- The commander of the elite forces issues one of the harshest warnings yet
- Rights groups report fresh, bloody demonstrations
- The Revolutionary Guards have not been deployed since the beginning of the protests
DUBAI, Oct 29 (Reuters) – The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has warned protesters that Saturday will be their last day in the streets, a clear sign that security forces may step up their crackdown on nationwide unrest.
Iran has been rocked by protests since the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody last month, one of the boldest challenges to the clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution.
“Don’t take to the streets! Today is the last day of rioting,” said Hussain Salami, commander of the Guards Corps, in several languages used in the crisis.
“This terrible plan is a plan created by the White House and the Zionist regime,” Salami said. Don’t sell your honor to America and slap the security forces that defend you.
Iranians have defied such warnings throughout the popular uprising, in which women have played a prominent role. There were more reports of fresh bloodshed and fresh protests on Saturday.
Human rights group Hengav reported that security forces had reported shooting students at a girls’ school in the city of Sakez. Another report said that security forces opened fire on students at a medical university in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan Region.
Several students were injured, including one who was shot in the head, Hengau said. Reuters could not confirm the news.
More protests erupted in the Kurdish city of Marivan late Saturday, according to social media footage of protesters setting fires in the streets as gunfire could be heard. Reuters was unable to verify the videos.
OBJECTORS IN THE AWARD
The widely feared Revolutionary Guards, an elite force with a track record of cracking down on dissent that reports directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have not been deployed since protests began last month.
But Salami’s warning comes from the fact that Khamenei may release them in the face of relentless protests that are now aimed at the fall of the Islamic Republic.
Videos posted by activist groups on social media showed protests at a number of universities across the country in cities including Kerman, Mashhad, Qazvin, Ahvaz, Arak, Kermanshah, Yazd, Bushehr and dozens of towns in the capital, Tehran. .
Activist news agency HRANA released a video showing university protesters holding hands in a large circle chanting: “If we don’t unite, we will be killed one by one.”
HRANA said 272 protesters, including 39 minors, had been killed in the unrest as of Friday. About 34 people from the security forces were also killed. It is said that about 14,000 people were arrested during the protests in 129 towns and around 115 universities.
According to the official news agency IRNA, the Supreme Revolutionary Court has begun the trial of some of the 315 protesters who have been charged in Tehran so far, at least five of whom are accused of capital crimes.
According to the IRNA news agency, among the defendants there is also a person who killed a police officer with his car and injured five others. He is accused of “spreading corruption on earth,” which is punishable by death under Iran’s Islamic law.
According to IRNA, another man is facing criminal charges of “moharibe” – an Islamic term meaning war with God – for allegedly attacking police with a knife and helping set fire to a government building in a town near Tehran.
The court is headed by Abulghasem Salavati, a judge who was accused by the United States in 2019 of punishing Iranian citizens and dual citizens for exercising their freedoms of expression and assembly.
Salomi issued a warning to protesters while speaking at a funeral for the victims of this week’s attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State.
The man the extremist group says carried out the attack that killed 15 worshipers at the Shah Cheragh shrine in the city of Shiraz appeared to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State in a video posted on his Telegram page on Saturday. Iranian authorities said that he died of injuries sustained during his arrest.
Reporting from Dubai News, additional reporting by Muaz Abd-Alziz in Cairo; Edited by Andrew Cawthorne, Helen Popper, Frances Currie, and Christina Fincher
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