- Protesters call for economic boycott Monday through Wednesday
- Raisi visits University of Tehran on Wednesday for student day
- Home Office silent on status of morality police
DUBAI, Dec 4 (Reuters) – Protesters in Iran called on Sunday for a three-day strike this week, stepping up pressure on authorities after prosecutors said the morality police had been shut down as they detained A young woman sparked months of protests.
The Interior Ministry, which oversees the morality police, did not confirm the closure, and Iranian state media said prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was not in charge of overseeing the force.
Senior Iranian officials have repeatedly said Tehran will not change the Islamic Republic’s mandatory hijab policy, which requires women to dress modestly and wear the headscarf, despite 11 weeks of protests against strict Islamic rules.
The riots that erupted in September killed hundreds after the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman detained by morality police for violating hijab rules.
Protesters seeking to continue challenging Iran’s clerical rulers called for a three-day economic strike on Wednesday and held a rally in Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square, according to separate posts on Twitter shared by an account unverified by Reuters .
President Ibrahim Raisi will address students in Tehran on the same day to mark Iran’s Students’ Day.
Similar strike action and calls for mass mobilization have led to escalation of unrest sweeping the country over the past few weeks – one of the largest anti-government protests since Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979.
As of Saturday, 470 protesters had been killed, including 64 minors, the activist HRANA news agency said. It said 18,210 demonstrators were arrested and 61 members of the security forces were killed.
Iran’s Interior Ministry’s National Security Council said on Saturday the death toll was 200, Iran’s judicial news agency Mizan reported.
Residents posting on social media and in newspapers such as the Shargh Daily said seeing morality police on the streets had decreased in recent weeks as authorities apparently tried to avoid sparking more protests.
On Saturday, the semi-official Iran Labor News Agency quoted Montazeri as saying the morality police had been disbanded.
“The same authority that built this police station has shut it down,” he was quoted as saying. He said the morality police were outside the jurisdiction of the judiciary, which “continues to monitor behavior at the community level”.
Al Alam state television said foreign media had portrayed his comments as “the Islamic Republic abandoning its position on the hijab and religious morality in protest”, but it was understood from his comments that the morality police had no direct relationship with the judiciary. relation.
Four men convicted of cooperating with Israel’s spy agency Mossad were executed on Sunday, state media said.
They were arrested in June — before the current unrest sweeping the country — after the intelligence ministry cooperated with the Revolutionary Guards, Tasnim news agency reported.
The Israeli prime minister’s office, which oversees the Mossad, declined to comment.
The Islamic Republic has long accused arch-enemy Israel of conducting covert operations on its soil. Tehran recently accused Israel of orchestrating a civil war in Iran, a charge also leveled at the United States and other Western nations.
“Western countries are using the protests to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdorashian told a news conference on Sunday.
Iran’s state media reported on Wednesday that the country’s top court had upheld the death sentences for the four men “on charges of collaborating with the intelligence services of the Zionist regime and kidnapping”.
The other three were sentenced to five to 10 years in prison for crimes including endangering state security, facilitating kidnapping and possessing illegal weapons, the Meir news agency said.
Reporting by Dubai Newsroom Editing by Dominic Evans, Raissa Kasolowsky, William Maclean and Susan Fenton
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