Mahsa Amini: Iranian protests will have 'crucial impact' in Europe

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By Aida Sanchez Alonso  & Lauren Chadwick
Demonstrators show posters and photos as they attend a protest against the death of Iranian Mahsa Amini in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.
Demonstrators show posters and photos as they attend a protest against the death of Iranian Mahsa Amini in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Markus Schreiber   -  

Protests in Iran over the death of a 22-year-old woman for allegedly not wearing her headscarf correctly could have "a crucial impact in Europe", an Iranian-French academic told Euronews.

"It’s not enough for Europe just to support verbally," Azadeh Kian, a sociology professor at the University of Paris-Diderot told Euronews on the sidelines of a European Parliament debate on Iran.

"I think that Europe needs to continue to talk with the Iranian authorities and ask them to stop shooting the people," she added.

Kian said that the protesters in Iran were demanding "secularisation" and separation between "religion and the state" as part of a movement against political Islam.

"So this is something which will have also a crucial impact in Europe," she said.

Iranian protesters have faced a violent crackdown after taking to the streets following the death of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by Iran's "morality police".

Dozens of men, women and children have been killed, according to Amnesty International, and hundreds more have been injured.

Protests have now spread to European cities with some women joining Iranians in publicly cutting their hair.

"Women in Iran are demanding the free choice, their right to choose whether they want or not to put on the veil," Kian said.

"But their demands are also for equal rights between men and women, for the change in discriminatory laws and all that.

"And so what is important is that they are being also supported by a lot of young men in their plight for democracy, freedom and equality."

Considering 'restrictive measures'

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told the European Parliament that the bloc would "continue to follow what’s happening in the country and to use every opportunity to raise our position and our concerns on human rights in Iran."

"As I mentioned, we will continue to consider all the options at our disposal including restrictive measures," he said.

French foreign affairs minister Catherine Colonna also said that EU countries would consider targeted sanctions against members of the Iranian regime that are killing protesters.

Borrell added that the EU countries' foreign affairs ministers would discuss the topic at their next meeting.

The next foreign affairs council is scheduled for 17 October.