DUBAI (Reuters) – A social media video showing Iranian security forces viciously beating protesters has gone viral, prompting notable figures from rappers to economists to lawyers to end seven weeks of unrest. Anger was heightened over the arrests and tightening of the crackdown.
Protests sparked by the Sept. 16 death of Mercer Amini in Moral Police custody after his arrest for improperly dressed have led to protests from all walks of society demanding massive political change. Along with the people, it has shaken Iran’s clerical status.
Nationwide demonstrations demanding the death of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pose one of the most daring challenges to Iran’s rulers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The Amini incident and the crackdown on protests that followed her death sparked international condemnation of Iran’s rulers.
Meanwhile, Iran’s leaders blame the United States and other Western powers for the crisis, a belief few Iranians believe.
Ayatollah Khamenei said on Wednesday that US officials supporting the protests were “shameless,” state media reported.
Ayatollah Khamenei said, “Anyone who thinks the United States is an untouchable great power is wrong. It is completely fragile as we can see in current events.”
Iranian parliamentarian Mohammad Saleh Joker said Iranians living abroad who are causing “riots” in the country should be stripped of their citizenship.
Defying stark warnings by a widely feared elite Revolutionary Guard chief, Iranians risked their lives by staying in the streets despite a bloody crackdown and were arrested.
A video that went viral on social media on October 22 showed 12 riot police beating a man at night on the streets of southern Tehran. One of his policemen on a motorbike ran over him and another shot him at point-blank range. Reuters was unable to verify the authenticity of the footage.
Amnesty International tweeted about the 22nd October video: “This shocking video sent from Tehran today is another terrifying reminder of the endless atrocities of the Iranian security forces. It is.”
“In a crisis of impunity, they brutally beat and are given freedom to open fire on protesters. @UN_HRC must urgently investigate these crimes.”
Other videos of the beating of protesters, which Reuters has not been able to verify, have also circulated online.
Iranian police issued a communiqué on Tuesday, saying a special order had been issued to investigate the details of a video of police beating civilians without revealing details of the video in question.
“Police do not tolerate harsh and unconventional treatment and ensure that offending officers will be dealt with according to the law,” the statement read, according to the Tasnim news agency.
Activist news agency HRANA said about 300 people, including 46 minors, were killed in the riots. Iran said at least 36 members of his security forces were also killed.
About 14,160 people, including about 300 students, were arrested during the protests in 133 municipalities and 129 universities.
The crisis hit Iran’s currency. According to Bonbast.com, on Wednesday’s informal market, the US dollar is selling for 342,600 rials, a loss of nearly 7% of its value since the protests began.
On Monday night, security forces went to the home of prominent economist Davoud Souri and arrested him. Officers took out his laptop and cell phone and informed his family that he was in Evin Prison after his arrest, according to social media posts that Reuters could not confirm.
Iranian media on Wednesday released a video of the arrest of prominent Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi.
He was taken into custody after releasing several rap clips supporting the protests.
Written by Michael Georgy.Edited by Nick McPhee
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