DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guards issued a new warning Saturday to anti-government protesters, even as demonstrations continued in cities and university campuses across the country for the sixth straight week.
Also on Saturday, authorities said the gunman who killed 15 people at a major Shi’ite holy site in southern Iran earlier this week died at a hospital from injuries sustained during his arrest. Tehran has not revealed details about the man who carried out Wednesday’s attack on Shah Cheragh in Shirazthe second holiest Shia shrine in Iran.
The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the shooting. But Iran’s government has tried to blame the attack on the largely peaceful protests rocking the country, without offering evidence. Amaq, the militant group’s media arm, released a video on Saturday purportedly showing the Shiraz attacker swearing allegiance to the group.
Riots across the country, sparked by the September 1 attacks. The 16th death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s morality police has rocked the Islamic Republic for a month and a half. Amini died after being detained for allegedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress code for women.
At the funeral for the victims of the shooting attack in Shiraz, the head of the Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Hossein Salami, called on Iranians to stop protesting. The Guard and other security forces have violently suppressed the demonstrations with live ammunition, riot control pellets and tear gas.
“Today is the end of the riots. Don’t go out on the street anymore!” Salami said Saturday as crowds packed the coffins of victims of the Shiraz attack. “We are telling our youth, the minority of you who have been deceived, stop the evil deeds.”
He added in the same harsh tone: “This sinister sedition will not bring you a happy ending. Don’t ruin your future!”
Despite the threat, student associations reported protests at dozens of universities across the country on Saturday, from the capital Tehran to the central cities of Isfahan and Yazd. Videos posted online show students chanting for freedom and an end to Iran’s clerical rule.
At the Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences in the northwestern city of Sanandaj, the human rights group Hengaw reported that security forces opened fire on protesters, seriously injuring a student.
College campuses have become hotbeds of oppositionfueling the protest movement and provoking a harsh reaction from the security forces.
The Iranian government has reiterated alleged that foreign powers have orchestrated the protestswithout providing evidence. The protests have become one of the gravest threats to Iran’s ruling clerics since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
protests first centered on the state-mandated hijab, or veil, for women but it quickly turned into calls for the downfall of Iran’s own theocracy. At least 270 people have been killed and 14,000 arrested in protests that have spread to 125 Iranian cities, according to the group Human Rights Activists in Iran.
A Tehran court on Saturday heard the case of several protesters accused of “corruption on the ground,” a term often used to describe attempts to topple the Iranian government that imposes the death penalty. Judicial officials have announced charges against hundreds of people in Tehran and other provinces in their attempt to quell dissent.
On Friday, Iranian security forces opened fire on protesters in the city of Zahedan, a hotspot in the country’s southeast, killing at least two people, according to activists.
Zahedan, in Iran’s long-unsettled province of Sistan and Baluchistan, has seen the deadliest violence in the protests so far. Activists estimate that in Zahedan alone, nearly 100 people have been killed since September 1. The demonstration on the 30th triggered a violent police response.
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