Iranian lawmakers urged protesters to “show no mercy” in a letter quoted by state-run Press TV on Sunday, as thousands continued to gather in the streets despite threats of arrest.
The Islamic Republic is facing one of the largest and unprecedented demonstrations of dissent following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who was allegedly arrested by the moral police for not wearing the hijab properly.
In an open letter signed by 227 of Iran’s 290 members of parliament, Press TV reported that the lawmakers are asking the protesters to teach them “a good lesson” to deter others who threaten the authority of the Iranian government.
“We, the representatives of this nation, call on all State officials, including the Judiciary, to treat those who waged war (against the Islamic establishment) and attacked people’s lives and property as Daesh (terrorists) as a good lesson in the shortest possible time,” it reads. letters according to State Press TV.
The legislators added that this punishment – the methods of which were not specified – “would prove to everyone that the life, property, safety and honor of our beloved people is a red line for this (Islamic) establishment, and it would not show complacency. to anyone in this regard.”
Iran has charged at least 1,000 people in Tehran province with taking part in nationwide protests over Amini’s death, the biggest show of dissent in years, state news agency IRNA reported. Their trials are public and have been going on for more than a week.
The Norwegian 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 in the land”, which carry the death penalty.
The members of parliament’s letter also repeats claims by the previous Iranian government that the ongoing protests, which it calls riots, were fueled by the United States and other enemies of Iran. The Iranian government has provided no evidence to support its claims of involvement in the protest movement abroad.
The top United Nations official, Javaid Rehman, told the UN Security Council last week that 14,000 people, including journalists, activists, lawyers and educators, have been arrested since protests broke out in Iran in mid-September.
Rehman, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, said that “the continued violent response by the security forces” had resulted in at least 277 deaths.
CNN cannot independently verify arrest figures or the death toll – exact figures are impossible for anyone outside the Iranian government to confirm – and opposition groups, international rights organizations and local journalists have come up with different estimates.