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Monday, 06 February 2023
U.S. sanctions Iran's morality police -Treasury website
An Iranian Kurdish rights group said on Monday (Sep 19) at least four people were killed, over a dozen injured, and a 10-year-old girl was in critical condition after being shot in the head by security forces during anti-government protests sparked by the death of a young woman in police custody - Photo. Twitter account

The United States issued fresh Iran-related sanctions on Thursday (Sep 22), targeting Tehran's morality police and security officials, the Treasury Department said in a post on its website.

The move comes after the death of a young woman in police custody triggered nationwide protests in Iran and a subsequent warning from Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards.

The government has strongly rejected responsibility for 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s death, but the news has nonetheless galvanized thousands of Iranian women who have for decades faced the wrath of the Islamic Republic’s morality enforcers firsthand.

The U.N. Human Rights Office said Iran's morality police have expanded their patrols in recent months, targeting women for not properly wearing the Islamic headscarf, known as hijab.

It said verified videos show women being slapped in the face, struck with batons and thrown into police vans for wearing the hijab too loosely.

“Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent competent authority,” said Nada Al-Nashif, the acting U.N. high commissioner for human rights.

Iran's government did not immediately comment on the statement but has previously criticized the work of U.N. investigators examining rights issues in the country.

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The police released closed-circuit video footage last week purportedly showing the moment Amini collapsed. But her family says she had no history of heart trouble.

“I asked for access to (videos) from cameras inside the car as well as courtyard of the police station, but they gave no answer,” he said. He also accused the police of not transferring her to the hospital promptly enough, saying she could have been resuscitated.

He said that when he arrived at the hospital he was not allowed to view the body, but managed to get a glimpse of bruising on her foot.

Mahsa Amini's death: The systematic killing of Kurds by the Iranian regime

Authorities then pressured him to bury her at night, apparently to reduce the likelihood of protests, but Amini said the family convinced them to let them bury her at 8 a.m. instead.

Amini, who was Kurdish, was buried Saturday in her home city of Saqez in western Iran. Protests erupted there after her funeral and police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators on Saturday and Sunday. Several protesters were arrested.