Iranian lawmakers have urged the country’s judiciary to “show no leniency” to protesters in a letter cited by state-run Press TV on Sunday, as thousands of people continue to rally on the streets despite the threat of arrest.
The Islamic Republic is facing one of the biggest and unprecedented shows of dissent following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman detained by the morality police allegedly for not wearing her hijab properly.
In an open letter signed by 227 of Iran’s 290 members of Parliament, Press TV reports the lawmakers calls for protesters to be taught a “good lesson” to deter others who threaten the authority of the Iranian government.
“We, the representatives of this nation, ask all state officials, including the Judiciary, to treat those, who waged war (against the Islamic establishment) and attacked people’s life and property like the Daesh (terrorists), in a way that would serve as a good lesson in the shortest possible time,” the letter read according to state-run Press TV.
Lawmakers added that such a punishment – the methods of which were not specified – would “prove to all that life, property, security and honor of our dear people is a red line for this (Islamic) establishment, and that it would show no leniency to anybody in this regard.”
Iran has charged at least 1,000 people in Tehran province for their alleged involvement in the nationwide protests over Amini’s death, the largest such show of dissent in years, state news agency IRNA has reported. Their trials are public and have been underway for more than a week.
Norway-based rights group Iran Human Rights (IHR) said in a report last Wednesday that dozens of protesters are facing charges including “enmity against God” and “corruption on earth,” which carry the death sentence.
The letter from the members of Parliament also reiterates prior Iranian government claims that the ongoing protests – that it calls riots – were incited by the United States and other enemies of Iran. Iran’s government has provided no evidence to back up its claims of foreign involvement in the protest movement.
Top United Nations official Javaid Rehman told the UN Security Council last week that as many as 14,000 people, including journalists, activists, lawyers and educators, had been arrested since protests erupted in Iran in mid-September.
Rehman, special rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, said the “unabated violent response of security forces” had caused at least 277 deaths.
CNN cannot independently verify the arrest figure or the death toll – precise figures are impossible for anyone outside the Iranian government to confirm – and different estimates have been given by opposition groups, international rights organizations and local journalists.