- The commander of the elite force issues one of the harshest warnings yet
- Rights groups report new demonstrations, bloodshed
- The Revolutionary Guards have not been deployed since the protests began
Oct 29 (Reuters) – The head of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps has warned protesters that Saturday will be their last day on the streets, a sign that security forces may step up their already fierce crackdown on unrest sweeping the country.
Protests continue in Iran after the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini is under the control of moral police Last month, he made one of the boldest calls for spiritual leadership since the 1979 revolution.
“Don’t take to the streets! Today is the last day of unrest,” Guard commander Hossein Salami said in the harshest language used in the crisis, which Iran’s leaders blamed on foreign enemies, including Israel and the United States.
“This evil plan is a plan prepared by the White House and the Zionist regime,” said Salami. “Don’t sell your honor to America and slap the security forces that protect you.”
Iranians ignored such warnings throughout the popular uprising, in which women played an important role. There were more reports of fresh bloodshed and renewed protests on Saturday.
Human rights group Hengaw said security forces shot students at a girls’ school in the city of Saghez. In another post, he said security forces opened fire on students at the Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan province.
Hengaw said that several students were injured, one of them was shot in the head. Reuters could not confirm this news.
PROTESTANTS IN COURT
The Revolutionary Guards, an elite force that reports directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and has experience crushing opposition, has not been deployed since the protests began last month.
But the warning of Salami, who spoke at the funeral of the victims of one incident attack this week by the Islamic State, suggesting that Khamenei may now release them in the face of brutal demonstrations aimed at toppling the Islamic Republic.
In the videos published by the activist groups on social media, it is claimed that there are protests in several universities of the country in the cities of Kerman, Mashhad, Qazvin, Ahvaz, Arak, Kermanshah, Yazd and dozens of campuses in the capital Tehran.
The activist HRANA news agency released a video of protesters holding hands in a large circle at a university and chanting “If we don’t unite, we will be killed one by one.”
HRANA said 272 protesters, including 39 minors and 34 members of the security forces, were killed in Friday’s riots. About 14,000 people were arrested during protests held in 129 towns and cities and 115 universities.
The tough Revolutionary Court has begun trials of some of the 315 protesters so far indicted in Tehran, including at least five on capital charges, the official IRNA news agency reported.
According to IRNA, among the defendants is the person accused of hitting and killing a police officer with his car and injuring five others. He is accused of “spreading corruption on earth”, which is punishable by death under Iranian Islamic law.
IRNA added that another man was charged with the crime of “mohariba” (an Islamic term meaning fighting against God), accused of attacking police with a knife and helping to burn down a government building.
The trial is headed by Abolghasem Salavati, whom the United States indicted in 209 for violating the rights of Iranian citizens and dual citizens to exercise their freedom of speech and assembly.
firstname.lastname@example.org; Edited by Andrew Cawthorne, Helen Popper and Frances Kerry
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