October 16, 2022

By France24

The anti-government demonstrations triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini  continued on Sunday, October 16, notably in several universities, the day after a fire in Evin prison in Tehran, which left four dead and 61 injured among the inmates, according to official media.

According to the Iranian authorities, a workshop was set on fire “following a battle between a number of prisoners convicted of financial crimes and theft”.

Footage released on Sunday shows firefighters inspecting a flame-damaged workshop. Inmates can also be seen in their cells “sleeping while calm has been restored”.

Iranian state television broadcast images on Sunday that appeared to show that calm had returned to the prison.

Separately, videos obtained by Reuters show protesters marching through traffic towards Evin prison on Saturday night and early Sunday.

This establishment is known to hold common law prisoners but also people considered political prisoners by Western human rights organizations. Among these people are several French people, according to the Quai d’Orsay, including the Franco-Iranian anthropologist Fariba Adelkhah .

Strong presence of anti-riot forces 

Demonstrations continued on Sunday in several universities, including in the cities of Tabriz and Rasht, while riot forces were massively deployed.

Videos posted on social media show students at a university in Tehran chanting: “Iran has turned into a big prison. Evin prison has become a slaughterhouse.” Reuters could not independently verify these images.

“France has followed and continues to follow this situation with the greatest attention, in conjunction with the families of our detainees,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement, referring to the fire.

“She reminds the Iranian authorities once again that they are responsible for the safety and health of our compatriots detained in Iran”, he added, reiterating the request for “immediate release” of the French detained “arbitrarily ” in this country.

Human rights organizations estimate that at least 240 protesters, including 32 minors, have been killed in the crackdown on the protest movement that arose from the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman arrested by vice squad for inappropriate behavior.

More than 8,000 people have been arrested in 111 cities, Hrana, a media outlet close to the opposition, reported on Saturday.

Ebrahim Raïsi accuses Joe Biden of “inciting chaos”

Iran, which attributes the unrest to internal enemies and foreign forces, denies that security forces killed protesters. State media reported on Saturday that at least 26 members of the security forces had been killed by “rioters”.

During a trip to Oregon on Saturday, US President Joe Biden praised the courage of protesters in Iran and denounced an Iranian regime “so oppressive”.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry called the remarks interference. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, for his part, said Joe Biden was inciting “chaos, terror and destruction … (and) should remember the eternal words of the founder of the Islamic Republic who called America a great Satan”.