The widespread and disproportionate use of force against nonviolent protesters in Iran is “unjustifiable and unacceptable,” the European Union said Sunday.  

“People in Iran, as anywhere else, have the right to peaceful protest. That right must be ensured in all circumstances,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement, referring to nine days of protests over the death in police custody of Masha Amini, a young woman.

The EU and its member states urged Iranian authorities to strictly abide by the principles enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party.

“We expect Iran to immediately stop the violent crackdown on protests and ensure internet access, as well as the free flow of information. Furthermore, we expect Iran to clarify the number of deaths and arrested, release all non-violent protestors and provide due process to all detainees,” it added.

It added that the killing of Amini, 22, must be duly investigated and anyone proved responsible for her death must be held accountable.

Amini died in mysterious circumstances after being detained and taken to the headquarters of the morality police in the capital Tehran last week.

At least 41 people have been killed in the protests, which have in recent days taken a violent turn, especially in Tehran.

Many Western countries have issued strongly worded statements in recent days over Amini's death in police custody, demanding impartial investigations.

On Saturday, Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi called for "decisive action" against unruly protesters, while the armed forces and intelligence ministry also issued stern warnings in separate statements.