A senior IRGC officer is said to have been stabbed to death during protests in Iran

Protesters stabbed a senior intelligence officer of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard during demonstrations in the Kurdish province of Kermanshah, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Friday.

“col. Nader Bairami, the intelligence officer of the IRGC, was killed by rioters while on duty in the town of Sahne in Kermanshah,” Tasnim said.

According to the report, Bairami was trying to intervene to stop protesters attacking a passerby when he was stabbed.

Officials said the perpetrators had been arrested.

The official IRNA news agency reported that two members of the security forces were killed in Bukan in western Iran on Thursday.

The incidents as funerals for young Iranians, including a young boy who families said was killed in a government crackdown, sparked a fresh wave of anti-regime protests in the Islamic Republic on Friday.

Iranians mourn in front of the coffins of people killed in a shootout during their funeral in the city of Izeh, in Iran’s Khuzestan province, November 18, 2022. (Photo by ALIREZA MOHAMMADI / isna / AFP)

Iran’s clerical leadership under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei faces its greatest challenge since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in two-month protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini.

Authorities have responded with a crackdown that has killed 342 people, sentenced half a dozen to death and arrested thousands more, according to a human rights group.

Crowds flocked to the southwestern city of Izeh for the funeral of nine-year-old Kian Pirfalak, according to images released by Iran’s ISNA news agency.

His mother said at the funeral that Kian was shot dead by security forces on Wednesday, despite Iranian officials insisting he was killed in a “terrorist” attack.

“Hear from me yourself how the shooting happened, so they can’t say it was by terrorists because they’re lying,” his mother said of the funeral, according to video posted by the 1500tasvir monitor.

“Maybe they thought we were going to shoot or something and they bombarded the car with bullets… Plainclothes cops shot my kid. That’s it.”

Protesters mocked the official version of events, chanting “Basij, Sepah – you are our ISIS!” according to a video posted by Norway-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR).

The Basij are a pro-government paramilitary force and Sepah is another name for Iran’s feared Revolutionary Guards. ISIS is an alternative name for the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.

Iranians carry the coffin of one of those killed in a shootout during their funeral in the city of Izeh, in Iran’s Khuzestan province, November 18, 2022. (Photo by ALIREZA MOHAMMADI / isna / AFP)

“Death Khamenei,” they shouted in another video posted by 1500tasvir.

Opposition media outside Iran said another minor, Sepehr Maghsoudi, 14, was also shot dead in Izeh on Wednesday under similar circumstances. Funerals have repeatedly become the focus of protests.

State television said seven people were buried, including a nine-year-old boy, adding they were killed by “terrorists” on motorcycles.

“Kian Pirfalak, nine, and Sepehr Maghsoudi, 14, are among at least 56 children killed by Iranian forces working to crush the 2022 Iranian revolution,” said Hadi Ghaemi, director of the New York-based Center for human rights in Iran.

Protesters have set fire to the ancestral home of the late Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in the western city of Khomein, according to images released on social media and confirmed by AFP.

But the Tasnim news agency later denied there was a fire, saying the “door of the historic home is open to visitors”.

A man stands by as what appears to be the former home of Iran’s first Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini was set ablaze by protesters November 17, 2022 in Khomein, Iran. (Twitter/Screenshot: Used in accordance with § 27a UrhG)

Khomeini is said to have been born around the turn of the century in the house in Khomein – from which his surname derives. The house was later turned into a museum in his memory.

The nationwide protests – which cut across ethnic groups and social classes – were initially fueled by anger over Khomeini’s compulsory headscarf for women, but have morphed into a movement demanding an end to the Islamic Republic itself.

According to IHR, at least 342 people, including 43 children and 26 women, were killed by security forces in the crackdown on the protests.

According to IHR figures, 123 people have been killed in Sistan-Balochistan province, where protests had a clear initial spark but have sparked nationwide anger.

The predominantly Sunni Sistan-Balochistan is Iran’s poorest region, and its ethnic Baloch feel discriminated against by Tehran’s Shia elite.

Fresh protests took place in the capital Zahedan, where dozens of security forces were killed on September 30, according to human rights groups, with people removing Islamic Republic flags from buildings, IHR said.

In the port city of Chabahar, people also tore down a billboard of Khomeini, she added.

Images released on social media showed security forces appearing to be shooting at protesters in the province’s city of Iranshahr.

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