US condemns death of Iranian woman in religious police custody while demonstrations erupt in Tehran

The US State Department has condemned the killing of an Iranian woman in police custody after she was detained for not wearing a head covering.

Outrage over the death of Mahsa Amini is growing both domestically inside Iran, according to reports from opposition groups, as well as around the world.

The 22-year-old’s death last Friday has sparked a new wave of resistance against Iran’s religious police and morality rules, including from some prominent left-leaning members of the country’s parliament. Protests have broken out in dozens of cities across the country, according to anti-government sources.

“Mahsa Amini’s death after injuries sustained while in police custody for wearing an ‘improper’ hijab is an appalling and egregious affront to human rights,” a spokesperson for Joe Biden’s National Security Council told reporters. “Our thoughts are with Mahsa’s family and loved ones.”

“Women in Iran should have the right to wear what they want, free from violence or harassment. Iran must end its use of violence against women for exercising their fundamental freedoms,” they continued. “There must be accountability for Mahsa’s death.”

In the US, protests continued with new fervour outside the United Nations’s headquarters as well as a nearby hotel where Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s president, is staying as he attends a meeting of the General Assembly. Thousands of protesters gathered in the streets on Wednesday, demanding justice.

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Anti-Raisi protesters in the streets of New York City

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Anti-Raisi protesters in the streets of New York City

(OIAC)

“No one can nor should remain silent regarding the barbaric murders of the young 22-year-old Mahsa Amini by this brutal regime,” said Dr Ramesh Sepehrrad, advisory chair of the Organization of Iranian-American Communities.

Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, added that Ms Amini’s death “ignited the powder keg in our rebellious cities”.

“Indeed, the moment this murderer enters the building that is supposed to serve the nations of the world is a moment of shame and disgrace for those who appease the ruling religious fascism, a moment that scars the conscience of humanity,” Ms Rajavi added of Mr Raisi’s upcoming speech to the General Assembly.

At least some in the body appear to agree, as the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for an investigation into Ms Amini’s death and alleged torture.

The Biden administration remains engaged in negotiations with Iran’s leadership regarding a possible resumption of the 2015 nuclear deal signed between the Obama administration, Tehran, and a handful of European countries.

Senators on the Foreign Relations committee told The Independent on Tuesday that they had no updates about the status of those negotiations, which are opposed entirely by more hawkish members of Congress.

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