Iran summons British and Norwegian ambassadors amid nationwide protests

Iran says it has summoned the British and Norwegian ambassadors as protests over the death of a young woman in police custody continue to rage across the country.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday it summoned Simon Shercliff, the UK ambassador to Iran, on Saturday and protested against hosting London-based Farsi media outlets critical of the regime.

The ministry alleged that the news outlets have incited unrest and considers their reporting to be interference in Iran’s internal affairs and acts against its sovereignty.

The state-run IRNA news agency also reported that the ministry has summoned Norway’s ambassador to Iran and strongly objected to recent statements by Norwegian parliament speaker Masud Gharahkhani.

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Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, died in police custody after she was arrested by morality police in Tehran earlier this month for allegedly wearing her Islamic headscarf too loosely. Police said she died of a heart attack and was not abused, but her family doubts that.

Her death sent an uproar across Iran’s provinces and the capital Tehran. As of Sunday, protests over her death have spread across at least 46 cities, towns and villages in Iran. State TV has suggested that at least 41 protesters and police have been killed since the protests began on 17 September.

A member of the Basij, a volunteer force of the Iranian Guards, was killed by protesters on Saturday night in Tehran, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. Another Basij member, who had been in a coma since Thursday after street clashes, died in Urmia, West Azerbaijan province on Sunday, IRNA reported.

Amini’s death prompted sharp criticism from Western countries and the United Nations, as well as protests in solidarity abroad. On Sunday, violent street demonstrations broke out outside the Iranian embassy in London, when rocks were thrown at the police and five protesters were arrested. Several police officers were injured in the skirmishes although none seriously.

Pro-government rallies were also held on Sunday in several cities across Iran. Thousands attended a rally in the capital’s Enghelab, or Revolution Square, flying Iranian flags. Several officials, including cabinet spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi, attended the rally in Tehran.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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