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Iran: Ayatollah Khamenei warns further crackdown of anti-Hijab protests, says Islamic Republic is ‘mighty tree’ that cannot be uprooted

The Iranian government disagrees that the protests are led by its own citizens, and alleges that it is being instigated by 'foreign powers'.

On Friday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, said that nobody should dare to think that they can uproot the Islamic Republic, warning the protestors who are holding protests since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in the custody of Iran’s ‘morality police’. Amini was detained by Iran’s ‘Morality Police’ for wearing the Hijab in an ‘improper manner’. She was arrested by the police and then assaulted in the police van while being driven to a detention centre for a “re-education lesson”.

Ayatollah Khamenei equated the Islamic Republic of Iran to an unshakeable tree. “That seedling has grown into a mighty tree, and no one should dare to think they can uproot it,” he warned on state TV.

Iranian police had security forces have been using brutal forces to contain the protests against the regime and its mandatory hijab law that have spread to the entire country. The protest is mainly led by young women, including students of colleges and schools. According to rights groups, over 200 citizens have been killed in the crackdown, including teenage girls. The Iranian government disagrees that the protests are led by its own citizens, and alleges that it is being instigated by ‘foreign powers’.

According to a witness, police were heavily deployed in the city of Dezful on Friday after activists called for protests in the largely ethnic Arab, oil-rich province of Khuzestan near the Iraqi border.

Protesters in Ahvaz, the capital of Khuzestan, can be seen in videos shared on social media chanting “Death to the dictator.” Basij volunteer militia forces leading the motorcycle crackdown were seen pushing people back.

“There are many Basijis. Protesters are being pushed and beaten. ‘We are Kurdistan, we are Lorestan,’ men and women are chanting “slogans meant to show solidarity among Iran’s ethnic minorities, according to a witness

According to two witnesses, there was a heavy deployment of police and the Basij in Zahedan, the capital of the Sistan-Baluchistan province near the border with Pakistan in the southeast.

On Twitter, activist @1500tasvir shared a video purportedly showing protesters marching in Zahedan and wrote, “Today, people in Zahedan protested against the killing of people in this city by repressive agents of the Islamic Republic, chanting slogans against the Islamic Republic system, including “Death to Khamenei.”

Iran has blamed the violence on domestic and international enemies, including armed separatists and Western powers, accusing them of plotting against the Islamic Republic.

Authorities deny that security forces killed protesters. According to state television, at least 26 members of the security forces were killed.

The death of Mahsa Amini and the crackdown have drawn strong reactions from the United States and other Western countries, prompting new sanctions against Iranian officials and raising tensions at a time when talks to revive a 2015 nuclear deal have stalled. The State television broadcast pro-government rallies in Tehran on the birthday of Prophet Mohammad.

On Saturday, a state-affiliated Islamic body urged Iranians to chant “Allahu Akbar”. During the night, many protesters chanted anti-government slogans from their windows and roofs. Notably, Iran has seven major ethnic minorities in addition to the majority of Persians, with a population of 87 million.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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