Iran’s Evin prison catches fire after clash between inmates and guards
Iran’s notorious Evin prison, which houses protesters arrested during widespread protests and political prisoners, has been set on fire after inmates clashed with security forces, media official news of this country.
IRNA quoted an unidentified security official as saying a scuffle broke out in one ward that led to clashes with guards.
The official said: “Villains and thugs set fire to the prisoner’s clothing warehouse, causing a fire at Evin prison. “The situation is now well under control and there is quiet in the prison while the firefighters are [out] fire.”
IRNA said eight prisoners were injured but no deaths. Videos and photos on local media showed fire and smoke rising from the prison. Foreign nationals, including Americans and Europeans, are also held at Evin. Authorities said at least nine foreigners were arrested during the protests.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the US State Department, said the Biden administration was following the reports from Evin “with urgency”.
“We are reaching out to the Swiss as our protective strength,” Price wrote on Twitter. “Iran fully responsible for the safety of our wrongfully detained citizens who need immediate release. “
The incident comes as the Islamic republic is grappling with one of the largest and longest protests in its 43-year history.
Protests across the country were sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, on September 16 after she was arrested by the ethics police for allegedly not complying with the Islamic code. Many Iranians expressed outrage and accused security forces of beating her. Iranian authorities insist she went unpunished and died of pre-existing illnesses.
Anti-regime protests on the street and the university continued in Tehran and other cities on Saturday. In the capital, security was tight around campuses including the University of Tehran, where students chanted “death to the dictator”, eyewitnesses said.
The elite Revolutionary Guards have deployed riot special forces outside the university, the first time they have been seen in Tehran. Up until now, security operations have mainly been conducted by the police force as well as by plainclothes bodyguards. But Iranian officials have vowed to quell protests they blame on enemies of the regime including the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
State television has confirmed that more than 40 protesters have died but Amnesty International has given at least 144 deaths, including 23 children.
While protests appear to have fallen in recent days from a week ago, analysts warn that further killings could escalate unrest.
Reports that a teenage schoolgirl was killed in the northwestern city of Ardabil last week have sparked renewed fury. Authorities have denied the reports.
Ali Daei, a former football star in the region, said that silence about the protests had caused further violence, including the girl’s death in Ardabil.
“This silence is at the cost of [more] deaths and every day there is a new loss,” he wrote on Instagram Saturday.