On Friday, September 30th, Iran said that nine foreigners have been arrested during deadly street protests sparked by the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, as demonstrations across the country entered the third week amid gunfire.
Iran‘s intelligence ministry said “nine foreign nationals from Germany, Poland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, etc. were arrested at or behind the scene of riots”, along with 256 members of outlawed opposition groups.
Dozens have been killed in a crackdown on the protests that erupted when Amini, 22, died in custody three days after her arrest by the notorious morality police in Tehran for allegedly breaching the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.
Her family has said they have been informed that she was beaten to death in custody. Police say Amini died of a heart attack and deny mistreating her, and Iranian officials say her death is under investigation.
Iran has claimed that the daily protests that have swept the country for the past two weeks were instigated by foreigners. Protesters have denied such claims, portraying their actions as a spontaneous uprising against the country’s strict dress code, including the compulsory hijab for women in public places.
Who was Mahsa Amini?
On 16 September 2022, a 22-year-old Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini (Persian: مهسا امینی), also known as Jina Amini or Zhina Amini (Persian: ژینا امینی; Kurdish: ژینا ئەمینی), died in Tehran, Iran, under suspicious circumstances, allegedly due to police brutality.
On Friday, Iranian security forces opened fire on angry protesters, foreign-based opposition media reported.
“Death to the dictator,” bare-headed women chanted in the northwestern city of Ardabil, said Iran International, a Persian-language television station based in London.
In the southwestern city of Ahvaz, footage from the channel also showed, security forces firing tear gas to disperse scores of people streaming onto the streets jeering and shouting anti-government slogans.
In Zahedan, near Iran’s southeastern border with Pakistan, men braved gunfire as they stoned a police station, other footage shared by the channel showed.
Stretcher parties were seen carrying away men bloodied by apparent bullet wounds in the footage, which AFP was unable to immediately verify.
State media said police in Zahedan had returned fire when they came under attack by gunmen, while Ahmad Taheri, the Sistan-Baluchestan provincial police chief, said three police stations were attacked.
“A number of police members, as well as passers-by, have been injured in the exchange of fire,” the state broadcaster said.