Internet blocked – Berlin summons Iranian ambassador

Protest in front of the Iranian embassy in Berlin

Mahsa Amini died in police custody after being arrested by the Iranian moral and religious police.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin, Tehran A massive internet lockdown in Iran has severely hampered the dissemination of information about the protests in the country. For example, protesters can post fewer videos and information on social media. However, eyewitnesses reported that people had protested against the Iranian leadership in various parts of the capital Tehran on Monday night. “We don’t want an Islamic Republic, we don’t want it” was one of the most frequently heard slogans.

Eyewitnesses also reported that the police blocked some main roads in Tehran to prevent the protests from spreading. Shots were also heard, but it was unclear whether they were shot in the air or at demonstrators. Many Tehrans also leave the front doors of their buildings open so that protesters can hide from security forces.

Protests continue in the Islamic Republic after the death of a young woman. The 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was arrested by the vice squad in Tehran a little over a week ago for violating the strict Islamic dress code and allegedly wearing her headscarf improperly. A little later she was dead.

The local press either does not report the protests at all, or simply reflects the government’s position. According to the journalists’ association, several Iranian reporters were either arrested or feared with legal consequences for their critical reporting on the protests.

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For Iranians, therefore, only social media and Persian-language news channels abroad are news sources. But the massive limitations of the internet have also made accessing these sources significantly more difficult.

Iran: Celebrities join protests

Accordingly, there is no new information on the number of dead or arrested. So far, there has been unofficially more than 40 deaths and more than 1,000 arrests in two provinces in northern Iran. However, observers fear far more deaths – both on the side of the demonstrators and the security forces – and also a large wave of arrests.

More and more Iranian celebrities are joining the protests. Local soccer stars to movie stars have criticized the leadership’s aggressive tactics against the demonstrators. The Iranian football star and former Bundesliga professional Ali Karimi is particularly active. Because of his open criticism, his bank accounts are now to be frozen.

The director and two-time Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi and other well-known film stars also sympathize with the demonstrators. The hardliners in the country have therefore demanded a work ban for all those artists who side with the demonstrators.

Tehran’s judiciary plans special courts for demonstrators

The Iranian judiciary is planning special courts for demonstrators arrested during the nationwide protests. This was announced by the head of justice in the capital Tehran, Ali Alghassimehr, on Monday. No consideration should be given to “leaders of the troublemakers hired from abroad”. “The judiciary should deal with them in the same way as with rapists and criminals,” said the Tehran judiciary, according to the Tasnim news agency.

Since the government and judiciary describe all the demonstrators as mercenaries hired from abroad, observers expect long prison sentences. The special courts are said to include the Revolutionary Court, which deals with national security violations and is notorious for its harsh sentences.

According to the judiciary, Iranian celebrities must also expect legal action if they publicly express their solidarity with the “riot mongers”.

Berlin appoints Iranian ambassador

foreign minister Annalena Bärbock has called for new sanctions against the country. “In the EU circle we will now have to talk very quickly about further consequences, which for me also includes sanctions against those responsible,” said the Green politician on Monday. “The attempt to now suppress peaceful protests with even more deadly force must not go unanswered,” she added.

“Women’s rights are the indicator of the state of a society,” Baerbock said in justification. “If women are not safe in a country, no one is safe.”

In Germany, the Federal Foreign Office summoned the country’s ambassador after the violent suppression of dissident demonstrations in Iran because of the death of a young woman. A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin announced that the conversation would take place this Monday afternoon. He also emphasized that all options for a reaction would be discussed quickly at EU level.

Earlier, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on behalf of the 27 member states that the disproportionate use of force against non-violent protesters in Iran was unjustifiable and unacceptable. At the same time, the EU threatened vaguely with possible sanctions against Iran.

During her visit to the UN General Assembly last week, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock announced that Germany would bring the Amini case before the UN Human Rights Council.

More: Unrest in Iran: Is the Mullah regime now faltering?

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