The unrest, ignited after the death of a young woman in custody after allegedly violating the Islamic dress code, is flaring up across the country for a third week despite government efforts to crack down…reports Asian Lite News
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded publicly on Monday to the biggest protests in Iran in years, breaking weeks of silence to condemn what he called “rioting” and accused the United States and Israel of planning the protests.
The unrest, ignited after the death of a young woman in custody after allegedly violating the Islamic dress code, is flaring up across the country for a third week despite government efforts to crack down. On Monday, Iran shuttered its top technology university following an hours-long standoff between students and the police, that turned the prestigious institution into the latest flashpoint of protests and ended with hundreds of young people arrested.
Speaking to a cadre of police students in Tehran, Khamenei said he was “heartbroken” by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody, calling it a “sad incident”. However, he sharply condemned the protests as a foreign plot to destabilise Iran.
The witnesses, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said the police kept hundreds of students holed up on campus and fired rounds of tear gas to disperse the demonstrations.
The university’s student association said that police and plainclothes officers surrounded the school from all sides and detained at least 300 students as protests rocked the campus after nightfall. Plainclothes officers beat a professor and several university employees, the association reported.
The state-run IRNA news agency sought to downplay the violent standoff, reporting a “protest gathering” took place and ended without casualties. Iran’s latest protest movement, which has produced some of the nation’s most widespread unrest in years, emerged as a response to Amini’s death after her arrest for allegedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress code.
However, it has grown into an open challenge to the Iranian leadership, with chants of “Death to the dictator” echoing from the streets and balconies after dark.