This is the first anniversary of the death of Jina Mahsa Amini, which sparked the worst protests in Iran in decades. The situation in the country is tense – and the power apparatus is being hit with new sanctions from the West.
With strict security precautions in the Kurdish areas, the Iranian power apparatus is trying to prevent new street protests on the anniversary of the death of resistance icon Jina Mahsa Amini. Eyewitnesses reported on Friday that military units and other emergency services had been deployed to towns around Amini’s hometown of Saghes. Many new surveillance cameras have also been installed. Residents of the Kurdish areas spoke of increased controls.
Human rights activists also reported the temporary arrest of Amini’s father. He had just left his house on Saturday when units of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) arrested him, the Norway-based human rights organization Hengaw reported on Telegram. According to the Paris-based group Kurdistan Human Rights Network, the man was briefly interrogated and then taken home. Amini’s family is said to have been intimidated in the past few weeks. Iran’s state media dismissed the news of Amini’s father’s arrest as a “false report.”
Amini’s death remains unsolved to this day
This Saturday marks the first anniversary of Amini’s death, which triggered the worst uprisings in Iran in decades in autumn 2022. Islamic moral watchdogs arrested the then 22-year-old because she was allegedly wearing a headscarf incorrectly. What exactly happened afterwards remains unclear to this day – the young woman ultimately fell into a coma and died in a hospital.
Amini’s parents early on expressed doubts about the state’s claim that their daughter had died as a result of an illness. They gave numerous interviews to local and international media and thus found themselves in the crosshairs of the judiciary. Thousands of people flocked to Amini’s funeral. Starting in the Kurdish regions, the protests spread like wildfire.
As a result, the young generation in particular took to the streets against the repressive policies of the Islamic leadership under the slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom”. The state authorities violently suppressed the protests that had kept the country in suspense for months. At the behest of the Iranian judiciary, seven men were executed in connection with the demonstrations. As a sign of silent protest, many women still ignore the obligation to wear a headscarf – something that has never happened to this extent in Iran before.
Iran’s regime seals off Amini’s hometown
Amini’s hometown of Saghes was sealed off before the anniversary of her death, residents of the area reported. There were initially no calls for protests out of concern that the emergency services would again resort to violence. People in the Kurdish areas still wanted to mark the anniversary of his death, for example by closing shops. In other cities, too, the power apparatus took precautions against possible new protests. While everyday life has largely been the norm in the past few days, more police officers were seen around public places, especially after dark.
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While demonstrators in Iran fear for their safety, rallies and protests are planned in Germany and other countries to mark the anniversary.
Ahead of the explosive date, the USA and the EU imposed new sanctions in connection with the brutal suppression of the demonstrations. Washington announced on Friday punitive measures against 25 Iranian individuals, three Iranian state-backed media outlets and an Iranian company that conducts internet research.
The US acted in coordination with Great Britain, Canada, Australia and other partners who also wanted to impose sanctions this week, the Foreign Ministry said. In addition, visa restrictions were imposed on 13 Iranian officials who were involved in the arrest or killing of peaceful demonstrators and in restricting freedom of expression and assembly. US President Joe Biden had previously assured the protesters of continued support on the first anniversary of Amini’s death.
According to information from Friday, four people and six institutions and companies are affected by the EU punitive measures. These include two high-ranking police officers, a representative of the elite unit of the Iranian armed forces, as well as several prisons and the Tasnim news agency, which the EU accuses, among other things, of publishing false confessions from protest participants.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.