Iran president says Amini’s death was ‘a tragic event’ but ‘chaos’ was unacceptable

Iran president says Amini's death was 'a tragic event' but 'chaos' was unacceptable
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  • Raisi says Amini’s death upsets everyone
  • Says ‘chaos’ is unacceptable, supports security forces
  • Death toll rises as protests spread to more than 80 cities
  • Woman’s death in custody of morality police sparks protests

DUBAI, Sept. 28 (Reuters) – Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday said the death of a young woman in custody “upsets” everyone in the Islamic Republic, but warned that “chaos” would not be acceptable as violent protests against Mahsa escalated. Amini’s death.

Amini’s death two weeks ago sparked anti-government protests in Iran, with protesters often calling for an end to the Islamic religious establishment’s over four decades in power.

In an interview with state television, Raisi said, “This tragic event has upset us all… (However) Chaos is unacceptable,” as protests continued across the country.

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“The government’s red line is the security of our people… People cannot be allowed to disturb the peace of society with riots.”

Despite the rising death toll and violent crackdown by security forces using tear gas, sticks and in some cases real ammunition, social media videos showed Iranians continuing to protest and chanting “Death to the dictator”.

Still, the collapse of the Islamic Republic seems far-fetched in the near term, as its leaders are determined not to show the kind of weakness that they believe determined the fate of the US-backed Shah in 1979, a senior Iranian official told Reuters.

Furious demonstrations have spread to more than 80 cities across the country since September. Amini, 22, died at 13 after being arrested for “inappropriate dress” by the morality police, which enforces the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.

Amini, from the northwestern Kurdish city of Saqez, died in hospital after falling into a coma, sparking the first major protest on the streets of Iran since authorities suppressed protests against the rise in gasoline prices in 2019.

Raisi, who ordered an investigation into Amini’s death, said that “forensics will provide a report on his death in the coming days.”

While Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has yet to comment on the protests, a strict watchdog organization urged the judiciary to “decidely deal with the main perpetrators and those responsible for killing and injuring innocent people and security forces.”

Khamenei appointed six senior clerics of the 12-member body known as the Guardian Council.


State media said 41 people were killed during the protests, including police and a pro-government militia. Iranian human rights groups reported a higher wage.

Raisi supported the Iranian security forces, saying they “sacrificed their lives to ensure the security of the country”.

Dozens of Iranian celebrities, football players and artists supported the demonstrations at home and abroad. According to state media, Iran’s strict judiciary said they would file charges against them.

Raisi warned that “whoever participated and sparked chaos and riots will be held accountable”, adding that “no one should be afraid to express their views”.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday they had fired missiles and drones at militant targets in the Kurdish region of neighboring northern Iraq, where an official said nine people had been killed. Read more

Iranian officials have accused armed Iranian Kurdish dissidents of fueling unrest, particularly in the northwest, which is home to most of Iran’s more than 10 million Kurds.

Washington condemned the attack, calling it an “unjustified violation of Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity”. Read more

Earlier on Wednesday, protesters in Tehran shouted, “Mullahs, get lost!” A video of him chanting slogans was shown. “Death to the dictator!” and “Death to the leader (Hamenei) for all these years of crime!”

Reuters was unable to verify the authenticity of the videos on social media.

Rights groups reported hundreds of arrests, including human rights defenders, lawyers, civil society activists and at least 18 journalists.

Amini’s death sparked widespread international condemnation. Iran blamed Kurdish dissidents and “bandits” linked to “enemies” for the unrest.

Tehran has accused the United States and some European countries of using the unrest to try to destabilize the Islamic Republic.

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Additional reports of Ali Sultan in Süleymaniye; The writing of Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Alistair Bell

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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