Female Iranian security officer dies mysteriously after criticising regime’s crackdown on protesters

A hospital report claimed that Mansoureh Sagvand died of a heart attack
A hospital report claimed that Mansoureh Sagvand died of a heart attack

An Iranian security officer who quit her job in protest at the regime’s massive crackdown on protesters has died in mysterious circumstances, prompting thousands to attend her funeral in a show of support.

Mansoureh Sagvand, 18, had posted a series of messages on social media criticising the regime’s brutal response to mass protests in the country, and resigned from her role as “volunteer security personnel”.

“As someone who has been active in the police forces, I tried to tell the truth to those who are ignorant. We had seen the crimes with our own eyes and told the facts. This revolution will happen sooner than you think,” she said in one tweet.

But according to Iranian human rights activists, she fell ill soon afterwards and was taken to a hospital in the restive Iranian city of Abdanan over the weekend, where she was later pronounced dead.

Local media reports soon emerged stating that earlier she had been detained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which is loyal to the Supreme Leader, and a hospital report claimed that she died of a heart attack.

Local media reports stated that Mansoureh Sagvand had been detained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard before her death
Local media reports stated that Mansoureh Sagvand had been detained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard before her death

Her death immediately caused suspicion and speculation on social media as the regime has also claimed that Mahsa Amini, a figurehead of the protest movement, died from heart problems.

In September Ms Amini, 22, was beaten to death in the custody of Iran’s morality police for incorrectly wearing her hijab, a case that shocked millions of Iranians and triggered nationwide protests.

Thousands of Iranians attended her recent funeral despite a heavy presence of security forces, with some holding placards that called for “resistance and justice”.

The details surrounding her death were circulated by 1500tasvir, a prolific social media account of activists, which emerged as a major source of independent information on the protests last year.

According to some reports, Ms Sagvand was only briefly detained by the Revolutionary Guard and then released without charge, as officials in Ilam province feared it would cause a major public outcry.

‘They threaten us with death’

In another social media post explaining her decision to resign, Ms Sagvand wrote: “They threaten us with death, as if we are alive under the current conditions…till eternity, I will sacrifice my life for my motherland.”

In a message to one of her friends, Ms Sagvand had said she received death threats from intelligence officers, adding that “if something happens to me, I want everyone to know that I did not commit suicide”.

Reza Pahlavi, the exiled son of the former Shah of Iran, posted a message on his Twitter account calling Ms Sagvand “the daughter of Iran whose murder by the mercenaries ruling our country will not be forgotten”.

While the issue of mandatory hijab continues to dominate domestic politics in Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, on Monday blamed the United States and Israel for protests that gripped the country for more than ten months. He also accused those countries of trying to stop Iran’s “progress”.

Speaking on the anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, 87-year-old Mr Khamenei branded the anti-government protesters as “thugs and hooligans at the service of foreign powers”.

Hypersonic missile unveiled

It came as Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps unveiled a new hypersonic missile, called Fattah (conqueror in Farsi) that can allegedly travel at 15 times the speed of sound with a range of 1400km.

Iranian military officials also claim the Fattah missile can bypass any air defence system in Israel, though on Wednesday Israel’s defence minister insisted this was not the case.

“I hear our enemies boasting about weapons they are developing. To any such development, we have an even better response – whether it be on land, in the air, or in the maritime arena, including both defensive and offensive means,” said Yoav Gallant, a minister.

The missile is a potentially major challenge to Israel, which has threatened strikes on Iranian nuclear sites, and the West which is increasingly concerned about Iran’s security cooperation with Russia against Ukraine.

Israel, which regards the nuclear programme as an existential threat, has increased its preparation for a potential “multi-frontal” war with Iran and its proxy groups in the region.