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Daughter of former Iranian president Rafsanjani arrested in protests

Published September 28,2022

Iranian security forces have taken Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of Iran's influential former president Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, into custody in connection with recent protests sparked by the death of a woman arrested for un-Islamic dress.

According to a report by the Tasnim news agency on Wednesday, Hashemi was "arrested" by the security service for supporting women's protests in the capital Tehran. She had tried to motivate women to participate in the protests, according to Tasnim. This is currently considered a criminal offence in Iran.

Hashemi, 59, has been one of the critics of the Islamic system for years. The former member of parliament and women's sports official is therefore also on a blacklist and has also been arrested several times.

As a women's activist, Hashemi has always been against the compulsory headscarf, although she wears one herself. She was also the editor of the daily newspaper San (Woman), which, however, had to close down in 1999 because of its feminist views.

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi has described the anti-government protests as a conspiracy against the country's political leadership.

"These are conspiracies by the enemies against Iran's leadership because they feel threatened by the dominance, influence and progress of the system," the president told a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

The country's new generation should be educated about this dominance and - instead of protesting - be proud of these achievements, Raisi said, according to the presidential office's web portal.

Clashes between demonstrators and security forces and arrests have been reported from across the country. Police have vowed to crack down on "rioters."

The protests in Iran, which have been going on for 11 days now, were triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. She had been arrested by the morality police for violating the strict Islamic dress code and died on September 16 in unexplained circumstances.

The demonstrators speak of police brutality, but the authorities firmly reject this. The government, judiciary and security forces see foreign-paid mercenaries behind the protests and want to continue to crack down.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres is concerned with reports of an increasing number of deaths, a spokesman said.

The UN leader called on the security forces not to use unnecessary or disproportionate force.

There is no precise information on the number of dead and arrested. The Iranian state broadcaster has spoken of more than 40, other sources of more than 70 dead. Thousands are said to have been arrested across the country.