Saturday, November 19, 2022

Senior IRGC officer stabbed to death during Iran protests


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

“Col. Nader Bairami, the IRGC’s intelligence officer was killed by rioters while on duty in the city of Sahne in Kermanshah,” Tasnim said.

The report said Bairami tried to intervene to stop demonstrators from attacking a passerby when he was stabbed to death.

Officials said the perpetrators had been arrested.

The official IRNA news agency said meanwhile that two members of the security forces had been killed in Bukan in western Iran on Thursday.

The incidents come as funerals for young Iranians, including a small boy, who families say were killed in a state crackdown, sparked a new wave of anti-regime protests on Friday in the Islamic Republic.

Iran’s clerical leadership under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is facing its biggest challenge since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in two months of protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini.

The authorities have responded with a crackdown that a human rights group says has left 342 people dead, half a dozen already sentenced to death and thousands more arrested.

Scores flocked to the southwestern city of Izeh for the funeral of Kian Pirfalak, aged nine, according to pictures published by Iran’s ISNA news agency.

His mother told the funeral ceremony that Kian was shot on Wednesday by the security forces although Iranian officials have insisted he was killed in a “terrorist” attack.

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

“Maybe they thought we wanted to shoot or something and they peppered the car with bullets… Plainclothes forces shot my child. That is it.”

Ridiculing the official version of events, the protesters chanted: “Basij, Sepah — you are our ISIS!” according to a video posted by Norway-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR).

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

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

Opposition media based outside Iran said that another minor, Sepehr Maghsoudi, 14, was also shot dead in similar circumstances in Izeh on Wednesday. Funerals have repeatedly become flashpoints for protests.

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

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

Protesters set on fire the ancestral home of the Islamic republic’s late founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the western town of Khomein, according to images posted on social media, verified by AFP.

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

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

IHR’s figures include 123 people killed in Sistan- Baluchistan province where the protests had a distinct initial spark but have fed into the nationwide anger.

Mainly Sunni Sistan-Baluchistan is Iran’s poorest region whose ethnic Baluch inhabitants feel discriminated against by the Tehran Shiite elite.

New protests took place in the main city of Zahedan, where rights groups say dozens were killed by security forces on September 30, with people removing Islamic republic flags from buildings, IHR said.

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

Images posted on social media showed security forces seemingly shooting at protesters in the town of Iranshahr in the province.

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