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Tags: iran | hijab | morality | human rights | abuses | nuke

Tehran 'Morality Police' Chief Reportedly Suspended After Woman's Death

a protester holding a portrait of mahsa amini
A protester holds a portrait of Mahsa Amini. (Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 20 September 2022 01:50 PM EDT

The Tehran, Iran, "morality police" chief reportedly was suspended amid protests of a woman's death after being allegedly mistreated in custody for not covering her hair with the Islamic headscarf, known as hijab.

Wearing a hijab is mandatory for Iranian women.

Mahsa Amini, 22, reportedly died of a heart attack in custody, but the family says she had no health or heart issues. 

She was detained last Tuesday and taken to a police station, where she collapsed. She died three days later. Iranian police have denied mistreating Amini. Authorities say they are investigating.

Col. Ahmed Mirzaei, the moral security police chief of Greater Tehran, was reportedly suspended, but those reports are being denied by the police, The Times of Israel reported Tuesday.

The U.N. Human Rights Office said Iran's morality police have expanded their patrols in recent months, targeting women for not properly wearing the Islamic headscarf.

"Mahsa Amini's tragic death and allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent competent authority," said Nada Al-Nashif, the acting U.N. high commissioner for human rights.

Iran's government did not immediately comment on the statement but has previously criticized the work of U.N. investigators examining rights issues in the country.

The police released closed-circuit video footage last week purportedly showing the moment Amini collapsed.

Amjad Amini, her father, told an Iranian news website that witnesses saw her being shoved into a police car.

"I asked for access to (videos) from cameras inside the car as well as courtyard of the police station, but they gave no answer," he said. He also accused the police of not transferring her to the hospital promptly, saying she could have been resuscitated.

He said that when he arrived at the hospital he was not allowed to view the body, but managed to get a glimpse of bruising on her foot.

Authorities then pressured him to bury her at night, apparently to reduce the likelihood of protests, but Amini said the family convinced them to let them bury her at 8 a.m.

Amini, who was Kurdish, was buried Saturday in her home city of Saqez in western Iran. Protests erupted there after her funeral and police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators on Saturday and Sunday. Several protesters were arrested. Some were reportedly chanting "death to the dictator," homage to the anti-American sentiment that has waged in the country for decades.

The protests spread to Tehran and other cities Monday. A news website affiliated with state TV said 22 people were arrested at a protest in the northern city of Rasht, the first official confirmation of arrests related to the protests.

State TV showed footage of protests on Monday, including images of two police cars with their windows smashed. It said the protesters torched two motorbikes as well, and that they burned Iranian flags in Kurdish areas and Tehran.

The state-run broadcaster blamed the unrest on foreign countries and exiled opposition groups, accusing them of using Amini's death as a pretext for more economic sanctions.

Iran has seen waves of protests in recent years, mainly over a long-running economic crisis exacerbated by Western sanctions linked to the country's nuclear program. Authorities have managed to quash the protests by force.

President Joe Biden's administration, which is trying to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, called on the Islamic Republic to end its "systemic persecution" of women. Italy also condemned her death.

Iran dismissed the criticism as politically motivated.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Amini "should be alive today."

"Instead, the United States and the Iranian people mourn her," he tweeted. "We call on the Iranian government to end its systemic persecution of women and to allow peaceful protest."

Italy's Foreign Ministry called for "the perpetrators of this cowardly act" to be held to account, saying "violence against innocent people, especially women and girls, can never be tolerated."

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian rejected the criticism, accusing the U.S. of "shedding crocodile tears."

"An investigation was ordered into tragic death of Mahsa, who, as president said, was just like our own daughters," he tweeted. "To Iran, human rights are of inherent value — unlike those who see it a tool against adversaries."

Information from The Associated Press was used in his report.

Eric Mack

Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

The Tehran, Iran, "morality police" chief reportedly was suspended amid protests of a woman's death after being allegedly mistreated in custody for not covering her hair with the Islamic headscarf, known as hijab.
iran, hijab, morality, human rights, abuses, nuke
Tuesday, 20 September 2022 01:50 PM
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