A fire reportedly broke out at a prison in Iran's Tehran on Saturday amid the raging anti-governent protests. Several politicians, journalists and foreign nationals are imprisoned in the notorious Evin prison.
Videos of the fire were shared on social media where gunshots and explosions could also be heard.
The fire was later contained and the state media reported that the situation was brought under control.
Iran has been gripped under intense anti-regime protests triggered by the death of a 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody over the hijab mandate. Several people have been killed in the subsequent protests, while many activists have been arrested.
Here is all you need to know about the fire in Iran jail and the anti-regime protests.
What happened at Evin prison?
A major fire was reported from Iran's Evin prison where political prisoners, activists and lawyers have been kept under detention. According to CNN, at least eight people were injured in the fire incident.
"Now the situation of the prison is completely under control and peace is maintained in the prison complex and the streets around the prison are being monitored and under control," the governor of Tehran, Mohsen Mansouri, was quoted as saying.
Iranian state media IRNAA reported that the fire broke out after "clashes and riots" in a cell where "bandits and hooligans" were lodged. "The law enforcement forces of prison and firemen extinguished the fire," the report said, quoting prison officials saying that the incident was not related to the recent protests in the country.
"The notorious #Evinprison in Iran is reported to be on fire with gunshots heard. This must be terrifying. Lets recall that the authorities have the legal obligation to respect and protect the lives and well being of all the prisoners," Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International Secretary General, wrote on Twitter.
Iranian journalist Jason Rezaian took to Twitter and said that Evin "is no ordinary prison". "Many of Iran's best and brightest have spent long stretches confined there, where brave women and men are denied their basic rights for speaking truth to power," Rezaian said. He further said that several American citizens, and Iranian activists, intellectuals, journalists, artists, and scientists are incarcerated there.
Expressing concern over the situation, the US said that Iran was responsible for the safety of "wrongfully detained citizens".
"We are following reports from Evin Prison with urgency. We are in contact with the Swiss as our protecting power. Iran is fully responsible for the safety of our wrongfully detained citizens, who should be released immediately," State Department Spokesman Ned Price said.
Why is Iran on the edge?
The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September in police custody triggered massive protests across the country. The woman was detained by Iran's morality police for not wearing her hijab properly. The death sparked anti-hijab and anti-regime protests.
Oslo-based NGO Iran Human Rights on October 12 reported that at least 201 people, including 23 children, have been killed in the protests. It said that Internet was also disrupted in several places. The IHR said that many of the injured protesters were denied admission to hospitals and medical centres. It said that any were treated at home fearing arrests.
It said the deaths were reported from 18 provinces including Kurdistan, Tehran, Isfahan and Mazandaran. There have been mass arrests of protesters and civil society activists, while use of torture and "ill-treatment " of protesters has also been reported, the IHR said.
"Iran Human Rights warns of the impending bloody crackdown against protesters and residents in Kurdistan, Sanandaj in particular, and demands urgent action by the international community," it said.
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