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Assault on police station: 19 dead: German arrested in unrest in Iran

Storm on police station: 19 dead
German arrested in unrest in Iran

The unrest in Iran after the death of a young woman in police custody is entering its third week. A storm at a police station in the southeast kills 19 people. The Iranian secret service has announced nine arrests of foreigners.

According to the government there, nine foreigners, including at least one German, were arrested in connection with the protests in Iran. These foreigners were arrested “on the spot” or “involved in the unrest,” according to intelligence sources. The security forces are cracking down on the protests sparked by the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody. During the day, there were apparently exchanges of gunfire with government opponents.

According to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, the nine arrested foreigners come from Germany, Poland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and other countries. No further details were given as to the reasons and circumstances of their arrest. In addition, 256 members of banned opposition groups were arrested, the ministry said.

According to Iranian state media, 19 people have been killed in clashes in southeastern Iran. A colonel of the Revolutionary Guards was among the dead in Sistan-Baluchestan province, regional governor Hossein Chiabani told a state broadcaster. 20 other people were injured. The protests have been going on for two weeks now. According to earlier information from the human rights organization Iran Human Rights (IHR), at least 83 people were killed as a result of the harsh behavior of the security forces. The semi-official Iranian news agency Fars reported around 60 deaths at noon.

Shots after storming the police station

London-based television channel Iran International showed footage from the southeastern city of Sahedan, apparently showing police officers firing their guns at men who were attacking a police station. Also seen were men with bleeding wounds lying on stretchers. However, the AFP news agency was initially unable to verify the authenticity of these images.

Iranian state media reported that attackers in Sahedan, the capital of Sistan-Balutschestan province, first fired live ammunition, but the police returned fire. The attackers also threw Molotov cocktails. Several police officers and passers-by were injured in the exchange of fire, state television reported. According to regional police chief Achmed Taheri, three police stations were attacked.

Another video posted by Iran International showed security forces apparently using tear gas to disperse a crowd in the southwestern city of Achwas. In the northwestern city of Ardabil, women without headscarves shouted “Death to the dictator!”, according to Iran International.

Amnesty speaks of orders to shoot

During the protests, women keep taking off the mandatory headscarves, sometimes even burning the scarves. The 22-year-old Amini was apparently arrested two and a half weeks ago by the moral police in the capital Tehran because she had not worn the Islamic headscarf according to the rules. According to activists, she was beaten by the police and later died in hospital as a result.

Amnesty International accused the Iranian authorities of deliberately using deadly force to quell the protests. According to an official document leaked to the human rights organization, the commander of the armed forces in Masandaran province instructed his subordinates to “act mercilessly, even to the point of causing deaths, against any kind of unrest by rioters and anti-revolutionaries”.

Targeting celebrities and journalists

Recently, Iran had also increased the pressure on celebrities and journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists said it documented the arrest of at least 29 journalists. According to a report by the state news agency IRNA, the Iranian ex-soccer player Hossein Manahi was also arrested in the afternoon after supporting the protests in the online networks.

The security forces also arrested the singer Shervin Hajipur, as several Iranian exile media and the human rights group Article 19 reported. His song “Baraje” (“For”), compiled from Twitter posts about the protests, had been viewed millions of times on Instagram.

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