Tehran: Protesters in Iran called on Sunday a three-day strike this week as they try to keep up pressure on authorities over the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, with protests planned on the day President Ebrahim Raisi is due to address students in Tehran.
Raisi is expected to visit Tehran University on Wednesday, celebrated in Iran as Student Day.
To coincide with Student Day, protesters are calling for strikes by merchants and a rally towards Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square, according to individual posts shared on Twitter by some anonymous accounts. They have also called for three days of boycotting any economic activity starting on Monday.
Similar calls for strike action and mass mobilization have in past weeks resulted in an escalation in the unrest which has swept the country – some of the biggest anti-government protests since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. The activist HRANA news agency said 470 protesters had been killed as of Saturday, including 64 minors. It said 18,210 demonstrators were arrested and 61 members of the security forces were killed.
Iran’s Interior Ministry state security council said on Saturday the death toll was 200, according to the judiciary’s news agency Mizan. The nationwide protests began after Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman, died in the custody of Iran’s morality police on Sept. 16, after she was detained for violating the hijab restrictions governing how women dress.
Residents posting on social media and newspapers such as Shargh daily say there have been fewer sightings of the morality police on the streets in recent weeks as authorities try to avoid provoking more protests. On Saturday, Iran’s Public Prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was cited by the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency as saying that the morality police had been disbanded.
“The same authority which has established this police have shut it down,” Montazeri was quoted as saying.
Iran’s Interior Ministry, which is the authority in charge of the morality police, has yet to comment on the status of the force, which is tasked with monitoring Iranians’ clothing and public behaviour. Montazeri said the morality police was not under the judiciary’s authority, which continues to monitor behavioural actions at the community level.
Top Iranian officials have repeatedly said Tehran would not change its mandatory hijab policy or the way it enforces this policy. State media said four men convicted of cooperating with Israel’s spy agency Mossad were executed on Sunday.
They had been arrested in June – before the current unrest sweeping the country – following cooperation between the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards, Tasnim news agency reported. The Islamic Republic has long accused arch-enemy Israel of carrying out covert operations on its soil. Tehran has recently accused Israeli and Western intelligence services of plotting civil war in Iran.
Iranian state media reported on Wednesday that the country’s Supreme Court had upheld the death sentence handed out to the four men for the crime of cooperating with the intelligence services of the Zionist regime and for kidnapping.
Three other people were given jail sentences of between five and 10 years after being convicted of crimes that included acting against national security, aiding in kidnapping, and possessing illegal weapons, the Mehr news agency said.