Dubai: President Ibrahim Raisi said on Saturday that Iran must take decisive action to address protests that have spread across the country in response to the death of a woman detained by the Islamic Republic’s morality police.
Thirty-five people have died during the week-long protests, which have now spread to the majority of the country’s 31 provinces. In response to the anti-government protests, state-sponsored rallies were held in several Iranian cities on Friday, and the army vowed to deal with “enemies” who caused unrest.
Iran must “deal strictly with those who oppose the country’s security and peace,” Raisi said on Saturday. Raisi was speaking on the phone with the family of a Basij volunteer while taking part in quelling protests in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad.
The incidents were referred to as riots by the president, who “stressed the distinction between protest and disturbing public order and security.” Protests erupted a week ago in Qoma, northwest Iran, after the police detained the morality police enforcing the hijab law on women’s clothing.
Her death sparked further outrage in Iran over concerns about restrictions on personal freedoms, strict dress codes for women and a weakened economy as a result of the sanctions. Landlines were down and communication links to the northwestern city of Oshanvih were cut, according to the activist Twitter account 1500Tasvir, which has 125,000 followers.
The majority of Iran’s 10 million Kurds live in the country’s northwest, and Osnavih was one of several communities there to observe a strike on Friday. On Friday, the Kurdish rights organization Hengao released a video showing protesters occupying parts of the city.