, the BBC reported.
“Reports from oversight bodies were received, witnesses were interviewed, videos were reviewed, forensic opinions were obtained and it was found that there had been no beating,” he said.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Saturday attacked a Kurdish militant base in northern Iraq amid the protests, the Associated Press reported.
The attacks were reportedly in response to support by the militant group for the demonstrations and their alleged attempts to push weapons into Iran.
According to the Iran Human Rights, the protests have spread to 80 towns and cities in the country. Women have led the demonstrations, with many removing their headscarves and burning them as men cheered them on, videos on social media showed.