Protesters at the funeral of a young boy whose family says he was killed by Iranian security forces chanted anti-government slogans and ridiculed the official explanation of his death.
Hundreds of mourners flocked to the city of Izeh in southwestern Iran for Kian Pirfalak’s funeral, according to images posted online.
His mother said at the funeral ceremony that Kian was shot by security forces on Wednesday, though Iranian officials insisted he was killed in a “terrorist” attack by an extremist group.
“Hear for yourself from me how the shooting happened so they can’t say it was by terrorists because they are lying,” his mother told mourners, according to a video released by the Twitter account of 1500tasvir activist. “Maybe they thought we were going to shoot or something and shot the car through with bullets… Plainclothes troops shot my child. That is it.”
The demonstrators ridiculed the official version of events and chanted, “Basij, Sepah – you are our Isis!” according to a video posted by Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR). The Basij is a pro-government paramilitary force and Sepah is another name for Iran’s feared Revolutionary Guards. Isis is an alternative name for the extremist group Islamic State.
“Death to Khamenei,” they shouted in another video posted by 1500tasvir, referring to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Activists estimate Kian’s age at nine or ten when he died.
Opposition media outside Iran said another child, 14-year-old Sepehr Maghsoudi, was shot dead in similar circumstances in Izeh on Wednesday.
Funerals have repeatedly become hotbeds of protests in the movement that began after the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by Tehran’s vice squad.
Iranian state television reported that seven people were buried, including a nine-year-old boy, and said they were killed by “terrorists” on motorcycles.
The Garde-affiliated Fars news agency quoted Khuzestan province governor Sadegh Khalilian as saying “foreign elements” were responsible.
“Kian Pirfalak, nine, and Sepehr Maghsoudi, 14, are among at least 56 children killed by Iranian forces trying to put down the 2022 Iranian revolution,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the director of the New York-based Center for Human rights in Iran.
IHR also said anti-regime slogans were chanted at the funeral in the northern city of Tabriz for Aylar Haghi, a young medical student who activists say died in a fall from a building blamed on security forces.
In a separate development, video clips showing the ancestral home of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, on fire have been widely shared on social media, with activists saying it was set on fire by protesters.
Reuters verified the location of two video clips using the signature arches and buildings that match file images. However, the semi-official Tasnim news agency denied that Khomeini’s house had been set on fire, saying a small number of people had gathered outside the house.
Videos on social media show dozens of people cheering as a flash of fire erupts in a building. Reuters could not independently verify the dates the videos were recorded. 1500Tasvir said the incident took place Thursday night in Khomeini’s hometown of Khomein, south of the capital Tehran. The house was converted into a museum.
“The report is a lie,” the Tasnim news agency said, adding, “The doors of the house of the late founder of the great revolution are open to the public.”