Iran tensions mount as students protest ahead of Mahsa Amini ceremony

Iran tensions mount as students protest ahead of Mahsa Amini ceremony


Iran tensions mount as students protest ahead of Mahsa Amini ceremony

Paris (AFP) – Iranian students protested Tuesday at multiple universities, defying a bloody crackdown as tensions mount on the eve of planned ceremonies marking 40 days since Mahsa Amini s death.

"A student may die but will not accept humiliation," they chanted at Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, in an online video verified by AFP.

Young women and schoolgirls have been at the forefront of protests sparked by Amini s death last month, after her arrest for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic s strict dress code for women.

Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin, died three days after being taken into custody by the notorious morality police on September 13 while visiting Tehran with her younger brother.

Activists said the security services had warned Amini s family against holding a ceremony and not to ask people to visit her grave Wednesday in Kurdistan province, otherwise "they should worry for their son s life".

Wednesday marks 40 days since Amini s death and the end of the traditional mourning period in Iran.

Online videos showed students protesting Tuesday at Beheshti University and the Khaje Nasir Toosi University of Technology, both in Tehran, as well as Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, in Khuzestan province.

 Attacked, strip-searched, beaten 

The fresh demonstrations came after security forces were accused by activists of beating schoolgirls at the Shahid Sadr girls vocational school in Tehran on Monday.

"Students of the Sadr high school in Tehran have been attacked, strip-searched and beaten up," said the 1500tasvir social media channel.

At least one student, 16-year-old Sana Soleimani, had been hospitalised, said 1500tasvir, which chronicles rights violations by Iran s security forces.

"Parents later protested in front of the school. Security forces attacked the neighbourhood and shot at people s houses," it added.

Iran s education ministry said a dispute erupted between schoolgirls and their parents and school staff after the principal demanded they comply with rules over the use of mobile phones.

"The death of a student in this confrontation is strongly denied," a ministry spokesman said, quoted by Iran s ISNA news agency.

Families were seen clamouring for information outside the school in the Tehran neighbourhood of Salsabil, in an online video verified by AFP.

Such reports have fuelled further anger among the Iranian public over the crackdown that the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights said, in an updated toll Tuesday, had cost the lives of at least 141 protesters, up from 122 previously.

Top official heckled

Deadly unrest has rocked especially Amini s western home province of Kurdistan -- but also Zahedan on Iran s far southeast, where IHR said 93 people were killed in demonstrations that erupted on September 30 over the reported rape of a teenage girl by a police commander.

Iran s Tasnim news agency said unidentified gunmen killed two Revolutionary Guards in Zahedan on Tuesday, taking to eight the overall number of security personnel killed in Sistan-Baluchistan.

Despite what rights group Amnesty International has called an "unrelenting brutal crackdown", young women and men were again seen protesting in online videos on Tuesday.

"Death to the dictator" and "Death to the Revolutionary Guards", women chanted as they rode escalators in Tehran metro stations, in videos widely shared on Twitter.

Students heckled the spokesman for ultra-conservative President Ebrahim Raisi as he addressed Tehran s Khaje Nasir University, in a video published by the reformist paper Hammihan.

"Spokesman, get lost!" and "We don t want a corrupt system, we don t want a murderer", they shouted at the spokesman, Ali Bahadori Jahromi.

Teachers observed a strike around the country on Sunday and Monday over the crackdown, and another work stoppage was said to be underway in Kurdistan on Tuesday.

Amnesty International says the crackdown has cost the lives of at least 23 children, while Iran Human Rights said Tuesday that at least 29 children have been killed.

The security forces have also mounted a campaign of mass arrests of protesters and their supporters, including academics, journalists and even pop stars.

The judiciary said on Monday that more than 300 people had been indicted over the Amini protests and that four were charged with an offence that can carry the death penalty.