| 14 April 2024, Sunday |

Iran summons UK and Norwegian envoys as unrest persists

According to the semi-official ISNA news agency, Iran summoned the British and Norwegian embassies for what it called meddling and hostile media coverage of widespread demonstrations sparked by the death of a woman held by morality police.

Demonstrations erupted more than a week ago at the burial of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, and have since expanded across the country, resulting in the largest wave of protest in years.

Iran’s state television says 41 people have been killed. Authorities have restricted internet and mobile services to prevent footage of the protests and the response by security forces from getting out, activists say.

President Ebrahim Raisi has said Iran ensured freedom of expression and that he had ordered an investigation into the death in detention of Amini, who was arrested by police enforcing the Islamic Republic’s restrictions on women’s dress.

He also said that “acts of chaos” were unacceptable and that Iran must deal decisively with the unrest. At the United Nations, he said extensive coverage of Amini’s case was “double standards”, pointing to deaths in U.S. police custody.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Britain’s ambassador on Saturday in response to the “hostile character” of London-based Persian language media, ISNA news agency.

The Norwegian envoy was also summoned to explain the “interventionist stance” of the country’s parliament speaker, who has expressed support for the protesters on Twitter.

The killing of Amini has revived resentment in Iran over problems such as personal freedom limitations, harsh clothing standards for women, and an economy struggling from sanctions.

Women have been active in the protests, waving and burning their veils. As enraged crowds demanded the ouster of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, several publically chopped their hair.

The protests are the country’s greatest since riots over petrol prices in 2019, when Reuters said 1,500 people were murdered in a crackdown on protestors – the worst outbreak of internal unrest in the Islamic Republic’s history.

  • Reuters