Iran detains mother of teen in coma after metro incident: report

Iran detains mother of teen in coma after metro incident: report
The mother of Armita Garawand was arrested near the hospital and taken to an unknown location by security agents. Garawand was assaulted on the Tehran metro by morality police.
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Armita Garawand was severely injured because of a clash with female police officers on public transport. (Getty)

Iran has detained the mother of a 16-year-old who was left in a coma after an alleged assault on the Tehran metro by morality police, a rights group said Thursday.

Sunday's alleged assault, which came just over a year after the death in custody of Mahsa Amini following her arrest for an alleged violation of Iran's strict dress code for women, has drawn expressions of concern from several Western governments.

But state media in Iran have strongly denied that Armita Garawand was hurt as a result of a clash with female police officers, saying she fainted due to blood pressure problems.

Kurdish-focused rights group Hengaw has insisted that Garawand was seriously wounded and left in a coma in a confrontation with police, who had apprehended her for not wearing an obligatory headscarf.

It has said she is being treated under high security in the Fajr hospital in Tehran, with her parents not allowed a proper visit with her.

Her mother Shahin Ahmadi was arrested near the hospital and taken to an unknown location by security agents, Hengaw said.

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Iran International TV said the arrest came after she protested the restrictions placed on hospital visits.

But Iran's Tasnim news agency denied she had been arrested and lashed out at foreign media outlets for seeking to create "sedition and chaos".

Her parents earlier gave an interview to state media at the hospital "under considerable pressure" and "in the presence of high-ranking security officers", Hengaw said.

Iranian authorities remain on high alert for any upsurge of social tension.

Amini's death sparked several months of protests that rattled Iran's clerical leadership and only dwindled in the face of a crackdown that according to activists has seen thousands arrested and hundreds killed.

"Once again a young woman in Iran is fighting for her life. Just because she showed her hair on the subway," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

"It's intolerable."

Abram Paley, the acting US special envoy on Iran, posted on X that Washington was "shocked and concerned about reports that Iran's so-called morality police have assaulted" the teenager.

"We are following news of her condition. We continue to stand with the brave people of Iran and work with the world to hold the regime accountable for its abuses," Paley added.

But Iran dismissed the criticism.

"Instead of interventionist and biased remarks and expressing insincere concern over Iranian women and girls, you'd better be concerned about US, German and UK healthcare personnel (and) patients and tackle their situation," foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani wrote on X.

Tehran metro managing director Masood Dorosti denied there was "any verbal or physical conflict" between Garawand and "passengers or metro staff".

IRNA later published interviews with two girls who said they were Garawand's friends and confirmed the account.

On Monday, Iranian journalist Maryam Lotfi was briefly detained after going to a Tehran hospital to report on Garawand's condition, according to the reformist Shargh newspaper.