Protesters in Iran held street demonstrations in various cities. Online videos suggested the protests were the largest in recent weeks in the Islamic Republic, which has been wracked by months of unrest.
The protests come on the eve of Chehlam (40 days after the hanging of two people accused of protesting in Iran), suggesting that public anger has not yet subsided.
It should be noted that the recent series of public protests against the government in Iran began on September 16 after the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mehsa Amini in the custody of the country’s moral police. These protests have created the most serious challenges to the rulers since the Islamic revolution in 1979.
Human rights activists in Iran say that in the videos posted on social media, it can be seen that in addition to Tehran, the capital of Iran, protesters have also come out on the streets in Arak, Isfahan, Iza and Karaj cities of Khuzestan province. .
The Associated Press (AP), however, said it could not immediately verify the videos because many of them are blurry or taken in the dark. Barricades in Sanandaj can be seen burning in an online video shared by human rights group Hungao from the western Kurdish region. Since the death of Mehsa Amini, there have been continuous protests in the area.
In a video shared by Hungao, protesters can be seen chanting “Death to the dictator”. The same slogans have been raised targeting the 83-year-old spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, in the protests held during the last few months. In other videos, heavy police presence can be seen on the streets. Protesters are also seen shouting slogans there. Iranian state media did not immediately confirm the protests.
At least 529 people have died so far
Human rights activists in Iran say at least 529 people have been killed since the protests began in September. While more than 19700 people have been arrested during violent operations to crush the protests.
The Iranian government has refused to confirm the death toll for months, but said earlier this month that “thousands of people” had been arrested. Demonstrations have been relatively quiet in recent weeks due to the impunity and crackdown on protesters, although the voices of protesters can still be heard at night in some cities.
Chehlam ceremony is common in Iran and the Middle East after the death of a person. But sometimes they also become the cause of conflict between the people and the security forces which turns into violence. The Iranian government says the protesters are backed by foreign powers, although it has so far provided no clear evidence.
The Iranian economy is in crisis these days. The Iranian currency has fallen to its lowest value against the dollar. On the other hand, despite warnings from Western powers, it has continued to enrich uranium.
Iranian President’s visit to China is complete
Meanwhile, Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi has completed a three-day visit to China. It was the first visit of an Iranian president to Beijing in decades.
During a joint press conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Raisi declared the visit a success and said that both countries are in favor of the immediate lifting of economic sanctions on Iran. Beijing and Tehran blamed Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal for the current tense situation.
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