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U.S. Sanctions Iran’s Morality Police After Woman Detained Over Hijab Suspiciously Died In Custody

September 23, 2022

Iranians have taken to the streets to protest against the recent death of a 22-year-old woman after her detention by the police force for allegedly wearing her hijab headscarf improperly.

The Joe Biden administration has sanctioned Iran’s “morality police” for alleged abuses and violence against Iranian women and protesters.

Iranians have taken to the streets to protest against the recent death of a 22-year-old woman after her detention by the police force for allegedly wearing her hijab headscarf improperly.

SaharaReporters on Wednesday reported that protests had spread across Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini who was arrested by the country’s morality police.

It was gathered that Amini, a local journalist died three days after her arrest.


Iran To Investigate Woman’s Death In Police Custody Over Hijab Rule Amid Protests, Accuses U.S., Others Of Hypocrisy

The police are in charge of enforcing the country’s strict dress code mandated for women, including wearing of hijab in public to cover one’s hair and neck.

Amini was taken to the Vozara Street Detention Center last Tuesday to be educated about the hijab, Tehran Police said.

But while in custody, Amini collapsed and was taken to the hospital, where she later died. Local police claimed she suffered a heart attack, while her family said she had no prior heart conditions, Bazaar News reports.


Due to this, the country's "morality police" and seven leaders of Iranian security organisations that it claimed "regularly use violence to suppress peaceful protesters and members of Iranian civil society, political dissidents, women's rights activists, and members of the Iranian Baha'i community" were sanctioned on Thursday by the US Department of the Treasury.


“Mahsa Amini was a courageous woman whose death in Morality Police custody was yet another act of brutality by the Iranian regime’s security forces against its own people,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.


“We condemn this unconscionable act in the strongest terms and call on the Iranian government to end its violence against women and its ongoing violent crackdown on free expression and assembly.”


An Iranian police spokesman earlier this week refuted claims that Amini had been physically abused while under arrest.

Brigadier-General Hossein Rahimi, the head of Tehran's police, stated on Monday that the woman was detained for wearing tight pants and a headscarf incorrectly, but that reports that she was tortured were "absolutely wrong."

“Cowardly accusations have been levelled against the police, which we will defer to the day of judgement, but is it possible to shut down the society’s security?” Rahimi asked.


On Thursday, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) also called on the judiciary to prosecute people who are circulating “false news and rumours”, in an apparent bid to take the steam out of the protests.

In a statement, the IRGC expressed sympathy for the family and relatives of Amini.


“We have requested the judiciary to identify those who spread false news and rumours on social media as well as on the street and who endanger the psychological safety of society and to deal with them decisively,” the group said.


Amini’s case has struck a chord with many across Iran, amid growing anger over civil liberties, as well as economic hardships linked to sanctions. To stop the unrest from spreading, internet access and mobile phone network connectivity have been severely restricted.

Thursday’s US sanctions will freeze the assets of the targeted individuals and entities in the United States and make it illegal for American citizens to do business with them.

Washington has been piling sanctions on Tehran since former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal in 2018.

The multilateral pact, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), had seen Iran scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions against its economy.


But numerous rounds of indirect negotiations to restore the agreement since US President Biden took office in early 2021 have stalled.


Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Biden said “while the United States is prepared for a mutual return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action if Iran steps up to its obligations, the United States is clear: We will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons”.

Biden also mentioned the ongoing anti-government protests in Iran, saying his administration stood “with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights”.