Tehran deploys female special forces to stem mass protests following Mahsa Amini’s death

Iran has sent female special forces onto its streets for the first time to quell mass protests over the death of a young woman who was allegedly beaten by the country’s vice squad.

The elite commando unit was deployed with photographers to catch ringleaders of the protests as human rights groups said the death toll from the unrest has risen to 31.

The death of Mahsa Amini, 22, who was allegedly beaten for wearing inappropriate clothing before falling into a coma, last week has sparked demonstrations across the country.

Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, it has been illegal in Iran not to wear a headscarf.

Col Heydari, the leader of the special forces, confirmed in a video released yesterday that the female troops were being used for the first time in public protests.

Asked by reporters if the presence of female soldiers would only fuel the unrest, he said: “The arrival of our women’s police force is meant to bring peace. I am sorry to see other women taking illegal actions in these protests that are inconsistent with social norms.”

Challenged over attacks by Iranian forces on women protesters, he insisted: “There is a way to protest. There is a law and the Iranian state has clear rules about what is allowed. The temporary protest we see here is an illegal act.”

The announcement came as Iran reduced internet access after more video footage emerged showing street fights between protesters and security forces in Tehran and other cities.

Clashes between protesters and riot police have spread to more than a dozen cities.

In one clip, protesters appear to overturn security vehicles, while in another they appear to overpower an officer armed with a taser.

In the troubled province of Kurdistan, ten protesters – including a 15-year-old boy – were killed in clashes with riot police, according to a local human rights group.

Iran also arrested prominent women’s rights activists in the holy city of Mashad, where protesters occupied a police station and set it on fire.

The home of Mansoureh Mousavi, a feminist writer, was ransacked by security forces and arrested, and Fatemeh Sepehri, an activist who has called for the resignation of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, was arrested on charges of “spreading” propaganda on behalf of foreign powers”.

Yesterday Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s senior reporter, announced she had canceled an interview with Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian President, after aid workers insisted she wore a headscarf, despite the interview in New York on the sidelines of the UN -Generals took place assembly.

Mr Raisi has dismissed criticism of the Islamic Republic’s treatment of women, claiming that the female population “voluntarily chose to wear the hijab”.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/middle-east/tehran-deploys-female-special-forces-to-stem-mass-protests-after-death-of-mahsa-amini-42011285.html Tehran deploys female special forces to stem mass protests following Mahsa Amini’s death

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