Iran releases footage from prison fire, adding to mystery

Oct 23, 2022, 5:34 AM | Updated: Oct 24, 2022, 1:20 am
FILE - Iranians protest a 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini's death after she was detained by the moral...

FILE - Iranians protest a 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini's death after she was detained by the morality police, in Tehran, Sept. 20, 2022, in this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran. Iran’s atomic energy agency alleged Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, that hackers acting on behalf of an unidentified foreign country broke into a subsidiary’s network and had free access to its email system. Sunday's hack comes as Iran continues to face nationwide unrest first sparked by the Sept. 16 death of Amini. (AP Photo/Middle East Images, File)

(AP Photo/Middle East Images, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran on Sunday released security footage that it said came from its notorious Evin Prison the night a fire broke out that killed at least eight inmates, an effort to clarify the government’s narrative amid growing international pressure.

The purported CCTV footage of the mayhem last weekend only added to the mystery of what happened the night of the blaze at the detention facility. Evin Prison is known for holding political prisoners, including protesters from the demonstrations that have convulsed the country over the past five weeks. Rights groups estimate that thousands have been swept up since the unrest began over the Sept. 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman in police custody for allegedly not adhering to the country’s strict Islamic dress code.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency aired an interview with an unnamed top prison guard who claimed a riot broke out as prisoners convicted of financial crimes tried to escape. However, no unrest or violence is visible in the released CCTV footage. The quick glimpses show crowds of detainees rushing through cell doors. Some men appear panicked as smoke fills the ward and a siren wails. A prisoner tries to break his cell lock with a fire extinguisher, while another tries with a mop. A man tries to damage a CCTV camera.

The cryptic video and shifting explanations for what happened last Saturday night at Evin Prison have sown doubt about the government’s version of events. Officials first said the unrest was stoked by “enemy agents” and some inmates who attempted to escape. They also claimed inmates set a sewing workshop on fire. But in numerous videos shared on social media, gunshots, explosions and protest chants can be heard.

Iran’s nationwide protests first focused on Iran’s state-mandated hijab, or headscarf, for women but transformed into one of the most serious challenges to the country’s ruling clerics. Protesters have clashed with police and even called for the downfall of the Islamic Republic itself. Security forces have fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse demonstrations, killing over 200 people, according to estimates by rights groups.

Also on Sunday, Iran’s atomic energy agency alleged that hackers acting on behalf of an unidentified foreign country broke into a subsidiary’s network and had free access to its email system.

An anonymous hacking group claimed responsibility for the attack on Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, demanding Tehran release political prisoners. The group, calling itself “Black Reward,” said it leaked 50 gigabytes of internal emails, contracts and construction plans related to Iran’s Russian-backed nuclear power plant in Bushehr and shared the files on its Telegram channel. It was unclear whether the breached system contained classified material.

“Unlike Westerners, we do not flirt with criminal mullahs,” the anonymous hacking group said in a Telegram post.

Iran did not specify which foreign country it believed to be behind the hack, but it has previously accused the United States and Israel for cyberattacks that have impaired the country’s infrastructure.

“These illegal efforts out of desperation are aimed at attracting public attention,” the Atomic Energy Organization said.

Meanwhile Iran’s leading teachers’ association reported that sit-ins canceled classes at multiple schools across the country in protest over the government’s crackdown on student protesters.

The union shared photos of teachers holding protest signs saying “Woman, Life, Freedom” instead of teaching in classrooms in the Kurdish cities of Sanandaj, Marivan, Kermanshah and Saqez, as well as in the West Azerbaijan and mountainous Hamadan provinces, among others.

“Schools have become barracks and tear gas is thrown in the faces of elementary school students,” one teacher wrote in a letter shared by the union.

Campuses have long been a flash point for unrest in Iran, including during the 1953 student protests under the Western-backed shah and during the 1999 pro-democracy demonstrations under former reformist President Mohammad Khatami.

Scattered demonstrations continued at universities across the country on Sunday, footage showed. At the prestigious Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, the scene of an hours-long siege by security forces earlier this month that ended with dozens of students arrested, protests erupted as students tore down the barrier dividing men from women in the campus cafeteria, a students’ association said.

“Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!” the massive crowd shouted at the top of their lungs, footage showed, pumping their fists in the air.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A small plane rests on live power lines after crashing, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Montgomery Villag...
Associated Press

Plane caught in power lines after crash, 2 occupants unhurt

GAITHERSBURG, Md. (AP) — A small plane carrying two people got stuck in live power lines Sunday evening in Maryland, causing widespread power outages in the surrounding county as officials tried to extricate the aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the single-engine plane, which had departed White Plains, N.Y., crashed into […]
19 hours ago
This combination of photos provided by the Chesapeake, Va., Police Department shows top row from le...
Associated Press

Walmart shooting claims teen, young woman, father, mother

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — A 16-year-old helping his family. A custodian and father of two. A mother with wedding plans. A happy-go-lucky guy. A longtime employee. That’s how friends and family described some of the six people killed at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, when a manager opened fire with a handgun before an employee […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. walks on the sideline during a NFL division...
Associated Press

NFL free agent Odell Beckham Jr. taken off plane in Miami

MIAMI (AP) — NFL free agent Odell Beckham Jr. was removed by police from an aircraft before takeoff at Miami International Airport after officials said he failed to respond to requests to buckle his seatbelt and appeared to be unconscious, police and airline officials said Sunday. “Fearing that Mr. Beckham was seriously ill, and that […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Chickens walk in a fenced pasture at an organic farm in Iowa on Oct. 21, 2015. Nebraska agri...
Associated Press

Bird flu prompts slaughter of 1.8M chickens in Nebraska

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska agriculture officials say another 1.8 million chickens must be killed after bird flu was found on a farm in the latest sign that the outbreak that has already prompted the slaughter of more than 50 million birds nationwide continues to spread. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture said Saturday that the […]
19 hours ago
This photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas James in Centur...
Associated Press

Colorado shooting victim ‘wanted to save the family I found’

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A member of the U.S. Navy who was injured while helping prevent further harm during a shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado last weekend said Sunday that he “simply wanted to save the family that I found.” Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas James made his first public comments on […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Director Quentin Tarantino, left, poses with Friars Club Dean Freddie Roman at the Quentin T...
Associated Press

Borscht Belt comedian Freddie Roman dies at age 85

Comedian Freddie Roman, the former dean of The Friars Club and a staple of the Catskills comedy scene, has died. He was 85. Roman died Saturday afternoon at Bethesda Hospital in Boynton Beach, Florida, his booking agent and friend Alison Chaplin said Sunday. His daughter told the entertainment trade Deadline that he suffered a heart […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Iran releases footage from prison fire, adding to mystery