Iranian security forces have shot dead at least three people in western Kurdistan province in recent deadly protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a human rights group said.
The country’s clerical leadership under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei faces its greatest challenge since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in two months of violent demonstrations following Amini’s death in custody on September 16.
Authorities have responded with a crackdown that has killed at least 342 people, sentenced half a dozen to death and arrested more than 15,000, according to Olso-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR).
On Saturday, Hengaw, a Norway-based human rights group that monitors human rights abuses in Kurdish areas, told AFP: “Government repressive forces opened fire on protesters in the town of Divandarreh, killing at least three civilians.”
Demonstrators were killed in 22 of Iran’s 31 provinces, the IHR said on Wednesday, including 123 in Sistan-Balochistan and 32 in Amini’s home province of Kurdistan.
Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin, died three days after she was arrested in Tehran by the notorious Vice Police for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s mandatory hijab headscarf law.
Protests raged overnight in the Kurdistan town of Bukan, where Revolutionary Guards opened fire on family members mourning a slain protester and removed his body from the hospital before burying it at an undisclosed location, Hengaw said.
Activists accuse the Iranian security forces of secretly burying protesters they kill to prevent their funerals from becoming more violent.
“Last night, after Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) troops attacked Shahid Gholi Pur hospital in Bukan, they confiscated Shahryar Mohammadi’s body and secretly buried him,” Hengaw said, adding that the forces “opened fire on his family and he was injured by at least five of them.”
Elsewhere, hundreds of mourners were seen Saturday along a road near Mahabad in west Azerbaijan province for the funeral of Kamal Ahmadpour, a young man who was shot dead by security forces, in video released by the 1500tasvir monitor.
“The armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran have significantly increased the use of deadly weapons in attacks on protesters over the past five days,” Hengaw told AFP.
The rights group said security forces had killed at least 25 people in Kurdistan since Tuesday when protesters took to the streets on the anniversary of a deadly crackdown in 2019 known as “Bloody Aban” — or Bloody November.
“Twenty-three people were killed by direct fire, one by torture and one by stab wounds,” Hengaw said.
Iran’s state-run newspaper reported on Saturday that 14 security forces were killed during the three-day protests marking the November 15 anniversary.
Hundreds were killed in the 2019 crackdown on street violence that erupted over a rise in fuel prices.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has criticized the “willful silence by foreign supporters of chaos and violence in Iran in the face of…terrorist attacks in several Iranian cities.”
“It is the duty of the international community and international assemblies to condemn the recent terrorist attacks in Iran and not to offer extremists a safe haven,” she added.
Iran accuses Western nations that host Persian-language media – including Britain – of fomenting the unrest.
Britain’s MI5 intelligence agency said on Wednesday Iran plans to kidnap or kill UK residents it deems “enemies of the regime”, with at least 10 plots uncovered this year.
The Times reported on Saturday that British police stationed armed police vehicles outside the Persian-language TV station Iran International in London following threats by Iran against its journalists.
Ten people, including a woman, two children and a security guard, were killed in two separate attacks in the cities of Izeh and Isfahan on Wednesday, according to authorities.
The state-run Irna news agency reported that two members of the pro-government Iranian paramilitary Basij force were stabbed to death in the northeastern city of Mashhad while trying to crack down on “rioters”.