UN launches probe into violence against protesters in Iran
The big picture: The Iranian government has cracked down aggressively on protests that began in September in response to the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini while in custody. More than 300 people have been killed in the demonstrations, including dozens of children, according to the U.N.
- Amini died in the custody of Iran's morality police after officers detained her for allegedly violating the country's mandatory hijab law.
- Around 14,000 people have been arrested in connection with the protests, U.N. human rights chief Volker Türk said Thursday, and several have been sentenced to death.
- The mass protests that rippled across the country led to deadly violence against protesters, internet restrictions, and mass arrests.
What they're saying: "It pains me to see what is happening in the country," Türk said at the council's special session on Thursday. "The images of children killed. Of women beaten in the streets. Of people sentenced to death."
- "Since the protests began, security forces have reportedly responded by using lethal force against unarmed demonstrators and bystanders who posed no threat to life," Türk said. "In blatant disregard of international rules on the use of force."
- Security forces such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Basij forces "have used live ammunition, birdshot and other metal pellets, teargas and batons," he noted.
- "The unnecessary and disproportionate use of force must come to an end."
Worth noting: Khadijeh Karimi, Iran's deputy of the vice president for women and family affairs, claimed during the session that "Western authorities and their interventions in internal affairs of Iran [...] turned the peaceful assemblies into riots and violence."
- But it's young women in particular who are leading the movement, experts tell Axios' Ivana Saric, not just in major cities but in smaller towns all across the country.