The United Nations Secretary-General called on Iran on Wednesday to refrain from using “unnecessary or disproportionate force” against protesters as unrest over a young woman's death in police custody spread across the country.
Antonio Guterres said through a spokesman that authorities should swiftly conduct an impartial investigation of the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, which has sparked unrest across Iran’s provinces and the capital of Tehran.
“We are increasingly concerned about reports of rising fatalities, including women and children, related to the protests,” UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric in a statement. “We underline the need for prompt, impartial and effective investigation into Ms Mahsa Amini’s death by an independent competent authority.”
Protests have spread across at least 46 cities, towns and villages in Iran. State TV reported that at least 41 protesters and police have been killed since the protests began on September 17.
Iran's police command warned on Wednesday that the force would come down hard on the protests.
"Today, the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran and some rioters seek to disrupt the order, security and comfort of the nation using any pretext," the police command said in a statement.
"Police officers will oppose with all their might the conspiracies of counter-revolutionaries and hostile elements, and deal firmly with those who disrupt public order and security anywhere in the country," it said, quoted by Fars news agency.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, meanwhile, said it documented the arrests of at least 23 journalists as the clashes between security forces and protesters heated up.
CPJ in a Wednesday statement called on Iranian authorities to “immediately” release arrested journalists who covered Amini’s death and protests. (AP/AFP)