"The conditions in our country are not right" - Hajsafi offers support …

Protests in Iran first erupted last month after civilians took to the streets following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

Amini was visiting family in Tehran, where she was arrested by Iran's Gasht-e Ershad ("Guidance Patrol") for allegedly wearing an inappropriate hijab. Amini was transferred to the "Moral Security" agency, which informed her brother she would be attending a "briefing class", and released shortly after.

Sadly, Amini never made it out.

Kasra Hospital announced Amini's death after being in a coma for three days, saying she was brain dead on arrival.

"Resuscitation was performed on the patient, the heartbeat returned and the patient was admitted to the intensive care unit," they wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post. "Unfortunately, after 48 hours on Friday, the patient suffered a cardiac arrest again, due to brain death. Despite the efforts of the medical team, they failed to revive her and the patient died."

Police claim she died from a heart issue, but people strongly believe it was at the hands of police brutality after witnesses claimed the patrol beat her in the van. Tehran’s police chief Hossein Rahimi said allegations that Amini was mistreated were "completely false".

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Growing fears for Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi

Safety concerns arose earlier in the week for Iranian rock climber Elnaz Rekabi, who competed in an international tournament in South Korea without a hijab.

Friends of the 33-year-old told the BBC’s Persian service that Rekabi has been uncontactable since Sunday (October 16).

BBC World Service present and Iran specialist Rana Rahimpour took to Twitter to express "concerns about her safety" after discovering Rakebi was on a plane bound for Tehran "two days earlier than planned".

Rekabi has since shared a post on Instagram, where she apologised for "getting everybody worried".

She also said her hijab fell off "inadvertently", writing: "Due to bad timing, and the unanticipated call for me to climb the wall, my head covering inadvertently came off."

The post added that she was on her way back to Iran "alongside the team based on the pre-arranged schedule".


Several dead following a fire at Evin prison

Four people have died and a further 61 have been injured following a fire at Iran's Evin prison known for housing political prisoners, according to an Iranian state news agency.

Sources inside the prison told the BBC’s Persian service the number of casualties is higher.


Death toll 'rises to 76' from protests

Anger swept through Iran following Amini's death, with people risking everything and taking the streets as an act of defiance.

Women were seen burning their hijabs, cutting their hair and screaming "Women, life, freedom" and "Death to the dictator" (referring to Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader).

"We are witnessing a nationwide reaction, really like a George Floyd moment for the national conscience that can no longer bear the violence and the logic of the ruling class in killing ordinary citizens," Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, told the New York Times.

State media revealed on Saturday that 41 people had been killed – a number that Mansoureh Mills, a researcher at leading human rights organisation Amnesty International, believes to be much higher.

Mills, who specialises in Iran, said: "Amnesty International has recorded at least 30 people being killed, four of them children, but we believe the actual number is higher, given the horrific level of violence being perpetrated by the security forces.

"The Iranian authorities have a pattern of distorting the truth to cover up their human rights violations. Following the November 2019 protests, during which security forces killed hundreds of men, women and children, the authorities consistently denied any responsibility.

"They continued to cover up the real death toll of people killed during the November 2019 protests, and publicly praised security and intelligence forces for their role in the crackdown."

An Iran human rights group claimed, "at least 76 protesters are confirmed to have been killed by security forces," including at least six women and four children.

Women unable to participate in the protests turned to TikTok to express their outrage at Amini’s death, with the hashtag #mahsaamini receiving more than 66m views at the time of writing.


@rezzamiin

For #mahsaamini Iranian women who are burning their ⁦‪#hijab‬⁩ and cutting off their hair in protest against the death of a 22-year-old woman. ⁦‪#Iran‬⁩ ‎⁦‪#mahsa_amini ‬⁩ ‎⁧‫#مهسا_امینی ‬⁩


British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was detained in Iran for six years, also filmed herself cutting her hair as a show of solidarity.

BBC


Internet and phone access has been restricted or shut down across the country

Internet monitoring group NetBlocks announced that Instagram and WhatsApp had been restricted. The popular messaging app said it was working to keep Iranian users connected.

TikTok, YouTube and Telegram have also been closed down.

"People in Iran are being cut off from online apps and services," Instagram chief Adam Mosseri tweeted, adding that "we hope their right to be online will be reinstated quickly".

Shayan Sardarizadeh from the BBC's disinformation unit said: "Shutting down internet connections nationwide is the nuclear option for Iranian authorities, only triggered when they fear protests are on a scale that pose an existential threat to the regime.

"It is an effective tool that severely harms the ability of protesters to organise, communicate and inform the outside world, but it also carries a huge cost for the Iranian economy, businesses and public services.

"However, Iranian authorities have shown time and again that when faced with a choice between a severe hit to the economy and cracking down on political unrest at any cost, they will always choose the latter."

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk chimed in, saying he will activate his satellite Starlink to provide internet in the country.


Arrests surge, including the daughter of former president

Hundreds of people have been arrested, 20 of them journalists.

Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iranian women’s rights activist and the daughter of the country’s former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was also among those locked up for "inciting riots", according to state media.


World Cup

Ahead of his teams first game at the World Cup in Qatar against England, Iran's captain Ehsan Hajsaf said in a press conference: "In the name of God, creator of rainbows… I want to say condolences to all the grieving families in Iran… we want them to know we are with them and by their side and share their pain."

During the national anthems, the Iranian players opted not to sing and were loudly applauded by their supporters in the stadium.

At the start of their second game against Wales, which they won 2-0, the players did sing the national anthem but it was loudly booed in the stadium by Iranian fans, some of whom were in tears.


USA flag controversy

Things also took an unexpected turn during the tournament after Iran state media called the USA to be kicked out of the tournament.

The country has called on FIFA to ban the USA following a social media post in which they didn’t include the "Allah" and "takbirs" emblems from the flag. Instead, the flag just contained the three block colours green, white and red.

The state-affiliated Iran media Tasnim News Agency claimed that by doing so, FIFA’s regulations had been broken.

The USSF said in a statement Sunday morning that it decided to make the change to "support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights."

It had been changed back to the normal flag by Sunday afternoon. "We wanted to show our support for the women in Iran with our graphic for 24 hours," the federation said.

How to stay informed:

With an influx of misinformation surfacing across the internet, here are some reliable accounts to follow, thanks to Cup of Jo:

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