Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi said on Thursday that the death of a young woman that sparked protests in the Islamic republic needed to be investigated, but accused Western powers of hypocrisy for expressing concern.
At a press conference in New York where he attended the UN General Assembly, the cleric repeated a coroner’s conclusion that 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was not beaten, a claim rejected by protesters.
“But I don’t want to jump to any conclusions,” Raisi said.
“If any party is at fault, it must be investigated. I have contacted the victim’s family at the earliest opportunity and I have personally assured them that we will persist in investigating the incident,” he said.
Protesters, many of them women, said Amini died in the custody of morality police who enforce the clerical state’s dress code on women.
Hours after Washington imposed a ban on the police unit, Rice accused West of “double standards”, pointing to killings by police in the US and providing statistics on the deaths of women in Britain.
“Why not call for the same thing for those who lose their lives at the hands of law enforcement and other agents across the West — Europe, North America, the United States?” she said.
“Why is there no investigation against those who are unjustly beaten?”
Raisi did not respond to a question about internet restrictions inside Iran, where at least 17 people have died in unrest since Amini’s death last week, but said he recognized peaceful protests.
“These are normal and completely expected. But we must distinguish between protesters and vandals,” he said.
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