Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

Iranian security forces opened fire on people at a Tehran metro station and beat women who did not wear mandatory head coverings as protests over the death of Mahsa Amini entered their third month.

Footage shared on social media showed passengers running towards the exits, with many falling and being trampled, after police opened fire on the crowded platform. Police were also filmed through train windows marching through the carriages and beating women with batons.

The video shows what appear to be Iranian security forces in plainclothes and uniforms entering a subway car, which appeared to be for women only, and beating the passengers with batons.
The video shows what appear to be Iranian security forces in plainclothes and uniforms entering a subway car, which appeared to be for women only, and beating the passengers with batons. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman of Kurdish origin, died in the custody of the notorious morality police on September 16 after she was arrested for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.

Protests intensified on Tuesday, when protest organizers called for three days of action to commemorate “Bloody November” in 2019, when hundreds were killed during protests against fuel price hikes.

“We will fight! We will die! We will bring back Iran!” dozens of protesters could be heard singing around a fire on a Tehran street, in a video posted by social media monitor 1500tasvir. Protesters were also filmed chanting and burning scarves at metro stations. Agence France-Presse reported that six people were killed across the country in overnight clashes.

Subway stations and public transport – often patrolled by morality police – became the site of state violence and surveillance of female citizens during the summer campaign of crushing women’s clothing.

In early September, the secretary of Iran’s General Staff for Promoting Virtue and Preventing Vice, Mohammad Saleh Hashemi Golpayegani, announced that the government planned to use facial recognition technology to target women captured on public transport security cameras.

At least 326 people, including 43 children and 25 women, have been killed by security forces during two months of protests, according to the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR). The group says 15,000 people have been arrested, a figure denied by Iranian authorities.

Five protesters have been sentenced to death so far. Earlier this month, 272 of Iran’s 290 lawmakers voted to implement the death penalty for serious crimes against the state, and repeated calls by some officials for a tougher stance against the unrest show little sign of abating.

The vote became subject to misleading information that all 15,000 arrested were sentenced to death. The claim has been posted multiple times on social media, including by high-profile figures such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Nevertheless, the potential wave of executions is a serious concern. “We fear mass executions, unless the political cost of executions increases significantly,” said Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, director of the IHR. “The international community must send a strong warning to the Islamic Republic that the execution of the protesters will have severe consequences.”