Mahsa Amini Death Will Be ‘Steadfastly’ Probed, Iran President Raisi Says In US As Protests Spread Back Home

Mahsa Amini Death Will Be ‘Steadfastly’ Probed, Iran President Raisi Says In US As Protests Spread Back Home

New Delhi: Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi said Thursday the death of a 22-year-old Iranian woman in the custody of the country’s ‘morality police’ must be “steadfastly” investigated, as he faced repeated questions on this at a news briefing in New York on the sidelines of the annual meeting of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, media reports said. Repeating the official claim that Mahsa Amini died of a heart attack, Raisi, however, pointed out that similar custodial deaths had occurred in the US and the UK too, and questioned: “Did all these deaths get investigated?”

He accused the West of “double standards” with regards to human rights, news agency AP reported.

Speaking about the custodial death, Raisi said authorities were doing their job.

“It must certainly be investigated,” he was quoted as saying. “I contacted her family at the very first opportunity and I assured them we would continue steadfastly to investigate that incident.

‘Must Differentiate Between Demonstrators And Vandalism’

Back in Iran, Amini’s death has triggered widespread clashes between protesters and security forces, leading to at least 31 deaths in a security crackdown. 

While Raisi did not outright condemn the protests, he stressed that demonstrations are different from “vandalism”

“What is occurring, having demonstrations … of course, these are normal and fully accepted,” he said. “We must differentiate between demonstrators and vandalism. Demonstrations are good for expressing specific issues.”

Meanwhile, in response to Amini’s death and “other human rights violations in Iran”, the US Thursday imposed sanctions on Iran’s ‘morality police’ and senior security officials “involved in the suppression and killing of non-violent protestors”. 

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“The Morality Police, an element of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF), arrests women for wearing ‘inappropriate’ hijab and enforces other restrictions on freedom of expression. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is further designating Haj Ahmad Mirzaei and Mohammad Rostami Cheshmeh Gachi, both of whom are senior officials in the Morality Police,” a statement issued by the US Department of State read.

The US said Iran must end its “systemic persecution of women and allow peaceful protest”.