Iranian lawmakers demand tougher punishment for ‘rioting’ as protests rage

Iranian lawmakers demand tougher punishment for ‘rioting’ as protests rage

DUBAI, Nov 6 (Reuters) – Hardline Iranian lawmakers urged the judiciary on Sunday to “deal decisively” with rioters as the Islamic Republic struggles to quell the biggest dissent in years.

Large-scale anti-government protests erupted in September after the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish Iranian who was arrested by morality police for allegedly violating strict rules on how women should behave.

“We ask the judiciary to deal decisively with the perpetrators of these crimes and all those who supported the crimes and incited the unrest,” said a statement by 227 lawmakers in Iran’s 290-seat, hardline parliament, according to state media.

The activist HRANA news agency reported that as of Saturday, 318 protesters, including 49 minors, had been killed during the riots. 38 members of the security forces were also killed, it added.

State media reported last month that more than 46 security forces, including police, had been killed. Government officials did not provide an estimate of the broader death toll.

Iran’s leaders have vowed to crack down on the protesters, who they described as riots, accusing enemies including the United States of fomenting the unrest.

Demonstrations continued on Sunday in multiple cities from Tehran to central Yazd and the northern city of Rasht, according to rights groups and social media videos.

A video posted on Twitter shows protesters chanting after nightfall in southern Tehran.

Reuters was unable to independently verify reports from human rights groups, as well as social media posts and footage.

In the Kurdish city of Marivan, the rights group Hengaw said security forces opened fire on a crowd that had gathered after the funeral of another woman, Nasrin Ghaderi, to protest her death.

Hengau said Ghaderi died in a coma on Saturday after being severely beaten in the head by security forces during a demonstration in Tehran.

A prosecutor cited by state media said Ghaderi had a previous heart problem and died of “poisoning,” without elaborating. There is no official comment on reports of the shooting.

Weeks after Amini’s death, a coroner’s report denied that Amini had died from blows to the head while in custody, as his parents had claimed, and linked his death to past medical conditions.

According to unverified videos on social media, students at dozens of universities, including in the northern cities of Rasht and Amol, protested on Sunday chanting “death to the dictator,” a reference to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Parisa Hafez writes; Editing by Andrew Havens

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