28 Oct 2022

Nothing stopping New Zealand's condemnation of Iran, Green Party says

10:11 pm on 28 October 2022
Protesters demonstrate outside the Iranian embassy in Wellington on 28 October, 2022.

Protesters outside the Iranian embassy in Wellington on Friday. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

The Green Party has again urged the government to step up its condemnation of Iran.

About 50 protesters burned headscarves and passports outside the Iranian embassy in Wellington on Friday.

There has been a wave of protest in Iran and around the world over the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for violating Iran's dress code.

The government had been quiet on the issue - with recent news breaking of two New Zealanders that were held in Iran having now escaped the country safe and well.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the government had been working hard over the past several months to ensure the safe exit of social media influencers Topher Richwhite and his wife Bridget Thackwray.

Greens' foreign affairs spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman said there was no longer anything stopping the government taking stronger action.

Two protesters embrace during a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy in Wellington on 28 October, 2022.

Green Party foreign affairs spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman hugs a protester. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

"Now there is no imagined or real impediment to us actually taking action and it is our responsibility to do that," Ghahraman said.

"We need to come to line with the rest of the world when action on Iran is concerned.

TEHRAN, IRAN - SEPTEMBER 21: Dozens of people stage a demonstration to protest the death of a 22-year-old woman under custody in Tehran Iran on September 21, 2022. Stringer / Anadolu Agency (Photo by STRINGER / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu Agency via AFP)

Protests in Iran continue. Photo: ANDALOU

"There are these very specific actions we can take that will hurt the people most responsible for this violence and oppression."

Ghahraman wanted a freeze on the assets, bank accounts and travel of people supporting violence in Iran.

There has been an upsurge in the protests this week, with tens of thousands taking to the streets in major cities across Iran after security forces were reported to have opened fire on protesters in Saqquez, Amini's home city, on Wednesday.

In a tweet, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said Aotearoa was "appalled" by the use of force by Iranian authorities overnight.

"Violence against women, girls or any other members of Iranian society to prevent their exercise of universal human rights is unacceptable and must end."

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