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Amnesty International Concerned Over Arrested Iranian Azeri Protesters

Amnesty International expressed concern over the arrest of around 20 Iranian activists of Azeri ethnicity in recent protests in Ardebil and other cities.

In a tweet on Friday, Amnesty International released the names of several arrested protesters including Asghar Asgarzadeh, Mostafa Parvin, Morteza Parvin, Mohammad Jolani, Maysam Jolani, and Ali Kheijou.

The human rights organization also announced that several of the arrested protesters were charged with security crimes, including insulting the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, insurgency, and disrupting public order.

Amnesty International has not mentioned the exact time of the arrests, but human rights sources had previously reported that these individuals were detained on Tuesday after a gathering in Ardebil.

The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported on Friday that it has identified 41 of the people arrested in Ardebil, Tabriz, Urmia, Meshgin Shahr, Pars Abad Moghan, and Zanjan.

HRANA states that the number of people arrested in these protests is estimated to be much higher, and the protesters were arrested “violently” in the streets or at their homes or workplaces. Other sources have reported up to 50 arrests in recent days.

Images on social media Thursday evening showed protests in Tehran and Tabriz in support of the Republic of Azerbaijan in its military conflict with Armenia.

The videos show protesters chanting “(Nagorno-) Karabakh is ours, it will remain ours” and “Karabakh or death” in Azeri language.

There were also some clashes between the protesters and the security forces that tried to disperse the crowd.

At the same time, several representatives of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Republic, in four of Azeri-majority provinces of Iran released a joint statement in support of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Khamenei representatives in East Azarbaijan, West Azarbaijan Zanjan, and Ardebil said in the statement that there is no doubt that Karabakh belongs to the Republic of Azerbaijan and it has been occupied and must be returned to Azerbaijan.

The statement came at a time when the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had already announced that the Islamic Republic’s policy is to “help and facilitate dialogue between two sides”.

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