Iran will act decisively following largest protests in years, president says

 Iran must deal decisively with protests which have swept the country after the death in custody of a woman detained by the Islamic Republic’s morality police, President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday.

At least 41 people have been killed in the week-long unrest, state television said on Saturday. It said that toll was based on its own count and official figures were yet to be released. Protests have erupted in most of the country’s 31 provinces.

State media quoted Raisi on Saturday as saying Iran must “deal decisively with those who oppose the country’s security and tranquillity.”

Raisi was speaking by telephone to the family of a member of the Basij volunteer force killed while taking part in the crackdown on unrest in the northeastern city of Mashhad.

The president “stressed the necessity to distinguish between protest and disturbing public order and security, and called the events … a riot,” state media reported.

Mahssa Amini, 22, was detained last Tuesday by Iran’s so-called “morality police” who reportedly found fault with her hijab. Police said she died of a heart attack and have subsequently denied any allegations of torture or abuse.

After Amini’s death, police last week also released closed circuit footage from the police station, which they say shows the moment Amini collapsed. A relative has said she had no history of heart disease. Amini, who was Kurdish, was buried on Saturday in her home city of Saqez, also in western Iran. Protests erupted there after her funeral and police also then fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.

The case of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained last Tuesday after Iran’s so-called “morality police” found fault with her headscarf, or hijab, has set off a public outcry in the country, mainly on social media. Police said she died of a heart attack and have denied any allegations of torture or abuse. The case of Amini has caused widespread public outcry in Iran, with many taking to the streets and removing hijab’s in solidarity with Amini. Abroad, protests have been held in cities such as London and New York.