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Iran tells Europe to take a 'realistic approach' to Mahsa Amini protests

Iran is preparing for another day of unrest today, as demonstrators are expected to take to the streets in large numbers.

IRAN HAS CALLED on the European Union to adopt a “realistic approach” regarding the protests over Mahsa Amini’s death as the bloc prepares to impose new sanctions on the Islamic republic.

Earlier this week, agreed to level new sanctions on the Islamic republic over the “crackdown” during a month of demonstrations over Amini’s death. The move is due to be endorsed at the bloc’s foreign ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.

“We recommend that Europeans look at the issue with a realistic approach,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in a phone call yesterday.

In a separate statement, Amir-Abdollahian said: “Who would believe that the death of one girl is so important to Westerners?”

“If it is so, what did they do regarding the hundreds of thousands of martyrs and deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Lebanon?” he added.


Iran has been rocked by protests since Amini’s death on 16 September, three days after she was arrested by morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.

The street violence has led to dozens of deaths, mostly among protestors but also members of the security forces, while hundreds have been arrested.

The country is preparing for another day of unrest today, as demonstrators are expected to take to the streets in large numbers, despite cuts to the internet being reported.

Online monitor NetBlocks today reported a “new major disruption to internet traffic in #Iran” from around 10:00 am (07.30am Irish time).

Despite blocked access to the internet, including platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp, activists issued an online appeal for a huge turnout for protests today under the catchcry “The beginning of the end!”

They have called on people across Iran to show up at spots where the security forces are not present and to chant “Death to the dictator” – a reference to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

 In response to the call for fresh protests, one of Iran’s main revolutionary bodies, the Islamic Development Coordination Council, has urged people to “express their revolutionary anger against sedition and rioters”.

Biden’s support

The women-led protests have won support from the US president.

“I want you to know that we stand with the citizens, the brave women of Iran,” Joe Biden said late last night.

“It stunned me what it awakened in Iran. It awakened something that I don’t think will be quieted for a long, long time,” he said.

At least 108 people have been killed in the Amini protests, and at least 93 more have died in separate clashes in Zahedan, capital of the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, according to Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights.

The unrest has continued despite what Amnesty International called an “unrelenting brutal crackdown” that included an “all-out attack on child protesters” – leading to the deaths of at least 23 minors.

 “Anchor of stability”

In this phone call to Jospeh Borrell, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that Iran was not “the land of velvet or colour coups”, in reference to Western-backed protest movements in Europe and elsewhere.

“Iran is the anchor of lasting stability and security in the region,” he added, according to a ministry statement earlier today. 

Borrell meanwhile stressed that “people in Iran have the right to peaceful protest and to defend fundamental rights”.

“Violent repression must stop immediately. Protesters must be released,” he wrote on Twitter yesterday, adding that “internet access and accountability are needed”.

Iranian officials have previously criticised Western “hypocrisy” over the issue of human rights.

“It is not right that in Europe, the most violent confrontation with riots is a good and acceptable act, but the same act within the legal framework in Iran is considered repression,” Amir-Abdollahian told Borrell.

The United States, Canada and Britain have already imposed sanctions on Iranian officials and entities over the protests.

Tehran has warned of tit-for-tat measures if the EU makes a similar move.

– © AFP 2022

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