World Leaders on Mahsa Amini’s Death and Protests

World leaders widely condemned Iran’s crackdown on protests after the death in detention of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman detained for improper hijab, or head covering. “We stand with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights,” President Joe Biden told the U.N. General Assembly on September 21. A day later, the United States sanctioned the morality police and seven senior security officials for Amini's death and the subsequent violence against protestors. On September 23, the Treasury Department authorized American companies to expand the range of internet services – otherwise restricted by U.S. sanctions – available to ordinary Iranians. The move was intended to help Iranians get around government censorship.  

President Biden UNGAAmini “should be alive today,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on September 27.  “The only reason she’s not is because a brutal regime took her life and took her life because of decisions she should be making about what she would wear or not wear.” 

The European Union, which includes 27 members, will “consider all the options at its disposal” to address the killing of Amini and the way Iranian security forces have responded to the ensuing demonstrations, E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned on September 25. 

At least two world leaders raised human rights issues with President Ebrahim while he was in New York for his debut in-person U.N. address. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for “a prompt, impartial and effective investigation by an independent competent authority” into Amini’s death, according to his spokesperson. And French President Emmanuel Macron made it “very clear” to Raisi that France is “supportive of human rights, especially women’s rights.”

In his U.N. address, Chilean President Gabriel Boric called on the international community to “mobilize efforts to stop violence against women” in Iran and elsewhere in the world. The following are reactions by world leaders organized by country.   

 

United States

President Joe Biden in a statement on Oct. 3, 2022: “I remain gravely concerned about reports of the intensifying violent crackdown on peaceful protestors in Iran, including students and women, who are demanding their equal rights and basic human dignity.  They are calling for just and universal principles, which underpin the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  For decades, Iran’s regime has denied fundamental freedoms to its people and suppressed the aspirations of successive generations through intimidation, coercion, and violence. The United States stands with Iranian women and all the citizens of Iran who are inspiring the world with their bravery.

“The United States is making it easier for Iranians to access the Internet, including through facilitating greater access to secure, outside platforms and services.  The United States is also holding accountable Iranian officials and entities, such as the Morality Police, that are responsible for employing violence to suppress civil society.  This week, the United States will be imposing further costs on perpetrators of violence against peaceful protestors.  We will continue holding Iranian officials accountable and supporting the rights of Iranians to protest freely.”

President Biden on Oct. 15, 2022: “The Iranian government is so oppressive, you can’t have anything but an enormous amount of respect for those people marching in the streets.

“I was surprised by the courage of people and women taking the street — taking off their head scarf. I mean, it’s really been amazing. It’s really been amazing. But they’re not a good group, in the government.” 

President Biden in an address to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 21, 2022: “And today, we stand with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a tweet on Sept. 19, 2022: “Mahsa Amini should be alive today. Instead, the United States and the Iranian people mourn her. We call on the Iranian government to end its systemic persecution of women and to allow peaceful protest.”

Secretary of State Blinken in remarks on Sept. 27, 2022: “Mahsa should be alive today.  The only reason she’s not is because a brutal regime took her life and took her life because of decisions she should be making about what she would wear or not wear.  Women in Iran have the right to wear what they want; they have the right to be free from violence; they have the right to be free from harassment.  That’s true in Iran.  It’s true – should be true everywhere.  So for starters, Iran needs to end its use of violence against women for exercising what should be a fundamental freedom.  And as a general proposition and in this specific instance, we stand with all of those who are exercising the universal right to peaceful protest.

“As you noted, we’ve also taken action.  And two things I would point to:  We designated the so-called morality police and specific individuals for human rights abuses, and that imposes sanctions on them and it would impose, as well, sanctions on anyone who seeks to in any way do business with them.  And then more specifically to the point you raised, we announced a general license to facilitate the free flow of information inside Iran.  So for example, what this does is it authorities companies to provide things like cloud services, privacy technology, security technology, hardware and software to enable the Iranians to better communicate among themselves and also with the rest of the world.  Individual companies can come to us, to OFAC in this case, to determine whether their technology fits under the license, and we will certainly look for ways to facilitate technology services being made accessible to people in Iran.”

Secretary of State Blinken in a meeting with civil society activists on Oct. 14, 2022: “We’re gathered today as we see remarkable displays of courage throughout Iran as women, young people, and many others continue to stand up for the fundamental rights that continue to be denied them by the Iranian regime.  This is in many ways not a new story; this has been going on for years, for decades.  But in the wake of Mahsa Amini’s death and the spontaneous demonstration of outrage that this has produced, I think we are seeing something that is quite remarkable throughout the country, led primarily by women and young people.

“This denial of fundamental rights, fundamental freedoms, is something that the United States has long worked against, as have many other countries around the world.  But first and foremost, this is the Iranian people standing up with extraordinary courage for the rights that are being denied them.  We’ve worked to support those who are standing for their fundamental freedoms despite the efforts of the regime to deny them the ability to assemble, to speak freely, to communicate with each other.  We’ve imposed sanctions on the so-called morality police that are engaged in incredibly abusive practices.  We have of course worked to license technology so that the Iranians have the ability to communicate with one another and to communicate with the outside world.

“But today I was especially eager to hear from colleagues who’ve themselves in many different ways been on the front lines of the struggle for fundamental freedom and fundamental rights in Iran, to hear from them, to listen to them, to learn from them.

“The final thing is this.  I know that the Iranian regime will try to paint this and other expressions of solidarity with those standing up for their freedoms as evidence that these protests are somehow made outside of Iran and the work of others.  And if that’s the case, if they genuinely believe that, they fundamentally – fundamentally – do not understand their own people.  Because this is about Iran’s struggle, the struggle of the people of Iran, for the fundamental freedoms that have long been denied them.  That’s what this is about, and the sooner the regime understands that and acts on that, the better everyone will be.”

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in an interview with ABC News on Sept. 25, 2022: 

“The United States hasn’t necessarily, over many decades, had a great track record in perfectly predicting when protests turn into political change. And I can’t perfectly predict that sitting here today.

“What I can say is they do reflect a deep-seeded and widespread belief among the population of Iran, the citizens of Iran, the women of Iran, that they deserve their dignity and their rights.

“And the United States is being absolutely clear and firm, publicly, from the well of the United Nations, as you heard President Biden speaking out on behalf of the universal human rights of all of the citizens and all of the women of Iran. And we’re taking tangible steps too, to help facilitate the access of Iranian citizens to the means to communicate with one another and to connect with the Internet so that they can have their voices heard inside Iran and outside Iran. And we will continue to do that because we believe that it is our duty to stand with people who are trying to stand up for themselves.”

National Security Advisor Sullivan in an interview with NBC News on Sept. 25, 2022: 

Question: “I want to ask you a question about the protests in Iran. You were in the Obama administration during the Green Revolution in 2009. You're well aware there were many folks who thought that the Obama administration then was a little slow to respond to those protests. Is the Biden administration's response a response to that criticism way back when? Is there going to be an attempt to be much more forward-leaning on these protests going forward?”

Sullivan: “Well, Chuck, part of the reason that there was a different kind of approach in 2009 was the belief that somehow if America spoke out it would undermine the protesters, not aid them. I think what we learned in the aftermath of that is that you can overthink these things, that the most important thing for the United States to do is to be firm and clear and principled in response to citizens of any country demanding their rights and dignity. And so right after these protests broke out our administration began speaking out, and the president in fact went to the well of the United Nations and said that the United States stands with the citizens of Iran, the women of Iran, as they demand their rights and their dignity and a better future in Iran. We have taken tangible steps to sanction the morality police who caused this young woman's death, and we've taken steps to make it easier for the Iranian people to get access to the internet and to communicate with one another and with the world. And we will keep speaking out day in and day out because this is a matter of fundamental justice, dignity, and rights, and the United States knows which side we are on.”

National Security Advisor Sullivan on Sept. 23, 2022: “Today @USTreasury & @StateDept are helping expand internet freedom in Iran amid the government crackdown. We’ll continue to hold Iranian officials accountable and support the brave Iranians protesting following the death of #MahsaAmini in the custody of Iran’s “Morality” Police.”

National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby to Iran International on Sept. 22, 2022: “President Biden was very clear about our desire to see peaceful protests. We're going to continue to stand up for civil and human rights.”

Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen in announcing sanctions on senior Iranian officials and the morality police on Sept. 22, 2022: “Mahsa Amini was a courageous woman whose death in Morality Police custody was yet another act of brutality by the Iranian regime’s security forces against its own people.”

“We condemn this unconscionable act in the strongest terms and call on the Iranian government to end its violence against women and its ongoing violent crackdown on free expression and assembly. Today’s action to sanction Iran’s Morality Police and senior Iranian security officials responsible for this oppression demonstrates the Biden - Harris Administration’s clear commitment to stand up for human rights, and the rights of women, in Iran and globally.”

Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley in a tweet on Sept. 16, 2022: “Mahsa Amini’s death after injuries sustained in custody for an “improper” hijab is appalling. Our thoughts are with her family. Iran must end its violence against women for exercising their fundamental rights. Those responsible for her death should be held accountable.”

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price in a tweet on Sept. 19, 2022: “Iranian women should not be subject to arrest, let alone brutal beatings, for how they choose to dress. Iran’s government should listen to those protesting Mahsa Amini’s unconscionable death in police custody, not fire on them.”

 

G7 (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States)

Joint statement on Nov. 4, 2022: We, the G7 members, express our support for the fundamental aspiration of the people of Iran for a future where human security and their universal human rights are respected and protected. We condemn the violent death of the young Iranian woman “Jina” Mahsa Amini after her arrest by Iran’s so called “morality police.” We further condemn the brutal and disproportionate use of force against peaceful protesters and children. We urge Iranian authorities to honor their international obligations under international law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

We advocate the right of all Iranians to access information, and we deplore the Iranian government’s erosion of civil space, and independent journalism, its targeting of human rights defenders, including by shutting down the internet and social media. We urge the Iranian authorities to treat women as equal, respecting the universal rights provided to them under the relevant international human rights treaties. We also call on the Iranian authorities to release unjustly detained prisoners, including recently arrested protesters, children, journalists and human rights defenders, and ensure accountability for perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses. We will continue to use all available diplomatic measures to hold the Iranian authorities to account. We call on Iran to allow access to the country for relevant UN Human Rights Special Procedures mandate holders.

We strongly reject Iran’s practice of unfairly detaining dual and foreign citizens and call upon Iran to end the repellent practice of such unjust detentions in hopes of political gain.

We strongly support international efforts to hold Iran to account for its downing of PS752, which killed 176 innocent civilians. We demand that Iran fulfill its international legal obligations without delay.

We strongly condemn Iran’s continued destabilizing activities in and around the Middle East. These include Iran’s activities with both ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), i.e. drones, and transfers of such advanced weaponry to state and non-state actors. Such proliferation is destabilizing for the region and escalates already high tensions. We urge Iran to cease its support to violent state and non-state actors and proxy groups and fully abide by all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs), including UNSCR 2231. We also support efforts at the United Nations to hold Russia and Iran accountable for their blatant violations of UNSCR 2231.

We reiterate our clear determination that Iran must never develop a nuclear weapon. The G7 will continue working together, and with other international partners, to address Iran’s nuclear escalation and insufficient cooperation with the IAEA regarding its Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) safeguards agreement. We remain deeply concerned by the unabated expansion of Iran’s nuclear program, which has no credible civilian justification. We call on Iran to change course and fulfill its legal obligations and political commitments in the field of nuclear non-proliferation without further delay. We note that despite many months of intense negotiations on a return to the JCPoA, Iran has not made the necessary decisions. 

54 Countries

 

European Union

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell in a statement on Sept. 25, 2022:  “Over the last week, following Mahsa Amini’s abuse by the morality police and her death in custody, women and men across Iran have exercised their fundamental right to assemble and protest. A growing number of reports indicate that, despite repeated calls for restraint, the response of the Iranian security and police forces to demonstrations has been disproportionate and resulted in the loss of lives as well as a large number of injuries. The decision to severely restrict internet access by the relevant Iranian authorities and to block instant messaging platforms is a further cause for concern, as it blatantly violates freedom of expression.

Borrell“For the European Union and its member states, the widespread and disproportionate use of force against nonviolent protestors is unjustifiable and unacceptable. People in Iran, as anywhere else, have the right to peaceful protest. That right must be ensured in all circumstances.

“The EU and its member states urge the Iranian authorities to strictly abide by the principles enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party. Therefore, we expect Iran to immediately stop the violent crackdown on protests and ensure internet access, as well as the free flow of information. Furthermore, we expect Iran to clarify the number of deaths and arrested, release all non-violent protestors and provide due process to all detainees. Moreover, the killing of Mahsa Amini must be duly investigated and any proved responsible for her death must be held accountable. We take note of the President of Iran’s statement in that respect.

“The European Union will continue to consider all the options at its disposal ahead of the next Foreign Affairs Council, to address the killing of Mahsa Amini and the way Iranian security forces have responded to the ensuing demonstrations.

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell in a speech on Oct. 4, 2022: 

It is important to have this opportunity to discuss today what is happening across Iran after the death of a young woman. Mahsa Amini was arrested by the police and died - was killed - during her arrest at the police station.  

Let me express my condolences to the family. This is something that has to be said although it is not going to be very useful for them.  

Also, let me express our admiration for the demonstrations – mainly women and also men across Iran protesting her killing and the repression that they have suffered that has cost tens of people killed. These are facts, these are not opinions. These are facts. In the streets of Iran, the repression of the demonstrators has left behind tens of people killed.  

Mahsa Amini was only 22 years old. She was visiting the capital of her country. And the morality police – even the name ‘morality police’ sounds bizarre to our ears – detained and mistreated her simply because of her headscarf, and she ended up in hospital where she died shortly after. These are facts.  

Following that, following her passing – should I say, her killing – we have seen a wave of indignation and outrage turning into nation-wide protests in Iran.  

Iranians - and especially young Iranians - have taken to the streets to express their anger, their aspirations for a better future free from oppression. There are countless testimonies of brave women and men expressing their dissent in their cities, on social media. We have seen them chanting “Women, Life, Freedom” - three key words. These Iranian women have been the force driving the dissent. They ask for respect, justice and equality – nothing more, nothing less.   

As the European Union’s representatives, we called immediately for the Iranian authorities to ensure the respect of fundamental rights of Iranian citizens. In a meeting in New York, President [of the European Council, Charles] Michel and I had with Iranian President [Ebrahim] Raisi, we raised this situation directly to him and called for accountability for the death of Mahsa Amini and restraint in the government’s reaction to the demonstrations.  

Unfortunately, it did not happen. Numerous reports clearly show that the response of Iranian security and police forces has been disproportionate and resulted – as he said – in tens of dozens of lives lost. Many more have been injured and detained, including several journalists covering the events. And we have to see clear indications of a credible investigation that could ensure accountability for what has happened. Accountability - [there is] not at all. 

Also, the internet has been shut down in many areas of the country. Iranians – and the world – lost access to information about what was happening there as well as the opportunity to use online platforms to express their dissent – which is another deliberate violation of freedom of expression in the country.  

I think it is important, here at the European Parliament, to show a strong and united reaction by the European Union.  

On my side, on behalf of the 27 Member States, I publicly expressed - in my Declaration of 25 September - the widespread and disproportionate use of force against nonviolent protestors and considered that the way it is: unjustifiable and unacceptable. People in Iran, as anywhere else, have the right to peaceful protest. It is as simple as that. And it is clear that this right has not been ensured.  

Together with the Member States, we will continue to consider all the options at our disposal, including restrictive measures, to address the killing of Mahsa Amini and the way Iranian security forces have been responding to the demonstrations.  

I will raise this at the next Foreign Affairs Council with my colleagues. And, when I am saying restrictive measures, I am using the wording of the Treaty [on European Union (TEU)], because in the Treaty you will not find the word ‘sanctions’. The only thing that you will find in the treaty is ‘restrictive measures’, and that is what I am talking about.  

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell in a tweet on Oct. 14, 2022: “I spoke with @Amirabdolahian to convey again EU's clear and united position: people in Iran have the right to peaceful protest and to defend fundamental rights. Violent repression must stop immediately. Protesters must be released. Internet access and accountability are needed.”

 

Britain

Foreign Office Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad in a statement on Sept. 21, 2022: “The death of Mahsa Amini in Iran following her arrest for alleged dress code violations is shocking. We are extremely concerned at reports of serious mistreatment of Ms Amini, and many others, by the security forces.

“We urge the Iranian government to investigate the circumstances of her death with rigour and transparency, and to hold to account anyone responsible.

“We call on Iran to respect the right to peaceful assembly, to exercise restraint and to release unfairly detained protesters. The use of violence in response to the expression of fundamental rights, by women or any other members of Iranian society, is wholly unjustifiable.”

 

France

Foreign Ministry statement on Sept. 16, 2022: “The arrest and subsequent death of Mahsa Amini on September 16, 2022, in Tehran at the hands of the Iranian morality police are deeply shocking. France condemns this arrest and the violence that led to her death and we offer our sincere condolences to her family.

“A transparent investigation must be conducted as soon as possible in order to shed light on the circumstances of this tragedy.

“France reiterates its consistent, determined commitment to combat and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls throughout the world. We will continue to advocate for the universalization of the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention, which is the most advanced international instrument that exists in the fight against violence against women.”

President Emmanual Macron in response to a question asking if he spoke with President Raisi about the protests on Sept. 20, 2022: “I did, I did, I did. We had a discussion on that for sure. I made it very clear that we are supportive of human rights and especially women’s rights, so we had a discussion.”

“The credibility of Iran is now at stake regarding the fact that they have to address this issue.”

President Emmanuel Macron in a tweet on Oct. 12, 2022: “For the women who courageously began to drop the veil and go before arms, for the young people and the men who are fighting for women's rights, for what is universal in this fight, France condemns the repressions perpetrated by the Iranian regime.”

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna in remarks on Oct. 21, 2022: “I would like to say how concerned we all by the violence that is being used by the Iranian authorities against demonstrators, people who demonstrate peacefully so – on a number of occasions.  And quickly we condemn this brutal repression against demonstrators. We also recalled the fundamental right of citizens to demonstrate peacefully, to peacefully express their opinion. We also demanded all citizens to be set free. There are a number of French citizens being held in Iran and others. We took a number of sanctions on behalf of the European Union against those responsible for the repression.”

 

Germany

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a weekly video address on Nov. 12, 2022: “We can barely begin to imagine how much courage this takes.”

“More than 300 killed, dozens of death sentences and more than 14,000 arrests. So far. Those who demonstrate against oppression in Iran risk their lives, and often also the lives of their loved ones – and face the prospect of torture and decades in prison.”

“It is clear that the Iranian government is solely responsible for this spate of violence.”

“What kind of government does it make you if you shoot at your own citizens? Those who act in such a way must expect us to push back.”

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Oct. 9, 2022“Those who beat up women and girls on the street, carry off people who want nothing other than to live freely, arrest them arbitrarily and sentence them to death stand on the wrong side of history.”

“We will ensure that the E.U. imposes entry bans on those responsible for this brutal repression and freezes their assets in the E.U.”

Foreign Minister Baerbock in a speech on Sept. 29, 2022: “I am doing everything I can within the E.U. framework that we can start to impose sanctions, especially now, while we keep on negotiating on the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), to impose sanctions on those in Iran who ruthlessly beat women to death in the name of religion, gun down protestors.”

Foreign Ministry in a tweet about a meeting with Iran’s ambassador in Berlin on Sept. 26, 2022: “We call on the Iranian authorities to allow peaceful protests and to not deploy further violence - in particular not fatal violence - against protesters.”

Foreign Minister Baerbock on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 20, 2022: “They must be listened to, as these women are demanding rights that all people should have.”
 

During a news conference on Sept. 21, 2022: Germany urges Iranian authorities to “allow peaceful demonstrations and, above all, not to use any further violence.”

 

Italy

Member of the Chamber of Deputies Giorgia Meloni in a tweet on Sept. 28, 2022: “All my sympathy to the brave women who are fighting in Iran and around the world to defend their rights and freedom.”

“Dozens are dead and hundreds of activists, lawyers and journalists arrested.”

 

Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a press conference on Sept. 26, 2022: “To the women in Iran who are protesting and to those who are supporting you: We stand with you.

“We join our voices – the voices of all Canadians – to the millions of people around the world demanding that the Iranian government listen to their people, end their repression of freedoms and rights, and let women and all Iranians live their lives and express themselves peacefully.

“Today, I’m announcing that we will implement sanctions on dozens of individuals and entities, including Iran’s so-called “morality police.” This is in addition to some of the toughest measures of any country towards Iran.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a tweet on Sept. 22. 2022: “Canada strongly supports people who are expressing themselves and protesting peacefully in Iran. We are calling on the Iranian regime to end its repression of freedom of expression – and to end the ongoing harassment of, and discrimination against, women.”

Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly in a joint statement with the foreign ministers of Albania, Andorra, Australia, France, Germany, Iceland, Kosovo, Libya, Lichtenstein, New Zealand, and Norway on Oct. 26, 2022: “We, as women foreign ministers, are gathered in solidarity with the courageous Iranian women engaging in their right of peaceful assembly and advocating for their human rights. We recognize that Iranian women are also fighting for a better future for all Iranians and we have the moral obligation to support them. We strongly support the vital work of human rights defenders, in particular women human rights defenders, who ensure people around the world are free to exercise and enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“We also firmly condemn the reported violent actions that led to the tragic death of Mahsa Amini. We reiterate calls by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for a prompt, impartial and independent investigation into the use of force by the authorities and the subsequent repression of demonstrations, including the implementation of severe Internet and telecoms restrictions and the excessive use of force against protestors, including students. We also call on the Iranian government to allow the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran to be allowed access to Iran.

“As women foreign ministers, we feel a responsibility to echo the voices of Iranian women. We condemn the violent enforcement of the chastity law and the ongoing crackdown against protestors in Iran who exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression.

“We are also gravely concerned by the ongoing violent crackdowns on and the disproportionate use of force against civilians, in particular women and students, as well as the harassment of journalists. We call on Iran to de-escalate tensions and to refrain from committing further acts of unprovoked violence against its own population that has already resulted in over 200 deaths since September 2022. We further call on Iran to protect the rights of all its citizens to peaceful protest.

“Women’s rights are human rights. We salute the courage of the Iranian women who are peacefully protesting. We hear you. We are with you.”

Foreign Minister Joly in a statement on Sept. 23, 2022: “Canada strongly condemns the reprehensible detention and killing of Mahsa Amini. Her death was a direct result of the systemic and continued harassment and repression of women by Iran. We stand in solidarity with Mahsa Amini’s loved ones and the Iranian women.

“We further condemn the violent crackdowns on civilians, which have caused additional deaths and injuries, in blatant violation of their human rights.

“Canada is gravely concerned by potential further crackdowns and the use of additional force against civilians. We call on Iran to stop escalating tensions and to refrain from committing further acts of violence against its own population. We urge Iran to meaningfully address the grievances of all of its citizens without discrimination and to protect their right to peaceful protest.

“Women’s rights are human rights. We salute the courage of the Iranian women who are peacefully protesting and we join them in sending the regime a very clear message: they must end all forms of persecution and violence against women.”

 

Australia

Foreign Minister Penny Wong in a statement on Sept. 27, 2022: “The Australian Government condemns the deadly and disproportionate use of force against protesters in Iran, following the tragic death of 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini.

“We have raised concerns into the circumstances surrounding her death in custody with the Iranian Embassy in Canberra.

“Australia supports calls led by the Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for a prompt, impartial investigation into Ms Amini’s death by an independent body, which ensures her family has access to truth and justice, with those responsible held to account.

“We are alarmed by reports that dozens of people have been killed and many more injured, including teenagers, during heavy-handed measures Iranian authorities have implemented to crack-down on ongoing protests.

“Australia supports the right of the Iranian people to protest peacefully and calls on the Iranian authorities to exercise restraint in response to ongoing demonstrations.

Reports of internet restrictions are also deeply troubling and suggest an effort to stifle freedom of expression.

“Australia regularly raises Iran’s significant discrimination against women and human rights violations with officials in both Tehran and Canberra, as well as in multilateral fora.

“Australia stands with Iranian women and girls in their struggle for equality and empowerment, and we call on Iran to cease its oppression of women. Australia is committed to promoting gender equality and women’s human rights, empowerment and ending violence against women and girls worldwide.”

 

Spain

Foreign Ministry statement on Sept. 27, 2022: “The Government of Spain expresses its strong condemnation of the violence perpetrated against peaceful demonstrators in different parts of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and demands that the country’s authorities respect and fully guarantee the right of all citizens to express themselves and demonstrate freely and peacefully.

“Spain reiterates its firm commitment to human rights defenders, and particularly to the rights of women, who must be respected in any circumstance and in accordance with universal international instruments in force. In particular, the government reiterates its strong condemnation and repulsion at the violence perpetrated against Iranian women and their rights.

“The government conveys its condolences at the loss of human life and wishes those people injured in the demonstrations a speedy recovery, demonstrations that have stemmed from the death of the Iranian woman Mahsa Amini. The government calls on the Iranian authorities to carry out an independent investigation and to assign responsibility in a transparent, objective and complete manner.

“The government also reiterates its call to the Iranian authorities to immediately lift all the restrictions on communications and demands that arbitrary arrests and any other measure or restriction against peaceful demonstrators, journalists and other citizens in the exercise of their civil liberties be brought to an end.”

 

Sweden

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in a tweet on Sept. 24, 2022: “I am concerned about reports of dead and injured in Iran as women and men exercise their right to peaceful protest. I urge the Iranian government to refrain from violence against these protesters. Freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly must be ensured.”

Foreign Minister Ann Linde in a tweet on Sept. 21, 2022: “[Sweden] stands with all those who mourn Mahsa Amini in Iran & elsewhere. Deeply concerned about reports of injured & dead in connection with ongoing protests across Iran. Women of Iran should be heard. Human rights for all Iranians, incl right to peaceful protest, must be ensured.”

Foreign Minister Linde in a tweet on Sept. 25, 2022: “Sweden stands firmly behind the women and people of Iran that are peacefully taking to the streets in solidarity with Mahsa Amini. Reports of dead and injured are deeply concerning. We urge Iran to refrain from violence and ensure the human right to peaceful protest.”

Foreign Minister Linde on Sept. 21, 2022: “Sweden stands with all those who mourn Mahsa Amini in Iran and elsewhere.”

“Women of Iran should be heard. Human rights for all Iranians, including the right to peaceful protest, must be ensured.”

 

Portugal

Foreign Ministry in a tweet on Sept. 23, 2022: “Portugal follows with concern the repression of protests in Iran and mourns all civilian casualties. The right to public protest implies restraint by the authorities. Full, swift accountability of those repressing protests and those responsible for #MahsaAmini's death is vital.”

 

Greece

Foreign Ministry statement on Sept 27. 2022: “We fully align ourselves with the declaration by High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell on the latest developments in Iran which states:

“'Over the last week, following Mahsa Amini’s abuse by the morality police and her death in custody, women and men across Iran have exercised their fundamental right to assemble and protest. A growing number of reports indicate that, despite repeated calls for restraint, the response of the Iranian security and police forces to demonstrations has been disproportionate and resulted in the loss of lives as well as a large number of injuries. The decision to severely restrict internet access by the relevant Iranian authorities and to block instant messaging platforms is a further cause for concern, as it blatantly violates freedom of expression.

“'For the European Union and its member states, the widespread and disproportionate use of force against nonviolent protestors is unjustifiable and unacceptable. People in Iran, as anywhere else, have the right to peaceful protest. That right must be ensured in all circumstances.

“'The EU and its member states urge the Iranian authorities to strictly abide by the principles enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party. Therefore, we expect Iran to immediately stop the violent crackdown on protests and ensure internet access, as well as the free flow of information. Furthermore, we expect Iran to clarify the number of deaths and arrested, release all non-violent protestors and provide due process to all detainees. Moreover, the killing of Mahsa Amini must be duly investigated and any proved responsible for her death must be held accountable. We take note of the President of Iran’s statement in that respect.

“'The European Union will continue to consider all the options at its disposal ahead of the next Foreign Affairs Council, to address the killing of Mahsa Amini and the way Iranian security forces have responded to the ensuing demonstrations.'”

 

Finland

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto in a tweet on Sept. 25, 2022: “The shocking abuse and death of #MahsaAmini urges us all to step up action on the rights of women and girls. People in Iran, as anywhere else, have the right to peaceful protest. This right must be ensured.”

 

Chile 

President Gabriel Boric in his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 20, 2022: The international community must “mobilize efforts to stop violence against women whether it be in Iran, in memory of Mahsa Amini, who died at the hands of the police this week, or anywhere in the world.”

 

Israel

Prime Minister Yair Lapid in his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 22, 2022: “Young Iranians are suffering and struggling from the shackles of Iran’s regime, and the world is silent. They cry for help on social media. They pay for their desire to live a life of freedom — with their lives.  Iran’s regime hates Jews, hates women, hates gay people, hates the West. They hate and kill Muslims who think differently, like Salman Rushdie and Mahsa Amini.”

 

New Zealand

 

United Nations

Spokesman for Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Sept. 23, 2022: “We are concerned about reports of peaceful protests being met with excessive use of force leading to dozens of deaths and injuries.”

“We further call on the authorities to respect the right to freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association.”

U.N. experts, including seven special rapporteurs on human rights, in a statement on Oct. 26, 2022: “We are deeply troubled by continued reports of deliberate and unlawful use by the Iranian security forces of live ammunition, metal pellets and buckshot against peaceful unarmed protesters in breach of the principles of legality, precaution, necessity, non-discrimination and proportionality, applicable to the use of force.

“An alarming number of protesters have already been detained and killed, many of whom are children, women and older persons. The Government must instruct police to immediately cease any use of excessive and lethal force and exercise restraint.

“We see such violations as a continuum of long-standing, pervasive, gender-based discrimination embedded in legislation, policies and societal structures. All of which have been devastating for women and girls in the country for the past four decades.

“This is not the first time that women and girls in Iran have demanded the dismantling of discriminatory laws and practices and that they have been met with intimidation, repression and violence. Despite repeated calls for accountability to the government to end structural gender-based discriminatory laws and practices, as well as other human rights violations, we regret that these calls have remained largely unheard.

“We further urge the government of Iran to ratify relevant human rights treaties to which it is not yet a party and to bring its national legislation into alignment with them.”

Spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in a statement on Sept. 27, 2022: “We are very concerned by the continued violent response by security forces to protests in Iran, as well as communications restrictions affecting landline and mobile usage, the Internet and social media platforms. Thousands have joined anti-government demonstrations throughout the country over the past 11 days. Security forces have responded at times with live ammunition. 

“Many Iranians have been killed, injured and detained during the protests which erupted following the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested on 13 September for allegedly not wearing a hijab in full compliance with Iran’s mandatory requirements for how women must dress. 

“Due in part to restrictions on telecommunications, it is difficult to establish the precise number of casualties and arrests. On 24 September, State media put the number killed at 41. Non-governmental organisations monitoring the situation have reported a higher number of deaths, including of women and children, and hundreds injured across at least 11 provinces. 

“We are extremely concerned by comments by some leaders vilifying protesters, and by the apparent unnecessary and disproportionate use of force against protesters. Firearms must never be used simply to disperse an assembly. In the context of assemblies, they should only be used in cases of an imminent threat to life or of serious injury. 

“Reports indicate hundreds have also been arrested, including human rights defenders, lawyers, civil society activists and at least 18 journalists. The Government has not announced the overall number of arrests. In the province of Gilan alone, the police chief said 739 individuals had been arrested, including 60 women during three days of protests. We call on Iranian authorities to ensure the rights to due process and to release all those who have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty.

“We are concerned that the disruption to communications services has serious effects on people’s ability to exchange information, to carry out economic activities and to access public services. This undermines numerous human rights, notably the right to freedom of expression. We call on the authorities to fully restore Internet access. 

“We are also concerned about the persistent impunity with respect to human rights violations in Iran, including the recurring deaths of protesters due to the alleged use of lethal force by security forces, notably in November 2019, July 2021, and May 2022. 

“Our Office reiterates our call upon the Iranian authorities to fully respect the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, peaceful assembly and association, as a State party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

U.N. experts, including five special rapporteurs on human rights, in a statement on Sept. 22, 2022: “We are shocked and deeply saddened by the death of Ms Amini. She is another victim of Iran’s sustained repression and systematic discrimination against women and the imposition of discriminatory dress codes that deprive women of bodily autonomy and the freedoms of opinion, expression and belief.”

“We strongly condemn the use of physical violence against women and the denial of fundamental human dignity when enforcing compulsory hijab policies ordained by State authorities,” the experts said. “We call on the Iranian authorities to hold an independent, impartial, and prompt investigation into Ms Amini’s death, make the findings of the investigation public and hold all perpetrators accountable.”

“Disruptions to the internet are usually part of a larger effort to stifle the free expression and association of the Iranian population, and to curtail ongoing protests. State mandated internet disruptions cannot be justified under any circumstances.”

“Over the past four decades, Iranian women have continued to peacefully protest against the compulsory hijab rules and the violations of their fundamental human rights.”

“Iran must repeal all legislation and policies that discriminate on the grounds of sex and gender, in line with international human rights standards.”

Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al-Nashif on Sept. 20, 2022: “Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent competent authority, that ensures, in particular, that her family has access to justice and truth.”

“The authorities must stop targeting, harassing, and detaining women who do not abide by the hijab rules.” 

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell on Oct. 10, 2022: “We are extremely concerned by continuing reports of children and adolescents being killed, injured and detained amid the ongoing public unrest in Iran. Our thoughts are with the families of those who have been killed and injured, and we share their grief.

"In addition to the reported casualties, many children have witnessed violence either on the streets or through media broadcasts, which could leave a long-lasting impact on their wellbeing.

“UNICEF calls for the protection of all children from all forms of violence and harm, including during conflict and political events. Violence against children – by anyone and in any context – is indefensible.

“We echo the Secretary-General’s call to the authorities to ‘refrain from using unnecessary or disproportionate force.’ Children and adolescents must be able to exercise their rights in a safe and peaceful manner at all times.”


Photo Credits: Unión Europea en Perú from Lima, Perú, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Updated