Iran’s supreme leader has vowed to retaliate after a massacre of Shia pilgrims, an attack claimed by Islamic State that threatens to stoke tensions amid widespread anti-government protests.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the attackers “will surely be punished” and called on Iranians to unite.
“We all have a duty to deal with the enemy and their treacherous or ignorant agents,” he said, a day after the attack killed 15 people.
Khamenei’s call for unity appeared to be aimed primarily at government loyalists and not at protesters, whose nearly six-week-old movement is seen by authorities as a threat to national security.
Iranian religious leaders have faced protests across the country since the death last month in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman.
Iranians have called for Khamenei’s death and an end to the Islamic Republic during the protests, which have become one of the boldest challenges to religious leaders since the 1979 revolution, drawing many Iranians to the streets.
The killers will be punished, swear the supreme leader
Supreme leader and president link protests to killings
German ambassador summoned for “interference”
Iran confiscates bodies of protesters from families, says UN
10:38 , Matt Mather
The UN human rights office on Friday expressed concern over Iran’s treatment of detained protesters and said authorities were refusing to release some of the bodies of those killed.
“We have seen a lot of ill-treatment (…) but also harassment of the families of the demonstrators”, declared Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, during a press briefing in Geneva, citing several sources.
She added that in some cases, authorities held the bodies of deceased protesters from families or released them only on the condition that they did not hold burials or speak to the media.
Iran determined to make progress despite ‘conspiracy’, president says
10:15 , Sravasti Dasgupta
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi vowed on Thursday that the country would defeat its enemies as it remains firmly committed to continuing on the path of progress, state media IRNA reported.
His statement came in response to Wednesday’s attack on Shiite pilgrims which was claimed by Isis.
Mr Raisi said that although the group claimed responsibility for the attack, the question remains as to who created the terror group and supports it in order to sow discord among West Asian countries.
He accused the United States of creating Isis and said it raised questions about his commitment to human rights.
We are witnessing a revolution in Iran
09:45 , Sravasti Dasgupta
“Iranian youth is on the march again. In 1979, the Islamic Republic was the result of a just revolution, though hardly the democratic state that many then dreamed of; now it could be overthrown by another uprising, fueled by the right kind of moral fervor among young people.
Lily The Independents editorial here:
Editorial: We are witnessing a revolution in Iran
Protests continue in Iran
09:15 , Sravasti Dasgupta
Human rights group Hengaw released footage of protests in Iran on Friday.
Gunshots accompanied by slogans can be heard in the footage.
Body found at Frankfurt airport on plane from Tehran
08:45 , Sravasti Dasgupta
A body was found in the landing gear of a Lufthansa plane that arrived at Frankfurt airport from Tehran yesterday, Reuters reported citing German daily Bild.
The body was found by workers after the passengers of flight LH 601 left the plane and the A340 was moved to a hangar for maintenance.
According to the Lufthansa website, the same flight scheduled for Friday has been canceled.
The incident comes amid widespread protests in Iran sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last month.
Protesters attempt to break into government offices
08:16 , Sravasti Dasgupta
Protesters attempted to break into government offices in Mahabad and surrounded the governor’s office yesterday after the death of 35-year-old protester Ismaeil Mauludi, Sky News reported.
Mauludi was killed during protests on Wednesday, according to human rights group Hengaw.
The group said at least 3 citizens, identified as 18-year-old Keyvan Darvishi, Mohammad Lotfolahi and Mohammad Shariati, were killed yesterday.
Gunshots heard as protests continue
Thursday, October 27, 2022 4:05 PM , Jane Dalton
Protests continued today, particularly in the northwest city of Mahabad, 320 miles from the capital, Tehran.
There, online videos claimed to show protesters in the offices of city governors, with gunfire heard in the background. Others claimed to show a burning building.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency said the “rioters” damaged public property, including smashing the windows of some banks and a tax office.
The protests appeared to have been sparked by the death of a man from gunshot wounds overnight.
A Kurdish human rights group released a video depicting the man’s funeral before the protests began.
He then said two more people were killed during protests in Mahabad on Thursday by security forces firing on demonstrators. Authorities did not immediately recognize him.
He also said the sound of gunfire rang out in the town of Baneh, about 80 km south of Mahabad, amid the protests as well.
Iran’s ex-president defends the right to protest
Thursday, October 27, 2022 3:40 PM , Jane Dalton
A former Iranian president has warned that “violence cannot be answered with violence” because he defended people’s right to protest.
Mohammad Khatami’s name and image have been banned from Iranian media since 2015 due to his reformist political views, which call for changing the Islamic Republic from within.
“If (the people) see that the conditions of this life are not provided (by the government), they have the right to criticize and even protest,” Khatami said.
‘It’s a revolution’: Protests mark 40 days since death
Thursday, October 27, 2022 3:25 PM , Jane Dalton
In case you missed it:
Tens of thousands of Iranians across the country defied phalanxes of security forces to demonstrate and protest against the mullahs’ rule on Wednesday, the religiously powerful and politically symbolic 40th day since Mahsa Amini’s death while in custody by the morality police, writes Borzou Daragahi:
‘This is a revolution’: 40 days after Mahsa Amini’s death, protests erupt across Iran
German ambassador summoned for “interference”
Thursday, October 27, 2022 3:19 PM , Jane Dalton
Iran has summoned the German ambassador, accusing Berlin of interfering in the internal affairs of the Islamic Republic.
“Some European countries, contrary to their international commitments in the fight against terrorism, have become the sponsors of terrorist groups,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani said in remarks reported by the agency. semi-official Fars press.
Killers will be punished, says Khamenei
Thursday, October 27, 2022 3:18 PM , Jane Dalton
Iran’s supreme leader has said the killers in a mosque shooting attack “will surely be punished”.
In a statement read out on state television, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “We all have a duty to deal with the enemy and his treacherous or ignorant agents.”
Khamenei’s call for unity appeared to be aimed primarily at government loyalists and not at protesters whose nearly six-week-old movement is seen by authorities as a threat to national security.
Iranian protesters have called for Khamenei’s death.
The Islamic State has admitted killing 15 worshipers. The attack took place at the Shah Cheragh Mosque in Shiraz, Iran’s second holiest site.
The shooter seen on video
Thursday, October 27, 2022 3:09 PM , Jane Dalton
Footage released by Iranian authorities shows an armed man with a large backpack walking near the mosque where 15 people were killed, then later moving inside with a Kalashnikov-style assault rifle.
The barefoot worshipers inside attempt to flee as the man opens fire, then chases those behind whatever they can find. Blood could be seen on the floor of the mosque.
Riot police later captured the man, whom authorities have yet to identify.
The Islamic State group said it carried out the attack, saying an armed IS militant stormed the shrine and opened fire on visitors.
Supreme leader and president link protests to deadly gun attack
Thursday, October 27, 2022 3:04 PM , Jane Dalton
Iran’s supreme leader and its president have tried to link the nationwide protests to an Islamic State-claimed shooting attack on a mosque in which 15 people were killed.
Iran’s theocracy has been unable to contain the protests, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the country’s vice squad.
More than 200 people have been killed in a crackdown in Iran, and thousands more have been arrested by police, activists say.
On Wednesday, a gunman opened fire on worshipers at Shah Cheragh Mosque in Shiraz, Iran’s second holiest site.
State media said at least 15 people were killed in the assault, which authorities initially attributed to multiple gunmen.
President Ebrahim Raisi described the ongoing protests as “riots” which enabled the shooting.
Mr Khamenei blamed the attack on a “plot by the enemies”.
“We all have a duty to strike a blow at the warmongering enemy and his treacherous and senseless cohorts,” he reportedly said.
“All of our people, from security organs to the judiciary and activists in the media field, must be united against the wave that disregards and disrespects people’s lives, their safety and their sacred things.”