Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian acknowledged the nationwide “peaceful assemblies” that swept the country after the death of Mahsa Amini, but said they turned violent after “bad interference by some terrorist elements.
Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman, died after being detained by the morality police in September for not wearing a headscarf properly.
Amir Abdollahian said: “The peaceful assemblies that took place after the sad death of Mahsa Amini were embodied in the Iranian street in solidarity with a young Iranian woman, but those peaceful assemblies turned into violent acts after the bad intervention of some terrorist elements.”
The Iranian government arrested thousands, killed hundreds, and executed others, following demonstrations that erupted with Amini’s death. CNN confirmed in a report last week that Iran has used a vast network of illegal secret prisons, or black sites, to torture protesters to extract coerced confessions.
Amir Abdollahian told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday that Iranian media outlets based in the US and UK are responsible for inciting “violence” in the protests.
He said, “A number of Persian-language television channels based in the United States and the United Kingdom acted as promoters of violence.”
Iran’s television station, Iran International, said it had to move its broadcast studio from London to Washington, D.C., on the advice of the London police, after a “significant escalation in threats from state-backed Iran.”
Officials from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard issued threats to opposition channels operating from abroad, accusing Saudi Arabia and others of financing these channels.
“No responsible state can leave security and public order endangered through violent and illegal behaviour,” Amir Abdollahian told delegates at the UN Human Rights Council.
Iran’s top diplomat said a national committee set up last year was tasked with investigating complaints of unnecessary force by the police and would conduct an investigation into the “unrest”.
In November, the UN Human Rights Council established a fact-finding mission to investigate human rights violations during the protests in Iran, with findings to be presented in June.