PARIS: Iranian Revolutionary Guards opened fire on family members mourning a slain protester and seized his body from hospital, as clashes raged around the country overnight, a rights group said Saturday.
The country’s clerical leadership under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is facing its biggest challenge since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in two months of protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini.
The authorities have responded with a crackdown that Olso-based group Iran Human Rights says left dead at least 342 people, half a dozen already sentenced to death and thousands more arrested.
Protesters have been killed in 22 of Iran’s 31 provinces, IHR said Wednesday, including 123 in Sistan-Baluchistan and 32 in Amini’s home province of Kurdistan, where violence flared in the town of Bukan overnight.
“Last night, after IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) forces attacked Shahid Gholi Pur Hospital in Bukan, they seized Shahryar Mohammadi’s body and buried him secretly,” the Norway-based Hengaw rights group said.
“These forces opened fire on his family and inflicted injuries on at least five people,” Hengaw, which monitors abuses in Kurdish areas, told AFP.
Activists accuse Iran’s security forces of carrying out secret burials of protesters they have killed, to prevent more violence from flaring at their funerals.
Security force also opened fire on protesters in the town of Divandarreh, in Kurdistan province, wounding several people, Hengaw said on Saturday.
Iran has accused its foreign foes — including Britain, Israel and the United States — of fomenting violence in the country during protests since the September 16 death in custody of Amini.
Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin, died three days after her arrest in Tehran by the notorious morality police over an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s mandatory hijab law.
In a statement, Iran’s foreign ministry hit out at the “deliberate silence of foreign promoters of chaos and violence in Iran in the face of… terrorist operations in several Iranian cities.”
“It is the duty of the international community and international assemblies to condemn the recent terrorist acts in Iran and not to provide a safe haven for extremists,” it added.
On Wednesday, 10 people including a woman, two children and a security officer were killed in two separate attacks in the cities of Izeh and Isfahan, according to state media and a hospital source.
Two members of Iran’s pro-government Basij paramilitary force were stabbed to death in the northeastern city of Mashhad while trying to intervene against “rioters,” according to state news agency IRNA.