Mahza Amini’s death in custody will be ‘firmly’ investigated as protests spread, says Iran’s President Raisi

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New Delhi: Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi on Thursday said that the death of a 22-year-old Iranian woman in the custody of Iran’s ‘moral police’ should be investigated ‘firmly’. According to media reports, York is close to the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly. Repeating the official claim that Mahza Amini died of a heart attack, Raisi pointed to similar custodial deaths in the US and UK and asked, “Have all these deaths been investigated?” He questioned.

He accused the West of “double standards” when it comes to human rights, news agency AP reported.

Speaking about the custodial death, Raisi said officers were doing their job.

“It certainly needs to be investigated,” he was quoted as saying. “I contacted her family at the earliest opportunity and assured them that we will continue to investigate the incident firmly.

‘A distinction must be made between protesters and vandals’

Back in Iran, Amini’s death has sparked widespread clashes between protesters and security forces, leading to at least 31 deaths in a security crackdown.

While Raisi did not explicitly condemn the protests, he insisted that the demonstrations were different from “bullying”.

“What is happening, there are demonstrations … of course, these are normal and completely acceptable,” he said. “We must distinguish between protesters and vandals. Demonstrations are good for expressing specific issues.”

Meanwhile, in response to Amini’s death and “other human rights abuses in Iran,” the United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on Iran’s “morality police” and senior security officials for “repressing and killing nonviolent protesters.”

The Morality Police, a unit of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF), arrests women for wearing ‘inappropriate’ hijabs and enforces other restrictions on freedom of expression. The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also appointed Haj Ahmad Mirzai and Mohammad Rostami Cheshmeh Kachi, both senior officials in the ethics police, the US State Department said in a statement.

The US said Iran should “end its systematic persecution of women and allow peaceful protest”.

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