Mahsa Amini protests
Protests erupted in Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the country's morality police. Photo/UGC via AFP

A 16-year-old girl has been left fighting for her life after being "physically attacked" by Iranian authorities for not wearing a hijab.

The victim, identified as Armita Geravand, suffered "severe injuries" after being attacked by Iran's morality police on the Tehran subway, a rights group said on Tuesday. The Kurdish-focused rights group Hengaw has claimed that the teenager remains in a critical condition after she fell into a coma.

They have alleged that she was attacked on Sunday for violating the stringent hijab laws. She lost consciousness after being assaulted by two officers at the Shohada metro station in Tehran.

"We are following her case closely. She is in coma at Intensive Care Unit of the hospital and her condition is critical ... her relatives said there is a heavy presence of plain clothes at the hospital," said one of the activists in Iran.

CCTV footage from the metro station shows the girl being pulled unconscious from the train. The head of the Tehran Metro Operating Company has said that the footage shows no sign of any physical or verbal confrontation, per a report by IRNA.

Iranian authorities have also dismissed all such reports, claiming that the girl "fainted" due to low blood pressure.

A journalist who had gone to assess and inquire about Geravand's situation was briefly arrested, per local media reports. Her parents, too, have said that their daughter's blood pressure might have dropped, but they "are not too sure".

Hengaw officials have claimed that her parents gave the statement "in the presence of high-ranking security officers" and "under considerable pressure", Hengaw said.

The case has put Iranian authorities on high alert as they fear people might again take to the streets the way they did in Mahsa Amini's case last year.

Thousands of men and women took to the streets in Iran after a woman, who was arrested for breaking hijab laws, died in police custody in 2022. The 22-year-old woman was on a visit to Tehran when she was detained by Iran's morality police, responsible for enforcing its rigid dress code.

The woman was detained for allegedly breaking hijab rules. According to witnesses, Amini was thrashed while being taken to a detention centre. Some reports claimed that the police hit her head with a baton and banged it against one of their vehicles.

Amini died after falling into a coma following her detention by the morality police. Her death sparked protests all across Iran, with women at the helm of these demonstrations.

Cultural restrictions have been a regular feature of Iranian life since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The state's morality police roam the streets and have the right to arrest women who are not wearing a hijab and detain men with unconventional hairstyles.

The mandatory dress code requires women to cover their hair and neck with a headscarf. The morality police, formally called "Gasht-e Ershad" (Guidance Patrols), have the power to stop and detain women whom they think are not properly dressed.