News Digest: Week of October 3

October 3

Security: The Indian Air Force scrambled jet fighters to intercept an airliner operated by Iran’s Mahan Air headed to Guangzhou, China. The airliner pilot refused to divert to either Jaipur or Chandigarh, but the threat ended up being false.

Domestic: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed widespread protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who had been detained for an “improper” head covering, on the United States and Israel. “These riots and insecurities were designed by America and the Zionist regime, and their employees,” he said in his first public comments on the demonstrations.

 

International: The United States urged Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are backed by Iran, to work with U.N. mediators to extend a truce with Yemen’s internationally recognized government. The truce had expired on October 2. “We urge all the parties to exercise restraint during this sensitive time,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said.  “The United States underscores the unacceptability of Houthi rhetoric threatening commercial shipping and oil companies operating in the region.”

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, in a phone call with the U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, highlighted the need for intra-Yemeni dialogues and called on Saudi Arabia to end its blockade on Yemen.

International: President Joe Biden endorsed Iran’s protests and pledged to impose “further costs” on the government for its crackdown after the death of Mahsa Amini. “The United States stands with Iranian women and all the citizens of Iran who are inspiring the world with their bravery,” he said in a statement.

 

October 4

Human Rights: Former Iranian soccer star, Ali Karimi, was charged in absentia for supporting the ongoing protests over the death of Mahsa Amini. He was accused of “assembly and collusion with the intention of acting against national security.” Karimi, who lives in Dubai, was one of the first celebrities to back the demonstrations in social media posts.

Domestic: In an address to Parliament, President Raisi called for “unity and national integrity” in the face of protests over Mahsa Amini’s death. He acknowledged Iran’s “weaknesses and shortcomings” but blamed the demonstrations on Tehran’s enemies.  

Domestic: Schoolgirls in Tehran destroyed a picture of Supreme Leader Khamenei in their classroom, chanting “Don’t let fear in, we stand united. Women, life, liberty.”

Domestic: Iran expanded domestic internet restrictions amid protests by blocking access to nearly all major cellular networks as well as social media platforms Instagram and WhatsApp.

International: Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani denied that Iran has supplied drones to Russia for use against Ukraine. Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian “has always reiterated the need for the resolution of disagreements in a peaceful manner and through talks and has announced Iran’s readiness to help this process,” Kanaani said. He also blamed the war on “provocative moves” by NATO and the United States.

International: Iran’s foreign ministry summoned the British ambassador in Tehran object to remarks by British officials condemning the crackdown on protestors. “Unfortunately, by issuing one-sided and selective statements, the British side shows that it is essentially involved in the scenario-making by the anti-government individuals who are operating in this country against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the director general of the foreign ministry’s Western Europe department said.

Technology: Iran claimed to have successfully launched a test space tug for moving satellites from one orbit to another.  

 

October 5

Human rights: Baquer Namazi, an Iran-American who had been detained in Iran for six years, traveled to the United Arab Emirates to seek medical treatment. “We appreciate all those who contributed to his release, especially the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates, Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted.

 

International: Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri arrived in Budapest, Hungary and discussed security and energy policy with his counterpart.

Trade: The head of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture met with the South African ambassador to Iran to discuss a joint economic committee meeting.

Domestic: Pro-government demonstrations, announced on state media and promoted in mass text messages, were held in northern Tehran.

 

 

Updated