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An Appalling Death in Tehran

In this Oct. 1, 2022, photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, tear gas is fired to disperse protestors in front of the Tehran University, Iran.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken called "on the Iranian government to end its systematic persecution of women and to allow peaceful protest.”

An Appalling Death in Tehran
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Twenty-two-year-old Mahsa Amini from Iran’s Kurdistan province visited Tehran with her family on September 13. While exiting the metro with members of her family, Mahsa was arrested in Tehran by the so-called morality police for purportedly wearing an “improper” hijab and taken to the Vorzara Detention Center. Three days later she was pronounced braindead. State-affiliated media claimed Amini suffered a heart attack; her family says she was in perfect health.

Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the prominent human rights NGO Center for Human Rights in Iran, said Amini “was arrested under the guise of the state’s forced-hijab law and died shortly after. The government is responsible for her death and decades of women being harassed, detained, and otherwise harmed under the guise of this discriminatory, inhuman law.”

Demonstrations over Amini’s treatment by authorities broke out in numerous cities across Iran, including in Tehran and in Kurdistan province. Peaceful protesters have been met with force, and the Human Rights Activists News Agency, an organization monitoring rights violations in Iran, has identified at least 54 protesters killed during the protests.

Amini’s appalling death in police custody was condemned by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on in a statement on Twitter, “Mahsa Amini should be alive today. Instead, the United States and the Iranian people mourn her. We call on the Iranian government to end its systematic persecution of women and to allow peaceful protest.”

At a press briefing, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said, “[Amini’s death] is a reflection of the complete repression and brutality of a regime that a woman simply seeking to exercise her basic right could die in this way. And it is not surprising that we are seeing people in all walks of life come out in Iran to object vigorously to that and say this is not the kind of society that they want to live in.

“It is not consistent with any country’s obligations under the Universal Declaration of Huan Rights,” declared National Security Advisor Sullivan. “And it’s something the United States will speak our fiercely and unequivocally against.”