Other countries have called for an independent investigation.
Three people have been killed in protests over the death of a Kurdish woman who was detained by Iran’s morality police, the governor of Iran’s Kurdistan region said on Tuesday.
It is the first official confirmation of deaths during the disorders that have affected the country in the last three days.
Governor Esmail Zarei Kousha, speaking to the semi-official Fars news agency, attributed the deaths to armed groups he did not identify.
It did not identify the victims, but said one was killed in the town of Divandarreh by a weapon not used by national security forces.
He added that the second body was found in a vehicle in Saqez, the city where the woman was buried, and that the third death was “completely” suspicious.
Mahsa Amini, 22, was detained by the country’s morale police and died three days later. Police deny mistreating her and authorities say they are investigating.
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– Dani Lerer (@danilerer) September 20, 2022
Hours earlier, a senior United Nations official on Tuesday demanded an independent investigation into Amini’s death.
The woman’s death has sparked demonstrations across the country, including the capital Tehran, where people chanted against the government and clashed with police.
The United Nations Human Rights Office said Iranian morality police have expanded their patrols in recent months and persecuted women who do not properly wear the Islamic headscarf, or hijab, which covers their hair.
The Bureau said it had verified videos showing women being slapped in the face, beaten with sticks and thrown into police vans for wearing hijabs that were too loose.
A similar patrol arrested Amini last Tuesday and took her to a police station, where she lost consciousness. She died three days later. Police denied ill-treating Amini and said she had died of a heart attack. Authorities said they were investigating the incident.
“The tragic death of Mahsa Amini and the allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by a competent independent authority,” said Nada al-Nashif, Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights.
— freddyzur (@freddyzur) September 20, 2022
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that Amini “should be alive today… Instead, the United States and the Iranian people mourn her.”
“We demand that the Iranian government end its systematic persecution of women and allow peaceful protests,” Blinken added on Twitter.
The Italian Foreign Ministry called for “the perpetrators of this cowardly act” to be brought to justice, stating that “violence against innocents, especially women and girls, must never be tolerated.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian dismissed the criticism, accusing the United States of shedding “crocodile tears.”
“An investigation has been ordered into the tragic death of Mahsa, who, as our president said, was like our daughter,” the Iranian minister tweeted.
“For Iran, human rights have an inherent value, unlike those who use them as a political tool,” he added.
Police released security camera footage last week purportedly showing the moment Amini collapsed. But her family said she had no history of heart problems.
Amjad Amini, her father, told an Iranian news website that witnesses had seen her being pushed into a police car.
“I asked for access to (video) from the cameras inside the car, as well as from the police station yard, but they did not respond,” he said. She also accused the police of not getting her to a hospital in time, saying she could have revived her.
When he got to the hospital, he said, he was not allowed to see the body, but he did catch a glimpse of a bruise on his foot.
Afterwards, the authorities pressured him to bury her at night, apparently to reduce the chances of a protest, but Amini said the family had managed to get them to bury her at 8am instead.
Amini, who was Kurdish, was buried on Saturday in her hometown Saqez in western Iran. Protests erupted there after her funeral and police fired tear gas to disperse protesters on Saturday and Sunday. Several protesters were arrested.
The protests spread to Tehran and other cities on Monday. A website affiliated with state television said 22 people had been arrested at a march in the northern city of Rasht, the first official confirmation of arrests linked to the protests.
State television showed footage of protests on Monday showing two police cars with smashed windows. The outlet said protesters had also burned two motorcycles, and set fire to Iranian flags in Kurdish areas and Tehran.
The state network attributed the unrest to foreign countries and opposition groups in exile, which it accused of using Amini’s death as a pretext to impose more economic sanctions.
– mikel ayestaran (@mikelayestaran) September 20, 2022
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