More protests in several Iranian cities in defiance of government warning
The commander of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami, warned protesters that October 29 would be their last day to take to the streets.
“Don’t take to the streets! Today is the last day of the riots,” Salami was quoted as saying by state media.
Iran is in the throes of protests sparked by the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of Tehran vice police.
Since Amini’s death on September 16, thousands have demonstrated across the country against the clerical establishment.
Protests were reported on October 29 at several universities across the country where students chanted “Death to the dictator” and “Woman, life, freedom.”
Iran blamed its foreign enemies and their agents for the unrest.
The US Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) posted videos on Twitter showing protests at several universities. One of the demonstrations showed people holding hands in a large circle and chanting: “If we don’t unite, we will be killed one by one.
HRANA said 272 protesters had been killed in the unrest as of October 28, including 39 minors. Some 34 members of the security forces were also killed and nearly 14,000 people were arrested, he added.
The Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights also released video of a protest on a university campus and said that in the city of Arak, state security forces fired tear gas as Mourners gathered for the funeral of Mehrshad Shahidinejad, a young aspiring leader who was reportedly killed after being arrested during a protest.
The IRGC’s Oct. 29 warning came as the United Nations expressed “growing concern” over reports of deaths during anti-establishment protests in Iran.
“We condemn all incidents that have resulted in death or serious injury among protesters and reaffirm that security forces must avoid unnecessary or disproportionate use of force against peaceful protesters,” the spokesperson said. UN Stéphane Dujarric in New York on October 28.
“Those responsible must be held accountable,” he said, adding that the UN was urging Tehran “to address the legitimate grievances of the people, especially with regard to women’s rights.”
The United Nations has urged the Iranian government in Tehran to respect human rights, noting that the crisis can and should be brought under control through dialogue.
In a separate statement, the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also expressed concern about “the increase in the number of deaths and injuries” among protesters in Iran.
“It is essential that unhindered access to healthcare is provided to those who need it, [including] the appropriate use of medical vehicles, facilities and the ability of health workers to assist patients,” said WHO chief Tedros. said on Twitter October 28.
Protesters clashed with security forces again on October 28 in Zahedan, a city in southeastern Iran where dozens of people were killed in clashes four weeks ago during anti-government protests.
Activists posted videos on social media showing protesters in the city calling for the death of “dictator” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and against the Basij militia, which has played a major role in suppressing protests.
The United States and Albania will host an informal UN Security Council meeting on Nov. 3 that will focus on protests in Iran, according to a memo describing the event seen by Reuters. Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and Iranian-born actress and activist Nazanin Boniadi are due to address the rally.
“The meeting will shed light on the ongoing crackdown against women and girls and members of religious and ethnic minority groups in Iran,” the note said. “He will identify opportunities to promote credible and independent investigations into human rights violations and abuses by the Iranian government.”
Javaid Rehman, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, is also due to address the meeting, which can be attended by other UN member states and rights groups.
“The meeting will highlight the illegal use of force against protesters and the Iranian regime’s pursuit of human rights defenders and dissidents abroad to abduct or murder them in violation of international law,” reads -on in the note about the scheduled meeting.