Published on September 30, 2022, 10:14 am
Iran is tightening its repression more and more. The country further escalated pressure on celebrities and journalists on Thursday amid a wave of protests sparked by the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, days after she was arrested by police. The suppression of this protest movement since mid-September has already resulted in dozens of deaths, drawing much condemnation abroad.
Iranian filmmakers, musicians, actors and athletes expressed solidarity with the protesters, including the national football team, whose players wore black tracksuits during the anthems ahead of the match in Vienna against Senegal. “We are going to go after the celebrities who fanned the coals during the riots,” said Tehran provincial governor Mohsen Mansouri, who was quoted by the Isna news agency on Thursday in regards to the demonstrations.
Several dozen dead
Iranian Justice Chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei also pointed to celebrities: “Those who have become famous thanks to the support of the system have joined the enemy in difficult days instead of being with the people. Everyone should know that they must compensate for the material and spiritual damage caused to the people and the country,” he said.
For his part, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned that despite the “grief” caused by Amini’s death, “no one is authorized to break the law and wreak havoc.” According to her lawyer, a journalist covering the funeral of Mahsa Amini was arrested on Thursday. This arrest came after the arrest of Nilufar Hamedi, a journalist for the Sharg daily, who went to the hospital where the young Kurd was in a coma and helped bring the case to light.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) announced on Thursday that three more journalists – Farshid Ghorbanpour, Aria Jaffari and Mobin Balouch – were arrested, bringing the total number of arrests to 28. Nearly 60 people have been arrested, according to Iranian news agency Fars. were killed after protests began on September 16, and the Oslo-based NGO Iranian Human Rights reported a death toll of at least 83 people.
Blaming outside forces for the protests, Iran on Wednesday launched cross-border strikes that killed 13 people in Iraqi Kurdistan, accusing armed opposition groups based there of fueling the unrest. According to American diplomacy, a US citizen was killed as a result of these strikes. On Thursday, Iran summoned the French charge d’affaires, condemning France’s “interference” in its internal affairs after Paris denounced the “brutal crackdown” on demonstrations.
Demonstrations of solidarity with Iranian women are taking place around the world, with rallies planned for Saturday in 70 cities. In Afghanistan, the Taliban on Thursday broke up a rally of Afghan women in front of the Iranian embassy in Kabul to support Iranian demonstrators, whose struggle they say they share.
In a statement to the Fars news agency, intelligence agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s ideological army, said they had arrested 50 members of an “organized network” behind “riots in the Shiite holy city of Qom.” Amnesty International has criticized the “widespread practice of illegal use of force and ruthless violence by security forces” in Iran.