The protests this week coincided with commemorations of 2019’s “Bloody November”, when more than 300 protesters, according to Amnesty, were killed in days in a crackdown on a protest in Iran sparked by rising fuel prices.
Authorities appear to be struggling to contain the wave of protests sparked on September 16 by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who was arrested by morality police for violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.
On Thursday, security forces killed a protester in Boukan and two others in Sanandaj where residents have, as tradition dictates, marked the 40th day of the death of four of their own, killed in the repression, according to the defense NGO Kurds from Iran Hengaw, based in Norway.
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“Death to the dictator,” protesters shouted in Sanandaj, according to a video posted online, in reference to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. They poured into the streets where gunfire rang out and fires were lit, according to a video released by Hengaw and verified by AFP.
In the same city, a police colonel was stabbed to death on Thursday and another, stabbed the day before, succumbed, according to the official Irna agency. And in Mashhad (north-east), two paramilitaries were stabbed to death as they tried to intervene against “rioters threatening traders to force them to close”, according to the agency.
In Boukan, “rioters” destroyed and set fire to public property and set fire to the headquarters of the municipality, before the arrival of the police, Irna said.
According to Hengaw, strikes were observed in four towns in western Iran where security forces said Hengaw killed ten protesters on Wednesday. Among these cities, Saghez, the birthplace of Mahsa Amini in Kurdistan.
It is feared that the regime will become “more violent after being unable for two months” to put an end to the protest, analyzes Saeid Golkar, professor at the American University of Tennessee in Chattanooga.
At least 340 people killed
At least 342 people were killed in the repression of the protest movement launched on September 16, according to a report established Wednesday by Iran Human Rights (IHR), an NGO based in Oslo.
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Without a link being able to be established with the current protest movement, two automatic weapon attacks carried out by unknown persons killed ten people on Wednesday.
In Izeh (southwest), seven people, including a woman and two children, were killed by “terrorists” who fired on demonstrators and police, according to officials. But a relative of one of the children killed accused security forces of carrying out the Izeh attack, according to Radio Farda, a US-funded Persian-language radio station based in Prague.
And in Isfahan (center), two unknown persons on a motorcycle killed a police officer and two paramilitaries, according to Iranian media.
For the Iranian press agency close to the Fars authorities, these attacks, which have not been claimed, mark “the beginning of the phase of armed action carried out by those who want to dismantle the country after the failure of the strike and the riots”.
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“These actions are carried out with the aim of inciting civil war,” she added, reporting on the discovery of “large quantities of weapons” that had been smuggled into Iran in recent weeks.
Authorities call the protests “riots” and accuse Western countries of encouraging them.
Since Sunday, Iranian justice has sentenced five people linked to the “riots” to death. Amnesty International denounced “the appalling use of the death penalty to quell the popular uprising with increased brutality”.
On Thursday, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abollahian accused Israel and Western intelligence services of “planning” a civil war in Iran. And General Hossein Salami, head of the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s ideological army, accused “the United States, England, Germany, France, Israel, Saudi Arabia and their allies of a “huge conspiracy against the Iranian nation.”
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