Iran to 'take action' against celebrities over Mahsa Amini protests

Tehran provincial governor says famous people have 'fanned the flames of the riots'

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Iran has vowed to “take action” on celebrities and journalists who have backed protests over the death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the country's so-called morality police.

Actors, musicians and sportspeople have supported the demonstrations, with the Iran national football team remaining in black tracksuits during anthems before a match against Senegal in Vienna, which many saw as a sign of support for the movement.

“We will take action against the celebrities who have fanned the flames of the riots,” Tehran provincial governor Mohsen Mansouri said on Thursday, according to the ISNA news agency.

Iran's judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said “those who became famous thanks to support from the system have joined the enemy when times are difficult”.

The warnings came after almost two weeks of protests across Iran and a deadly government crackdown.

Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights said at least 83 people, including children, have died.

Public anger flared after Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died on September 16, three days after her arrest for allegedly breaching Iran's strict rules for women on wearing hijab headscarves and modest clothing.

“Woman, Life, Freedom!” protesters have chanted ever since, in Iran's biggest demonstrations in almost three years, in which women have defiantly burned their headscarves and cut their hair.

President Ebrahim Raisi warned that, despite “grief and sorrow” over Amini's death, public security “is the red line of the Islamic republic of Iran and no one is allowed to break the law and cause chaos”.

Iran on Thursday slammed “interference” in its internal affairs by France over a statement in support of the protests, having earlier complained to Britain and Norway.

Solidarity protests with Iranian women have been held worldwide, and rallies are planned in 70 cities Saturday.

One protest erupted in Afghanistan's capital Kabul, where women rallied outside Iran's embassy with banners that read: “Iran has risen, now it's our turn!” and “From Kabul to Iran, say no to dictatorship!”

Forces of the ruling hardline Taliban fired their guns into the air to disperse the crowd, then swiftly snatched the banners and tore them up, an AFP correspondent reported.

Journalist arrested after covering funeral

Iran on Thursday arrested reporter Elahe Mohammadi, who had covered Amini's funeral, her lawyer said. She is the latest of a growing number of journalists to be detained.

Police have also arrested journalist Niloufar Hamedi of the reformist Shargh daily, who went to the hospital where Amini lay in a coma and helped expose the case to the world.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said on Thursday that three additional journalists, Farshid Ghorbanpour, Aria Jaffari and Mobin Balouch, had been arrested, bringing the total to 28.

Intelligence officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps arrested 50 members of “an organised network” behind the “riots” in the holy Shiite city of Qom, the Guards said, according to Fars news agency.

Updated: September 30, 2022, 6:47 AM
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