PARIS/DUBAI: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday accused arch-foes the United States and Israel of fomenting the wave of nationwide unrest sparked by outrage over the death of Mahsa Amini.

“I say clearly that these riots and the insecurity were engineered by America and the occupying, false Zionist regime, as well as their paid agents, with the help of some traitorous Iranians abroad,” the supreme leader said.

In his first public comments since Amini’s death, 83-year-old Ayatollah Khamenei stressed that police must “stand up to criminals” and added that “whoever attacks the police leaves the people defenceless against criminals, thugs, thieves”.

“The death of the young woman broke our hearts,” said the supreme leader. “But what is not normal is that some people, without proof or an investigation, have made the streets dangerous, burned the Koran, removed hijabs from veiled women and set fire to mosques and cars”.

Canada imposes new sanctions on Tehran for alleged human rights violations

“Those who ignited unrest to sabotage the Islamic Republic deserve harsh prosecution and punishment,” the Ayatollah said.

The protests have not abated despite a growing death toll and an increasingly violent crackdown by security forces using tear gas, clubs and — in some cases, according to videos on social media and rights groups — live ammunition.

Protests continued across Iran on Monday, with university students staging strikes after security forces clashed with students at Tehran’s prominent Sharif University on Sunday. Dozens of students were arrested and many have been injured according to social media posts and videos. Iran’s state news agency said most of arrested students were released on Monday.

Authorities said only doctoral students at Sharif University would be allowed on campus until further notice, state media reported.

Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights posted videos apparently showing police on motorcycles chasing students running through an underground car park and taking away detainees whose heads were covered in black cloth bags.

Iran has repeatedly accused outside forces of stoking the protests and last week said nine foreign nationals -- including from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland -- had been arrested.

The parents of Italian woman Alessia Piperno, 30, from Rome, said they lost contact with their daughter after speaking to her on Wednesday — her birthday — but then received a phone call on Sunday to say she was in jail. “They arrested me. I am in a prison in Tehran. Please help me,” she told them, according to Il Messaggero, Rome’s daily newspaper.

She added: “I’m fine but there are people here who say they have been inside for months and for no reason. I fear I won’t be let out again. Help me.” Italy’s foreign ministry has so far made no comment on the identity of the Italian held.

Canada imposes new curbs

Canada imposed new sanctions on Iran on Monday for alleged human rights violations, the Canadian government said.

“These sanctions are in response to gross human rights violations that have been committed in Iran, including its systematic persecution of women and in particular, the egregious actions committed by Iran’s so-called ‘Morality Police’, which led to the death of Mahsa Amini while under their custody,” the Canadian government said in a statement.

These new measures built on Canada’s existing sanctions against Iran and listed 25 individuals and nine entities, including officials in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its ministry of intelligence and security, the Canadian government said.

Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Retracted offer
04 Dec, 2022

Retracted offer

WITH so many U-turns under his belt, it was hardly surprising when on Saturday, PTI chairman Imran Khan decided to...
Embassy attack
Updated 04 Dec, 2022

Embassy attack

The Taliban should have enhanced the existing security arrangements.
Smog season
04 Dec, 2022

Smog season

FOR the past week, major cities of Pakistan have been among the top most polluted cities in the world. Lahore ranked...
Fleeting good news
Updated 03 Dec, 2022

Fleeting good news

Indeed, there is no other option to get out of the economic mess we have created in the last few years.
Battle for spoils
03 Dec, 2022

Battle for spoils

THE spectacle playing out inside a London courtroom shines a light on the struggle for control of the assets of the...
CM Bizenjo’s complaint
03 Dec, 2022

CM Bizenjo’s complaint

BALOCHISTAN Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo’s claim that his province is facing a financial crunch due to ...