Tehran – Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has met with the families of security personnel who lost their lives during mass protests that erupted after the death of Mahsa Amini while in custody, according to state media reports on Saturday. President Raisi has been holding these meetings in the city of Mashhad ahead of the first anniversary of Amini’s death.
The death of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested on charges of breaching the dress code for women, triggered nationwide demonstrations throughout Iran. The protests lasted for several months and resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives, including both protesters and security force members. Thousands of people were also arrested during this period.
The meetings held by President Raisi included discussions with the families of Danial Rezazadeh and Hossein Zeinalzadeh, who were members of the pro-government Basij paramilitary force. Rezazadeh and Zeinalzadeh were killed while intervening to quell the protests on November 17. Their deaths were attributed to Majid Reza Rahnavard, one of seven individuals subsequently executed by Iran’s judiciary for their involvement in the protests.
During a meeting on Thursday, President Raisi commented on the failure of attempts to destabilize Iran, referring to the protests as an enemy project. The presidency issued a statement acknowledging the “shameful failure” of these attempts.
In the lead-up to the anniversary of the protests, authorities in Iran have made several arrests. Various groups accused of planning to create chaos and producing content for hostile media outlets have been apprehended. Some of these groups hail from Mahsa Amini’s home province of Kurdistan, as well as other regions within Iran.
Reports have emerged that Iranian authorities prevented the family of Amini from holding a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary. Amjad Amini, Mahsa Amini’s father, was briefly detained and subsequently warned against organizing a memorial service at her graveside. He is currently confined to his home, with security forces stationed outside.
While Iranian authorities have dismissed reports of Amjad Amini’s arrest as false, human rights groups have condemned the restrictions imposed on Amini and his family. The Kurdistan Human Rights Network, 1500tasvir monitor, and the Iran Human Rights group based in Norway have all voiced concerns over the treatment of the Amini family.
As the anniversary approached, the Iranian diaspora held commemorative rallies under the slogan “Say her name!” Large demonstrations were expected in Paris and Toronto. On the eve of the anniversary, the United States, along with its Western allies including Britain and the European Union, imposed new sanctions on Iran in response to the crackdown on protests.
The events surrounding the protests and their aftermath highlight ongoing tensions within Iran, as well as the international community’s attention on human rights issues and freedom of expression in the country.