Iran curbs internet access as protests claim 11 lives



The Korea Times Co.


PARIS (AFP) — Iran restricted internet access Thursday after days of protests and unrest that have claimed at least 11 lives, following the death of a young woman in the custody of the morality police. Public anger has flared in the Islamic republic over the death last week of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained for allegedly wearing a hijab headscarf in an “improper” way. Activists said the woman, whose Kurdish first name is Jhina, had suffered a fatal blow to the head, a claim denied by officials, who have announced an investigation. During six straight nights of protests, women demonstrators have defiantly taken off their headscarves and burned them in bonfires or symbolically cut their hair before cheering crowds, video footage spread on social media has shown. “No to the headscarf … yes to freedom and equality!” protesters in Tehran were heard chanting in a rally that has been echoed by solidarity protests abroad. Iranian women interviewed by AFP on the streets of Tehran said they were now more careful about their dress to avoid run-ins with the morality police. “I’m frightened,” said Nazanin, a 23-year-old nurse, who asked to be identified by her first name only for safety reasons. “They shouldn’t confront people at all” or interfere with how women dress, she added. There has been growing international alarm at the Iranian crackdown on the protests, including from US President Joe Biden in an address to the United Nations. “Today we stand with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights,” Biden told the General Assembly on Wednesday.