Senior IRGC officer said stabbed to death during protests in Iran

Protesters stabbed to death a senior intelligence officer of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps during demonstrations in the Kurdish province of Kermanshah, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Friday.

“Col. Nader Bairami, the intelligence officer of the IRGC, was killed by rioters while on duty in the Kermanshah town of Sahne,” Tasnim said.

According to the report, Bairami tried to intervene to stop protesters from attacking a passerby when he was stabbed to death.

Officials said the perpetrators had been arrested.

The official IRNA news agency, meanwhile, said two members of the security forces were killed in Bukan in western Iran on Thursday.

The incidents come as funerals for young Iranians, including a small boy, who families say died in a state crackdown that sparked a new wave of anti-regime protests in the Islamic Republic on Friday.

Iranians mourn the coffins of people killed in a shooting during their funeral in the city of Izeh in Iran’s Khuzestan province on Nov. 18, 2022. (Photo by ALIREZA MOHAMMADI/isna/AFP)

Iran’s clerical leadership under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei faces its biggest challenge since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in two months of protests over the death of Mahsa Amini.

Authorities have responded with a crackdown, with 342 people killed, half a dozen already sentenced to death and thousands more arrested, according to a human rights group.

Dozens of people flocked to the southwestern city of Izeh for the funeral of Kian Pirfalak, aged nine, according to photos published by Iran’s ISNA news agency.

His mother told the funeral ceremony that Kian was shot by security forces on Wednesday, though Iranian officials insist he was killed in a “terrorist” attack.

“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 the funeral, according to a video posted by the 1500tasvir monitor.

“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, chanting: “Basij, Sepah – you are our ISIS!” according to a video posted by the Norway-based group 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 (IS).

Iranians carry the coffin of one of the people killed in a shooting during their funeral in the city of Izeh in Iran’s Khuzestan province on Nov. 18, 2022. (Photo by ALIREZA MOHAMMADI/isna/AFP)

“Death to Khamenei,” they shouted in another video posted by 1500tasvir.

Opposition media outside Iran said another minor, Sepehr Maghsoudi, 14, was also shot dead in similar circumstances in Izeh on Wednesday. Funerals have repeatedly become hotbeds of protest.

State television said seven people had been buried, including a nine-year-old boy, adding that they had been killed by “terrorists” on motorcycles.

“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, director of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran.

Protesters set fire to the ancestral home of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in the western city of Khomein, according to social media images verified by AFP.

But the Tasnim news agency later denied there had been a fire, saying the “door of the historic house is open to visitors”.

A man stands by as what appears to be the former home, now a museum, of Iran’s first Supreme Leader, Ruhollah Khomeini, set on fire by protesters on November 17, 2022, in Khomein, Iran. (Twitter/Screenshot: Used in accordance with Article 27a of the Copyright Act)

Khomeini is said to have been born around the turn of the century in the house in Khomein from which his surname comes. The house was later turned into a museum to commemorate him.

The nationwide protests – which have cut across ethnic groups and social classes – were initially sparked by anger over Khomeini’s mandatory headscarf for women, but have evolved into a movement calling for an end to the Islamic republic itself.

According to IHR, at least 342 people, including 43 children and 26 women, were killed by security forces during the crackdown on the protests.

IHR’s figures include 123 deaths in Sistan-Baluchistan province, where the protests had a clear initial spark but have sparked nationwide anger.

The predominantly Sunni Sistan-Baluchistan is Iran’s poorest region, whose ethnic Baluch residents feel discriminated against by Tehran’s Shiite elite.

New protests took place in the main city of Zahedan, where human rights groups say dozens were killed by security forces on Sept. 30, with people removing Islamic Republic flags from buildings, IHR said.

In the port city of Chabahar, people also took down a Khomeini billboard, it added.

Footage posted to social media showed security forces apparently firing at protesters in the province’s Iranshahr city.

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