Olaf Scholz
Olaf Scholz Reuters

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday strongly criticized the Iranian government for its bloody crackdown on protests in the country and said Germany stands “shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people”, reports The Associated Press.

Scholz said the ongoing protests sparked by the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her detention by Iran’s morality police were no longer “merely a question of dress codes” but had evolved into a fight for freedom and justice.

“We can barely begin to imagine how much courage this takes,” Scholz said in his weekly video address, according to AP. “More than 300 killed, dozens of death sentences and more than 14,000 arrests. So far. Those who demonstrate against oppression in Iran risk their lives, and often also the lives of their loved ones– and face the prospect of torture and decades in prison.”

Hundreds of thousands of people in Germany with Iranian roots fear for their relatives and are “appalled and disgusted by what the Mullah regime is doing to the demonstrators,” the chancellor continued. “It is clear that the Iranian government is solely responsible for this spate of violence.”

Scholz warned Iran would receive additional sanctions for its brutal crackdown and its decision to send hundreds of drones to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine. European Union foreign ministers are expected to agree on additional sanctions when they meet on Monday.

The street violence that erupted after Amini’s death has led to dozens of deaths, mostly of protesters but also members of the security forces.

Earlier this month, Scholz indicated that the European Union is considering further sanctions against Iran over its "excessive" crackdown on demonstrators.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock previously said that Berlin and the EU were examining whether to list Iran's Revolutionary Guards as a "terrorist organization".

"I made it clear last week that we will launch another package of sanctions, that we will examine how we can also list the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization," she said.