Iranian Revolutionary Guard Warns as Protests Over Woman’s Death Spread

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  • Revolutionary Guard Warns of Unrest
  • Reports of attacked security forces
  • Kurdish woman did so after being arrested by vice squad
  • Iranian government has promised investigation into her death

DUBAI, Sept. 22 (Reuters) – Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps on Thursday called on the Islamic Republic’s judiciary to prosecute “those who spread false news and rumors” about a young woman whose death in police custody has sparked nationwide protests.

Protesters in Tehran and other Iranian cities set fire to police stations and vehicles earlier on Thursday as public outcry over the death showed no signs of easing, with reports of security forces being attacked.

Mahsa Amini, 22, died last week after being arrested in Tehran for wearing “inappropriate clothes”. She fell into a coma while incarcerated. Authorities said they would launch an investigation into the cause of death.

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In a statement, the Guards expressed their condolences to Amini’s family and relatives.

“We have asked the judiciary to identify those who are spreading false news and rumors on social media and on the streets and who are endangering the psychological safety of society and to resolve them resolutely,” the Guards, who wrote the protests in the past, said.

Pro-government protests are scheduled for Friday, Iranian media said.

“The will of the Iranian people is this: do not spare the criminals,” said an editorial in the influential hardline Kayhan newspaper.

The protests over Amini’s death are the largest in the Islamic Republic since 2019. Most are concentrated in the Kurdish-populated northwestern part of Iran, but have spread to the capital and at least 50 cities and towns across the country. the police use force to disperse protesters.

A member of an Iranian pro-government paramilitary organization, the Basij, was stabbed to death in the northeastern city of Mashhad on Wednesday, two semi-official Iranian news agencies reported Thursday.

The news agencies Tasnim and Fars appeared on Telegram on Thursday because both their websites were down. There was no official confirmation of the death.

Tasnim also said another member of the Basij was killed in the city of Qazvin on Wednesday as a result of a gunshot wound inflicted by “rioters and gangs”, bringing the total reported number of members of the security forces killed during the unrest to four. coming.

In the northeast, protesters shouted: “We will die, we will die, but we will get Iran back” near a police station that was set on fire, a video on Twitter account 1500tasvir showed. The account focuses on protests in Iran and has about 100,000 followers.

Reuters could not verify the images.

Another police station was set on fire in Tehran as unrest spread from Kurdistan’s home province of Amini, where she was buried on Saturday.

PERSONAL FREEDOMS

Amini’s death has fueled anger over issues such as restrictions on personal freedoms in Iran – including strict dress codes for women – and an economy teetering from sanctions.

Iran’s spiritual rulers fear a resurgence of the 2019 protests that erupted over the rise in gasoline prices, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history. Reuters reported that 1,500 were killed.

Protesters have also expressed anger at Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei this week. “Mojtaba, may you die and not become a Supreme Leader,” a crowd in Tehran chanted, referring to Khamenei’s son, who some say could succeed his father at the top of Iran’s political establishment.

Reuters could not verify the video.

According to reports from the Kurdish rights group Hengaw, which Reuters could not verify, the death toll in the Kurdish areas had risen to 15. Iranian officials have denied that security forces killed protesters, suggesting they may have been shot by armed dissidents.

Because there were no signs of the protests waning, authorities restricted access to the internet, according to reports from Hengaw, residents and the internet shutdown observatory NetBlocks.

Women have played a prominent role in the protests, waving and burning their veils, and some cutting their hair in public.

In northern Iran, crowds armed with batons and stones attacked two members of the security forces on a motorcycle while a crowd cheered, as seen in a video Reuters was unable to verify.

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Reporting by Dubai agency; Written by Michael Georgy; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Mark Heinrich

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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