Iran’s leading news programme was hacked by anti-regime activists on Saturday, as nationwide protests against the government entered their fourth week. The country’s leadership has been rocked by a violent revolt, which erupted after a young woman died while in the custody of Iran’s morality police. Masha Amini, 22, was arrested last month by the Guidance Patrol for wearing an “improper” hijab during a visit to Tehran.
According to eyewitnesses, she was severely beaten by officers from the force.
Thousands have since taken to the streets to express their anger and outrage and have called for regime change.
The news programme was broadcasting an appearance by the Iran’s Supreme Leader, when the hackers struck.
The activists inserted a screen with the photos of young women who have been killed during the unrest, including that of Ms Amini.
They included an image of Khamenei with crosshairs centred on his forehead and text urging Iranians to join the uprising.
The hackers added: “The blood of our youths is on your hands.”
A group called Edalat-e Ali later claimed responsibility for the hack and have a previous track record of carrying out similar acts.
The activists hacked into the Iranian state broadcaster’s website and posted an opposition message on the page earlier this year, according to Iran International.
Social media videos also emerged on Saturday and appeared to show female students at a Tehran university chanting “get lost” during a visit by President Ebrahim Raisi.
The ultra-conservative President had earlier called for unity and made a visit to the Al-Zahra University in an attempt to calm the situation.
However, the visit backfired with videos and photos on social media showing students outside the university taking off and waving their hijabs, and denouncing Raisi and the regime.
On Friday, Iran’s Forensic Medicine Organisation said Ms Amini had died from multiple organ failure caused by cerebral hypoxia – and not from blows to the head, as her family and protesters contend.
She described those “who beat up women and girls on the street” as standing on “the wrong side of history”.
Speaking to a German newspaper, Baerbock also criticised those who “condemn to death people who want nothing other than to live free”.
She told Iranians: “We stand by you, and will continue to do so.”
EU foreign ministers are expected to decide on sanctions on 17 October, according to Reuters news agency.