Iran issued a string of death sentences as women-led protests over Mahsa Amini’s death entered a third month on Wednesday, with clashes reportedly claiming at least seven lives in two days.
That toll did not include the five people authorities say were killed by gunmen who later attacked protesters and police in southwestern Khuzestan province on Wednesday.
Street violence raged across Iran as protests sparked by Amini’s death on September 16 intensified on the anniversary of a deadly 2019 crackdown.
Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman of Kurdish descent, died in the custody of the notorious vice squad after her arrest for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.
“We will fight! We will die! We will take Iran back!” a crowd of protesters could be heard chanting on a street in Tehran, in a video published by social media monitor 1500tasvir.
In a widely shared video, verified by AFP, security forces appear to open fire on dozens of commuters in a Tehran metro station, causing them to scramble and fall over each other on the platform.
Another verified video showed members of the security forces, including plainclothes officers, attacking women without hijab headscarves on a subway.
Organizers of the protests have called for three days of actions to commemorate hundreds of deaths in the “Bloody Aban” – or Bloody November – demonstrations that erupted on November 15, 2019 following a shocking decision to raise fuel prices.
The anniversary gave new impetus to the Amini protests, with women burning their headscarves and confronting security forces in the streets.
– ‘Guards Killed’ –
State media said “rioters” — a term Iranian officials use to describe protesters — killed two members of the Revolutionary Guards and a member of the Basij paramilitary force on Tuesday.
A guard was shot dead in Bukan, a town in Amini’s home province of Kurdistan, and another was shot dead in Kamyaran, a Kurdish-majority town in West Azerbaijan province, the official IRNA news agency reported.
The Basij member died after being hit by a Molotov cocktail in the southern city of Shiraz, it added.
A protester was killed on Wednesday in front of the home of one of three protesters shot dead the day before by security forces in Kurdistan province, Oslo-based human rights group Hengaw said.
The death of Burhan Karmi took place in Kamyaran, where tensions were high for the funeral of Fuad Mohammadi, owner of a mobile phone repair shop, the human rights organization said.
“Brother Fuad is a hero, the martyr of Kurdistan,” crowds of mourners chanted in videos posted on social media.
Special forces also opened fire on students on Wednesday after they entered Kurdistan University in the western city of Sanandaj, Hengaw said.
Iran Human Rights (IHR), another Oslo-based group, said in an updated toll released Wednesday that security forces have killed at least 342 people, including 43 children and 26 women, since Amini’s death.
The toll represents an increase of 16 since IHR released its earlier figures on Saturday.
The rights group said at least 15,000 people have been arrested, a figure Iranian authorities deny.
Later on Wednesday, “armed and terrorist elements” arrived on two motorcycles at a central market in the Khuzestan town of Izeh and opened fire on protesters and security forces, IRNA said. It said five people were killed and at least 10 injured.
Valiollah Hayati, the deputy governor of Khuzestan, said the fatalities included three men, a woman and a girl, while some of the injured were in serious condition.
Responsibility for the attack was not immediately claimed.
On October 26, at least 13 people were killed in an armed attack claimed by Islamic State on Shah Cheragh’s mausoleum in Shiraz.
– ‘Abduct or Kill Plots’ –
The judiciary said on Wednesday that a revolutionary court has handed down three more death sentences over the “riots”.
One was convicted of assaulting police with his car, killing one, the second stabbing a security officer and the third attempting to block traffic and spread “terror,” the website said.
Another death sentence was handed down on Tuesday, after a court handed down the first death sentence in connection with the protests on Sunday.
IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam strongly condemned the death sentences, claiming that torture was used to extract confessions and warning of the possibility of mass executions.
Iran accuses Western countries that host Persian-language media, including Britain, of fomenting the unrest.
Britain’s internal intelligence agency MI5 said on Wednesday that Iran sought to kidnap or kill UK-based individuals it considers “enemies of the regime”.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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