Mon 24 October 2022:
The Iranian protests have posed one of the boldest challenges to Iran’s clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution, even if they do not appear close to toppling a government that has deployed its powerful security apparatus to quell the unrest.
Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, died in the custody of morality police after being detained for “improper attire”. Protests erupted at her funeral on Sept. 17 in the Kurdish town of Saqez before spreading across Iran. Rights groups say more than 200 people have been killed in the crackdown.
‘THE LAST WARNING’
Khamenei has warned nobody should dare think they can uproot the Islamic Republic, accusing its adversaries of fomenting the unrest. State TV has reported the deaths of at least 26 members of the security forces.
Some of the deadliest unrest has been in areas home to ethnic minorities with long-standing grievances against the state. These include the Sistan-Baluchistan province in the southeast and its provincial capital Zahedan.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Saturday accused a leading Sunni cleric of agitating against the Islamic Republic and warned it may cost him dearly after he held officials including Khamenei responsible for dozens killed in Zahedan last month.
Amnesty International has said security forces killed at least 66 people in a crackdown after Friday prayers in Zahedan, on Sept. 30.
Molavi Abdolhamid, Zahedan’s leading Sunni cleric, said during his Friday sermon that officials including Khamenei, head of the Shi’ite-dominated state, were “responsible before God” for the Sept. 30 killings. He described the killing as a massacre, saying bullets had been fired at heads and chests.
Iranian #Baloch #Sunni cleric Molana Abdul Hamid: Iranian officials and Supreme Leader are responsible for killing of people in #Zahedan‘s Bloody Friday, and no one can evade responsibility for the massacre.#IranProtests2022
— SAMRIBackup (@SamriBackup) October 22, 2022
A short statement on Sepah News, the Revolutionary Guards’ official news site, said: “Mr. Abdolhamid, encouraging and agitating youths against the sacred Islamic Republic of Iran may cost you dearly! This is the last warning!”
State media said at the time of the Sept. 30 violence that “unidentified armed individuals” opened fire on a police station, prompting security forces to return fire.
The Revolutionary Guards said five members of its forces and the volunteer Basij militia were killed during the Sept. 30 violence. Authorities blamed a Baluchi militant group. Neither that group nor any other faction claimed a role.
Protests had been fuelled by allegations of the rape of a local teenaged girl by a police officer. Officials have said the case was being investigated.
After protests erupted in Zahedan again on Friday, deputy interior minister for security, Majid Mir Ahmadi, said calm had returned, official news agency IRNA reported.
He said 150 “thugs attacked public property and even those shops belonging to Sunnis”.
Rights groups say the government has long discriminated against ethnic minorities including the Kurds.
The state denies accusations of discrimination.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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