Iran’s intelligence ministry said, “Nine foreign nationals from Germany, Poland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and other countries were arrested at or behind the scene of riots.”

Dozens have been killed in a crackdown on protests that erupted when Amini died in custody three days after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran.
Dozens have been killed in a crackdown on protests that erupted when Amini died in custody three days after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran. (Reuters Archive)

Iran has said that nine foreigners were arrested over deadly street protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, as demonstrations across the country entered the third week amid gunfire.

On Friday, Iranian security forces opened fire on angry protesters, foreign-based opposition media reported.

Iran's intelligence ministry said "nine foreign nationals from Germany, Poland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, etc. were arrested at or behind the scene of riots", along with 256 members of outlawed opposition groups.

Dozens have been killed in a crackdown on protests that erupted when Amini died in custody three days after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran. 

In the southwestern city of Ahvaz, security forces fired tear gas to disperse scores of people who streamed onto the streets jeering and shouting anti-government slogans, in another video shared by the channel.

In Zahedan, near Iran's southeastern border with Pakistan, men braved gunfire as they stoned a police station, other footage shared by the channel showed.

State media said police in Zahedan had returned fire when they came under attack by gunmen, while Ahmad Taheri, the Sistan-Baluchestan provincial police chief, said three police stations were attacked.

"A number of police members as well as passers-by have been injured in the exchange of fire," the state broadcaster said.

READ MORE: Iran ups pressure on celebrities, media over Mahsa Amini protests

Confront 'mercilessly'

Women have defiantly burned their headscarves and cut their hair in the protests over Amini's death, announced on September 16, which are the biggest seen in Iran since demonstrations in November 2019 over fuel price rises.

A leading Iranian human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, told US news magazine Time that she expected the protests to go on regardless of the intensity of the authorities' crackdown.

"What the people want is regime change and no return to the past," said Sotoudeh, who is on medical furlough from a 38-year jail sentence for her advocacy work.

"And what we can see from the current protests and strikes that are now being initiated is a very real possibility of regime change."

Amnesty International said Iran was intentionally using lethal force against the protesters, adding that without international action "beyond statements of condemnation" more people risk being killed.

Amnesty said it had obtained a leaked official document issued to the commanders of armed forces in all provinces on September 21 instructing them to "severely confront" protesters.

Another leaked document showed that on September 23, the commander of the armed forces in Mazandaran province, where some of the deadliest clashes have taken place, ordered security forces to "confront mercilessly, going as far as causing deaths, any unrest by rioters and anti-revolutionaries".

READ MORE: Iranian police call woman's custody death 'unfortunate' as protests erupt

Source: AFP