- Women and children among the victims – State media
- Iranian president says Iran will respond to attack
- Protesters mark 40 days since Mahsa Amini’s death in custody
DUBAI: Islamic State militants say they carried out an attack on a Shiite mosque in Iran on Wednesday, killing 15 people, raising tensions in the country amid a wave of protests and riots. To be warned of the response from Tehran.
Iranian officials say they have arrested a gunman who attacked the Shah Cheragh shrine in Shiraz. State media has blamed the “takfiri terrorists”, the Tehran city logo used for stubborn Sunni Muslim militants such as Islamic State.
The group claimed responsibility for previous attacks in Iran, including two bombings in 2017 targeting Iran’s parliament and the grave of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The killing of Shiite pilgrims on Wednesday came on the same day that Iranian security forces clashed with protesters to mark the 40th anniversary of the death in the custody of police woman Mahsa Amini. Kurd, 22 years old.
According to state media, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi has blamed the protests on Iran for paving the way for the Shiraz attack, and President Ebrahim Raisi has said Iran will respond.
“Experience shows that Iran’s enemies, after failing to create divisions within the country, retaliate through violence and terrorism,” Raisi said before the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.
“This crime is really unsolvable and the security forces and law enforcement will teach a lesson to those who designed and carried out the attack.”
The semi-official Tasnim news agency said the attacker shot a staff member at the entrance to the shrine before his gun was stuck and he was chased by bystanders.
He fixed his gun and fired at his pursuers before entering the courtyard and shooting worshipers. Many women and children were among the dead, it said.
A witness in Shah Cheragh told state television: “I heard gunshots after we prayed. We went to a room near the shrine, came down and fired a shot. Then (the bullet) hit the hand. “And my legs. It hit my wife, but thank God my son was not beaten, he was seven years old.”
Day of Conflict
The attack in Shiraz came at the end of a day of nationwide clashes between security forces and protesters, with video showing the most violent clashes in more than a month after the unrest. Amini dies.
Demonstrations have become the most daunting challenge for clerk leadership since the 1979 revolution. Many Iranians took to the streets, some calling for the fall of the Islamic Republic and the death of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
According to a witness, security forces opened fire on mourners in Amini, the Kurdish hometown of Saqez, on Wednesday.
“Riot police shot dead mourners gathered at the cemetery for the mausoleum of Mahsa … Dozens were arrested,” a witness said. Iranian authorities could not be reached for comment.
The semi-official ISNA news agency said about 10,000 people were at the cemetery, adding that the internet was cut off after clashes between security forces and residents.
Video on social media showed crowds taking to the streets in several cities and markets in Tehran and other cities, with people shouting “Death to Khamenei”.
1500tasvir, a Twitter account focused on Iran protests with 280,000 followers, reported a “brutal crackdown” on protesters in several locations in Tehran, including rallies at the Tehran Medical Association.
Video footage on social media showed members of the Basij militia firing on protesters in Tehran.
Other videos show protesters chasing riot police and throwing stones. They also showed protesters in the holy Shiite town of Mashhad burning a riot police motorcycle. In Tehran, a protester beat a policeman, while in Qazvin, riot police opened fire on protesters.
Some protesters shouted, “We will fight, we will die, we will take back Iran” from its clerk.
Reuters could not verify the accuracy of this video.
A member of the elite Revolutionary Guards was shot dead by a “riot” in a western Malay city, the state news agency IRNA reported.
A former Iranian pro-reform official said the spread of protests appeared to have taken authorities by surprise and contradicted institutional claims that support for the Islamic system was overwhelming.
While some analysts say expectations for the dawn of a new political order are slowing, activists say the wall of fear has fallen and the path to a new revolution is irreversible.
Students have played a key role in the protests, with dozens of universities on strike. Hundreds of students joined the rally, shouting “Freedom, Freedom” despite heavy crackdowns by security forces.
State media and hardline officials labeled the protesters “hypocrites, monarchies, thieves and insurgents.”
Rights groups say at least 250 protesters, including teenage girls, have been killed. Was arrested.
Authorities accusing the United States and other Western nations of creating what they call “riots” have not yet announced the death toll, but state media said members of the security forces About 30 people were killed.
Written by Parisa Hafezi and Dominic Evans Edited by Michael Georgy, Nick Macfie and Alistair Bell
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