TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has reconvened Britain’s ambassador over remarks from London that have been called “provocative” about Tehran’s crackdown on mass protests, Iranian state media reported Wednesday.
Islamic Republic authorities called Simon Shercliff for the second time in 10 days and “strongly condemned interventionist statements resorting to provocative and false interpretations” from London, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.
The summons came two days after British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly urged Iranian authorities to respect the right to peaceful assembly and called for restraint as well as the release of unjustly detained protesters.
Iran said the “unilateral and selective” statement showed Britain was siding with groups based there that oppose the Islamic Republic.
The widespread mobilizations in Iran arose after the death of a woman, Mahsa Amini, 22, while she was detained by the morality police.
Iranian leaders accuse the West, especially the United States and Israel, of masterminding the protests sparked by the death. Amini was arrested for violating the nation’s strict dress code. The Islamic Republic also bombed the headquarters of Kurdish opposition groups it accuses of inciting the mobilizations, a claim the groups deny.
Iran has provided no evidence to support its claims of foreign intervention.
The protests entered their third week on Wednesday despite government efforts to crack down on demonstrators and have reached dozens of cities across the country in the most serious challenge to Iranian leadership in years. A series of festering crises have helped stoke the anger of the population, including political repression, economic problems and global isolation.
The scope of the riots, the largest in more than a decade, remains unclear as witnesses report spontaneous rallies across the country with small acts of defiance such as shouting slogans from rooftops, cutting hair or burning veils, the use of which is illegal. required by state mandate.
Security forces have tried to disperse the demonstrations with tear gas, metal pellets and, in some cases, live ammunition, according to human rights groups. Iranian state television reported that violent clashes between protesters and police have claimed the lives of at least 41 people, but human rights groups say the number is much higher. More than 1,000 people would have been detained.
Cleverly summoned the Iranian envoy on Monday over the aggressive crackdown by Iranian authorities, calling the violence “truly shocking.”
“We will continue to work with our partners to hold the Iranian authorities accountable for their blatant violation of human rights,” he added.
London highlighted its concern over reports of the use of live ammunition against protesters.
Earlier last week, Iran summoned Shercliff to protest Britain’s hosting of Farsi-language media critical of the Islamic Republic. The ministry alleges that the media has caused unrest and the spread of riots in Iran.