Raisi says ‘riots’ pave way for attacks

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Thursday that the “riots” sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini opened the way to “terrorist” attacks, the day after an attack that killed 15 people in an important Muslim shrine, which he said. accused the “enemies of Iran”.

The attack happened the same day as a tribute to Mahsa Amini, which gathered thousands of people in her hometown of Kurdistan 40 days after her death.

The young Iranian Kurd, aged 22, died on September 16 three days after her arrest in Tehran by the morality police who accused her of having violated the strict dress code of the Islamic Republic, imposing the wearing of the veil for women. women in the public space.

His death sparked a wave of protest on an unprecedented scale for three years, which continues across Iran. Young women and schoolgirls took to the front line, many bareheaded, burning their veils and defying the security forces.

Iranian leaders mainly accuse the United States, Iran’s sworn enemy, of being behind these protests which they describe as “riots”.

“The enemy’s intention is to disrupt the country’s progress, and these riots pave the way for terrorist acts,” Raisi said on Thursday during a visit to the northwestern city of Zanjan.

The Iranian president was speaking the day after the attack claimed by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS), which, according to official media, left at least 15 dead and 19 injured in Shiraz, in the south of Iran.

“They came to the Shahcheragh mausoleum and shot innocent people who worshiped God, then Daesh (ISIS, editor’s note) claimed responsibility” for this attack, he said.

– “Divide” the nation –

Mr. Raisi had already accused Wednesday “the enemies of Iran” who seek “to divide the united ranks of the nation (…) by violence and terror”, and promised a severe response from the security forces.

ISIS has already claimed responsibility for attacks in Iran since that of June 7, 2017, when armed men and suicide bombers attacked the Parliament and the mausoleum of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, in Tehran, killing 17 people.

“Only one terrorist was involved in the attack” on Wednesday, said the head of the local Judicial Authority, Kazem Moussavi, while official media images showed bodies covered in blood or covered with sheets and the floor stained with blood.

The author of the attack, “in his thirties” according to the authorities, is “affiliated with the takfiri groups and he has been arrested”, indicated the television, referring to the jihadist or radical Sunni Islamist groups.

A video shared Wednesday by the Mizan news agency of the judicial authority, shows an unmasked man armed with an assault rifle walking through a double-wing door under the eye of security cameras, stopping a moment to handle his loader then leave and disappear from the view of the cameras.

This is the second deadly attack perpetrated in 2022 against a Shiite place of worship in Iran, a country of some 83 million inhabitants, where Shiism has been the state religion since the 16th century.

– Nocturnal demonstrations –

In this context, the demonstrations continued on Thursday night in Iran.

After dark, explosions were heard as security forces opened fire on protesters in Marivan, a town in western Kurdistan, according to video released by Hengaw, a Kurdish advocacy group from Iran based in Norway.

“Death to the dictator,” shouted protesters who had lit fires in the streets of the nearby town of Bukan, according to this group. Similar scenes were reported in Ilam, a city in western Iran near the border with Iraq.

Other protesters surrounded a Basij paramilitary militia base in Sanandaj, another Kurdistan town, setting fires and pushing back security forces, according to Hengaw.

Defying a heavy security device, shouting “Woman, life, freedom”, a crowd of several thousand men and women gathered on Wednesday around the tomb of Mahsa Amini in Saghez, his hometown in Kurdistan, for a tribute at the end of the traditional 40-day mourning.

“This year is the year of blood, Seyed Ali will be overthrown,” a group shouted in a video authenticated by AFP, in reference to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

After the rally, demonstrators moved towards the governor’s offices in the center of the city, where, according to Iranian media, some had intended to attack a military base. According to Hengaw, security forces then fired tear gas and opened fire at protesters, but it was unclear whether those shots had caused any deaths or injuries.

The crackdown on protests triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini has left at least 141 people dead, including children, according to a report revealed on Tuesday by the NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR), based in Oslo.

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