Iran criticizes Western stance on mass protests

Photo: Reuters.

Iran summoned ambassadors of the UK and Norway over what it called interference and negative media coverage of the nationwide unrest triggered by the death of a woman detained by the morality police, Reuters reported.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian also criticized US support for “rioters.”

Protests that 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, 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, Reuters reported. Activists said there were also protests in districts of the capital, Tehran.

In a statement posted on social media on Sunday, a main teachers union called for teachers and students to stage the first national strike since the unrest began, on Monday and Wednesday.

It urged teachers, trade unions, military veterans and artists to “stand with pupils, students and people seeking justice in these difficult but hopeful days.”

Details of casualties have trickled out slowly, partly because of the restrictions on communication.

Amnesty International has said that at least 30 people have been reportedly killed in the violent protests.

The sister of a 20-year-old woman identified as Hadis Najafi told a U.S.-based activist that she died on Wednesday after being shot by security forces. Videos of Najafi had been shared on Twitter, showing her without hijab and protesting in Karaj, 30 km (20 miles) northwest of Tehran.

According to Reuters report, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Iran should “immediately stop the violent crackdown on protests and ensure internet access.”

He also called for information on the number of people killed and arrested, and an investigation into “the killing of Mahsa Amini.”

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi has said his country ensures freedom of expression and ordered an investigation into Amini’s death.

He also said that “acts of chaos” were unacceptable and that Iran must deal decisively with the unrest.

Raeesi said at the United Nations that extensive coverage of Amini’s case was “double standards,” pointing to deaths in US police custody.