Friday Sep 23, 2022
NEW YORK/DUBAI: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Thursday that "acts of chaos" are not acceptable, in a warning to protesters who have taken to the streets across the country in fury over the death of a woman in the morality police's custody.
Speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Raisi added he had ordered an investigation into the case of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died last week after being arrested for wearing "unsuitable attire."
"There is freedom of expression in Iran ... but acts of chaos are unacceptable," said Raisi, who is facing the biggest protests in the Islamic Republic since 2019.
Women have played a prominent role in the demonstrations, waving and burning their veils, with some publicly cutting their hair in a direct challenge to clerical leaders.
Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards called on the judiciary to prosecute "those who spread false news and rumours," in an apparent bid to take the steam out of nationwide demonstrations.
In a statement, the Guards expressed sympathy for Amini's family.
The Kurdish rights group Hengaw posted a video where heavy shooting can be heard during a protest and accused security forces of "using heavy and semi-heavy weapons against civilians" in the northwestern town of Oshnavieh.
Reuters could not verify the report.
Protesters in Tehran and other cities torched police stations and vehicles as outrage over Amini's death showed no signs of abating, with reports of security forces coming under attack.