Iran: Thousands of demonstrators gather 40 days after Mahsa Amini's death

Protesters in Washington. Credit: AP

Thousands of protestors gathered in the northwestern Iranian city of Saqez yesterday to mark 40 days since the death of Mahsa Amini in custody.

The 22-year-old died after being detained by Iran's morality police, sparking the biggest anti-government protests in the country for over a decade.

She had been arrested for allegedly violating the country's strict dress code for women by wearing her hijab too loosely.

Deaths are commemorated in Shiite Islam — as in many other traditions — again 40 days later, typically with an outpouring of grief.

Protesters chanted anti-government slogans, according to verified video footage from people at the scene, while others show a massive procession making its way along a highway and through a dusty field toward Ms Amini's grave.

Many people present shouted "women, life, freedom" - which has become a rallying cry of the protest movement.

Demonstrations were not limited to Iran's Kurdish region, said local witnesses, with reports of large gatherings in the capital Tehran and other cities in the country.

According to one rights group, Iranian security forces responded to some demonstrations yesterday with live fire, including in Saqez and the town of Marivan.

Ms Amini remains the potent symbol of protests that have posed one of the most serious challenges to the Islamic Republic.

Since the protests erupted, security forces have fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse demonstrations, killing over 200 people, according to rights groups, with many more arrested. Access to internet services has also been cut off across the country

Meanwhile the US Treasury imposed fresh sanctions on Iranian officials in response to the crackdown.

Brian Nelson, under secretary of the Treasury, said Iranians "continue to bravely protest in the face of brutal suppression and disruption of internet access."

“The United States is imposing new sanctions on Iranian officials overseeing organisations involved in violent crackdowns and killings, including of children, as part of our commitment to hold all levels of the Iranian government accountable for its repression," he said in a statement.

Among the latest officials sanctioned by the US are the wardens of several prisons and high ranking officers within Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corp.

Iranian officials have blamed the protests on foreign interference, without offering evidence.