Ahead of protest anniversary, Iran summons Australian envoy over remarks on human rights

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran summoned Australia's envoy to the Mideast country to protest the latest round of sanctions imposed on Tehran over what Canberra decries as violations of human rights, Iranian state media reported on Thursday.

The report said Australia's chargé d’affaires was called in to Iran's foreign ministry over “interventionist remarks" by Australia and the new sanctions that are targeting four Iranian nationals.

The development comes as Iranians are marking on Saturday the first anniversary of nationwide protests over the country’s mandatory headscarf law. The protests erupted after the Sept. 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini who was detained by Iran's morality police allegedly over her headscarf, or hijab.

The demonstrations have represented one of the largest challenges to Iran’s theocracy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. A security force crackdown that followed the protests saw over 500 people killed and more than 22,000 people detained.

Iran’s government has blamed the West for fomenting the unrest.

Australia on Wednesday imposed financial sanctions and travel bans on four Iranian individuals and three entities that Canberra said were “responsible for the oppression of people in Iran, including women and girls.”

Among those sanctioned are Iran’s cyber police and Press TV, the English-language state TV channel, as well as Iran's police spokesman, Saeed Montazer Almehdi.

Iran occasionally summons Western envoys for protests over similar remarks.