Thursday, September 21, 2023

Women’s Rights Activists Rounded Up in Iran as Protest Anniversary Nears.

They stand accused of planning to incite “chaos and vandalism” nearly a year after a young woman’s death in Iranian police custody sparked a mass rebellion.

In a sweeping operation ahead of an important anniversary, the Iranian authorities have detained at least 12 rights activists, all but one of them women, over the past two days, human rights groups and Iranian media have reported.

A year ago next month, Iran was convulsed in demonstrations and riots following the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested by the country’s morality police after officers accused her of wearing her state-mandated religious veil too loosely. Hundreds were killed in the ensuing government crackdown, including at least 44 minors, while around 20,000 Iranians were arrested, the United Nations calculated.

The arrested activists were rounded up in cities across Iran’s northern Gilan Province, according to HRANA, an Iranian human rights organization. The detentions signaled that the Iranian government “is trying to get ahead of any possible protests that might be organized to commemorate the one-year anniversary,” said Sanam Vakil, who directs the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House, the London-based think tank.

On Thursday, Iranian officials accused the 12 detainees of planning to incite “chaos and vandalism” on the upcoming anniversary of Ms. Amini’s death, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported. According to Fars, which has close ties to the country’s security agencies, the officials also accused the activists of being funded by foreign intelligence and collaborating with Iran International, an opposition television channel based in Washington…