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Iran: Protesters defiant despite crackdown

October 28, 2022

Demonstrators in Tehran called for Iran's supreme leader to be "toppled." In the southeast, an influential local cleric criticized the government's handling of the protests.

An unveiled woman standing on top of a vehicle as thousands make their way towards Aichi cemetery in Saqez
Massive protests, including this one on Wednesday, have been held in Iran in recent weeksImage: UGC/AFP

Protests across Iran continued for the second night in a row and continued on Friday, despite a violent crackdown that has left over 200 people dead and thousands arrested.

"This is the year of blood, Sayyid Ali will be toppled!" hundreds of protesters chanted in the west Tehran neighborhood of Chitgar, using the first two names of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

The latest rallies came as people came together to mourn the young protesters killed by security forces.

Iran has been gripped by six weeks of women-led demonstrations following the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Jina Mahsa Amini in the custody of Tehran's "morality police." She had been detained for allegedly breaking rules that dictate how women must wear a headscarf.

Police have been unable to contain the protests, which present the strongest challenge to the country's theocratic rulers since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

Do the protests pose a threat to the Iranian regime?

Police chief fired in protest-gripped city

At least eight protesters had been killed in the past 24 hours, rights groups like Amnesty International said.

Protests also continued in the southeastern city of Zahedan, some four weeks after clashes that left dozens dead, including members of the military.

"Police forces cracked down on the protesters and fired at the crowd" in Zahedan, the Human Rights Activist News Agency said Friday.

State media reported on Friday that the police chief in Zahedan had been sacked.

Observers noted that the dismissal, a decision that came from the security council of the province of Sistan-Baluchistan, was evidence of growing discord among Iranian lawmakers over how to handle the unrest. Mawlawi Abdul Hamid, an influential Sunni cleric in Zahedan, has publicly criticized the Shiite-led government's response to the protests and was supported by other local clerics.

Germany summons Iranian ambassador

At the same time, Western powers continued to apply pressure on Tehran following last week's announcement of more economic sanctions imposed over the crackdown.

Germany summoned the Iranian ambassador to Berlin, the Foreign Ministry confirmed, after Iran had summoned the German ambassador a day earlier. Tehran has accused Germany of meddling in its affairs, and placed several retaliatory sanctions against German entities, including DW's Farsi service.

On Friday, the Nobel committee also announced that the delegation from Iran would be barred from its prestigious gala in December. Russia and Belarus have received similar snubs.

'We condemn the move of the Iranian regime'

es/sms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)