According to local media reports, security forces in the Iranian capital Tehran used violence against students. Police officers and militias sealed off the campus of the renowned Sharif University after protests on Monday night. According to the Iranian news portal “Emtedad”, several professors at the elite university were also beaten.
Since the beginning of the nationwide protests in Iran, students at numerous universities have demonstrated against the leadership of the Islamic Republic and its repressive course. The authorities then canceled lectures in many cities. At the Sharif University, all lectures were suspended from Monday until further notice. Videos shared thousands of times on social media, the authenticity of which could not initially be verified, showed a strong presence of security forces.
Mobilization despite internet blockades
Earlier, Iran’s parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf said protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini could destabilize the country. He instructed the security forces to crack down on those who threatened the security of the Islamic Republic.
Posts on social media show that protests and clashes with police in Tehran continue despite government blockades. Many people accused the militias online of using violence and live ammunition against students. The state media meanwhile spoke of a calm situation and accused the media abroad of spreading lies.
Demands for reform or overthrow
Meanwhile, the parliament speaker tried to criminalize some of the demonstrators. While the current protests are aimed at overthrowing the government, previous rallies over teacher and pensioner pay have simply called for reforms. “I call on those who are justifiably demonstrating not to allow their protests to be exploited for demands for a coup.”
In a first statement on the protests, Iran’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the United States and Israel for the unrest. The protests did not come from “ordinary Iranians,” he said, according to state media.
A good two weeks ago, the moral police arrested Mahsa Amini because of her alleged “un-Islamic outfit”. What happened to Amini after that is unclear. The woman fell into a coma and died in a hospital on September 16. Critics accuse the morality police of using violence; the police deny it. Since the young woman’s death, thousands of people have been demonstrating across the country against the repressive course taken by the government and security forces.
Germany, together with other EU states, is calling for further EU sanctions against the country in view of the actions taken by Iranian security forces against the women’s protests. “There must be consequences for those responsible for the death of Mahsa Amini and the violent suppression of the protests in Iran,” said the Foreign Office in Berlin. “That is why, together with France, Denmark, Italy, Spain and the Czech Republic, we have submitted sixteen concrete proposals to our partners in the European Union on which individuals and organizations in Iran should be subject to sanctions.”
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock praised the courage of Iranian women on Twitter.
It is “difficult to bear” that foreign policy options are limited, Baerbock continues. “But we can amplify their voice, create publicity, accuse and sanction. And we do that.”
fab/jj (dpa, ape)